The Battle of Round Mountain enters its 30th year of re-enactments this month. According to volunteer Carol Wessel, it’s the 26th year for the Yale area.
The re-enactment was typically the week of Valentine’s Day, but this year it will be Feb. 22-23. It will all take place about half a mile north of the State Highway 18/51 junction, which according to Wessel is closer to the actual battlefield.
The camps open each day at 9 a.m., with battles each day at 1 p.m. There will by a ball 7-10 p.m. Feb. 22, and a period church service 10 a.m. Feb. 23. The church service is mainly so the re-enactors can have a Sunday service, but it will also be open to the public. The ball is open to the public, and it doesn’t require period dress to attend.
The Battle of Round Mountain refers to one of the conflicts in an effort to control Indian Territory, with Confederates chasing down of Union-supporting Natives led by Opothleyahola. The re-enactment, like many public projects, has had its share of budget cuts and funding struggles, but one thing they don’t want to see is participation wain. That’s why so much emphasis is put on making it interactive for the public, like the ball.
“They want to get kids involved and new people coming, it’s very popular,” Wessel said. “We’re trying to keep it alive. It’s kind of shrinking up and we really don’t want that.”
New this year, the admission is good for both days. One thing missing will be the school day for children, which would typically have been on the Friday before.
There should also be plenty of food and drink. Many people also act as camp followers, who will sell things down in the camp.
“If you’re down in the encampment, you’re what you call a sutler, which is period-correct, you can sell goods out of your tents and things. The Boy Scouts are going to have a public, modern fundraising stand up above,” Wessel said.
The next hope is for some clement weather. The cold may fit the atmosphere, but it isn’t always fun being out in it. Though, it can be picturesque.
“Those horses running, the calvary and the battle, the smoke just shooting out of their nostrils,” Wessel said. “It was really cool, but we hope it isn’t as cold this year.”