Real-life violence pitted brother against brother
at the re-enactment of the Third Battle of Chattanooga Sunday afternoon
in Missionary Ridge Park.
The conflict started when brothers Marvin Stump, a.k.a. Private Boggsworth
of the Confederate Army, and Douglas Stump, a.k.a. Lieutenant Henricksen
of the Union Army, got into an argument over what to call the War of
“Doug tried to say that it was a civil war,” said Marvin,
“but that wasn’t it at all.”
The argument escalated into a fistfight when Douglas said something
about Marvin’s mother.
“I was talking about Boggsworth’s mother, but he seemed
to think I was talking about mom.”
The fight turned into a brawl when dozens, then hundreds, of union and
confederate re-enactment soldiers came to the aid of their compatriots.
The conflict resulted dozens of casualties, including broken bones,
lacerations and point-blank musket wounds.
Even after the violence ended, re-enactment soldiers could be heard
arguing over the term “civil war.”
“This was not a civil war,” Confederate General Braxton
Bragg, portrayed by Chattanooga orthodontist Eric Peterson, insisted.
“A civil war is what happened in Spain. The Confederacy wasn’t
trying to tell the Yanks what to do- we were fighting for our states’
sacred right to remain sovereign and determine our own destinies. In
that sense, we’re just like George Washington and the founding
Bragg ala Peterson not only raised an interesting point- the definition
of what qualifies as a civil war is in the eye of the beholder, but
also offers the counter-point with his analogy to Washington and the
“From the British perspective,” this reporter asked Gen.
Bragg (Peterson), “the American Revolution was a civil war. How
can one make these distinctions?”
“George Washington and the revolutionary army-”
“Whom the British considered insurgent terrorists, yes?”
“We’re done here.”
While re-enactments like this one have their problems, many residents
still fight for the preservation of local battlegrounds.
“Some of these nuts want all the sites preserved,” said
county commissioner Steve Bellows. “They get pissed that there
are highways, neighborhoods and malls where grass fields used to be.
Sorry, but the world’s moved on since 1865.”
“Why should I preserve a field just so some dungeon & dragon
geeks can put on costumes once a year and ‘play war’,”
continued Bellows. “You know if they had mile-wide Star Trek sets
to play Laser Tag on, no one would give a crap about the Civil- er,
the American Sectarian Conflict of Confederate Slave States and Federal