If you’re looking for fun and history this weekend, you should head down to the Battle of Smithland. It’s being recreated on April 28 and 29 in downtown Smithland. It’s a great way to experience the daily of a soldier during the Civil War. The event will have period vendors, a lemonade pub, a blacksmith, silent auction, and battles both Saturday and Sunday at 1 & 2 pm.
Battle of Smithland, Inc. began to breathe life into this event that had been dormant for over a decade, back in 2015. Holding the first renewed event in April of 2016, this year marks the third installment of this new and unique event that gives the public a means to experience history first hand in a free, family friendly weekend.
The event is tied to Fort Smith, an original Union civil war fortification, standing on the hill overlooking town. On the historic register since the mid-90s, the fort is currently owned by and stands on Livingston County School Board property.
Michael Dunbar, President/Chairman of Battle of Smithland, Inc. told me that their history is important. “Without events like the battle of Smithland reenactment, much of our history fades. By presenting our event, free to the public, families can enjoy a weekend out and parents have an opportunity to teach their children in a hands-on manner. The excitement found at this sort of event sticks with children for years to come and often plants the seed that becomes a love if history as they get older.”
This weekend’s reenactment event will feature a silent auction to raise money for the organizing group. The silent auction includes a Abu Garcia rod and reel set, a pair of tickets to Holiday World, passes to Maggie's Jungle Golf, $50 certificate to Sportsman Outdoors in Calvert City, tickets for Badgett Playhouse. You can also bid on tools, including electric drills, ratchet sets, wrenches, etc., and many other items and bundles.
There will be a 4-H pancake breakfast on both days of the event from 6:30-10:30am. Admission is $6 for adults or $4 for children. The public is welcome!
Fort Smith is an original Union civil war fortification garrisoned by many units throughout the Civil War…some of the most notable being the 11th Indiana Infantry and the 8th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. Several members of the 8th U.S. C.H.A are buried in the local cemetery, just a few hundred yards from the fort where they served honorably.
Many well-known folks were in Smithland including General Lew Wallace, the author of "Ben Hur", and Ned Buntline, the father of the dime novel, who later gave to Wyatt Earp his long-barreled Colt peacemaker called a "Buntline Special".
Smithland was marched upon, and taken, by U.S. Grant three days after his landing in Paducah. The town served as a staging and training area for the Union invasions and attacks down river at fort Donelson, Fort Henry, and Fort Heiman. Situated at the confluence of the rivers, Smithland was a perfect location to control river commerce headed into the south.
For more information, please visit their Facebook page facebook.com/battleofsmithland..