BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the 32nd time, the Confederacy won - at least at the battle during the Fall Muster at Beauvoir.
The re-enactment is dirty, noisy and slightly dangerous - just the way a history lesson should be. And with this lesson, students of all ages can face-to-face with the past.
“We hope to get out of the younger folks to express and embrace the history of what was,” said provost marshal Oran Thomas. “To come and see it, feel it, touch it and breathe it.”
Sixteen-year-old Gabriel Moore of Florida is among those young people who picks up a history book when he picks up his gun.
“It’s fun for me, but not just me. Everybody else around gets a show that lets all the younger and even for the people that don’t even know about it, learn about it,” he said. “It gives us a chance to learn about history and have all around just a great time.”
Charles Tucker has participated in Beauvoir’s Fall Muster for 20 years. He usually plays a colonel in the Federal Army. “It’s hard to Federals this far South,” he said with a laugh.
His first area of study was with field commanders. Now, he is just as fascinated with the rank and file.
“Many times, I’ve done marches for 12 or 13 miles over three or four days and camped out every night and ate what they ate and drank water out of a stream,” he said. “And, it’s really a moving experience and it gives you a whole new insight on the war and the soldiers that fought.”
And one lesson leads to another.
“What you do is you begin to study more personal accounts, like diaries and letters that the soldiers wrote, so you can get and improve your impression,” Tucker said.
About 280 re-enactors from all over the South represented Confederate and Federal soldiers on the battlefield.
They have been camped out on the grounds for the three-day event, using period accommodations and clothing.
“It is expensive, but it is worth the reward,” said Wayne Edmonds, a re-enactor from Alabama. “I mean, the guys you meet around here, the fans, the people who come around to see it. It’s very worth it. You get a sense - I would say a very small amount - what those soldiers went through.”
The Fall Muster continues Sunday with camp opening to the public at 9 a.m. and the battle at 2 p.m.