War of 1812 Bicentennial Events Planned

This spring the Department of Archives and History will partner with the Natchez Trace Parkway Association on living history events at MDAH sites commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. On April 12-13, military reenactors will encamp on the grounds of Historic Jefferson College, and on April 16 the Old Capitol Museum will host a concert of period music and an address by a reenactor portraying Andrew Jackson. The events are part of the nine-day Expedition Natchez 1813: “Becoming Old Hickory” celebration that has been organized under the direction of Bryant Boswell, president of the Natchez Trace Parkway Association.

Exp-Nat_Pkwy-Assoc_Image-3In 1813 Major General Andrew Jackson and the 2nd Division Tennessee Regiment were dispatched to the Mississippi Territory in anticipation of an attack by the British on New Orleans. En route to Fort Dearborn, the force of some two thousand soldiers bivouacked near the grounds of Jefferson College in Washington, the territorial capital. When it was determined no assault on New Orleans was imminent, Jackson received orders to disband his troops immediately. Refusing to cut loose his volunteers to make their way home individually, Jackson led the men up the Natchez Trace. It was on that march to Tennessee that Jackson earned his nickname “Old Hickory.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 12, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, more than one hundred fifty men and women from the 7th Infantry Living History Association will set up a period military encampment at Historic Jefferson College and demonstrate full dress uniforms, military drills, and weaponry. That group will be joined by about fifty more reenactors on Saturday, April 13. Demonstrations that day will include muzzle-loading, tomahawk throwing, cooking with a dutch oven, and weaving. Food vendors will be on site as well. Admission Saturday is free for children, $5 for ages twelve and up.

Events at Historic Jefferson College will conclude at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 14, with General Jackson, portrayed by Grant Hardin of Tennessee Hardin of Tennessee, reading the letter of dismissal from the War Department and the militia marching off for Nashville.

On Tuesday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m. the Old Capitol Museum will host a public reception honoring the living history performers. The evening will begin with hors d’ oeuvres and musical performances by a string quartet and a fife and drum corps in the rotunda. Following the concert, Hardin will deliver an address as General Andrew Jackson in the House Chamber.

The Natchez Trace Parkway Association began commemorations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 last year with events at the Gordon House Site in Tennessee. For the complete schedule of Expedition Natchez 1813: Becoming “Old Hickory” visit www.natcheztrace.info.

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