While in Biloxi, I had the opportunity to visit Beauvoir, the home of Jefferson Davis. What made it a unique experience were the dozens of canvas tents and cooking fires. Men, women, and children all looked looked as if they stepped out of the 1860s. All in period clothing, and using tools of the time.
I was there on the weekend of the annual muster, surrounded by living history. Others like myself had the opportunity to see, hear, feel and taste what life was like when Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate States of America.
The mercantile shops were set up with their all wares on display. If my time and money would have allowed, I could have picked up a complete Civil War period outfit, sat down around the fire, and blended right in. Providing, of course, that I remember that while visiting a reenactment in the Deep South, that it’s best not to bring up my forefather that marched with General Sherman as they burned Atlanta and continued to the sea, destroying everything in their path.
Books can tell the stories, and movies and TV let you see what it was once like. But walking through this camp, seeing and touching history – with the smell of smoke in the air – is something that can not be duplicated. Such as seeing and hearing the roar of a cannon in real life. The flash, the smell the smoke, the feeling from the percussion from the blast: it can’t be described. It must be felt.
If you have never visited a reenactment, I strongly suggest you do, and take a young person or two with you. There is no better place to see and feel what life was like in the 1860s.
Beauvoir is located at 2244 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi and is open daily, 9-5. House tours are provided with your admission fee, or you can roam the grounds on your own. In addition to the historic home, Beauvoir is also home to the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library.
After Davis died, his widow sold the home to the Sons of Confederate Veterans to be used as a veterans’ home and a home for their widows.
It was then to be used as a memorial, which it has been since 1903. Nearly 780 Confederate veterans and their family members are buried in a cemetery on the property.