The Siege of Fort Watauga is a live retelling of the Cherokee attack on the settlers of the Watauga Valley in the summer of 1776. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga offered protection to nearly 200 settlers during a two-week siege led by Cherokee War Chief Old Abram and 300 warriors.
The siege begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. and will continue until 4 p.m. Sunday’s events will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the event, attendees may take advantage of colonial merchants selling period wares in “Sutler’s Row.” There will be several vendors offering a myriad of 18th century reproduction items for the colonial enthusiast or the primitive decorator.
Vendors this year include; Zettlemoyer Pottery, specializing in hand crafted red ware and stoneware pottery; C. Read Apothecary carrying perfumes, ointments, and creams; The Kentucky Trading Post, offering 18th century reproduction clothing and accouterments; Ft. Vause Outfitters, specializing in finished leather goods; Windhil Woolens, offering hand-processed and dyed woolen goods such as yarn, blankets, and clothing; Walnut Hill Embellishments, specializing in 18th century reproduction and historically inspired jewelry; and several other vendors offering everything from 18th century reproduction clothing, weaponry, and original antiques, to replica housewares and military accouterments.
There will be ongoing demonstrations and activities throughout the weekend, including Cherokee Camp, colonial games, medicinal plants, salt making, frontier public house, blacksmithing, 18th century laundress, colonial land surveying, weaving, 18th century market faire, hand sewing, flax processing, woodworking, colonial music, open hearth cooking, flintlock firearms, militia encampments, British loyalist camp, and many more aspects of 18th century life.
Several Revolutionary War living history units will be in attendance, including the 1st Maryland, based in Hendersonville, N.C.; Musgrove’s Mill Militia and the South Carolina Rangers, based in upstate South Carolina; and British units including the 71st Highland Regiment and the British Legion. The host unit is the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, based at Sycamore Shoals.
Musicial entertainment will be provided by The Sons of Liberty and the Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps. Numerous individuals also will participate in the event portraying many 18th century walks of life, including Cherokee natives, backcountry hunters, farmers, housewives, indentured servants, commoners and gentry.
For more information, call the park at 423-543-5808 or visit the park’s website at www.sycamoreshoalstn.org. Admission is free. The event is sponsored by The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.
The schedule of events is as follows:
Saturday, May 18.
10 a.m.: Posting the colors.
11 a.m.: Butter making.
11:30 a.m.: Early American music with the “Sons of Liberty.”
Noon: Our daily bread — baking in the earthen oven.
1 p.m.: Battle re-enactment — “Siege of Fort Watauga — Part 1.”
1:30 p.m.: 18th century field music by Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums.
2 p.m.: Patience Cooper — enterprising woman of the frontier.
3 p.m.: Auction (18th century reproductions, clothing, housewares, books and much more).
4 p.m.: Living history camps close for the day.
Sunday, May 19
10 a.m.: Event opens.
10:30 a.m.: Militia muster and inspection.
11 a.m.: 18th century worship service.
Noon: Early American music with the “Sons of Liberty.”
12:30 a.m.: Medicinal plants and frontier naturalists.
1 p.m.: Our daily bread — baking in the earthen oven.
2 p.m.: Battle re-enactment — “Siege of Fort Watauga – Part 2.”
2:30 p.m.: 18th century field music by Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums.
3 p.m.: Retiring the colors.