Contact Info

Phone Number:
General: 866-398-2038
Historic Jefferson Railway
400 East Austin
PO Box 1033
Jefferson, TX 75657

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We will be conducting all planned activities May 5 - 7, 2017
Click here for complete Event Schedule of all activities in Jefferson including 69th Jefferson Historical Pilgrimage, Historic Jefferson Railway, Diamond Don RV Park, Great Locomotive Chase and Naval Battle of Port Jefferson.


There is some confusion surrounding the cancellation of the Battle for Jefferson re-enactment and related activities.  However, there is a LOT to do in Jefferson, Texas this weekend.  You will want to come for the 69th Jefferson Historical Pilgrimage activities including Historic Homes Tour; Pilgrimage Parade; Stitched, Woven & Hooked Exhibit; and Diamond Bessie Murder Trial.  This play has been running continuously for 69 years and is the longest running play in the U.S.  The Pleasant Hill Quilters from Linden, will be doing a special Demonstration on The Secrets of the Underground Railroad at 1:00 on Saturday during the Stitch, Woven & Hooked Exhibit.  Click herefor more information.

Civil War Living History-Day of Learning will take place on Friday, May 5, at the Diamond Don RV Park.  Special pricing for school groups and families of $3.  This event is open to the public.  Add an optional Steam Train Ride and hear about the Andrews Raid, the Civil War’s most gripping railroad story, for additional $5. (Train ride seating is limited, so please call for reservations 903-742-2041) This event is a fundraiser for Marion County Chamber of Commerce.  There will be living history camps, more than 20 educational stations, cannons, gunboat, alligator viewing, crafts and games.  Click here for more information.

The Great Locomotive Chase and Naval Battle of Port Jefferson will be held on Saturday and Sunday.  The Historic Jefferson Railway recreates the battle of the Great Locomotive Chase with soldiers, sailors and Marines from the North and South.  The living history camps along the Big Cypress Bayou come alive as the cannons fire and the battle rages to gain possession of the train.  The Naval Battle of Port Jefferson joins the skirmish as a replica ironclad gunboat fires its cannons on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou River.  The Navy Battle can be viewed by riding any of the Steam Train rides scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.  Train tickets are available online but space is limited so get yours now. Click here for tickets.

There are a lot of other activities for re-enactors and the public at the Diamond Don RV Park including living history camps, suttlers, Saturday evening ball, cannon night firing and fireworks.  The RV Park will be open to the public on Saturday 10:00-5:00 and Sunday 10:00-2:00.  The Saturday evening ball is open to the public ($10 cover charge) and re-enactors (included in registration). Re-enactors are welcome to camp at the RV Park which will have a designated period camping area as well as modern camping for the re-enactors and the public, including RV sites with water, electric, showers, restrooms, dump station, and free WIFI.  Wood, water, hay, noon-day meals and Saturday evening supper and ball is included in the re-enactor registration fee of $8.  

To round out the weekend, visit Antique & Vintage Jewelry Event by Linda A. Adler, G.G. Friday and Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm at Black Swan Luxury  Bed & Breakfast, 210 W. Austin Street.  There will be a Free History lecture at 5:15pm Friday Suffragette Jewelry: The Secret Code of “Give Women (The) Vote”.  For more information, call 903-926-2123

For a complete printable calendar of ALL activities in Jefferson, click here. 





Civil War Event

Join us for Jefferson's Pilgrimage and Civil War Weekend May 5 through May 7, 2017.

ONLINE TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE.  Click here to purchase.

The Great Locomotive Chase and
Naval Battle of Port Jefferson
The Largest Naval Civil War Reenactment West of the Mississippi

The Historic Jefferson Railway captures the spirit of the Civil War during Pilgrimage & Civil War Weekend in Jefferson, May 5-7, 2017, by recreating the battle of the Great Locomotive Chase with soldiers, sailors and Marines from the North and South.  The living history camps along the Big Cypress Bayou come alive as the cannons fire and the battle rages to gain possession of the train.  The gripping tale of The Andrews Raid is the Civil War’s most fascinating railroad story.

Re-enactors can camp free at Diamond Don RV Park with lots of space, trees and plenty of amenities for re-enactors, including free WIFI, water, hay, split wood, restrooms and showers.  Re-enactor registration fee is $8, per person and includes noon-day meals and Saturday evening dinner and ball.  Limited RV sites with water and electric are available to re-enactors in the Navy Battle for $20, per night. Call Melissa for reservations. 903-742-2041. Participation in train battles on Saturday and Sunday is required in order to receive these amenities. 


The Great Locomotive Chase and Naval Battle of Port Jefferson will be held on Saturday, May 6, with live steam train rides departing from the Historic Jefferson Railway in downtown Jefferson at 11:00, 12:30, 2:30 and 4:00; and Sunday, May 7 at 11:30 and 1:00.  (Please note that we cancelled the Saturday train at 5:30 so that our re-enactors have time to prepare for the Saturday Evening Ball.) Ticket price is $15, plus tax. Lap children ride free.   A portion of each ticket will be donated to the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and Jefferson Railway and Wetlands Foundation.    

Friday, May 5, there will be a Day of Learning for school groups, sponsored by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, to draw attention to the history and romance of the Civil War way of life.  The Living History Camps will demonstrate Camp Life and Military Activities and includes a live steam train ride aboard the Historic Jefferson Railway as the story of The Andrews Raid unfolds alongside the Big Cypress Bayou.  See a gunboat with real live cannons.  Visit Diamond Don Gator Pit with fourteen live gators and see ruins from the 1800’s.  Price for Living History is $3 per student; train ride is $5 per student. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the Naval Battle of Port Jefferson joins the skirmish as a replica ironclad gunboat, the Virginia, fires from cannons on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou River.  This is the largest Naval civil war re-enactment west of the Mississippi and will be represented by US Naval Landing Party, Western Gulf Squadron, as well as a contingent of Sea Scouts from Baytown, Texas. 

See a Civil War Naval Unit that shows a seldom seen side of the Civil War.  Naval Forces were a pivotal part of the war.  As Naval Living Historians, the Squadron shows the true side of Naval and Marine life on both sides of the war, demonstrating how they dressed, lived and fought during the war.

Famous campaigns were planned and conducted for the primary purpose of capturing or destroying railroad lines of value to the enemy. On the morning of April 12, 1862, the most famous locomotive of the Civil War, the General, was hijacked by the Union civilian spy, James J. Andrews, and his men. After a nail-biting eight hours and 87 miles, the Southerners captured the General, James Andrews and several of his men.

The Merrimack was a Union cruiser, captured by the South in Norfolk Virginia, and renamed the Virginia.  The Jefferson Battle that Never Was will feature the Virginia, fighting from the banks of the river, while the Navy landing party, Marines and soldiers fight to capture the train.

Experience a true civil war naval battle aboard the Historic Jefferson Railway’s live steam train, the only venue available to see this re-enactment.  Reminiscent of the landing parties that aided the regular land forces, from both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, it will be a unique experience.  Keep your seat on the train as the battle takes near the railroad track and from the gunboat in the river. 

Take a step back in time as the Historic Jefferson Railway takes you on an excursion that circles the Piney Woods along the scenic Big Cypress Bayou.  You’ll view a Confederate Powder Magazine from the Civil War era and remains of many sites from the 1800’s still visible along the track.  The train will stop about half-way for the Naval Battle of Port Jefferson.  The live steam train is a restored antique Crown Metals built in 1964.  The open-canopied observation cars provide an excellent view of this exciting event along the river. 



There are many more things to see and do
in Jefferson during Civil War Days



Imagine being carried back to the year 1864! The first weekend of May every year, the whole town of Jefferson, Texas is transported back to that time when the Civil War was coming to a close. For many years, the Marion County Chamber of Commerce hosted the Battle of Port Jefferson, a Civil War Reenactment, possibly the largest in the state of Texas. This year, the Chamber is supporting the Naval Battle of Port Jefferson, in conjunction with the Great Locomotive Chase held by the Historic Jefferson Railway.

Downtown Jefferson is overtaken with people walking the brick-lined streets in period clothing, and here and there you'll also see re-enactors riding around town on horseback.

You'll experience living history and what it's like to see historic type tent avenues filled with folks sitting by the fire sharing stories and tales of battles fought and those to come. In these encampments, you'll see cooking items from the past being used today. In fact, everything is of a historic nature, from the tents to the cots and bed-rolls, buckets, pots and dishware from the past. You can see these tent camps all over town, stop by and talk to the re-enactors if you get a chance - they love to share with civilians. Be sure to stop by any of the Sutler's tents to buy some of their wares.

The Union mounted several attempts to capture the trans-Mississippi regions of Texas and Louisiana from 1862 until the war's end. With ports to the east under blockade or captured, Texas in particular became a blocking-running haven. Referred to as the "back door" of the Confederacy. Texas and western Louisiana continued to provide cotton crops shipped to Europe by means of blockade runners in exchange for supplies. The Union's disastrous Red River Campaign in western Louisiana, including a defeat at the Battle of Mansfield, effectively ended the Union's final invasion attempt of the region until the fall of the Confederacy. Had the Union soldiers not been stopped at Mansfield, they would surely have been looking upriver to Jefferson, a major river port of the time. Jefferson now takes that history and brings it to life each year.