Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Sesquicentennial Commission met at Rome City Hall on Sunday to hash out plans for the event, which celebrates the 150th year since the raid. The event will take place May 3-5.
Kenneth Sumner, a major general of the Alabama Division of the SCV, said the event will be both entertaining and an educational tool that will make history come alive, especially for young spectators.
“It puts them face-to-face with history instead of the TV,” said Sumner.
The re-enactment in Cedar Bluff will likely take place on a farm near the original site of Streight’s surrender to the Confederacy, which features an ideal area for spectators to view the battles from a ridge. Further details will be released closer to the event.
More than 400 re-enactors are expected for the battles. The participants’ weaponry and outfits will be historically accurate from their caps to their boots, according to Benny Terry, adjutant for SCV Camp 469 in Rome.
“Reenactors are very serious people,” said Terry. “If you don’t have everything perfect, they won’t let you play.”
The first day of the event, a Friday, will serve as a “living history” day where school children will be invited to visit the camps and equipment. On Saturday and Sunday, full-scale battles will take place at 2 p.m. with Streight’s men winning the first day and the historically-accurate Forrest’s company triumphing the second.
The economic significance of Rome was enormous during the war. According to Terry, Streight was dispatched to destroy key parts of the Western and Atlantic Railroad that supplied the Confederate Army of Tennessee and was headed for Rome.
“Rome was a very important hub for rail and boat traffic,” said Terry. “You could go from here all the way to the Mississippi.”
Forrest’s army was outnumbered but, by parading his force back and forth in front of the Union troops, he convinced Streight he had the superior force. Streight surrendered but after learning about the ruse played on him, he demanded his arms back for a rematch. Forrest declined and marched the Union men to the stockades in Rome.
Admission to the re-enactment is $5 for ages 13 and older. Children younger than 12 are free. For families, the fee will be capped at $20.