On the night of April 30, 1863, 155 years ago, Union troops marched a road out west of Port Gibson, ultimately on their way to Vicksburg. Their first resistance was encountered here at the Shaifer House. The house still stands on the Port Gibson Battle Field. It is undergoing renovations…again.
It’s tough being a house way out all by itself alone. It had it easier during the Civil War than it has had to recently because of vandals and thieves.
A little farther to the east is where Magnolia Church once stood. Mingo Tingle with Archives and History says this is where the Confederate troops were headquartered waiting for the Yankees, and right now, the site is undergoing a cleanup in preparation for a living history day on the battlefield. And there is good help working here.
“We have the Americorps group here today and they are helping us clean up the site, to pick up limbs and the underbrush and cut down smaller trees,” said Tingle.
The young people joined Americorps for a bunch of different reasons.
“It just seems like good experience to get me ready for a career in disaster management,” said one Americorps volunteer.
“I just wanted to help people and the opportunity to see other parts of the country,” said another volunteer
“I wanted to see the nation and help develop leaders along with my team in the community around us,” added another volunteer.
These folks are from all over; Texas, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia. And they all had interesting thoughts about bringing back to life a Civil War battle site.
“It’s just nice to see what we learned about in school,” said an Americorps volunteer.
“It just seems more real. Like, you actually can see, where the soldiers went across the hills. Makes history come to life almost,” added another volunteer.
“Well you know, being from the South I embrace the history as it is or I wouldn’t be here, you know,” said a volunteer from this part of the country.
“I mean, I’ve never been in the South so that’s really cool for me especially,” said a volunteer who from farther away
And personally, having traveled up and down this road for a quarter of a century, it’s cool for me to finally be able to actually stand on the Magnolia Church site. It’s been too overgrown for decades to get up here. So history is being uncovered out west of Port Gibson with help in part from Americorps.