By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – A mural commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Iuka was unveiled Tuesday and Sesquicentennial Park dedicated in advance of weekend Iuka Heritage Day and sesquicentennial events.
The Iuka Battlefield Commission and Sesquicentennial Planning Committee commissioned the rendering by artist Tony Bullard of Corinth, which hangs above the new greenspace at Front and Main streets in Iuka.
“I have a connection to Iuka since my dad, Denzol Bullard, and his family is from here,” Tony Bullard said. “I heard the committee was looking for a painting or something to represent the 150th and went to some meetings. It evolved from there with the committee picking what they wanted and refining it. It’s really a little of the past and present.”
Depictions of generals associated with the Iuka battle – Grant, Rosencrans, Price and Little – as well as images of the mass Confederate grave at Shady Grove Cemetery, the old Mineral Springs Hotel, an old cannon for the Old Courthouse Museum and the present-day entrance to Iuka Mineral Springs Park, were chosen for the permanent display.
About 30 people attended the unveiling and ribbon-cutting that kicked off several days of events.
Iuka native Diane Cutshall Biddle donated use of the space for the new park.
“I grew up here and was Little Miss Iuka at age 3,” Biddle said.
She is part of a family that lived downtown and started out with a furniture store that evolved into the Cutshall Funeral Home business.
“It was a time when Iuka was very busy and bustling and people worked together for the good of the community,” Biddle said. “I have that same feeling about the town now.”
Battle of Iuka Weekend Highlights
• Old Courthouse Museum extended hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-noon Sunday.
• Friday, Aug. 31: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. – Education sessions for school children. 4 p.m. – Lost Cause Confederate String Band begins outdoor performance in downtown Iuka. 8 p.m. – Luminaries to be lit in downtown Iuka.
• Saturday, Sept. 1: 8 a.m. – Skirmish, North Pearl Street/Chicken Run Road (C.R. 241). 9 a.m. until – Heritage Day activities at Mineral Springs Park, including live entertainment, vendors, games, food, arts, crafts and more. 2 p.m. – Mass Grave Memorial Rollcall at Shady Grove Cemetery. 7:30 p.m.
– Free Military Ball and Barn Dance, Follow signs to farm at Mill Creek, from Eastport Road.
• Sunday, Sept. 2: 2 p.m. – Battle of Iuka Re-enactment, North Pearl
Street/Chicken Run Road (County Road 241).
• For a more detailed schedule: http://www.battleofiuka.com/agenda.htm.