Annual Civil War re-enactment set for weekend

John Thompson • Jul 26, 2013 at 9:12 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The annual Civil War re-enactment at Brooks Farm will take place this weekend.

The region’s premier re-enactor, Grant Hardin, will again take part in the two days of skirmishes and guerilla warfare re-enactments. Hardin said the Northeast Tennessee region did not see many large battles, but there was a lot of guerilla activity.

The focus will once again be on depicting these struggles of brother against brother, but Hardin said there will also be programs on Civil War equipment, cannon, uniforms and dress.

The re-enactments will take place Saturday and Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. each day. Admission is $3. Children under 12 are admitted free. Proceeds go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The event is hosted by the 12th Tennessee Cavalry.

Brooks Farm was the seat of the Reuben Brooks Jr. Family, one of the most prominent Confederate supporters in Carter County. The Brooks Farm was one of the largest in the county, and slave labor was used to operate it. That was unusual for the county, where the farms were mostly small and required only family labor.

The Brooks family would experience the bloody guerilla fighting of the Civil War when Reuben’s eldest son, William, was shot by Union sympathizers as he was riding up Stoney Creek to recruit men for the Southern cause.

The wounded William rode back to his home and was carried upstairs to his bedroom, where he died from his wounds. The floor where he died is said to be still stained with his blood.

The home is now owned by Dr. Daniel Schumaier, an audiologist. He has lovingly restored the house and grounds to its 19th-century splendor. Hardin said Shumaier encouraged the original re-enactment on his property and has since become a re-enactor himself, wearing period clothing and portraying Reuben Brooks.

Schumaier has also acquired another 19th-century landmark farmhouse, the surviving wing of the Stover Home, which was owned by President Andrew Johnson’s daughter, Mary.

Johnson paid a visit to his daughter in 1875, shortly after being elected to the U.S. Senate. He became ill during the visit and died in the house July 31.

The Brooks Farm is located on Tenn. Highway 91 (Stoney Creek Highway), north of Elizabethton. Take the highway to Mile Marker 9, where the four-lane highway turns into a two-lane highway. Turn right on Blue Springs Road and go a quarter mile to the battle site on the left.

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