Museum hosts living history demonstration

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

Brookhaven’s Military Memorial Museum will hold a living historydemonstration Saturday to emphasize the service of LincolnCountians in the Civil War.

Reenactors with the 16th Louisiana Infantry Regiment will be atthe museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. working alongside local warveterans of later conflicts, who volunteer to provide personalaccounts of the items on display and the role they played.

“The primary purpose is to promote this facility and giverespect to the men who give their time, and in some cases theirlives, to protect our freedoms,” said Dennis Neal, a Brookhavenresident and member of the16th Louisiana Infantry Regiment.

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Neal coordinated the unit’s involvement with Seth Allen andother members of the museum board.

“The museum covers a wide range of eras and is fast becoming agood example of the progression of uniforms and equipment over thelast 145 years,” Neal said.

The program will consist of a combination of displays anddiscussion on a variety of subjects pertaining to Civil War-erasoldiers.

Topics include the uniforms and accoutrements that commoninfantry soldiers wore and carried, examples of food and cookingstyles, and demonstrations of how the soldiers camped, both Unionand Confederate. The participants will demonstrate the maneuvercommands and explain the tactics used during the battles also.

“The unit’s membership consists of men from southwestMississippi and southeast Louisiana,” Neal said. “We’ve got twonurses, a truck driver, mechanic, lawyer, engineers, accountant,construction workers, high school and college students andsalesman, just to name some of the professions our members are in.Some are even full time military.

“We all share a love for history in general, but are especiallyinterested in the Civil War era. It’s a great way to add clarity towhat has been written about the time.”

Members of the unit will be dressed as both Union andConfederate soldiers Saturday.

“We do both impressions,” Neal said. “We attend manyreenactments as Federal (soldiers). It’s just part of the hobby andrequired by our unit. Attending an event as a Yankee adds to theexperience by allowing you to appreciate the differences, but knowthat on a common soldiers level there were little differences.”

The unit is accustomed to hosting living history events and isactive in attending battle reenactments, he said.

“We generally attend three battle reenactments in the spring andthree in the fall,” Neal said. “Most years we attend a nationalevent, which is kind of like the Super Bowl of reenacting. Numbersattending those events can easily exceed 10,000 soldiers likemyself, complete with cavalry and artillery.”

Allen said he hopes the Civil War living history event willprompt enough interest that the museum can hold similar events inthe future highlighting other national conflicts to bring moreattention to those periods in history.