Fall Muster returns to Beauvoir in Biloxi

By Don Culpepper - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was late May of 1864 when Union troops lead by Major General William T. Sherman met a larger than expected unit of Confederate troops at New Hope Church in Paulding County, Georgia.

"The battle of New Hope Church was basically a northern probe into southern lines," says confederate re-enactor Ken McGee of Mobile Alabama. "And it turned out to be quite unsuccessful for them."

In this year's re-enactment of that battle it was up to McGee to make sure the outcome was repeated with detailed historical accuracy. Leading the union opposition was Charlie Thompson of Gautier.

"I'm just a lowly Calvary Captain who was thrust into command of a hodgepodge unit," says Thompson. "It was a group of all three arms of the services at the time: artillery, calvary and infantry, put together to fight in this one unit."

Matched cannon for cannon and over matched by manpower, it was a bitter defeat for Union forces.

"We did not expect to see that many troops on the field today," says Thompson. "We had the cannon support, but you've got to have bodies on the field."

And it was inspiring victory for Confederate forces who at the time were seeing the larger war slipping away.

"Today our Southern homes and families were threatened by the Yankee invaders, and we repelled them," says McGee.

But for the folks who came to Beauvoir to witness this demonstration of living history, the return of the Fall Muster was a victory in itself.

The re-enactors say they were impressed with the newly renovated Jefferson Davis home. And Beauvoir officials say by next year the rebuilding of the new library and museum should also be well underway.