No matter what the weather holds for this weekend, there’s gonna be a battle in Atkins.
Members of the Saltville Home Guard Camp 2098 of the Virginia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans are partnering with the Settlers Museum of Southwest Virginia to reenact the Battle of Marion on the museum property. This is the fourth annual battle recreating Union Major General George Stoneman's 1864 winter raid against General John C. Breckinridge and his Confederate forces.
John Winebarger with the Saltville Home Guard said that the actual battle took place at the site where the new Smyth County Community Hospital sits and the surrounding river bottom. They cannot fire their rifles and artillery so close to the hospital and nearby homes, he said, so the Settlers Museum has allowed the group to conduct the reenactment on its property.
“We are very thankful that the museum offered us the space,” Winebarger said.
The group provided a living history event the first year and then small skirmishes, but last year saw a turnout of more than 60 participants. A cannon or two are expected this year as part of the artillery of the battle.
The camp will open to the public at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6 and 7, and close at 5 p.m. A church service will be held on Sunday at 10 a.m. Visitors are invited to tour the camps of both the Union and the Confederates and talk to the reenactors who can explain about equipment and history.
Vendors will include Persimmon Hills Forge blacksmithing and original and replica Civil War weapons. Food will be available from Mojo’s BBQ.
Admission to the event is $5 per person and free for children 10 and under.
The Settlers Museum of Southwest Virginia is located at 1322 Rocky Hollow Road in Atkins. For more than 30 years the museum has been preserving the history of the 19th century, offering visitors a look at what life was like on an 1890s farm and the history of the Germans and Scotch-Irish who settled the area.