"Union soldiers" General George Thomas, left, and Major Michael Hitt explain Union intentions to occupy the Confederate mill town of Roswell. The town is celebrating 150 years since the occupation with re-enactments and festivities July 12 and 13. Jonathan Copsey. (click for larger version)
July 02, 2014ROSWELL, Ga. – The Yankees are coming!
At least, re-enactors representing Yankees will be converging on Roswell July 12 and 13 as the city – and the rest of Atlanta – remembers 150 years since the Union assaults during the Civil War.
In a theatrical press conference June 26, General George Thomas and his aid, Major Michael Hitt, informed members of the press about Union plans to invade the Atlanta region, seizing key bridges along the Chattahoochee River. This includes the covered bridge that connected the mill town of Roswell with the city.
"It's very important we seize this bridge," explained Hitt. "We need to take it before the Confederates burn it."
Thomas added: "The ultimate object is the City of Atlanta."
At the time, Atlanta was a major railway and supply hub for the state and the Confederacy. The capitol was in Milledgeville. As many "Gone with the Wind" readers will remember, Atlanta burned.
Roswell was a major manufacturing town for the Confederacy, producing cotton and cloth in its mills. At the cotton mill, they made shirts and wagon covers
"A good majority of the production of the Roswell mills goes to Atlanta – rope, sheets, navy supplies, blankets and uniforms," Hitt said. "Well-supplied troops are happy troops."
The event was to gear up support for the 150 anniversary of Union troops occupying Roswell during the Civil War. They burned the mills and took the workers – 400 men, women and children – north to Kentucky and Indiana on charges of treason, an act that was unique and the war and since.
"It never happened again, a town charged with treason," Hitt said.
Most of the workers never returned south.
Roswell's event June 12 and 13 will feature re-enactors portraying Union soldiers camped out on the grounds of Barrington Hall as they were during the occupation. Theses "soldiers" will give demonstrations of camp life to visitors.
The highlight of the weekend is Union troops rounding up "mill workers" on the town square and reading out their arrest warrants. The workers are then taken away.
Roswell's event is shaping up to be one of the biggest Civil War commemorations in the metro area and shows something a little different than most re-enactments.
"This is unique and different," said Hitt. "We're not shooting any anyone. We're camping out on the grounds the soldiers actually camped on. There are not many re-enactment events where the re-enactors can interact with the public."
The Federal Encampment will be at Barrington Hall July 12 and 13 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with the arrest of the mill workers portrayed at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. both July 12 and 13. Music, food and entertainment will be throughout the days. For more information, visit www.southerntrilogy.com.
Editor, Milton Herald