History comes to life on Ship Island this weekend - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

History comes to life on Ship Island this weekend

Confederate and Union reenactors at Fort Massachusetts (Photo source: WLOX) Confederate and Union reenactors at Fort Massachusetts (Photo source: WLOX)
Confederate and Union reenactors at Fort Massachusetts (Photo source: WLOX) Confederate and Union reenactors at Fort Massachusetts (Photo source: WLOX)
Park Ranger educates crowd at Fort Massachusetts (Photo source: WLOX) Park Ranger educates crowd at Fort Massachusetts (Photo source: WLOX)
SHIP ISLAND, MS (WLOX) -

Natural beauty, scenic beaches, and this weekend, a special living history program and display. That's what you'll discover at West Ship Island Father's Day weekend. 

Living history volunteers are dressed in period attire, portraying both the Confederate and Union soldiers that occupied the island before, during, and after the Civil War.

“Out here this weekend we do have an encampment that does discuss the camp life of the civil war soldiers that were on Ship Island. We have special talks that deal with the different time frames of the Civil War, whether that's Confederate or Union history,” said park ranger, Chris Bramblett, “And living history historic weapons demonstrations, where our living historians will be dressed in Civil War attire, firing off muskets from the period.”

They've set up an encampment on the north side of Fort Massachusetts, and many of the talks and exhibits take place inside the fort.

Ship Island was a spot coveted by both sides.  As early as 1699, the French recognized the island as a strategic spot.

“And the reason being is because this is an anchorage. The Mississippi Sound is only 12 to 13 feet deep. But guess what? Around Ship Island, and the western tip of Ship Island, it's anywhere from 25 to 30 feet deep,” explained Pat Alford, with the Living History Association.

Don Green is among the reenactment group. He's proud to portray a Confederate soldier, since many of his family members fought for the South.

"You can't even imagine what these soldiers went through in that four-year period with the thick wool uniforms, the miles and miles they had to march to places like Gettysburg and Shiloh, and they were doing it to honor and protect their land and their families," said Green.

The living history programs continue Saturday and Sunday. The Ship Island Ferry service in the Gulfport Harbor offers passenger boat service to and from West Ship Island.

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