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