By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Two Civil War battles will be remembered Friday and Saturday with history lessons, encampments and cannon fire.
The 147th anniversary of the Battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo/Harrisburg will bring tourists and re-enactors together.
The Mississippi Last Stands Interpretive Center will host an open house and grand opening all day Friday with free admission and refreshments.
A Children’s Discovery Day is set at the center from 9 a.m. until noon.
New sites at Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo will be open for visitors.
The two battles occurred in June and July of 1864 as the Union army attempted to destroy Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Brice’s Crossroads near Baldwyn on the Lee-Prentiss county line is perhaps his most famous victory.
Saturday, admission to the center will be $3 for adults.
Also Saturday, the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry will join with infantry and artillerymen for era impersonations of soldiers and civilians who witnessed the battle first hand. They’ll be part of a living history encampment and tour.
Camp life demonstrations will be 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Cannons will fire, campfire food will be served and music will lilt through the campgrounds.
Sam Agnew of Tupelo will portray his great-grandfather, Dr. Samuel Andrew Agnew, who watched the battle from his home on a hill overlooking the scene.
During a walking tour of the 1,400-acre battlefield, re-enactors will portray captured Union soldiers and Confederate pickets.
The encampment tour will begin at the group-use area on Highway 833, known as Guntown Road. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 15 and free for ages 6 and under.
Included in the tour will be the newly interpreted Tishomingo Creek bridge and overlook, as well as a new trail north of the battlefield. Three soldiers are laid to rest at the trailheads, and interpretive signs explain the action on June 10, 1864, along the half-mile walking trail.
Parking will be available at the group-use area on Highway 833. All participants must register and get an armband before beginning the 45-minute guided tour.
Author Randy Bishop will sign his book, Mississippi’s Civil War Battlefields. Lost Cause musicians will provide period entertainment.
Beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, tours will be made through the historic Bethany Presbyterian Church cemetery with seven stops and a Confederate mass grave nearby. Local actors will portray many of the people and tell their stories.
Admission will be by donation to the church’s restoration program within the 158-year-old cemetery. Tensley Taylor will entertain with violin music and song. The church also will be open for tours.
The church was organized on June 5, 1852, and its oldest known grave is marked 1853.
Little remains of the Tupelo-Harrisburg battlefield but its primary site is on West Main Street in Tupelo.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– What – Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo/Harrisburg battlefield activities
– When – Friday and Saturday
– Where – Brice’s Crossroads interpretive center and battlefield off Highway 45 at Baldwyn
– Information – (662) 365-3969 or bricescrossroads.com