23rd Tennessee Chickamauga Living History - September 15-17: Hosted by the Governor Guards

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Legion Para

Retired Moderator
Jul 12, 2015
Living history events like this are incredibly rewarding and I encourage every reenactor to participate in one.

"23rd Tennessee Chickamauga Living History - September 15-17: Hosted by the Governor Guards

After the hugely successful 2nd South Carolina Living History at Chickamauga National Military park, the Governor Guards will be hosting another living history at the Chickamauga September, 15-17 2017. For 2017 our impression will be the 23rd Tennessee Infantry, (Keebles) Bushrod Johnson’s Brigade, Army of the Tennessee.

Similar to the 2016 event, this will be a “following in their footsteps” living history where we will focus on telling the story of the regiment through the accounts of those who were there. We will recreate the regiment’s movements from where they encountered the Lighting Brigade at Alexanders Bridge and work our way across the field to the point where the 23rd breached the gap in the Federal line and made their assault up Horseshoe Ridge.

We will be seeking volunteers to read eyewitness accounts and briefly talk about what took place at stops along the march route. This makes a tremendous impact on the public as it humanizes what took place while providing a sobering display reminding them that the those lost are not just numbers on a monument. This was incredibly moving based on spectator and NPS feedback from our 2016 program.

We expect everyone to remain in first person while interacting with the public. We want them to feel immersed in the scenario and give them an idea of what it was like to go into action though the accounts we present. Since we are following their route, expect to do a little marching. Providing that North Georgia isn’t suffering from another drought we should be able to bivouac were we stop for the day. But as you all know when dealing with the NPS things can change at a moment’s notice and we could end up staying in a centralized location.

We currently have three people on board for raising companies. We would like to have four or five 20-30 man companies. Our only restriction on numbers is we cannot exceed the 181 that were present for duty on September 18, 1863. We put on an incredible program with small numbers this year in the trial run but we can make an even bigger impact with everyone’s participation.
If you have a quality musician impression and want to attend please let me know so I can put you in contact with Kelly Ford.

Our current list of company commanders are as follows:
Tyler Gibson (IR) – Company A
Herb Coats (AG) – Company TBD
Whit Barr (WIG) - Company TBD
Walter Cook (SCAR) – Company F (Color Company)

23rd Tenn. Infantry Guidelines
As most of us know that by 1863 all requisitions for uniforms and equipment were sent through the chain of command to the Quartermaster General in Richmond, Virginia. Upon receiving the request, it was his responsibility to contact the various depots throughout the Confederacy to see who could fill the order. This means that the necessary items needed to maintain the soldiers in the field could have come from several different locations. Based upon an article and research from The Company of Military Historians, the Atlanta Depot was producing almost 11,000 jackets per month by 1863. The Columbus Depot was producing about 8,000 per month with the fourth quarter of 1863 showing over 42,000 jackets on hand with 6,500 of those had already been purchased and getting ready to ship.
Based upon this information and photographic evidence we believe the following impression guidelines will best represent how the 23rd Tennessee Infantry (Gen. B.R. Johnson’s Brigade) would have appeared during the Chickamauga Campaign. There are enough options with the guidelines to make it readily attainable for participation. Please also be aware that if you show up unable or unwilling to meet the posted guidelines you will be asked to leave.

Civilian hats: Civilian hats should be made of wool felt, have a sewn brim bound with ribbon. (No top hats, straw hats or hat blanks)
Kepi: All kepis should be constructed of jeans, cassimeres, or satinette. Although kepis were worn in the AoT, photos indicate that they were rare.
Please leave the animal parts friction primers, hat bras, etc at home.

Atlanta Jacket: Documentation suggests that in the spring and summer of 1863 Atlanta had more jackets ready for issue than Columbus.
Columbus Jacket
CS four button sack coat
Civilian sack coat or paletot
All of the above garments should be constructed of domestic cloth. All buttonholes should be sewn by hand. Entirely hand sewn garments are preferred, but a combination of machine and hand will be accepted. Civilian garments are highly encouraged to be entirely hand sewn.

CS issue: Constructed of domestic cloth.
Civilian: These should be made of domestic jeans, or heavy cotton, corduroys are accepted in earth tones, and in limited numbers.
Absolutely no Federal trousers or check pattern civilian trousers or English imported cloth.

CS Issue
On the morning of September 18th before the attack on Alexanders Bridge 26 members of the 23rd TN. were sent to the rear for guard duty because they were without shoes. So Federal issue shoes are to be used only as a last resort.

CS issue: Entirely hand sewn and made of osnaburg.
Civilian: Constructed of cotton, linen or woolen flannel. These should be entirely hand sewn.
Both shirt options are cheap to buy ready-made, or easy to make. Therefore no federal issue shirts will be permitted.
It is also worth mentioning that the Atlanta Depot had 30,000 shirts ready for issue by March 26th.

Civilian pattern. These should be constructed of cotton, linen, or woolen flannel and entirely hand sewn.
Commando pattern: Yes this means no drawers at all.

Woolen or Cotton

Carpet blanket (Atlanta Depot had on hand over 20,000 yards of carpet that were turned into blankets.)
Civilian blanket
US Issue
CS Issue
No quilts, North Carolina, or English blankets

Ground Cloth
CS issue
US Issue
Oil cloth

CS issue 12’ X 12’ tent fly
Shelter halves only as a last resort.

Blanket roll (horse collar) strongly preferred
US double bag
CS issue

CS tin drum with either flat or convex sides.
US issue: The Cincinnati depot with cloth strap and tin spout and cord stopper lanyard is strongly preferred if a US type is used.
Wooden. Accounts indicate that these were very un-popular with the AoT and were quickly replaced if a US canteen was found.

Civilian types like the Moses Alexander
US issue: Along with a few other Federal items, the US issue haversack was a highly prized item to be captured by Johnny Reb. Photographs of captured CS soldiers near Chattanooga show a very large number of US haversacks.
CS painted cloth like the A.H. Baley.

Cartridge Box
Any western depot with the exception of Houston is accepted. Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Augusta are strongly preferred. Painted cloth boxes are also accepted.
Federal cartridge box is to be used only as a last resort.

Cap pouch
Any western depot with the exception of Houston is accepted. Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Augusta are strongly preferred. Painted cloth pouches are also accepted.
Federal cap pouch is to be used only as a last resort.

Bayonet scabbard
Bayonet scabbards and bayonets were in incredibly short supply. If you intend on bringing a bayonet, you should have a western depot scabbard.
Federal scabbard only if carrying the m1861, m1862, or m1863 Springfield rifle musket.

Roller buckle belt
Atlanta style C.S.A. buckle. This buckle is more convex than its eastern cousin.
Rounded corner CS buckle.
Georgia frame buckle
Forked tongue buckle

The 23rd was originally issued the P53 British rifle musket. So this will be our weapon of choice.
M61, m62, m63 Springfield will be our secondary choice. After the battle of Murfreesboro many soldiers in the AoT exchanged their Enfields for Springfields.

As stated earlier, bayonets were in short supply due to a shortage of scabbards. If you are carrying a Springfield bring the bayonet. Otherwise, the decision is yours to bring the bayonet or not.
Please note that since this is taking place on NPS property it is imperative that all weaponry is clean and fully functional. This includes locking rings on bayonets and front sites to secure the bayonet to the muzzle.

Personal Items
Overshirts were very popular in the ranks. It served as a lightweight working garment much like a modern day jacket that helped to keep you a little warmer if shirt sleeves were not enough. It also helped to protect your undershirt from getting damaged while on fatigue. If you wish to bring one along that is your decision to make but use will be restricted to camp.
Vests: Vests were an important part of men’s every day wardrobe. In polite society, gentlemen would not be seen presenting himself to the fairer sex in just his shirt. It was after all, considered underwear. These fellows still cared about their appearance and photos of the original cast they would see that the majority of these men had on a vest. Photos primarily show single breasted civilian patterns of domestic cloth. Very few appear to be of the “military style” with a stand up collar.
Gloves and scarves for those chilly nights. Knitted goods of the period utilized a smaller dimeter woolen yarn about the third of the size of what you see on most modern knitted goods. They were also more tightly woven as well.

No modern anachronisms; all other items must be period appropriate for September 1863. This also includes any and all food items that you bring along. We owe it to ourselves, the public and most importantly the boys of ’61 to give the most accurate portrayal of the common soldier of the AoT in the fall of 1863."

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