TUPELO, MS: The Natchez Trace Parkway has partnered with the 7th US Infantry Living History Association and the Natchez Trace Parkway Association in a multi-year effort to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Through this partnership, the public may experience living history demonstrations based on actual events that occurred on or near the Natchez Trace.
The first event, to be held May 26 and 27, 2012, will be a commemoration of a muster day—a day when both regular and militia troops came together to train. It will be held at the Gordon House Historic Site (milepost 407.7 on the Natchez Trace Parkway), approximately 12 miles west of Columbia, Tennessee. The event, typical of muster days at the time, will include over 100 reenactors. The days will include drills, historical weapons demonstrations, historical political debates, military and civilian living history camps, merchants, and more.
Cameron Sholly, Natchez Trace Parkway Superintendent, said, “Through the support of the 7th US Living History Association and the Natchez Trace Parkway Association, we will be able to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 in a dynamic, compelling manner. It will be a fitting tribute to the people who lived and traveled along the Natchez Trace, helping to win America’s second war for independence.”
The partnership is also planning a series of events in the remaining bicentennial years, 2013-2015. At least one event is expected to be held in each of the three states in which the Parkway is found: Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
The 7th US Infantry Living History Association is an internationally recognized organization. It is dedicated to fostering awareness of the contributions made to this country by the 7th Regiment of United States Infantry, America’s most decorated combat infantry regiment. The living history association has been authorized to carry the battle colors of the current active-duty 7th US Infantry. For an active-duty regiment to bestow this honor is unprecedented.
The unit participates in living history events throughout the southeast, and recognizes the importance of national parks like the Natchez Trace Parkway in preserving history.
“This road, seen by many as only a scenic drive, was one of the most important byways in the development of early America. Our goal over the next three years is to introduce to our visitors many of the historic personages who traveled it 200 years ago,” said Colonel Steven Abolt, the 7th US Living History Association’s Commanding Officer. “They will be able to see how they grew from naïveté of 1812 to the seasoned veterans of 1815.”
The Natchez Trace Parkway Association, founded in 1934, was instrumental in the creation of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Today, it supports the Natchez Trace Parkway’s efforts to improve facilities and provide special events that will enhance the visitor experience on the Parkway.
“One of the reasons the Parkway was created was to preserve and interpret the story of the citizens who risked their lives … on the old Trace to fight for American independence during the War of 1812. The bicentennial events will bring that story to life in a way that will honor the people who served and that will help current generations appreciate the importance of the Natchez Trace in our nation’s history,” said Tony Turnbow, Natchez Trace Parkway Association President.
All Natchez Trace Parkway War of 1812 events will be free to the public, and are sponsored by the National Park Service, the 7th US Infantry Living History Association, and the Natchez Trace Parkway Association. For more information, please contact the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center at 1-800-305-7417, or visit www.nps.gov/natr.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.