Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TOP STORY > >Civil War site big draw

Leader staff writer

Two new cannons were dedicated on Saturday at Reed’s Bridge Civil War battlefield site on Hwy. 161 in Jacksonville. The replica cannons are located on opposite sides of the Bayou Meto. The cannons were made in Virginia and cost $7,000. They were purchased by the VFW Post 4548 and by the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

The ceremony by the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society had a dozen Civil War re-enactors in military uniforms and women dressed in fashions from the time period. The soldiers shot their guns in salute to the cannons. Ann Hooper, president of the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society, said the Battle of Reed’s Bridge had around 20 cannons during the fight.

“We hope to get more and one (cannon) in the works that fires,” she said.

The dedication leads toward the weekend of Sept. 11 and 12 for the Reed’s Bridge Civil War battle re-enactment. The two-day event commemorates the fight on Aug. 27, 1863 between Union and Confederate soldiers 147 years ago. The Confederates fought with the Union soldiers during their march to Little Rock.

The battlefield site opens to the public starting at 9:30 a.m. Soldiers will hold drills at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 and at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 12. On Sunday, a church service will be held at 10:30 a.m. The re-enactment of the Reed’s Bridge battle will take place at 2 p.m. on both days.

For the first time of the re-enactment, there is a cavalry with eight horses.

There will be excitement as Hooper said there will be cannon fire and explosions. She said the re-enactment is supposed to be educational. The battle will be as authentic as they can recreate it.

Admission and parking is free. Visitors are welcome to walk through the campsite and learn how soldiers lived. They are invited to bring their lawn chairs. Refreshment booths will be set up near the homestead and portable restrooms will be provided.

“We will make them as comfortable as we possibly can. We want them to enjoy it so they’ll come back,” she said.

A Civil War style wedding is set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 for Karen and Tony Woodruff. Both are Civil War re-enactors from North Little Rock. The couple were married in a private ceremony earlier this year. They are now having the ceremony they can share with family and friends.

The battlefield site closes Saturday at 5:30 p.m. It reopens at 7 p.m. with 1860s period music and a dance held on the parking lot. Cookies, lemonade and punch will be served.

“It is going to be a fun time. It gives the re-enactors time to relax and get acquainted with other re-enactors and the public,” Hooper said about the dance.

Visitors can check out the newly constructed rustic buildings at the battlefield site. Two weeks ago a cabin was completed by Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society members Steve Shore and Mike Kish and with the help of 15 Marines from Little Rock Air Force Base.

For more information about the Reed’s Bridge battle re-enactment, contact Ann Hooper, president of Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society at 501-819-0485 or DannaKay Duggar of the Jacksonville Museum of Military History at 501-241-1943.