3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry to visit Woodville after stop in Natchez

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2024

NATCHEZ – Re-enactors for the Mississippi 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry are headed to Woodville on Friday, June 14, following their Civil War encampment program in Natchez. They will be in Woodville from noon to 2 p.m.

The cavalry visit will be led by Richard Wilder, president of Buffalo Soldiers Florida Inc. He and his team were invited by Mayor Drew Pierson, and his wife, Frankie Pierson, who are hosting their visit, along with the Wilkinson County Library System.

 The free public event kicks off the start of the Summer Reading Program for the Wilkinson County Library System.

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“Mississippi’s 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry played an important role in our state during the Civil War,” said Mayor Drew Pierson. “They fought bravely for the freedom, peace, and safety of our great nation. It’s important for all of us to know about these brave soldiers and their contribution to our nation’s heritage.”

 The mayor said he is happy to welcome Wilder and his team of re-enactors to Woodville. “This is a great opportunity for our town – and Wilkinson County – as we reflect on the celebrations of Juneteenth,” he said.

During their visit, the re-enactors will meet with the public to answer questions and discuss the history of Black Mississippians in the Union army, Drew Pierson said.

“We’re praying that this is just the beginning of many more important history programs that will be held in Woodville,” said Frankie Pierson.

Wilder and his team will leave Natchez between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Friday, June 14, and head to Woodville. Their schedule includes a private lunch at the Little Red Building at 155 Boston Row, Woodville, followed by a public presentation starting at 1 p.m. at the Woodville Public Library at 489 Main St., where they will interact with the public.

“We’re really looking forward to this,” said Monique Joseph, director of the library. “This is an informative program for all age groups. It’s a family program, and all of the community is invited.”

“We will talk with all the people that will be present and share our history,” said Wilder. “We also look forward to hearing about the history of Woodville and its place in Civil War history.”

Frankie Pierson said they will also visit a site near Bank Street where the Colored Cavalry engaged a Woodville property owner in October 1864.

The actual soldiers, also known as “Black Horse Soldiers,” camped in Natchez on Oct. 3, 1864. They later traveled to Woodville where they attacked the Confederates at Bowling Green Plantation and forced them to retreat, according to historians.

Wilder said that he and his re-enactors look forward to visiting Woodville.

“Getting to visit Woodville is going to be the highlight of our tour of Mississippi,” he said. “It is not often that we visit a small town with so much Civil War history. We are hoping that our visit will enlighten and inspire the citizens of Woodville, to appreciate those that went before them, and to be proud of their rich heritage.”

Woodville is one of five places the re-enactors are visiting. In addition to Natchez, other sites include Vicksburg National Military Park from June 7-8; the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson on June 11; and Claiborne County Fair Grounds in Port Gibson on June 12.

Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-C. M. Boxley, coordinator of Friends of the Forks of the Roads Society, said he initiated and organized these living history programs at each of the sites except for Woodville.

“I didn’t organize the re-enactors to go on to Woodville to complete the story like the actual history says because of my own fearful thinking and imagination of racial antagonism if we showed and told the Black history Civil War truth there,” said Boxley, who started Natchez’s Annual Black and Blue Civil War Living History Programs in 2008.

“Hallelujah!” he said. “In 2024, thanks to Woodville community leadership that I did not imagine, they have excitingly lobbied for the re-enactors to come to Woodville on their way back home to Florida!”

Boxley said the upcoming visit “is the opportunity to walk and talk on actual sacred Civil War Battle of Woodville grounds, teaching and completing the southern end of the Third U. S. Colored Cavalry’s two expeditions to Woodville via stopovers at Natchez from Vicksburg and Memphis.”

For more information on the 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry visit to Woodville, call Frankie Pierson at 910-256-6216. Information is also available by calling Woodville Public Library at 601-888-6712.