Natchez Expedition reenactment set April 12
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:00 PM
As part of a 10-day commemoration of Andrew Jackson's Natchez Expedition on the Natchez Trace during the War of 1812, a reenactment, that will include 40 volunteers from across the country, will be held on the Natchez Trace and at the Old Trace Park on the Barnett Reservoir.
The commemoration begins in Natchez on April 12, with a reenactment of the parade of Jackson's troops through Natchez, and ends on April 21 with the laying of a wreath on Jackson's grave at the Hermitage in Nashville.
Ridgeland is just one stop on the long journey to Nashville. Organizers from the Natchez Trace Parkway Association are aiming to make the reenactment a fun, educational experience for eighth grade students at Olde Towne, Germantown and Madison Middle Schools.
According to the Parkway President Dr. Bryan R. Boswell, the War of 1812 is often a forgotten piece of history and he feels it is important to educate the next generation on the sacrifice that was made in our own backyard.
"The sacrifice that these men made was incredible,"Boswell explained. "A lot of them died as Andrew Jackson walked these young boys back to Nashville. He had been ordered by the president to go to Natchez and rendezvous with General James Wilkerson to protect the Gulf Coast and New Orleans and after he got all the way down there the secretary said that they didn't need them.
"They wanted Jackson to just leave his men and send them home but he wasn't going to leave his men," Boswell continued.
"Some of them were real young and dying and he walked all the way back and got them back. It really seasoned him to be a military officer for the following year when he would be involved in the Creek War in Alabama and then in March over in New Orleans to encounter the British."
Boswell said there will be about 40 re-enactors and presentations at four sites: Choctaw Agency, Parkway Information Cabin, Brashear's Stand (all on the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland) and Old Trace Park at the Barnett Reservoir.
The event will be open to the students and the public on April 15 and will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
A full slate of events Friday-Sunday, including tours and lectures at the historic Jefferson College in Adams County can be found at www.natcheztrace.info.
"This is an educational initiative and it's the first one by the Natchez Trace Parkway Association that will go the entire 444 miles of the parkway.
The education of the next generation in the history of this great nation is absolutely critical," Boswell said.
"The 444-mile National Park we have in our backyard is begging to have its story told and the War of 1812 and Jackson's two military returns are just one part of this magnificent story."