Chalk Bluff Re-Enactment This Weekend

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Confederate forces return fire during one of the earlier reenactments of the Battle of Chalk Bluff.(courtesy photo)

The sights and sounds of the Civil War will come to life this Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, at Chalk Bluff as re-enactors representing the blue and the gray gather on the ground where a major battle was fought over 150 years ago.

This year marks the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Chalk Bluff, and the event coincides with the 150th Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the surrender of the Confederate Army. In observance, the re-enactment will be held at the actual site of the original battle, along the banks of the St. Francis River.

The event is sanctioned by the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission as part of the state's observance of the "War Between the States."

Since 2003 there have been nine re-enactments of the Battle of Chalk Bluff at the state park site. The events are sponsored by the county, and this year additional funding has been provided to defray the cost of gunpowder and straw for the animals by the commission.

"We are now conducting the re-enactments every two years," noted Clay County Judge Gary Howell.

For those taking part in the action the amenities will include powder for artillery, cavalry, infantry, water, firewood, and, hay, and a meal on Saturday evening for those who contact event coordinators at least four days prior to the event.

"We have always had a good turnout from local re-enactors over the years, and this year should not be any different," noted Colonel W. Danny Honnoll of Jonesboro. "We usually have cannons, cavalry and infantry at Chalk Bluff--this is an excellent place to witness action just like went on 150 years ago on the very site where history was made.

Sign-in of re-enactors and living historians will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 1. The park will be open to the public at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, with camp life demonstrations and officer's call. Around 10:30 a.m. cannon demonstrations will be held and at noon Jeannine Thompson and Bobbie F. Barnett will co-host the annual ladies tea and demonstration of the refugee camp.

At 12:30 p.m. there will be marching and rifle firing demonstrations, and the battle re-enactment is set for 2:00. Afterward the grand review parade of troops will be held. Another demonstration of the refugee camp is also set for 3 p.m.

The park will open at 10 a.m. Sunday, with officer's call at 10:30 and a church service at 11. Camp life displays and re-enactments are also set to begin at 2 p.m. following by the grand review parade of troops.

Throughout the event "sutlers" (merchants set up in tents) will be on site and selling period items.

All branches of military and period impressions are welcome. The event is hosted annually by Clay County with assistance from the Northeast Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trails Committee, the SCV Shaver Camp #1655, of Jonesboro and the Gen. James F. Fagan Chapter #280, Military Order Stars, and Bars of Jonesboro.

Additional information, and contact numbers, are available by picking up a print edition of the CCTD, or by reading the full story on the online reader on this website.

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