Andrew Jackson’s troops will march again from Natchez to Nashville along the Natchez Trace as portrayed by members of the 7th U.S. Living History Association and modern-day volunteers.
The April 12-14 event, “Expedition Natchez 1813: Becoming “Old Hickory”, commemorates the bicentennial of the War of 1812 as it reminds the public of the role of the Natchez Trace in the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson earned the name “Old Hickory” while walking each step with his soldiers almost the entire length of the old road.
The portrayals will begin with the landing of the troops in Natchez. On Friday evening, April 12, up to 200 reenactors in period-correct uniforms will parade through the historic town starting at Natchez Under-the-Hill to a reception at the Prentiss Club.
The following day the troops will be encamped at Historic Jefferson College near Jackson’s camp site at Fort Dearborn. Military marches, historic weapon demonstrations and civilian life portrayals will be presented throughout the day. War of 1812 authors and scholars will speak in the college’s historic classrooms. An 1813 ladies’ tea will be held in the afternoon at historic home Auburn, followed by a fife and drum concert and period dinner for Jackson at the Natchez Eola Hotel. Sunday morning, Jackson’s fight with federal officials will be reenacted and troops will begin the return march.
A detachment of the soldiers will camp on the old Natchez Trace near Jackson’s campsites. During the weekdays, they will present educational programs for students in Ridgeland, French Camp and Pontotoc, Mississippi. On Tuesday evening, the troops will march into Mississippi’s Old Capitol for a period concert and a re-creation of Andrew Jackson’s War of 1812 anniversary speech at that site.
Friday, April 19, the contribution of the Chickasaw Nation and the Colbert family will be honored at a dinner in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The Chickasaws provided crucial emergency food supplies to the troops when government contractors failed to perform.
Saturday, April 20, the soldiers will be welcomed home by reenactors portraying their 1813 families at Grinder’s Stand, where explorer Meriwether Lewis is buried. The inn was on the Chickasaw border in 1813, and returning troops stopped there for a meal and to visit Lewis’s grave. The soldiers will then place a wreath at the War of 1812 Monument Site on the parkway, where a marker serves as a surrogate tombstone to War of 1812 soldiers buried along the old Trace.
On Sunday, April 21, the troops arrive at the Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson. They will hold a period church service in the chapel that Jackson built for his wife. A reenactor will portray one of the expedition chaplains. The troops will then march to Andrew Jackson’s grave for a wreath ceremony.
This commemoration continues a four-year partnership among the 7th US Infantry Living History Association, the Natchez Trace Parkway Association and the National Park Service. It will be the first history event to run the entire length of the parkway and incorporate both Natchez and Nashville.
Here is a list of all the fun filled events for the weekend!