Monument dedication set at Mansfield battle park
Events form part of Confederate History Month
For the first time in decades, a monument will be added to the grounds of the Mansfield State Historic Site south of Mansfield, near the battleground of a pivotal engagement of the U.S. Civil War. The dedication of the monument honoring state private soldiers who fought in the 1864 Battle of Mansfield will take place at 5 p.m. April 10 and will be one of many events planned for Confederate History Month. "The state has granted our petition to place a monument on the Mansfield Battlefield honoring the Louisiana Confederate soldiers that fought there," said David Hill, 2nd Lt. Commander of the SCV's Louisiana Division and a past commander of the SCV's local Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor Camp.
The Sons paid for the monument with the United Daughters of the Confederacy and private contributions. "It cost the state nothing," Hill said. The keynote address will be by Gary Joiner, historian and author and an expert on the Red River Campaign of which the Mansfield battle was a key part.
Shreveport educator Chuck McMichael, National Commander of the SCV, will conduct the dedication, with SCV Louisiana Division Commander Charles Lauret serving as emcee.
"The dedication is very important to me personally because I have an ancestor who fought there as a Louisiana soldier," said McMichael. That soldier was John Buckner, a private with the 28th Louisiana Infantry. "The monument is going to be where his unit basically crossed the battlefield."
What makes this monument unique is that it honors local soldiers who fought near where they lived, unlike monuments at major battlefields such as Vicksburg and Gettysburg, where Louisiana soldiers fought far from home. "It's not a case of our Louisiana troops fighting in Virginia or Tennessee. They were fighting here, literally for their own homes. Many of those who fought and died lived within the sound of the battle."
Invited guests include Lt. Gov. and New Orleans Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu, who oversees the state parks and historic sites such as Mansfield, and Asst. Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Tourism for State Parks, Stuart Johnson. The invited also include "several local mayors and politicians that have helped us, including Mayor (Curtis) McCoy, of Mansfield; Mayor (Katherine) Freeman, of Logansport; state Sen. Sherri Smith Cheek, state Sen. Robert Adley and state Rep. Bob Burford," Hill said.
The monument dedication will take place after the first of several planned re-enactments of the Battle of Pleasant Hill, which organizers say will be on a par with recent years, with hundreds of re-enactors expected. "We've got people coming from as far away as Ohio and Atlanta, Ga.," said battle-encampment organizer Scott Solice. "And we've got people coming from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and, I believe, Tennessee. And we will have one, maybe two, horse-drawn artillery pieces. We plan to use more of the field, march a little more than we have in the past."
Highlights of the Battle of Pleasant Hill encampment include:
April 10: 10 a.m. parade in downtown Pleasant Hill, after breakfast at the American Legion Hall; battle re-enactment, 2 p.m.; Confederate Ball and Court Presentation, 7:30 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, participants must be in period dress, observers can dress modern.
April 11: open camp activities after 10 a.m., following breakfast at the American Legion Hall; church services, 10 a.m., followed by mail call; battle re-enactment, 2 p.m.
Other activities this month include:
•At 7 p.m. April 13, the North Louisiana Civil War Round Table will meet at the Bossier Parish Library's Bossier History Center, on Beckett Street behind the library's Bossier City Branch. Guest speaker will be Jim Roberts, speaking on "A Victorian Victory for the South?"
•The Richard Taylor Camp will hold its annual Confederate History Month memorial service at the Keatchie Cemetery at 2 p.m. April 24