Most people who move to the little town of Raymond don’t realize that it is sitting on hallowed ground. It’s hard to believe that 150 years ago, Raymond was a battle field. This battle of Raymond would pave the way to Vicksburg and the famous, fateful battle that occurred on the Mississippi river. Imagine the men in uniform, the ground shaking from cannon fire, and the sound of cavalry. Sounds pretty cool, right?
This past October, Friends of Raymond sponsored a national level re-enactment of the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign! The perfect place to experience the civil war ambience and watch history unfold, the Raymond Military park become a weekend home for hundreds of cattle, re-enactors, and civil war vendors. Over the course of a weekend, four historic Mississippi battles were reenacted to commemorate (not to be confused with celebrating) the 150th anniversary of these battles. I had the opportunity to attend two of these battles through the Hinds Honors Institute as a volunteer—I even got an awesome free t-shirt for helping out! And my admission was free. This is one of those times that community service ceases to become service and turns into a life experience you will never forget. Let’s be honest—I did not expect to enjoy this project. Thankfully, I was truly mistaken.
Not only were there soldiers, cattle, and cannons; women came out to support their men in battle! People came from Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, and so many other places to transform a plain, regular field into a time warp. We even had men come to play “To Arms In Dixie” and other folk songs to pass time until the battles commenced. Let’s not forget about the handmade corncob pipes! Many of the ladies came shrouded in lacey umbrellas, gloves, and handmade cotton dresses. Even on a hot Saturday afternoon, everyone felt the spirit of the south.
As the battles began, we witnessed cavalry calls, musket fire popping, and rings of smoke bellowing out of the cannons. There were many cannons, each constructed authentically to model a true civil war cannon. They were even hand-painted. My favorite part of the battles (aside from the cannon fire setting car alarms off) would have to be seeing the ornate, handmade costumes and original muskets that people had. One soldier had an original Civil War musket that was used by his ancestors who fought in the war! Whenever the battles ceased, there was an area at the military park set up called “The Cave” where anyone could go to get food, purchases souvenirs, paraphernalia, or home brewed drinks! Vendors were waiting with their kegs full to fill ornate glass bottles with root beers, sassafras fizz, and lemonades.
If you are a history or civil war enthusiast or are thinking about finding a cool hobby, civil war reenactments are the way to go! This was a truly awesome experience, and it’s awesome that being a Hinds student makes this experience especially unique. Look into these kinds of things! It will be worth your time, I guarantee.
Fall is here…or what short amount of it we get in Mississippi! Now’s the time to enjoy the things you love most about this fleeting season. My favorite thing happens to be baking with pumpkin. Sounds gross, I know, but it’s actually really tasty. Below is my absolute favorite, go-to recipe for pumpkin deliciousness. Even though it’s called “bread”, it’s more like cake. I have also updated it to a dorm-room friendly version so our campus residents can enjoy it, too!
Pumpkin Bread (traditional)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (look in the baking isle for this…do NOT mistake it with pumpkin pie filling…what you need is the puree, which is not sweetened)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.
3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
Can easily double the recipe.
Dorm Friendly version:
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 3 tbs flour
- 1 tbs + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tbs milk
- 2-3 tbs pumpkin puree
Spray a microwave safe mug with cooking spray.
In a bowl, or right in the mug, whisk flour, sugar, spices, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add egg and combine until just incorporated with dry ingredients. Mix in vanilla, oil, milk and pumpkin.
Pop into the microwave for up to 3 minutes, with no fear to stop and check after 90 seconds for doneness.
Let it cool! It’s hot!
Seriously, that easy.