Today is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.
East Texans were a 1000 miles away from the first canon fire at Ft Sumter, and at that exact moment, they were all more concerned with their cotton farms and timber trade. Here in Jefferson, we were a bustling and busy riverport full of the promise of a bright and profitable future. As our high school teachers taught us all, the Act of the Northern Aggression (as it is referred to this side of the Mason Dixon Line) was a war that forever changed the South. The War Between States didn’t quite make it here to East Texas and to Jefferson. It ended in a bloody battle in Mansfield Louisiana but the repercussions are still felt here today. In fact for those of us that live in the South, the spectre and the remnants of the Civil War are all around us with grave markers still adorned with flowers and old confederate powder magazines along busy boat tour routes . It often feels like a not so distant memory…almost as if it is something that we discuss when friends gather around. In fact, we Southerners feel compelled to re-enact it year after year after year (almost as if we are expecting the outcome to change). Here in Jefferson, we host the Battle of Port Jefferson the first weekend of May each year.
In Jefferson, we try and imagine that it is 1864 all over again. What would have happened had the war not stopped downstream from us? What would have happened at the Battle of Port Jefferson? We know that the Union Army wanted to take what it considered a very strategic port, the Port of Jefferson. What would that battle have looked like and what would have happened to Jefferson?
If you are looking for something to do May 6th through the 8th, then come on down. The largest Civil War re-enactment in Texas will be right here that weekend.
I have to tell the story of last year, because as you know it is never a dull moment here at the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast. Tom and I were still serving breakfast when the Civil War broke out in front of our house…seriously, the Civil War. I was pouring a cup of coffee when a canon was fired and a brigade of soldiers on horseback came clomping and racing up the street. It startled me so badly that I almost dropped the carafe of coffee in one of our gentleman’s lap. Now you have to admit, you have never stayed at a B&B were breakfast was interrupted by the Civil War before, now have you. So Tom and I did what any sensible innkeeper would do. We told everyone to grab up their cups of coffee and head out to the porch where we watched the skirmish from the comfort of rocking chairs and porch swings. It was breakfast and a show. This year, we are going to be smart about it and serve breakfast a little earlier, so everyone will have time to find a place to watch the battles and skirmishes. You have to admit though, that makes a pretty good rookie innkeeper story.