Living History Troops Capture the Old Capitol

OCM_drill-practice_horizontal_musterCommemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial of the Battle of Jackson on May 4, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum with the living history event Capturing the Capitol.

At 9:15 a.m. the program will begin on the Old Capitol portico with Governor John J. Pettus, portrayed by MDAH historian Mike Stoll, announcing the city’s imminent fall to the Union Army. More than thirty Union soldier reenactors will then march up State Street and plant the United States flag on the grounds and post sentries.

Union soldiers will camp on the Old Capitol Green and demonstrate canon drills, tent set-up, and other related skills. Union general William T. Sherman, portrayed by Frank Kirtley, will set up his headquarters on the Green and answer questions about his command during the battle.  A firing demonstration will be held at noon.

At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. a living history program in the House Chamber will feature remembrances from Governor Pettus and Jackson Mayor Charles Manship and his wife Adaline.  The Manships will be portrayed by Philip and Joyce Huskey.

Throughout the day a homefront demonstration will illustrate how women provided for their families during the Civil War, including making coffee from roasted acorns and flour from chestnuts and using beets, onions, tea, and coffee to dye fabric.

“This year is the sesquicentennial of the Civil War’s Vicksburg Campaign, and we think this will be a fun and educational way for children and their parents to learn about Jackson’s role in that pivotal battle,” said Clay Williams, Old Capitol Museum director.

Capturing Jackson and disabling it as a communications center was part of United States general Ulysess S. Grant’s larger plan to win Vicksburg. On May 14, 1863 Grant’s army overran the smaller contingent of Confederate troops defending the city while Governor John J. Pettus and other officials evacuated to Enterprise. Some of the heaviest fighting in the Battle of Jackson occurred near present-day Battlefield and Livingston parks.

The Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, is a National Historic Landmark. Located on State Street at Capitol, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, free of charge. Tours are given every Wednesday at 1:30 pm and by appointment. For more information call 601-576-6920 or see

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