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To Arms! To Arms! Federal Troops Advance on Jefferson

troops
Purchase Event Tickets Here

Gen. Nathaniel Banks and his Federal forces spent the spring of 1864 slowly making their way up the Red River but were repulsed by Confederate forces in battle near Mansfield, Louisiana.

Had U.S. troops managed to fight through and capture Shreveport, the East Texas supply depots in Marshall and Jefferson would have been targeted next, cutting off Texas and her war material from the Confederate effort. 150+ years later, a slightly less wild-and-wooly Jefferson celebrates American history by hosting the largest Civil War reenactment in Texas. The one-time "King of Spades" river port becomes a palette for living history, with troops, civilians and sutlers camped throughout the downtown historic district.

The production of this event is a partnership between the re-enactors affiliated with the Trans-Mississippi Volunteer Infantry and a special committee of Jefferson volunteers under the auspices of the Historic Jefferson Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from each event will be used to support historic preservation and restoration projects in Jefferson and Marion County. Remaining funds are used as seed money for future events.

All in all, the Battle for Jefferson is a fine flight of fancy played out in the field and on the streets. For this one magical weekend each year, the historic river port returns to her commercial heyday.
Re-enactor Registration
Re-enactor registration, please visit Battle of Big Cypress Bayou Re-enactors Portal for complete details.

For additional questions, contact our Event Coordinator, Wes Hamilton at 903-733-1035 wesh987@gmail.com.
Battle
Illumination
Illumination at Oakwood Cemetery
Corner of Webster and North Main St.

Admission to the "Illumination" is free.

Returning to the event this year is the "Illumination" at old Oakwood Cemetery where hundreds of Civil War veterans are buried.

This moving recognition of the veterans buried there – with candles illuminating the headstones – will be held Friday, April 29th, 2022 from 7:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Illumination
Parade & Downtown Skirmish
The tension mounts in town as Confederate and Federal forces spy one another's presence at the end of the Pilgrimage Parade & Downtown Skirmish.

The two sides hold a brief skirmish centered on Austin Street between Vale and Polk, then there's a break in the action as both sides prepare for the full-scale battle.
skirmish
Secret Codes of the Underground Railroad
Presented by the Pleasant Hill Quilters, 11:15 a.m., Saturday, April 30th, 2022 at The Jeffersonian Institute. The Pleasant Hill Quilters are a quilting group from Linden, Texas, and they recreate historical quilts and tell the stories of the enslaved people who used secret quilt codes to escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Secret Codes Tickets

This event is open to the public with a $5 admission fee.
secret codes
Ladies' Tea
Enjoy delicacies of the era during the Ladies' Tea, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 30th, 2022 at The Jeffersonian Institute.

Ladies' Tea Tickets

This event is open to the public with a $5 admission fee. Registered re-enactors are admitted at no additional charge. Period attire is strongly suggested though not required.
ladies at the tea
The Battle of Big Cypress Bayou at Total Farm
Total Farm, 601 S. Polk Street, Jefferson, Texas, 75657

Battle of Big Cypress Bayou at Total Farm: Saturday, April 30th at 3:00 p.m.
Grand Finale Battle of the Bayou at Total Farm: Sunday, May 1st at 1:00 p.m.

Battle Tickets

The sounds of battle will be heard up and down the lazy river that winds through Jefferson – booming artillery with pyrotechnic ground bursts, cavalry and infantry all play a part in the "enacted" full-scale battle.

Will the Federal troops maintain their momentum from the Louisiana portion of the Red River Campaign and capture the important supply depot of Jefferson or will Confederate reinforcements arrive in time to route the invaders?

Sunday's closing battle decides the fate of Jefferson. Confederate and Federal troops again take to the field with more artillery barrages, cavalry charges and infantry engagements.
soldiers in battle
Muskets & Magnolias Grand Ball
Once the battlefield is cleared of casualties, the troops will return to their camps in Jefferson for a meal and preparations for the formal ball – "Muskets & Magnolias Grand Ball" - Saturday, April 30th, 2022 from 8:00 - 11:00 p.m. at The Jeffersonian Institute.

Muskets & Magnolias Grand Ball Tickets

The musical selections are researched for historical accuracy, and the dances are authentic to the period. Period or Formal Attire Required. Admission is $25 per person. Registered re-enactors are admitted at no additional charge.
ball dancing
Presentation of Colors
Presentation of Colors - 703 South Main Street
The lone "authentic" re-enactment of the weekend is played out in front of Christ Episcopal Church (703 S. Main Street facing Lions' Park).

This year's (2022) re-creation marks the 161st anniversary of Fannie Benners' presentation of a hand-sewn banner to "The Jefferson Guards" a Confederate unit raised locally in 1861.

With troops at attention and roll called, Miss Benners' presentation is preceded by the reading of her moving letter, then followed by a musket salute from the troops. Coffee, donuts and juice is served afterward in the parish hall.

This moving event is free of charge and all are welcome to attend the 11:00 a.m. Eucharistic service.
prayer
Spectators
ALL EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Tickets to events are available on this website Battle for Jefferon and The Battle of Big Cypress Bayou's website.
Battle tickets are also available at the battlefield.
Tickets to other events are also available at each location.

Friday, April 29th, 2022
7:30 - 10:00pm - "Illumination" at Oakwood Cemetery
Corner of Webster and North Main St.
Free Event, but a rental fee of $5.00 is charged for access to the broadcast.

8:00pm - Night Fire at Total Farm
Purchase Night Fire Tickets

Saturday, April 30th, 2022
Approx. 10:30am - Downtown Skirmish after Pilgrimage Parade
Downtown Jefferson
Free Event

11:15am - Secret Codes of the Underground Railroad
The Jeffersonian Institute, 120 East Austin St.
$5.00 Admission at door. Purchase Secret Codes Tickets

1:30 - 3:00pm - Ladies' Tea
The Jeffersonian Institute, 120 East Austin St.
$5.00 Admission at door. Purchase Ladies' Tea Tickets

3:00pm - Battle of Big Cypress Bayou at Total Farm, 601 S. Polk Street.
Purchase Battle Tickets

8:00 - 11:00 pm - "Muskets & Magnolias" Grand Ball
The Jeffersonian Institute, 120 East Austin St.
Period or Formal Attire Required.
Admission is $25.00 per person. Muskets & Magnolias" Grand Ball Tickets

Sunday, May 1 st, 2022
10:00am - "Presentation of Colors" at Christ Episcopal Church
703 South Main St.
Free Event

1:00pm - The Grand Finale Battle of the Bayou at Total Farm, 601 S. Polk Street.
Purchase Battle Tickets

ALL EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Locations: Throughout Downtown Historic District and Battle Locations at Total Farm

Never been to a Civil War Re-enactment?

The full scale battles at Total Farm include artillery barrages (with ground effects!), cavalry maneuvers, horse drawn field artillery and hundreds of infantry!

Battle re-enactments are loud! For those with sensitive ears, we suggest bringing ear plugs. Pets are not allowed in spectator's areas! Please leave four legged friends at home.

Your excursion to 1864 is located on a working ranch. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring a blanket or folding chairs. Definitely have a hat or parasol for a protection from the sun!
About
Even the most casual of history buffs understands that Jefferson's role in the Civil War was only as a manufacturing and supply depot for the upstart Confederate States of America.

But 150+ years later, the historic river port stands front-and-center in what well may be the largest re-enactment of that era in Texas.

More than 700 Civil War period reenactors - soldiers and civilians both - are expected to descend upon the town the weekend of April 29th, 30th and May 1st, 2022 to enact "The Battle for Jefferson," a two-day tilt between Confederate and Federal forces. Infantry, cavalry and artillery all play a part in the scenario battle that gives life to what might have happened in and around Jefferson in 1864 had Union Troops been successful in the Red River Campaign and captured Shreveport.

Coupled with the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club's annual Pilgrimage, the "Battle" portion of the weekend has succeeded in turning Jefferson's downtown historic district and surrounding neighborhoods into a three-day living history encampment.

Nearly all of the troops and civilians are camped in town in full view of the visiting public. Others are camped near the battlefield.
troops
Contact Us

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 688, Jefferson, Texas 75657

903.733.1035

Event Coordinator & Webmaster: Wes Hamilton

wesh987@gmail.com