25th Annual Siege of Fort Watauga brings weekend of activities to park

Published 8:37 am Thursday, May 16, 2019

Some 200 re-enactors will be at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area this weekend for the 25th Annual Siege of Fort Watauga. Colonial, British, and native re-enactors will be present to relive the days when America’s first frontier was the land beyond the Blue Ridge.

The Siege of Fort Watauga is a live retelling of the Cherokee attack on the settlers of the Watauga Valley in the summer of 1776. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga offered protection to nearly 200 settlers during a two-week siege led by Cherokee War Chief, Old Abram, and 300 warriors.

This year’s event will be held Saturday and Sunday with events scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The weekend will feature militia camps, British encampment, and Native American camps as well as daily aspects of colonial frontier life. Experience the clash of the two cultures as the attack on Fort Watauga is re-created at 1 p.m. Saturday and again at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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Saturday will also feature an auction of 18th century reproductions.

During the weekend, Revolutionary War living history units will be in attendance and make the 18th Century come to life. Units include the 1st Maryland, based in Hendersonville, N.C.; Musgrove’s Mill Militia and the South Carolina Rangers based in upstate South Carolina, British units, the 71st Highland Regiment, and the British Legion.

The host unit is the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia based at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.

Weekend events will also include colonial merchants selling period wares in Sutler’s Row. Vendors will have a myriad of 18th Century reproduction items for the colonial enthusiast or the primitive decorator. This year’s vendors include Zellemoyer Pottery specializing in handcrafted redware and stoneware pottery; C. Read Apothecary perfumes, ointments and creams; the Kentucky Trading Post, which will have 18th Century reproduction clothing and accouterments; Ft. Vause Outfitters, which specializes in finished leather goods; Windhil Woolens, which has hand processed and dyed woolen goods such as yarn, blankets, and clothing; and Walnut Hill Embellishments, which specializes in 18th Century reproduction and historically inspired jewelry.

Also, several other vendors will be on site offering everything from 18th century reproduction clothing, weaponry, and original antiques to replica housewares and military accouterments.

The weekend will also feature musical entertainment by the Sons of Liberty and the Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps.

Numerous individuals will participate in the event portraying many 18th Century personalities, including Cherokee natives, backcountry hunters, farmers, housewives, indentured servants, commoners and gentry.

Admission to the events are free. The weekend of events is sponsored by the Washington County Regiment North Carolina Militia and the Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.

The schedule of events for the weekend is as follows:


10 a.m. Posting the Colors

11 a.m. Butter Making

11:30 a.m. Early American Music with the “Sons of Liberty”

12 noon Our Daily Bread: Baking in the Earthen Oven

1 p.m. Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga – Part 1”

1:30 p.m. 18th Century Field Music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums

2 p.m. Patience Cooper: Enterprising Woman of the Frontier

3 p.m. Auction (18th century reproductions, clothing, housewares, books and much more)

4 p.m. Living History Camps Close for the day.


10 a.m. — Event Opens

10:30 a.m. — Militia Muster and Inspection

11 a.m. — 8th Century Worship Service

12 noon — Early American Music with the “Sons of Liberty”

12:30 p.m. — Medicinal Plants and Frontier Naturalists

1 p.m. — Our Daily Bread: Baking in the Earthen Oven

2 p.m. — Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga – Part 2”

2:30 p.m. — 18th Century Field Music: Watauga Valley Fife & Drums

3 p.m. — Retiring the Colors

Ongoing demonstrations and activities throughout the weekend include: Native American Camp, Colonial Games, Medicinal Plants, Salt Making, Frontier Public House, Blacksmithing, 18th Century Laundress, Colonial Land Surveying, Weaving, 18th Century Market Faire, Hand Sewing, Flax Processing, Woodworking, Colonial Music, Open Hearth Cooking, Flintlock Firearms, Militia Encampments, British Loyalist Camp, and many more aspects of 18th Century Life!