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Reenactment gives Civil War life

The roar of cannons, the crack of rifles, the clip clop of horses’ hooves and the clash of sabers will again be heard at Historic Jefferson College Saturday and Sunday, when HJC presents its annual Civil War reenactment.

Reenactors from Mississippi and Louisiana will participate in this event, which will include cavalry, artillery and infantry, as well as period campsites. The reenactment battles will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

These reenactments are based on Confederate General Wirt Adams and his men’s battle with federal forces south of Natchez on Dec. 7, 1863. On Dec. 3, 1863, Adams brought a force of 1,069 men to the outskirts of Washington and encamped.

From there he sent scouts into Union-occupied Natchez to see if it could be taken, but they reported there were too many troops and cannons for them to launch a successful attack on the city.

Adams then made his way to Kingston, and then to Ellis Cliffs, where he was going to harass river traffic. By Dec. 6, the federals knew of Adams’ presence and sent a cavalry force of 1,500 horsemen to attack the rebels. Adams was informed of the forth-coming attack, and he moved his forces in first on the morning of Dec. 7.

The Union troops were caught completely off guard and were forced to make a hasty retreat back to their cannons and fortifications in Natchez.

The Civil War camps open for the public at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reenactors will be on hand to answer questions about the life of a soldier during the Civil War.

A group of lady reenactors  will also be available to talk about the important role women played during the war. Civil War sutlers (merchants) will have tents up to show and sell various period piece implements and clothing.

Visitors to the reenactment should note the museum gift shop has a variety of Civil War books for sale. There will be discount sales on many of these books, as well as other items, during the weekend of the reenactment. These items are great for Civil War enthusiasts or as gifts for the history lovers in your family. There will also be a food vendor serving lunch to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and is located four miles northeast of Natchez, off Highway 61 North in Washington. For more information, contact us at hjc@mdah.state.ms.us or call 601- 442-2901. Admission is free to all events, but visitors are advised to bring their own chairs and blankets for sitting.

The 2013 reenactment is dedicated to the memory of Andy Salassi, who passed away in July. He helped organize the first Wirt Adams reenactment in 1996, and without his help, the event would never have happened.

Robin Person is branch director for Historic Jefferson College.