By Trina Trice
Imagine you are a Jonesboro, or Jonesborough as it used to be spelled during the Civil War ? and Union soldiers have just taken over, forcing you to flee your home.
The imagination won't have to work too hard for those who attend the "Jonesborough Evacuated 1864" at the Stately Oaks Plantation Saturday evening.
"They're going to have a history lesson about what happened to our ancestors in 1864," said Brenda Starr Jenkins, coordinator of the event.
Participants will be a part of the re-enacted evacuation while on a tour of Stately Oaks.
"This is the portrayal of how the people had to leave their homes," she said. "They didn't know if their life would end?the roads were treacherous."
The Jonesboro "refugees" were mostly women, children, and elderly men who'll be individuals among a cast of more than 80 people.
Capt. Louis Rice of McDonough is portraying the commander of the 30th Georgia Infantry, Company E.
"The tour takes them out into the woods among the refugees of Jonesboro," he said. "A fire fight will break out between Confederate and Union soldiers. It's going to be bigger than last year with between 50 and 60 troops."
Company E happened to be coming home to Jonesboro when the evacuation occurred, Jenkins said.
"Once we get out in the wooded area, it's all candle lit," the lead docent said. "Everyone that's on the trail are citizens of Jonesboro. It's all interactive. We want you to become a part of the evacuation."
The evacuation is the predecessor to a major re-enactment event ? the Battle of Jonesboro taking place in October.
"(Company E) were coming down from Atlanta," Rice said. "It was one of the last major battles before Savannah. It was one of the last battles the boys put up, right in their backyard. They even fought at their front door."
Proceeds from "Jonesborough Evacuation 1864" go towards the preservation of historical sites in Jonesboro, like Stately Oaks Plantation.