Spectator sport

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

IUKA – From Civil War buffs to parents with babies in strollers, hundreds poured onto a huge field in Iuka to watch Confederate and Union soldiers battle it out the way they would have 150 years ago.
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Iuka, and this weekend is also the town’s 25th Heritage Day.
“We’ve had 18 events this weekend, and every single one has broken records,” said LeeAnn Robertson, an event coordinator. The weekend included the Heritage Day Festival, car show, living history exhibits and a Civil War ball.
Cars lined up and folks gathered around the battlefield to watch the reenactment, which had to be cut short Sunday afternoon, as re-enactors were feeling the effects of the 90-degree-plus temperatures. Heavy rain rolled in just as folks were leaving.
Despite its short run time, the reenactment was still considered a success.
“We had six cannons,” Robertson said. “They say if you have one cannon, you’re doing good. If you have two or three, you’re doing fantastic. We have six.”
Those cannons boomed throughout the peaceful Iuka area, rattling those close by, like Charles and Barbara Pardue and their son Brent, all of Tishomingo. The Pardues set their lawn chairs on top of a small hill, and from there Barbara filmed the reenactment with her iPad and a video camera.
“It’s been great,” Charles said. “It’s been very interesting.”
The Pardues – who had ancestors who fought in the Civil War – arrived about an hour early and were surprised at the large turnout.
Also surprised were the staff and other coordinators who were on hand to deal with the crowd.
Fire Coordinator and 911 Director Rickey Cummings said he’d asked seven of the county’s 17 fire departments to help the many visitors find places to park.
Iuka Mayor Jackie Bryant was pleased at the crowds for the town’s celebrations.
“It’s just been a great weekend,” he said. “We’re making history. These kids who are coming up will remember how we did it.”
Robertson agreed.
“We’re proud to be Iukans,” she said.

Click video to hear audio