Re-enactment takes volunteers for show

Friday, October 28, 2011
Greg Webb, 20, wears a Union Army costume as his friend, William Jones, 19, portrays a Confederate soldier.

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Two young men from Lewisburg volunteered to participate in re-enactments of life in uniform for Union and Confederate Army soldiers some 150 years ago, fired rifles of that era and had a grand time last weekend.

Greg Webb, 20, who works at Kroger and the Lewisburg Fire Department, and William Jones, 19, a self-employed mechanic, were at the Marshall County Ag Expo Center on Robin Hood Road last Saturday where Lance "Hollywood" Spradlin of Dickson, Tenn., was encamped.

Webb had seen a flier saying "re-enactors provisions provided," so he responded to Andy "Haystack" Hall of Columbia, told Jones, and the friends ended up in uniforms, historically armed, and set for a weekend where there had to have been soldiers at one time during what Spradlin calls the War of Northern Aggression.

The fee proposed per volunteer for the weekend of re-enactment was a sum that's about what many Marshall County residents are paid for an hour's work and the money was to cover a Saturday night meal ticket at the encampment.

There were, however, only half a dozen volunteers, including Spradlin and Hall, so "We just didn't feel right" collecting the fee from so few re-enactors.

Spradlin has been at a number of re-enactments and has developed his avocation into something of a vocation. He sells flags, tee shirts and a variety of related products from an event entry tent.

His nickname, "Hollywood," comes from one of the re-enactments near Atlanta.

"Some man with a camera was going 'Click, click, click, click' at me," he said.

Another re-enactor called out to Spradlin, apparently to get him back into the "battle," and said, "Hey, Hollywood," to get his attention. The moniker stuck.

John Byron Boyd came to the Ag Expo Center from his home in Franklin. He was outfitted as a war correspondent.

As a schoolboy, Spradlin was fascinated by history. At 40, he still is. His explanations of Civil War battles rival those told at historic sites throughout the south and his interpretation of the War Between the States is consistent with stories told at historical society meetings.

There are many more re-enactments now because of the sesquicentennial of the war that ended with Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Va., on April 9, 1865.

So many, that Spradlin wants another weekend next year when, instead of Marshall County Civil War Days, he plans to present the Battle of Farmington. When that will be is to be announced.