Sunday, October 4, 2009

Visiting Jacksonport State Park

Today the part interpreters gave me a run through of the different things that are offered at Jacksonport State Park for visitors. As many of you have noticed through my other blogs, there are several things including the Confederate monument, cannon, and commemorative signs available to look at in the courtyard.

The courthouse has several exhibits covering the whole history of the Jacksonport; however, there are parts of the exhibit that relate specifically to the Civil War. The Courthouse which visitors are able to pay a small admission and go through has a direct connection to the Civil War. This is that even though taxes were levied in 1861 and funds to begin construction of the Courthouse were raised, construction was put on hold until 1869. The courthouse wasn’t completed until December 24, 1872. The reason for this delay was during the Civil War local citizens many of whom were fighting for the Confederacy far from home were without adequate means to live.

Their families in Jacksonport were also going through tough times. The money originally set aside for the construction of the courthouse was actually used to help feed and clothe the volunteers who join the Confederacy and their families.

Besides visiting the courthouse, Confederate monument, and cannon in the courtyard, visitors have other ways to learn about the Civil War history at Jacksonport. The park interpreters offer a variety of regularly scheduled interpretive programs relating to the Civil war. A few of these programs are Weapons of the Civil War, Tools of the Civil War, Flags of the Confederacy, and a Mr. William E. Bevens programs.

The “Weapons of the Civil War” let visitors see and learn about the weapons that were used in the Civil War. Some of these weapons include reproduction 1862 Richmond musket, a Colt 1861 Navy pistol or 1858 Remington Pistol, a Civil War saber, a bayonet, and a Confederate D Guard Bowie Knife. On some occasions, interpreters will not only demonstrate how one fired the guns, but will actually fire them. Hearing the musket fired was really cool, although it did startle me some. Below is a picture with me and some of the weapons discussed during these programs.

The” Tools of the Civil war” program is similar to the weapons program but different because more than just the weapons are discussed during this program The interpreters show and discuss several different items that soldiers used during the Civil War. Some of these items include the uniforms, haversacks, bed rolls, sewing kits, tin mess plates, tin cups, canteens, lanterns, and civil war money just to name a few.
The “Flags of the Confederacy” program shows the different flags used by the Confederacy. The 3 national confederate flags are shown and discussed as well as the Confederate Battle Flag and the Bonnie blue flag. The interpreter, who told me about the Bonnie blue flag, explained that during the Civil War a song was written about the flag to encourage people to join the Confederacy. The song was written by Harry Macarthy. I really enjoyed it, when the interpreter asked us to sing the song with him. It was a lot of fun. The program also explained how the Flags of the Confederacy have influenced some of our state flags as well. Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi are just a few of the flags influenced by the Confederate flag. Check out my picture below with the Bonnie Blue flag.

The last program I was told about that the interpreters do here at Jacksonport is the Mr. William E. Bevens. Mr. Bevens as I mention in a past blog was a member of the Jackson Guards who wrote his accounts of the Civil War to help raise money for the Confederate monument that now sits at Jacksonport. A costume interpreter portrays himself as William E. Bevens. He discusses the Civil War from Mr. Bevens reminisces. Although I was not able to see the whole program, the interpreter did give me an example of this program. From what I saw Mr. Bevens was a very interesting person and I really wished I had more time to learn about him.
Overall I really enjoyed my experience here. Seeing the exhibits, monuments, and some of the interpretive programs really made me want to learn more about the Civil War’s affect on Jacksonport Arkansas. It is a shame that I was not able to catch all the programs, but I am excited to know I will be heading to some where new and learn more about the history of the Civil War and the effect it has on our present, and our future. Saying good bye to my friends here at Jacksonport is hard, but I am excited at the possibility of making new friends at other parks.
Farewell to Interpreters Donna Bentley, and Brian Whitson, and all my other friends at Jacksonport State Park.


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