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Construction is underway on the expansion of the Brice’s Crossroads Visitor’s and Interpretive Center. The 1200 sq. ft. expansion will include a gallery that will interpret the Battle of Tupelo or Harrisburg, specifically, the second day of the battle at Old Town Creek through interactive exhibits, maps and artifacts.

This newly created center, to be called the Civil War Center, and trails project, is the result of Transportation Enhancement Act funding in the amount of a 1.5 million grant administered through the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield Commission applied for and was granted money that will fund construction of the expansion and the design of a permanent exhibit interpreting the second day of the Battle of Harrisburg or Tupelo fought July 14-15, 1864. The addition will be added to the present building at the west end, facing Highway 45.

A work/conference room and additional storage and a new porch with picnic facilities will be included.

The grant funding, which will be administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, will also provide a pull-off and interpretive signage at the 12-acre Old Town Creek site on Mt.Vernon Road in Tupelo where the second day of the Battle of Harrisburg was fought. 14,000 federal troops camped on the night of July15 and pushed the pursuing Confederate army off the adjacent ridge following a surprise attack. The Battlefield Commission and the Civil War Preservation Trust purchased the Tupelo property last year. This newly interpreted site and the exhibit will enhance the visitor’s civil war experience.

A replica of the Tishomingo Creek Bridge, which was located, in June, 1864, about 50 yards north of the present bridge on Highway 370, will be included in the project. A pull off and access from the road at creek level and viewing from the existing trail on the Log Cabin knoll will provide the visitor with information about why the creek was important in the rout of the Union troops during the June 10 battle. The third interpretive site will include a pull off and interpretation at the James C. Jourdan burial site on CR 168 with construction of a trail to and visual linkage with the White House Ridge site where the last stand of the Union troops occurred during the battle on CR 167. These properties were purchased by the commission with the help of the Civil War Preservation Commission and the Austin, Texas Civil War Roundtable.

The Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield Commission will partner with the City of Tupelo, City of Baldwyn, Lee County and the Tupelo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to interpret the center’s exhibit and the new tour sites.

Cook-Coggin Engineers, the project engineer, will work with Prairie Construction and King construction who will build the addition then move out to the trail sites. A professional exhibit designer will create the exhibit and the interpretation of trails along with Center Director Edwina Carpenter.

Construction should be completed by November.

Deeds signed for Battle of Tupelo purchase by BCNBC
Texas Civil War organizations buy land at Brice's Crossroads


Deeds signed for Battle of Tupelo purchase by BCNBC

Tupelo native Gerald Creely signed deeds Monday marking the acquisition of 14 acres of hallowed ground by the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield Commission, Inc.

The property, located near Old Town Creek on Mt. Vernon Road, is the site where the Battle of Tupelo ended with a retreat of Confederate troops. It has been owned by the Creely family since the 1840’s.

Henry Simpson, Vice-Chairman of the CWPT Board of Trustees, traveled from Birmingham, Alabama, for the closing.

“Through the generosity of Mr. Creely and his family, this historic property will be preserved for interpretation,” Simpson said to the crowd of Rotarians and guests at the Tupelo Rotary Club’s weekly meeting at the Summit Conference Center.

On July 15, after several unsuccessful charges against the Federal position at Harrisburg the day before, Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Maj. Stephen D. Lee again attacked the Federal’s position, now at Old Town Creek, four miles north of Harrisburg, and were again repulsed and forced to retreat.

John Haynes, executive director of BCNBC and CWPT Trustee, said the purchase was made possible through Transportation Enhancement Act grant in the amount of $1.5 million.

The grant will fund a pull-off and interpretative signage at the Old Town Creek site where 14,000 federal troops camped on the night of June 14 and pushed the pursuing Confederate army off the adjacent ridge following a surprise attack. Casualties numbered 648 US and 1,300 CS. General Forrest was among the wounded.

Negotiations for the property have been in the works for about five years. In addition to the purchase and interpretation of the Creely site, new trails, interpretive signage will be added to the 1400-acre Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield, site of a Confederate victory in the same campaign. A 1200 sq. ft. expansion at the Brice’s Crossroads Visitors and Interpretive Center will house a gallery that will interpret the Battle of Tupelo thru interactive exhibits, maps and artifacts.

Creely told the crowd that his family felt that preserving the property through this effort would retain the integrity of the site and that BCNBC and the interpretive center in Baldwyn would interpret its importance for the future.

Dates for completion of the project have not been announced.


Texas Civil War organizations buy land at Brice's Crossroads

A four-acre tract that marks the grave of a Confederate soldier killed during the battle of Brice’s Crossroads near Baldwyn, Mississippi has been preserved, thanks to the efforts of two Texas Civil War Roundtables and the Civil War Preservation Trust.

The property, which is northwest of the crossroads, is a wooded area where two cedar trees shade the grave of Sergeant James C. Jourdon. He was a cavalryman in the 17th Alabama Battalion commanded by Major J.N. George, Colonel William A. Johnson’s Alabama Brigade. He was killed during the pursuit of General Sturgis by Confederate forces and buried near the Phillips House on the old Ripley Road. He was buried and his grave was later marked at the site where he fell.

Ed Bearss, Historian Emeritus, National Park Service, praised the significance of the purchase.

“I enthusiastically endorse the purchase of the tract containing the grave of Sergeant Jourdan. Not only because of the significance of the ground, but the site includes land associated both with the Union advance and flight. It is land intimately identified with Sturgis’ rout, underscoring why the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads is so significant.

It also underscores General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s philosophy of war to get the ‘skeer’ on the enemy and keep them ‘skeered.’’ Hopefully, other small tracts associated with the Union rout such as a sight near the Agnew house, Hatchie Bottom, of painful memory to the federals; and the Stubbs farm can be acquired for the positioning of additional interpretive markers, he said.

This hallowed ground will now be a part of the sites that interpret the battle.

“This acquisition brings to our total over 1450 acres and $3 million raised for land acquisition and interpretation at Brice’s Crossroads,” said John Haynes, executive director of the Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield Commission.

The Austin, Texas and Waco, Texas Civil War Roundtables raised money for this acquisition during the annual Texas Civil War Preservation Seminar in November 2001 with the help of the Harold B. Simpson History Center and Hill College. Three hundred people attended this fundraiser where funds were raised specifically for Brice’s Crossroads.

Gary Carnathan, president of BCNBC, Inc. praised the work of the Texas Civil War Roundtable. “The preservation of Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield has attracted national interest and Texas has made a substantial contribution tour efforts,” said Carnathan.

Dan Laney, who is of the president of the Austin, Texas Civil War Roundtable and also a board member of the Civil War Preservation Trust, worked with John Haynes, who is also a member of the Trust’s board, to make the acquisition a reality in February, 2002.

“Each year, during our Preservation Seminar, we focus on a topic and last year’s topic was Nathan Bedford Forrest. What better place to donate the funds raised at this seminar than at Brice’s Crossroads,” said Laney.

Laney and his roundtable raised $10,400 at the Preservation seminar in 2001, which was given to the CWPT and earmarked for preservation at Brice’s Crossroads.

“We have raised $100,000 during the past years which has gone toward the purchase of hallowed land on the sites of Civil War battlefields across the nation and to support the History Center at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas,” Laney added.

James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust, commended the audacious leadership of the Austin and Waco Texas Civil War Roundtable efforts.

“ These two groups form one of the premier preservation organizations in the Country. Their preservation of our American history will be a wonderful gift to the future generations of America.

The four acres will now be a part of the interpretive trail at Brice’s Crossroads that will tell the story of that conflict.