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Trinity Standard - Local News

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Battle of Blackjack Grove Civil War Weekend
Trinity Standard -

By Jim Bell

GROVETON – You say you didn't know a Civil War battle was fought in Groveton right here in East Texas? A battle fought in a grove of blackjack oaks outside of town? We didn't either, because, to tell the truth, no battle was fought there. In the absence of a real battle to re-enact, people in Groveton just made one up and fight it anyway. So let the word go forth, the Battle of Blackjack Grove Civil War Weekend is coming up fast on the calendar, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 16th through the 18th. Through it we celebrate and bring Trinity County's colorful history to life, Confederate and Union Civil War re-enactors, history enthusiasts, the Groveton School District and the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce are doing everything they can to make it a memorable experience for everyone. A little backstory is in order. First, the town of Groveton didn't exist in the 1860s. Sumpter was the first settlement of any size after Trinity County. It was established in 1850, but it is now a ghost town just east of Groveton. The abundance of timber attracted settlers and businessmen who turned Sumpter into a timber center. In 1881 the abundance of cheap timber lured timber companies and a railroad to east Texas. In 1881 the Sabine Pass Rail and Land Company laid out a town the company owner named Grovetown because of a grove of blackjack trees between the mill and the town. The name was later shortened to Groveton, and in 1882, Groveton became the Trinity County seat. Now you know. Though Trinity County was divided over the issue of secession in 1860, the area supported the Confederacy when the Civil War started. Three companies of soldiers were raised for the Southern cause, including one unit that became part of Hood's Texas Brigade. In the years after the war, many of those men and their families would found the towns of Trinity and Groveton, and many of their descendants live there today. It is those people who will be remembered and celebrated at the Battle of Blackjack Grove Civil War Weekend. Visitors will see full blown battle re-enactments on Saturday and Sunday. They can stroll through Civil War period encampments and meet re-enactors in the infantry, horse-mounted cavalry, and artillery units, in period uniforms with 19th-century firearms of all kinds, including cannons that will be used in the re-enactment. Heads up: bring noise-canceling earphones or plugs. Those big guns are loud. You'll realize why so many Civil War artillerymen came home hard of hearing or deaf. Friday, February 16th will be a school day. Groveton area students will see re-enactors demonstrating weaponry, food preparation and life in a military camp. Students can also take part in the mid-day skirmish planned for that day. It promises to be an educational experience they'll never forget. Camps will open to the public at 9 AM on Saturday and Sunday with battles at 2 PM on both days. A 19th-century ball will be held on Saturday night starting at 7 PM. On Saturday night, the Valentine Ball, a 19th century period dance party, will be held in the Old Gym at Groveton Elementary School. On Sunday the 18th at 10:00 AM there will be a Community Church Service in the camp led by the Rev. Jack McMahon using a Prayer Book like the one Robert E. Lee took with him everywhere he went before and during the war. There are admission charges for some of the events, including the Valentine Ball. For more information on ticket prices and a full schedule of events, contact the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce at 1-936-642-1715. That information is also on the chamber website http://www. trinitycountychamber.org.


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