IUKA, MISS. (WCBI) – Civil war re-enactors have descended on Iuka this weekend to commemurate the battle fought there over 150-years ago.
This weekend civil war re-enactors from Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee have come to take part in the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Iuka. Barry Ayers is longtime resident of Iuka. He wore the uniform of a Union captain.
“We do what is referred to as galvanize in the re-enacting world. We carry both sets of uniforms. If need be we’ll be Confederate or we will be federal to make the sides even for the actual event,” Ayers said.
Lance Spradlin of Booneville represents a calvary trooper serving under General Nathan Bedford Forrest. He says these horses must be trained to take part in such events.
“If they’ve been ridden alot which most of them have that we have, they do good on the field. Cannon fire won’t bother them. They won’t spook and jump anything like that. So alot of times alot of training with the horse,” Spradlin said.
And some of the cannon used in this weekend’s event are authentic, manufactured during the civil war era. This group of Mississippi re-enactors are part of Turner’s battery, 1st Mississippi light artillery.
“We live the life of an 1860 artilleryman in our camp life and around the gun. We actually follow the manual of arms that was written in 1860 on loading the weapon and serving the weapon,” said Sam Whitehead of Mantachie.
Ayers says the battle of Iuka is considered a small battle because only six thousand soldiers took part. But he also says it is the deadliest small battle of the war with 2,500 casualties.
“So 2,500 out of 6,000. That’s a pretty good percentage of killed and wounded,” Ayers said.
Saturday’s action recreates what is known as the Siege of Eastport. These tents suffered the same fate as the town, they burned down. In the real battle, artillery shells like this one did their damage.