Thursday, February 17, 2005
expected in place for Pilgrimage
By SUE WATSON
The set of eight interpretive markers that will comprise a walking tour relative to Confederate Gen. Earl Van Dorns Raid on Grants troops in Holly Springs will be dedicated during the annual Pilgrimage in April, according to tourism director Jimmy Thomas.
The markers were designed with the help of the Blue and Gray Educational Society out of Danville, Virginia, he said. Donations from local patrons and Civil War buffs living in New York, Texas, Tennessee, and New Jersey paid for the project, Thomas said.
Research and authentication of the historical accuracy of the facts on the markers were provided by historian, Gen. Parker Hills, a retired brigadier general and authority on the Unions famous Vicksburg Campaign.
Thomas said some of the names of individuals who donated money for the plaques will be on the markers and others will not.
The idea behind the project is that there is only one historic marker here in town - the one on the courthouse square - that says anything at all about Van Dorns Raid, said Thomas. Most people dont realize the importance of Van Dorns Raid; it delayed the falling of Vicksburg by over a year.
Hopefully, next year when they put out the official state tourism guide, these will be included as a part of the Civil War Trail beginning with the raid of Corinth in October and the raid of Holly Springs in December 1862.
The eight markers will provide both text descriptions of Van Dorns Raid as well as art work depicting Union and Confederate generals involved in the fray and drawings of important sites.
The interesting thing is we have a photo of Gen. Robert Murphy with the Union forces, Thomas said.
He said many legends exist telling similar or differing versions of the Van Dorn Raid.
The information on these plaques are all accurate facts, he said. When the Blue and Gray Education Society puts their logo on it, theyve done the research and can back up what is on the marker.
The walking tour consists of eight stops:
Parker Hill has been invited to speak at the dedication of the walking tour and markers set for April 16, Thomas said. Also expected to be present are some Civil War re-enactors and a group performing music played during the period.
The site for the dedication ceremonies has not been selected, Thomas said.
In May, the Blue and Gray Educational Society will return for the second year to Holly Springs as a part of a new tour of Nathan B. Forrests raid on West Tennessee and of Gen. Van Dorns raid on Holly Springs and various other small battle sites in Oxford, Coffeeville and Grenada.
The program will be headquartered at Hampton Inn in Holly Springs this year.
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