Battle for the Texas Hospital reenactmentBy BRITTNEY MANGUM,
There will be a Battle for the Texas Hospital reenactment at Archusa on February 21 through February 23. The battles will be on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. This amazing event will involve much more than just reenacting the battles twice, though. There are different events that will take place both Friday and Saturday, and everyone in the community is invited and encouraged to attend.
“We are trying to do some different things with the reenactment,” explained Jerry Mason. “We’re trying to bring tourism to Clarke County, preserve history, and get people involved with a new hobby.”
“There will be a school day on Friday, February 21, which will last from 8:00 a.m. until around noon that day,” stated Jerry Mason.
So far, Quitman, Enterprise, Wayne Academy, and Clarkdale schools have all confirmed that some students will be attending the educational event.
“We try to get young people involved in learning,” explained Jerry Mason. “There will be different stations set up to teach students a variety of different things about life during the Civil War. They’ll learn things such as how they lived, what the soldiers carried, how and what they ate, how they slept and the tents they slept in, what they wore, and even different things that they may have started off with but gotten rid of and the reason why. We will even have women there to show what the women would do in camp life at the time. We’ll have cannons that will go off at set intervals to let the different groups know when to rotate to the next area.”
That Friday night will have two different events for the community to take part in. One of the events will be the firing of the cannons out at Archusa.
“They stuff the cannons with gun powder and steel wool,” said Jerry. “When the cannon shoots, it has a nice flame coming out with it. It looks amazing at night.”
The other event will take place at Chefskis.
“Our band and some of the reenactors will be at Chefskis Friday night, as well,” stated Jerry. “They will be playing music and doing some of the dances that were common for that time period.”
Saturday will start off with a Miss Battle for the Texas Hospital pageant that morning. It is not too late to register for and participate in the unique and fun pageant.
By Saturday night, the community can attend a ball.
“We plan to have a ball on Saturday night that will have music and dancing that goes along with the period,” stated Jerry. “Anyone who comes to Chefskis on Friday night will already see a little of what can be expected at Saturday’s ball.”
What was the Battle for the Texas Hospital?
When Sherman defeated Pemberton in Vicksburg, the Union Army began to push this way in an attempt to destroy all supply routes to the Confederate Army. They came to Quitman to tear up the railroad bridge over the river.
At the time, there was a hospital close to where the Confederate Cemetery is located now. The hospital had around 150 beds in it and was established around 1862. There were a lot of Texas soldiers being sent to this area for treatment, so Texas hired doctors and ordered medicines from Mexico and set up the hospital close to the Archusa springs.
The hospital ran until 1864 when Sherman’s generals came through and destroyed Quitman. The only place that wasn’t burned was the Trotter House because the owners were descendants of George Washington.
The skirmish that occurred when Sherman came to Quitman is what the Battle for the Texas Hospital is reenacting now.
In 1933, someone found uniform buttons and was able to locate the burial sites of the soldiers.