In the summer of 1780 they heard the calling of their country. Four hundred strong heeded the call. They were mustered into the Virginia militia and marched alongside other like-minded men. They defeated the well trained and well-equipped British forces at Kings Mountain in South Carolina. It was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
Once again the call to arms came, as brother fought brother and families were torn asunder. On July 27 & 28, 2019, the muster grounds of Abingdon, Virginia came alive with living historians and reenactors paying homage to a bygone era. The free event was well orchestrated by the coordinator of the event (Stephen Wolfsberger) and the staff of the Historic Muster Grounds. The activities coincided with the Virginia Highlands Festival and included President and Mrs. Lincoln (Tom & Sue Wright), General Lee (David Chaltas), and Virginia Governor William “Extra Billy” Smith [1846-49 & 1864-65] (David Meisky), as well as a southern Blockade Runner (Dan McGrew), meeting and greeting the spectators. An outstanding period field band performed as well as a period doctor discussing medicine of the time, and a presentation of war-period telegraph methods. The vendors included Gregory G. Newsome’s outstanding art, books and his discussion of the role of Black Confederates during the War Between the States. Cast Iron Bones had their wares for sale and an SVC group offered information about the organization and ancestors.
The encampments were open to the public and they shared stories of soldiers as well as camp life with all. The public could get an up-close look at the cannons and even pet the cavalry horses in camp. Officer’s call proved to be productive and a good battle scenario was created. The artillery and cavalry were ready to perform when the engagement began. Skirmishes clashed and cannons roared to the delight of the crowd. The cavalry charge was up close and personal to the amazement of the young people. The reenactment was well scored and executed with the engagement going back and forth. After the battle, a salute via a volley was offered to honor God, Country, Veterans and those who have gone before.
Information about the Abingdon Civil War Weekend is available on the event Facebook page.
The Muster Grounds Interpretive Center houses Native American, African American, and Colonial Washington County History and several artifacts. It is a very family-friendly and informative historical location. For more information contact the Abingdon Muster Grounds and/or find them on Facebook. The grounds are located on 1780 Muster Place, Abingdon, VA 24210-2775. The phone number is 1-276-525-1050.