Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area Presents:
The Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration
Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
September 25, 26 and 27
It was the year 1780. The tide of the Revolution had turned against the colonists. The British, forced out of New England, gained new allies in the divided South and won victory after victory in a bloody civil war. Charleston had fallen, and American forces had crumbled at the battle of Camden. But then the impossible occurred…The frontiersmen of the western mountains began a long march, gathering an army along the way, from the highlands of Virginia to the hills of South Carolina. There, at a place called King’s Mountain, they destroyed an army and opened the way for the final American victory at Yorktown.
The route they took from Virginia to South Carolina, we now know as the Overmountain Victory Trail. Come celebrate with us as we recreate the muster of the Overmountain Men, which occurred here at Sycamore Shoals over two hundred years ago. Re-enactors in period clothing will be on hand throughout the weekend to share stories of the excitement and danger of that tumultuous time.
The celebration kicks off at 2:00 pm on Friday, September 25th as the Overmountain Victory Trail Association recreates the historic Watauga River crossing. For the past 40 years Members of the OVTA have recreated this historic occurrence since 1975, following the same route and timetable as their legendary forebears from Abingdon, VA to Kings Mountain, SC.
In conjunction with the OVTA crossing, the Tennessee State Guard will be celebrating their 235th anniversary as they trace their inception to the gathering of the Overmountain Men at Sycamore Shoals in 1780. Tennessee State Guardsmen will join the OVTA in the recreation of the Watauga River crossing. Following the crossing the Tennessee State Guard will hold a timeline Pass in Review showcasing the guard’s involvement in Tennessee’s military history.
The celebration continues both Saturday and Sunday as the Washington County Militia present living history demonstrations and activities in and around Fort Watauga. Also, as part of the weekend’s activities, join us as we celebrate National Public Land’s Day on Saturday, September 26. At 1:00 pmjoin Historic Interpreter Chad Bogart on a special guided walk through the grounds of Sycamore Shoals and along portions of the walking path. Discover the vital role Sycamore Shoals played in the early frontier community, and how its significance would impact our nation’s history. Hear the story of the Overmountain Men and their historic gathering at Sycamore Shoals.
It will be a fun filled and action packed weekend sure to entertain and educate all ages. Admission is free so bring the entire family and relive some of the most crucial days of the American Revolution.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th
2:00 – Watauga River Crossing – Members of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association and the Tennessee State Guard recreate the historic crossing of September 25th, 1780.
Following the Crossing – TN State Guard Timeline Pass in Review – The Tennessee State Guard celebrates its 235th anniversary by showcasing their involvement in the state’s military history. Program presented in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th
9:00 – “The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon” – Join The Overmountain Men inside Fort Watauga as they assemble for morning colors and then listen to the stirring words of Reverend Samuel Doak as he delivers his famous sermon and prayer. The militia then departs in search of Patrick Ferguson and the tory army.
11:00 – “Gearing up for War” – Join Ken and Retha Reece inside Fort Watauga and learn about the gear, equipment, and food carried by the Overmountain Men in their campaign to Kings Mountain.
12:00 – “Echoes of Revolution” – Join the Watauga Valley Fifes and Drums for an exciting glimpse into the musical world of the 18th century.
1:00 – “Trail Talk: Walking in Frontier Footsteps” – To celebrate National Public Lands Day, join historic interpreter Chad Bogart for a guided walk along the park trail as he recounts the story of the Overmountain Men and their historic gathering at Sycamore Shoals. Program begins at Fort Watauga.
2:00 – “Life on the Homefront” – Come to the Talbot House for a look at the woman’s role on the 18th century frontier. See how the women and children fared after the militia had marched off in search of Patrick Ferguson and the Tory army.
3:00 – “Every Seventh Man” – Oral tradition states that the Overmountain Men left behind one in seven to guard the settlements as they went in search of the tory army. Witness the Watauga Home Guard drill and hone their skills as defenders of the frontier. Learn about the different firearms used in Colonial America.
4:00 – Camps Close – Join us tomorrow for another exciting day of life on the colonial frontier!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th
10:00 – Worship Service – Feel free to join the militia for Sunday morning service held in the courtyard of Fort Watauga. Following the service witness the Washington County Militia fall in for inspection of arms, and orders are given for the day.
12:00 – Artillery Demonstration – Join members of the Washington County Militia as they fire the fort’s cannon and talk about artillery in the 18th century.
1:00 – “Life on the Homefront” – Come to the Talbot House for a look at the woman’s role on the 18th century frontier. See how the women and children fared after the militia had marched off in search of Patrick Ferguson and the Tory army.
2:00 – “Every Seventh Man” – Oral tradition states that the Overmountain Men left behind one in seven to guard the settlements as they went in search of the tory army. Witness the Watauga Home Guard drill and hone their skills as defenders of the frontier. Learn about the different firearms used in Colonial America.
3:00 – Retiring the Colors – Camps Close – Thank you for joining us for a great day of frontier living history. Join us next time!
ONGOING ACTIVITIES FOR BOTH DAYS INCLUDE:
Open Hearth Cooking – Flintlock Musket & Rifle Demonstrations – Tavern Life – Militia Drill
Colonial Music – Leatherwork – Wool Processing – Colonial Games – 18th Century Camp Life
And Much More!!!
All activities are weather dependent. Schedule is subject to change or cancellation.