The South rises again

Date: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Battle of Myers Landing offers historians opportunity to teach about civil war

By Wyndi Veigel
Staff Writer
 
As smoke cleared the air it was evident that the Union soldiers were in a retreat.
 
Amid the cheers, the Confederates gathered in celebration and to care for their “wounded.”
 
Thanks  to the North Texas History Center, the Collin County Historical Commission and the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #1588 of Plano, history came to life at Myers Park in McKinney for a Civil War re-enactment titled the Battle for Myers Landing.
 
Though the battle was fictitious since there were no Civil War battles fought in Texas, thousands of students and history enthusiasts flooded the park in anticipation of seeing camps, cannons and soldiers.
 
The event also offered classes about civilian life, blacksmithing, uniforms, sewing and dress making, cavalry, and cooking over a campfire with period utensils. There were also open Army camps, allowing children to see how soldiers lived and slept, along with what equipment they had. There was also a clothing/fashion show, and classes in finding your Civil War Ancestor, and arms and artillery.
 
One of the most interesting aspects of the battle was the information about history from many of the participating soldiers. Various flags were flown as Confederate and Union soldier regiments approached one another.
 
“The Bonnie Blue flag was one of the original flags flown for Texas. It was solid blue with a single white star with the word ‘Texas’ on it,” said Mike Holbrook, a re-enacter who played battle calls on his trumpet. “The Confederates took the Texas off of it and adopted the flag for their own. The flag was later replaced by the ‘Stars and Bars’ flag that everyone knows as the Confederate flag.”
 
Holbrook also shared the history of the closest “almost battle” to Texas.
 
“In 1864 the Federals traveled up the Red River to Shreveport, and they were going to attempt to capture Jefferson,” he said. “At that time Jefferson was a huge steamboat town which would have been very valuable to them. They were stopped in Mansfield, La. before they could make it to Jefferson.”
 
For Holbrook, being a part of history is nothing new.
 
His great-grandfather fought and was captured at the Battle of Gettysberg.
 
Since the Battle for Myers Landing was not a real battle, the organizers of the event let each side win one day.
 
“Though we knew who would ultimately win today, the South, a lot of on-the-spot strategy goes into the battle,” Holbrook said.  As Confederate calvary approached the Union soldiers, they gathered ammunition for their cannons.
 
As cannons were loaded, the calvary would retreat until both sides had exhausted their cannon shots.
 
Then hand-to-hand combat occurred with each side shooting at each other with rifles from the time period.
 
Regardless of which side won, in the end all of Collin County did as a piece of history was relived at the Battle of Myers Landing.
 
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