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Civil War re-enactors to recreate Natchez battle

Civil War buffs will take to the battlefield this weekend in a reenactment of a bloody 1863 battle for control of this Mississippi River city.

The 10th annual re-enactment on Saturday and Sunday will be sponsored by historic Jefferson College.

The battle raged south of Natchez when a group of Confederate soldiers tried take the city back from Union soldiers, reenactment coordinator Clark Burkett said.

When they found they were outnumbered, they attempted to disrupt Mississippi River traffic, Burkett said.

Both sides claimed victory in the battle, but many consider it a draw. The Union commanders said they achieved their goal by stopping the disruption of traffic on the river. Confederate commanders said they won by taking the battlefield.

The battle was important in that it proved the Confederates could not retake the heavily guarded river city.

Re-enactors come from many states, including Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, to participate, Burkett said. Five cannons will be fired in battle.

“Its a lot of noise, so people should bring their own earplugs,” Burkett said.

Afterward, a band will play in the style of the era and Jefferson College will host a dance.

“It allows people locally to come out and see historic Jefferson College,” Burkett said. “Its a good chance to see a historic site, and its free.”

About 40 volunteer re-enactors on each side will do battle, and many of their wives, dressed in period costume, will explain the role women played at the time.

The reenactments will start at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, followed by the Civil War concert. Saturday night, the public is welcome to attend a dance, and a gospel concert will be held Sunday morning.

Profits from food sales will go to benefit Relay for Life.