Day at Raymond Battlefield Park - April 2, 2011
Almost exactly 150 years after the first shots of the Civil War were fired, another wave of volunteers is about to descend on America’s storied battlegrounds – only this array of dedicated men and women will be armed with paint brushes, trash bags, and weed whackers.
On Saturday, April 2, 2011, history buffs and preservationists from around the country will team up with the Civil War Trust to help clean and restore America’s historic battlefields, cemeteries, and shrines. The nationwide effort – dubbed Park Day – is underwritten with a grant from History™, formerly The History Channel, and has been endorsed by Take Pride in America, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Park Day, now in its 15th year, is an annual hands-on preservation event created by the Trust to assist local groups with the maintenance of Civil War sites. This year, more than 100 sites in 22 states are expected to take part in the effort, with activities ranging from trash removal to trail building. In 2010, over 4,000 volunteers at 118 sites nationwide donated over 17,000 man hours to preserve and protect America’s treasures.
Friends of Raymond has participated in Park Day since the organization was formed as a non-profit dedicated to the preservation, management, education, and interpretation of Raymond’s history and historical sites. Four volunteers showed up to scour the roadsides and pick up trash on the first Park Day in Raymond. Since then, the Raymond event has grown each year, with over fifty volunteers expected in 2011. Park Day is open to all and the event will take the place of the April General Meeting of the Friends of Raymond.
In 2010, the main objective of Park Day in Raymond was to move cannon carriages to the battlefield. The move was the first installment of what will be one of the most impressive artillery displays on any battlefield, anywhere. According to historian and former Friends of Raymond president Parker Hills, it was on this slight rise, called Artillery Ridge, that the 22 cannon of Union General James B. McPherson’s XV11 Corps were amassed to oppose Confederate General John Gregg’s three cannon that were located about 7/10 of a mile to the north. The cannon representing the Confederate artillery were emplaced during an earlier Park Day.
Dr. Ben Fatherree, President of Friends of Raymond, says much more work is to be done to complete the Union artillery line. To date, almost half of the carriages have been emplaced and seven barrels mounted. When the artillery line is complete, the Raymond Battlefield Park will be one of the few in the nation with one field artillery piece on the ground for every piece that was represented during the Battle of Raymond on May 12, 1863.
2011 Park Day activities at Raymond include painting the cannon carriages and barrels, picking up trash, cleaning interpretive markers, maintaining the walking trail, and establishing view sheds into the old road bed and across Fourteen Mile Creek. Volunteers are asked to don work clothes, bring small hand tools, weed whackers, brush trimmers, shovels and hoes, and meet the Friends of Raymond on Saturday, April 2 at 9 a.m. The meeting area is at the intersection of Port Gibson Road and Highway 18, Raymond. A rain date is scheduled for Saturday, April 9.
In exchange for their hard work, volunteers will receive a History t-shirt, enjoy a hot dog lunch provided by FOR, and learn the site’s history from Dr. Ben
For more information about Park Day at Raymond Battlefield Park, please call 601-857-8041.
With 55,000 members, the Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hollowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. The trust’s website is located at
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