Stories from the past Program tells of life in city during Civil War

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 13, 2012

History came to the Coral Room at The Vicksburg Friday night as about 20 people gathered to hear stories and music from the area’s past.

“Stories and Civil War Diaries,” a production of the Vicksburg Heritage League, presented vignettes into life in the area before, during and after the Civil War.

Featuring readings, period music by Julia and Nick Blake between episodes, and a performance by Helen Sims of Mississippi Re-enactment Society accompanied by the Greater Grove Street M.B. Church Choir, the audience received a look at history from a different perspective — a personal rather than a detached view of area life.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“This is a program we are putting on in connection with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War,” Heritage League president Shirley Waring said. “It includes stories before, during and after the Civil War.”

The accounts presented Friday night started from just before the Civil War with “The Bride of Annandale,” read by Mary Ruth Jones. It’s the story of romance between Henry Gray Vick and Helen Johnstone that ended tragically when Vick was killed in a duel four days before their marriage in 1859.

Jones also read an excerpt from Mary Ann Loughborough’s book, “My Cave Life in Vicksburg,” an account of life during the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863, when the city’s residents took to living in caves for protection as Union forces shelled the city relentlessly from the Mississippi River and from the east.

Jack Burns read Dr. L.G. Capers’ story about the “Minie-Ball Pregnancy,” also known as the “The Original Son of a Gun,” the story of a teenage girl wounded and impregnated during the battle of Raymond by a Minie ball that hit a confederate soldier, passed through his groin and entered the girl.

According to the story, the girl gave birth to a boy nine months later, and the Minie ball was found in the child. The wounded soldier found the girl, and they later married.

Sims, dressed as a former slave, told her story as if she were talking to her son.

She described life during the Civil War and the care that the slaves and the plantation owner gave to soldiers from both sides. Her story was aided by the Greater Grove Street M.B. Church choir. The group sang the spiritual, “Wade in the Water,” as she talked how wounded soldiers were encouraged to hide from combat and walk in the water to avoid being tracked by military units looking for them.

Waring said “Stories and Civil War Diaries,” will be an ongoing event in observance of the 150th anniversary of the war.

“We will hold programs like this throughout the Sesquicentennial,” she said.