Fall Muster returns to Beauvoir on Saturday and Sunday for the 30th annual event that features re-enactments of the Civil War and related educational events.
Last year the Fall Muster drew about 3,000 people over the weekend. About 120 reenactors participated, complete with uniforms and weaponry like those from the Civil War.
Kitsaa Stevens, Beauvoir’s tours, programs and events coordinator, said the reenactors’ dedication to authenticity makes for an amazing transition to a bygone era.
“When you cross the bridge at the cemetery, it’s like going into the 1800s,” she said. “They all sleep there and have their camp fires.”
Watching the costumed reenactors fire their muskets as the North and South plunge into battle is the highlight of the Fall Muster, but the event also includes educational program to give greater depth to the Civil War.
One of the educational programs is the opening event — a presentation at 10 a.m. Saturday by historian Shelby Harriel. Her presentation will focus on the women who risked everything to fight alongside men.
In an email interview with the Sun Herald, Harriel shared insight into why some women chose to dress as men to fight in the war. Their reasons, she said, were much the same as their male counterparts — patriotism, lust for adventure and good pay. While this courageous act helped advance the early women’s movement, it was taboo at the time.
“Women were passive and were expected to remain at home and take care of their families,” Harriel said. “In other words, women were expected to create life, not take it. If anybody crossed these lines, they brought considerable shame upon themselves and their families.”
Harriel said many of the women paid the ultimate price.
“Some are buried in National Cemeteries next to the men with whom they served,” she said. “And a great deal are buried in unmarked graves as unknowns.”
The one-hour Civil War re-enactment is held at 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s reenactment will be followed by a tour of the museum led by reenactors at 4 p.m.
Closing out the day, the period-costumed band Kracker Dan will perform and lead guests through the Virginia Reel and other dances of the bygone era. Also, there will be vendors offering mementos related to the Civil War period on both days.
On Sunday, a tour of the cemetery, led by Beaux Comeaux, will be held at 11 a.m. The tour will highlight the famous people laid to rest at Beauvoir. The tour will close with a gun salute to the unknown soldiers.
Admission at the gate is $12.50, general; $10 for seniors, military and AAA members; $7.50 for ages 6-18; and free to ages 5 and younger.
30th Annual Fall Muster
Where: Beauvoir, the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, 2244 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
When: 9 a.m.-until Saturday and Sunday. The one-hour Civil War re-enactment is held at 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s reenactment will be followed by a tour of the museum led by reenactors at 4 p.m.
Admission: $12.50, general; $10 for seniors, military and AAA members; $7.50 for ages 6-18; and free to ages 5 and younger.