The South wins again during Fall Muster at Beauvoir
By Warren Kulo
October 20, 2013
BILOXI, Mississippi — It’s one heck of a winning streak.
For 27 consecutive years, the South has defeated the North during Fall Muster at Beauvoir as re-enactors from around the country converge on the former home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to stage a Civil War battle.
"On these grounds, the South always wins," said Terry Bailey of Mobile, Ala., who was participating in his sixth Fall Muster and served as Provost for the event.
"Basically, I’m the high sheriff for the weekend," Bailey explained. "We always have a provost to make sure the rules are followed."
A rainy Saturday, coupled with a large number of other events along the Mississippi Coast, kept crowds down during the first day of Fall Muster, Bailey said, but Sunday was another matter.
"We had a real good turnout today," he said. "The weather was perfect and we’re just tickled to death at the number of people who came out today."
Bailey is a member of a group called "Friends of Fall Muster" which formed four years ago to take over the task of organizing the event each year.
"We didn’t have too many bumps in the road this weekend," he said. "I’d say this is one of the must successful Fall Musters we’ve had."
Roughly 140 re-enactors took place this year. Bailey said the numbers were slightly down due to this year marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He said many re-enactors are making trips to participate in events at other historic sites such as Gettysburg.
"When you go to these big national events, that’s a lot of money out of their pockets," Bailey said.
On average, re-enactors invest about $1,500 to $2,000 for uniforms, equipment, weapons, etc., in addition to the money they spend to travel to various events.
"That’s why we make such a point to thank these re-enactors," Bailey said, "because they spend their own money on gas, food, their equipment — it’s not an inexpensive proposition."
Those attending Sunday’s battle certainly seemed appreciative. Many cheered on the South and enthusiastically sang along to "Dixie" after the South had secured the "victory."
"It was very realistic," said Nancy Pittman of Gulfport. "The cannons definitely caught us off guard. It’s a great way for the history not to get lost."
Pittman’s sister, Cathy Houpt of Jackson, was attending the Fall Muster and visiting Beauvoir for the first time.
"I was so impressed with the number of young people here and even some who were involved (in the re-enactment)," Houpt said. "That really surprised me."
Bailey said that one of the big rewards for re-enactors are the hours spent in their camp at the event after the public goes home.
"We have a few Holiday Inn-ers," he said, smiling, "but most of the guys come here and put their tents up. I come out here on Thursday and stay until Monday morning.
"To be quite honest with you, that’s the best part of the re-enactment — after all of you leave, we’ll sit around the campfire and tell a lie or two, a tall tale. By the time we go to bed each night, we’ve pretty well got most of the problems of the world solved."
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