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150th Anniversary of the Battles’ of Brices Crossroads

By Kayla Carpenter McCarley

Dense smoke rolled from the tubes of cannons as horses galloped and soldiers clashed on the Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield where thousands of spectators and re-enactors gathered to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battles’ of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo June 14-15

An hour- long battle ensued as spectators from around the nation looked on during the sesquicentennial of the Battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo.

An activity tent hosted an array of speakers and historians throughout the day and visitors enjoyed visiting suttlers’ tents where 1860’s era merchandise was displayed.
“We had an outstanding group of re-enactors and volunteers who commit their time and efforts toward this historical event,” Mississippi Final Stands Director Edwina Carpenter said.

Mike Hester of Tupelo attended the event on Saturday because of his interest in preservation and his research of the Civil War and the battles.

“It is really impressive that the staff at Brice’s Crossroads works so diligently to bring events like this to the public,” Hester said. “I was also proud to see that the battle was fought on hallowed ground that was preserved by the battlefield commission with the help of the Civil War Trust.”

The 145th Anniversary event was the first Civil War re-enactment that Ed Chaney of Oxford, MS had ever attended. The 150th was his second.

“Today has been great,” Chaney said. “Where else can you see history come to life like this?”

Several hundred re-enactors have set up camps and participated in this three day weekend event. They have served as living historians for spectators who visit their camps.

These soldiers don authentic wool uniforms in the colors of blue or gray as they marched across the rolling hills of the 150-year-old site.

“I was impressed with the commitment that these re-enanctors have,” Chaney said. “I’ve noticed that they even adjust their accents to fit their portrayals. It is all very authentic.”

Sharon and John Vincent of Tuscaloosa, AL have been attending Civil War events for over 30 years.

“We started going to events in Virginia when we lived there,” Mrs. Vincent said. “We were surrounded by national parks there so we decided to fill every weekend with history.”

During the past 30 years ,the Vincent’s have been visited battlefields such sites such as Shiloh, Iuka and Chickamauga.

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Members of an Illinois regiment who reenacted at the 150th anniversary present a check for preservation to Edwina Carpenter, director of the Mississippi’s Final Stands Interpretive Center and battlefields at the event.

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Patrick Shell talks with children about the role of the black soldier in the civil war during the 150th event on Children’s Discovery day.

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MS Final Stands Director Edwina Carpenter (left) accepts an interpretive panel donated by the Kennesaw Mountain Civil War Center. Author and director of the center in Georgia, Brian Wills, makes the presentation as Mallie Fitzgerald (right) looks on. The interpretive panel is located on the battlefield and explains the action of the 12th Kentucky on June 10, 1864 during the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads.

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Canon firing on Sunday, June 14 during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Tupelo, fought July 13-15, 1864.

Flag Exhibit

Please join us for a ceremony to raise four new flags in the outdoor flag exhibit.

In celebration of our Interpretive exhibit featuring the Battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo-Harrisburg, four new flags will be added to the lighted exhibit of present-day flags along with an interpretive sign featuring states that had soldiers to fight at the last stands of the Confederate cavalry in Northeast Mississippi in the summer of 1864.

607 Grisham Street, Baldwyn 10 a.m., Saturday, September 28, 2013

Regrets 662.365.3969

A plan to add a site in the battlefield tours

A plan is in place to add a site in the battlefield tours that will commemorate the brave action of U.S. C.T. who fought at the Battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo-Harrisburg in 1864.

The concept plan was presented by Phil Walker of the Walker Collaborative in Nashville, after spending two days visiting the sites and gathering research provided by staff at the Mississippi’s Final Stands Interpretive Center and battlefields,

Walker has recently completed a management plan for the Mississippi Hills Heritage area that includes 30 counties focused on key themes, including the Civil War, Native American heritage, and the arts.

During his presentation on his third day of his visit, Walker said, “We wanted to find one key site and apply our principles, and Brice’s Crossroads Battle site hits two of those themes.’’

“The role of the Union’s black troops is part of the interpretive exhibit at MS Final stands, but we want to enhance both the exhibits and the site where the action occurred on the field,” said Center Director Edwina Carpenter.

According to the plan, a five-acre site on CR 166 in Union County will be purchased, built with parking spaces, and paved. The historic site will be interpreted with 3 wayside panels and a monument to the soldiers who guarded the 250 ambulances and wagons brought to the battlefield at Brice’s and served as rear-guard during the rout and retreat at Tishomingo Creek and along CR 166 and beyond.

The proposed memorial will honor units of the 55th and 59th U.S. Colored Infantry and Co. F of the 2nd United States Colored Artillery.

‘’The center has interpreted the black soldiers since its beginning,” Carpenter said,” but recent increased interest of descendents and documentation shared by them has prompted the staff to emphasize their role.”

Carpenter added that no funding is present yet, but she hopes to raise private funds and pursue grant funding.

For more information on the center and battlefields, contact Carpenter at 662.365.3969 or visit www.finalstands.com. The center is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9.m.until 5 p.m.

Civil War history was celebrated June 7 and 8 at  the Mississippi Final Stands Visitor Center and Battlefields

Director Edwina Carpenter said four living-history events were hosted by the staff to celebrate the 149th anniversary of the Battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo-Harrisburg.

On Friday, eager minds ready to learn about life in the 1860’s attended the Children’s Discovery Day held at the center. Re-enactors were on hand to tell first- hand accounts of their ancestors who fought in the Civil War. They demonstrated music, camp life and weapons while dressed in period attire.

“More than 70 children attended the discovery day held at the center,” Final Stands Director Edwina Carpenter said. “This was a great opportunity for both the parents and their children to learn about their history in an educational manner.”

After the demonstrations at the visitor center, the children visited the hallowed ground at Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield. They also participated in a scavenger hunt where they searched for the grave of Reverend Agnew and others in the Bethany Historic Cemetery.

Friday night, two authors of historic works shared their knowledge and research of the battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo-Harrisburg. Refreshments were served while the authors signed and discussed their books.

“We had an enthusiastic crowd,” Carpenter said. “Tom Parson and Stewart Bennett were both very informative and entertaining.”

On Saturday morning, smoke from cannon, dust from the horses gallop and period music drifted across the hallowed grounds as the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Brice’s crossroads was celebrated.

Throughout the day, visitors enjoyed a variety of impersonations of the Civil War era.
“Ann Collins traveled from Tennessee to share her knowledge about Civil War nurses,” Carpenter said. “Dressed in the proper attire of a vivandiere, Ann shared how women cared for the wounded. Robert Beams traveled from Alabama with a canon and four cannoneers. They presented an interpretation about the cannon and the responsibility of each the artillery group members.”

In addition to the cannon firing, period band and nurse demonstrating, the  3rd Tennessee Calvary Regiment escorted visitors to a variety of stations.

One of the stations featured in the tour included a live firing of the type of carbines used at Brice’s in 1864. Four re-enactors traveled from South Mississippi to spend three days at Brice’s.

Camps were set up by infantry and musicians to showcase how the soldiers lived during the war.

“Pat Arinder taught children how to play musical instruments form the war era including the “spoons” and the “lizard” as he sang,” Carpenter said.

The eventful weekend ended with a closing vespers for the 2013 living history event. A service was held under the brush arbor, built by Final Stands employee BIlly Francis. The Bethany Historic Cemetery board hosted the devotion and song service.

“We offered an educational and entertaining weekend event and they were well attended. We wanted to add a few new things during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War,” Carpenter added.