1863 Burning of Courthouse Re-Enactment This Saturday in Linden
On May 12, 1863, Union troops, under the command of Lt. Commander S.L. Phelps, U.S. Navy, and Lt. Colonel W.K.M. Breckenridge, met on the banks of the Tennessee River and planned a surprise attack on a group of Confederate soldiers stationed at the Perry County Courthouse in downtown Linden.
The Union soldiers—numbered at 55—were ferried across the river, then set out on foot, reaching Linden around daybreak.
The surprise attack was successful: from the Rebel force Lt. Colonel Frierson was captured, along with one captain, four lieutenants, one surgeon, thirty regulars, ten conscripts, fifty horses, and two wagons.
The courthouse was burned to the ground, along with arms and supplies.
During the skirmish, three Confederate men were killed; the Union suffered no losses. The captured were taken by boat to Cairo, Illinois.
That fateful day will be recreated on Saturday, May 13, 2023—after a five-year hiatus—when re-enactors stage the 160th anniversary of the “Capture & Burning of the Courthouse by Federal Troops,” culminating with a staged confrontation at the courthouse.
The return of the event, the first one since 2018, is bittersweet following the passing of co-founder and re-enactor James Sharp on March 22, 2023. James and wife Regina were already planning this year’s activities when he passed, and she decided to continue.
The 2023 re-enactment, being held in Mr. Sharp’s memory in appreciation for the years he spent organizing the event, is presented by the Town of Linden and Perry County Government, all events on the courthouse square are free and open to the public.
–you can fire a cannon from 9:00 to noon, on the lot between First Baptist-Linden and Linden First Christian on West Main, for $15 per firing;
–Victorian Ladies Tea, 11:00 a.m., Azbill Community Center;
On the courthouse square, all free and open to the public:
–Concert of Civil War era music by the 20-piece Fifth Alabama Regimental Band, 12:30 p.m.;
–Battle of Beardstown, 1:30 p.m.;
–Parade of Troops following the Battle of Beardstown;
–Welcome Ceremony, 2:00 p.m.;
–Capture & Burning of the Courthouse, 2:30 p.m.;
A Grand Military Ball, open to public, will be held at Azbill Community Center, at 7:00 p.m., but attendees are expected to dress appropriately in Civil War era clothing, modern ball, modern formal, or dressy church clothes.
Other features of the 2023 event:
President& Mrs. Abraham Lincoln will be among the re-enactors, as will General Robert E.. Lee and his Adjutant, Major John W. Fairfax, to visit with spectators and offer commentary on the battles.
Forrest Crossing Guard Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #2332, of Clifton, will have a recruitment booth.
A Civil War era medical tent will be set up on the courthouse lawn.
All times approximate. Watch the Review for more details.