Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brice's Crossroads Reenactment

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Brice's Crossroads near Tupelo, Mississippi. The event started out on Friday, but because a freak rain/hail/tornado storm blew in, the festivities ended early. However, they resumed again Saturday at about noon. Saturday morning was crazy in that torrential rains still persisted, but they eventually dissipated, and although it was hazy and overcast, the day was very warm and humid. There were well over 1000 reenactors present, including 400 cavalry, ambulances, infantry (of course), and an oxen-pulled wagon. Ladies in hoop skirts gathered with the crowd of onlookers, combining past and present as the battle was revisited on the actual site, with a small cemetery filled with Confederate dead overlooking the battlefield.

I saw "Nathan Bedford Forrest" atop his steed at a distance, but alas, was unable to meet the man in person. It's always fun to meet the reenactors, and get their take on the characters they portray. Last year, I met "Stonewall Jackson," and he was such a nice guy that I wondered if the actual Stonewall would be pleased. There was a great turnout of soldiers, and spectators as well, and a living history area was also set up, along with a sutlers row.

What makes this reenactment unique is that it takes place on the actual battlefield. The battle took about an hour and a half to play out, but in the end, the Yankees were driven from the field. I found it amusing to hear members of the audience making comments like, "There's a dead Yankee down there by the road," or "they got another Yankee." There were about thirty working cannons, and the earth-shattering boom they created, followed by billowing smoke that floated across the battlefield like a specter, was nothing less than awesome.

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