Adams Raid at Historic Jefferson College

The rolling thunder of cannonfire and clatter of charging horses’ hooves will sound over the grounds of Historic Jefferson College on Saturday, November 14, and Sunday, November 15, when reenactors meet to recreate the Wirt Adams Raid of 1863.

Reenactors from Mississippi and Louisiana will camp on the grounds of the college Friday and Saturday nights, cooking over open fires, sleeping in canvas tents, and wearing period dress. The camps open to the public at 9 a.m. each morning. The battle reenactment will feature artillery, cavalry, and infantry, and will take place Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Skirmishes last about 45 minutes.

Following the battle on Saturday there will be a concert of Civil War–era music, and at 7 p.m. there will be a dance where many participants will be in period party dress. The events are free and open to the public.

Confederate brigadier general Wirt Adams was charged with retaking Natchez if possible. On December 1, 1863, he set out from Gallatin, in Copiah County, with a force of over one thousand men comprising infantry, artillery, and cavalry. By December 4 he had reached Washington, a few miles from Natchez, where he set up camp and sent spies into Natchez. Convinced retaking the town was too much for his force to handle, Adams led his force on December 5 to the Ellis Cliff area south of Natchez to disrupt the Union’s river traffic.

A Union cavalry force of some 1500 men arrived from Vicksburg the next day to apprehend Adams. They marched south to meet him, then bivouacked at dark. Adams was informed of their presence and marched to ambush them. He positioned his forces within 1000 yards of the Union forces, then attacked at first light, routing the Yankees. Adams’s Confederate troops pursued the fleeing Yankees for a few miles, then left the area themselves by way of Kingston, destroying the barns of some of the local planters who were Union sympathizers.

Jefferson College was the first institution of higher learning in the Mississippi Territory. Jefferson Military College, as it came to be known, closed its doors in 1964 after serving as a prep school from 1866. MDAH subsequently acquired and restored the property. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Admission is free. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. for the buildings and daily sunup to sundown for the grounds. For information call 601-442-2901.

Saturday-Sunday, November 10-11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Historic Jefferson College. Wirt Adams Raid into Natchez Civil War Reenactment. Reenactors from around the south gather to recreate Wirt Adams’ raid into Natchez.  The public is welcome to attend and watch the festivities as both “Yankees” and “Rebs” reenact the battle in the “bowl.”  There’ll be plenty of cannons and black-powder muskets firing, cavalry galloping and infantry advancing!  For more information call 601-442-2901 or email Jefferson College.

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