April 2009Civil War NewsStudents Help Start Project For A Village At Reed’s Bridge Battlefield
St. Joseph Catholic High School students help cleared an acre of land at Reed’s Bridge Battlefield, where a period village will be constructed. (Ellen Smith Photo)
Jacksonville, Ark. – Students from St. Joseph Catholic High School in Pine Bluff assisted in clearing land at the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield to kick off a multi-phase plan to build a period village there.
Civil War living historian Steve Shore developed the plan to construct an entire Civil War-era village on the original battlefield, inlcuding a kitchen, barn, and other cabins that will be constructed using 19th century construction techniques.
Taking the educational experience out of the classroom and into the field and reconstructing Arkansas’ past has become commonplace for the students in The Jefferson Guard Historical Preservation Cadet Corps.
They got started on Phase One at Reeds Brook on Nov. 22. This phase included clearing approximately an acre of heavy undergrowth that produced a brush pile over two stories high and almost 30 yards long.
Nearly a dozen trees that were felled will be used to build the period structures. By learning and reinforcing the concept of together action, the land clearing featured teamwork between the students, parents, councilmen from the Battle of Reed’s Bridge Society, living historians, and other historical preservationists, including “Miss Ellie,” founder of the Camp White Sulphur Springs Soldiers’ Aid Society and member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
Four structures are planned for completion by the 2010 battle anniversary and the next battle reenactment in August 2010.
This project is the first of its kind in Arkansas. Unlike most battlefield preservation efforts that receive state funding and other public methods of assistance, the village project is made possible exclusively by the efforts of groups and individuals that share a common vision of the reconstruction of 19th century Arkansas.
The original battle took place on August 27, 1863, as a Union attempt to capture Little Rock. After the Union was defeated at the Battle of Bayou Meteo, the official name of the battle as listed in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, the Little Rock Campaign eventually resulted in the capture of the captial city on Sept. 10, 1863.
For more information contact the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society, c/o Jacksonville Museum of Military History, (501) 833 – 0565; jaxmilitarymuseum.org.