ELIZABETHTOWN — The sounds of muskets firing and cannons exploding will echo through the downtown this weekend as the Tories and Patriots face off once more at the Tory Hole Park in Elizabethtown during the third annual Battle of Elizabethtown re-enactment.
The event will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday with cannon fire and at 10 a.m. on Sunday things will get started with an 18th Century church service. The re-enactments will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday and again at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Admission to the event is free and food and drinks will be available for purchase.
On Saturday at the Tory Hole Park, there will also be doll making demonstrations, weapons demonstrations, military drills, tomahawk throwing demonstrations, and plenty of children’s activities. Of course, there will be the re-enactment of the battle itself as well as a history lesson.
One of the event’s organizers, Bobby Lewis, said that one new thing this year will be the reading of the names of the Patriots who fought in the Battle of Elizabethtown, accompanied by the tolling of a bell after each name is read. Lewis said the group plans to use the old school bell from Harmony Hall for the ceremony.
There will also be a craft fair and the Huckleberry Brothers will playing bluegrass music at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Also, the dragoons (mounted soldiers) will be in town and will ride from the Tory Hole Park to San Jose Restaurant on Saturday.
Lewis said the original idea for the re-enactment came about as a conversation with Madison Gardner.
“He said Bladen County is rich in history and no one is doing anything about it,” said Lewis.
He said the first year, the re-enactment was held in the downtown area of Elizabethtown. After that it was decided to move it to the Tory Hole Park.
“Some of us went and scouted it out and decided it was the ideal place to have it (the re-enactment). It was the traditional place for the battle,” said Lewis.
He said the battle, as it was originally fought, began somewhere in the vicinity of the Affordable Tire location on King Street.
“I’m told that the gully originally ran all the way over to the former Bladen Tire location,” said Lewis.
He said that, over the years, the gully was filled in.
“The Tories had an encampment there and when the Patriot forces challenged them, the Patriots chased them into the gully and down to the river,” said Lewis.
Lewis some British soldiers died during the battle while some were captured. Others took their chances by fording the Cape Fear River to escape the Patriot assault.
Lewis said they are looking forward to a great event and everyone is encouraged to come out and enjoy the day at the park and not to forget the crafts show and bluegrass music at the Farmer’s Market.