Annual history program celebrates colored calvary
Published 12:05 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014
This year’s Black and Blue Civil War Living History program aims to highlight the hidden history of the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry.
The annual historical program, now in its seventh year, will begin at 11 a.m. Oct. 25 at Historic Jefferson College.
Friends of the Forks of the Road Coordinator Ser Seshs Ab Heter-C.M. Boxley said this year’s Black and Blue Civil War program is expected to be the biggest yet. The focus on the Third U.S. Colored Calvary is also new, he said.
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The cavalry was organized in Vicksburg in October 1863 as the first Mississippi Cavalry of African descent.
The Union Cavalry was composed of ex-slaves from all over the South. They fought in nearly every battle in Mississippi.
The Third U.S. Colored Cavalry predates the now-famed Buffalo Soldiers of the Indian Wars.
Maj. Edward M. Main of the Third Colored Cavalry wrote in his day that the group did not historically receive the attention it deserved.
“These ex-slaves exhibited no surrender and unflinching bravery; were courageous, determined, heroic and achieved glory, honor and high reputation for gallantry, high standards of discipline and excellence,” Main wrote. “They were super horsemen and proficient in all the duties of soldiers.”
A lecture session will be at the start of the program on the Third U.S. Colored Calvary and the areas in which they fought.
“We are bringing a 23-year-old Color Cavalry re-enactment group from Florida, Georgia and Michigan to demonstrate and perform the tactics of the union Color Cavalry,” Boxley said.
The day’s events will include a parade ride through Port Gibson at 9 a.m., followed by a parade ride through Fayette at 11 a.m.
Finally, the parade — led by organizer Darrell White and Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield — will make its way through downtown Natchez at 1:30 p.m.
“Horse riders are invited to ride back into history with the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry re-enactors in Port Gibson, Fayette and Natchez,” Boxley said. “The more riders the better.”
Horse riders who wish to participate can do so by contacting White at 601-445-0728.
White said the attendees would get to walk in the footsteps of history and learn the importance of the role African Americans played in the Civil War in Natchez and beyond.
A Natchez kick-off event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum at 301 Main St.