Re-enactors share love of history at Jefferson College

Published 12:07 am Sunday, November 14, 2010

NATCHEZ — The best part of Ashland Clark’s Saturday was watching Gen. Wirt Adams and the confederate soldiers charge union troops outside the Historic Jefferson College.

Clark, already a seasoned Civil War living historian at age 6, loved watching his father pack the cannon, waiting for the ground-shaking, “Boom,” and seeing a satisfying cloud of kitchen flour after the cannon fires.

Clark’s first Civil War re-enactment at 8-weeks-old was in Natchez. His mother, Amie, said the re-enactments or “living histories” are all her son and his 2-year-old sister, Sara Grace know.

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Amie, of Raymond, said she likes the idea of bringing her children to re-enacting events at least three to four times a month, and it is something to which they look forward.

“He calls it ‘camping’,” Amie said.

Amie has been involved in Civil War re-enactments for 17 years, before she even met her husband — who also participated in the re-enactments.

“We had a Civil War wedding,” Amie said.

Amie said she loves coming to Natchez for the re-enactments.

“It feels like coming home,” she said.

Amie looked like she felt at home sitting in the grass on a hill overlooking the Writ Adams Raid of 1863 in her Civil War era clothes with her costumed daughter on her lap.

The battle and artillery are her son’s favorite part, but Amie prefers indulging in the simple and efficient culture of the era.

Since 11:30 a.m., Amie had a Dutch oven over a campfire near her tent cooking up onions, carrots, red potatoes and pork loin.

She said the stew would simmer until approximately 5 p.m. before dinner.

“It’s gratifying, without that instant gratification of the modern world,” Amie said.

Amie said she was also excited be teaching a class on herbs at the Ladies Civil War Academy at the Jefferson College.

She can also make bread, pies and biscuits — all over a campfire, she said.

“(Living in the Civil War era) requires a lot of responsibility, and it’s good for the kids to learn,” she said.

The lifestyle and getaway is one of her main draws to re-enactments, Amie said.

But the people and history are also what brought Amie, her husband James and her children to Natchez.

The Clarks have traveled as far as Oklahoma for re-enactments and Amie said she has friends around the country she knows from the demonstrations.

“We all share a love of history and of a love of the way of life,” Amie said.

“It’s a hobby, but it’s a lot like a family.”

Jefferson College historian Clark Burkett said approximately 100 re-enactors and 400 visitors came to the college Saturday for a glimpse into the past.

He said many of the re-enactors already know each other and frequently come back to Natchez.

“I don’t even have to advertise (for participants) because it’s all the same people,” he said.