Archive for the ‘Civil War’ Category

Civil War History Buffs Descend on Jefferson Texas

August 8th, 2017 by carriagehouse

The 6th annual Civil war symposium comes to Jefferson this weekend August 12 !!!

This years keynote subject is  “RED RIVER CAMPAIGN NARRATIVES OF DESTRUCTION, HEROISM & BLOOD”  by Dr. Henry O Robertson. flags-crossed

Jefferson Texas is the perfect place to attend this symposium (see info below) since the subject matter took place in the area. To experience what it was like back then take the “Turning Basin Boat Tour” up and down the Big Cypress Bayou located in downtown Jefferson and it does not take much imagination to picture yourself on that fateful campaign as they made their way through the area. The Jefferson Museum on Austin Street and the Mason Dixon Line Military Museum on Lafayette street in downtown also are great places to help you get a feel of what it was like during that tumultuous time.

Don’t forget to tour the Historic Oakwood Cemetery and view the section of modest white gravestones that mark the graves of the Union soldiers that were stationed at the Garrison in Jefferson after the war. You walk among those age marked headstones and see the names of the enlisted and officers that met their demise in this southern port city, where they were originally sent to burn Jefferson down to the ground but ended up occupying the city instead… it’s hard not feel the animosity they must have dealt with. There is a saying ” Half of these soldiers died from Malaria, the other half died from being stationed in a southern town that did not want them”. There are many other historic figures buried in Oakwood as well.

oakwood cemetary union graces

After a day of Civil War history, enjoy the cuisine from one of the several Jefferson restaurants with choices from fine dining to comfort food, and be thankful you did not have to eat what those soldiers did back then. After dinner, you head back to enjoy complimentary Smores and/or Wine at the Firepit if you happen to be staying at The Carriage House Bed and Breakfast. 

CH Breakfast mediaThe next morning you will wake up to the smell of Fresh ground coffee and Jessi’s Signature Gourmet Breakfast. Have a seat inside or on the wrap around porch and let us serve you up a two-course breakfast (always dessert first) before you head back to to the noisy, modern world.

On the way out of town as you drive out FM 2208 if you have the windows down. Then listen to the sounds and smell the scents of the forest…and maybe if you try real hard, you might be able to hear the hoofbeats of General John G.Walker’s troops and the Texas Infantry Division as they made their way through the moss covered cypress trees and tall pines that all but blocked out the sunlight, and made traveling feel like permanent twilight.  You can imagine their young faces cast in steely resolve as they made they way to Mansfield, Louisiana to stop the Union troops from burning down the port cities Shreveport and Jefferson.Civil war soldiers in forest

At this time of this post, we still have a couple of rooms left so call us direct for your reservation 903-665-9511.6th annual

For information or registration, contact the Museum at 903-665-2775.

67th Jefferson Civil War Days & Pilgrimage Schedule

April 28th, 2014 by carriagehouse


Jefferson Civil War Days & Pilgrimage

May 1-4, 2014

Jefferson Civil War Days & Pilgrimage

May 1-4, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014



Start Time

End Time


60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075  7:30 pm $20
Tours of AtalantaJay Gould’s Private Rail Car Tickets available at The Excelsior House Hotel 903-665-2513 or  Daily $5


Friday, May 2, 2014



Start Time

End Time


Civil War Living HistoryMarion County Chamber of Commerce Diamond Don RV Park1602 State Highway 49 East


9:00 3:00 $3 per student
The Great Locomotive ChaseThe Andrews RaidHistoric Jefferson Railway Diamond Don RV Park1602 State Highway 49 East

903-665-6400 or 866-398-2038


9:30 am11:30 am 

1:30 pm


$5 per student
Craft Fair andHeirloom Plant Sale William Perry ParkNext to The Excelsior House  9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
“Stitch, Woven and Hooked”Quilts & Heritage Fiber Arts Jeffersonian Institute120 E Austin Street 9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
The 67th Annual PilgrimageTour Five Historic Churches Tickets can be purchased atThe Excelsior House Hotel or 800-490-7270


11:00 am 4:00 pm $20, children 12 and under, $3
Twilight Garden Stroll Various locations 5:30 pm 7:00 pm Free
60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075  7:30 pm $20
Street Dance Austin Street, in front ofThe Excelsior House Hotel or 866-319-5470


9:00 pm 11:00 pm Free
Tours of AtalantaJay Gould’s Private Rail Car Tickets available at The Excelsior House Hotel903-665-2513 or  Daily $5
Sutler’s Emporium Dallas Street or 866-319-54670 Daily Free


Saturday, May 3, 2014



Start Time

End Time


The Great Locomotive Chaseand Naval Battle of Port Jefferson – the largest Naval Civil War re-enactment west of the Mississippi 400 E. Austin Street or 866-398-2038


12:00 pm1:00 pm2:00 pm7:00 pm $15 adults$12 children under 1210% Senior & Active Military Discount 
Craft Fair andHeirloom Plant Sale William Perry ParkNext to The Excelsior House  9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
“Stitch, Woven and Hooked”Quilts & Heritage Fiber Arts Jeffersonian Institute120 E Austin Street 9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
Pilgrimage Parade andTown Skirmish Downtown Jefferson 10:00 am Free
The 67th Annual PilgrimageTour Five Historic Churches Tickets can be purchased atThe Excelsior House Hotel or 800-490-7270


11:00 am 4:00 pm $20, children 12 and under, $3
Luncheon BuffetThe Excelsior HouseGrand Ballroom/Courtyard  The Excelsior House Hotel903-665-2513 or  11:30 am 2:00 pm $14 (inclusive)
Ladies Tea”Lady Spies for the confederacy”Period Dress Encouraged  Jeffersonian Institute120 E. Austin St 1:00 pm 3:00 pm $10
Battle for JeffersonRe-enactment Sanders RanchFM 2208 or 866-319-5470


4:00 pm $10
Twilight Garden Stroll Various locations 5:30 pm 7:00 pm Free
60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075 5:30 pm $20
Old South BallPeriod Dress or Black Tie Jeffersonian Institute120 E. Austin Street or 866-319-5470


8:00 pm $15 each or$25 Couple
60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075  8:30 pm $20
Tours of AtalantaJay Gould’s Private Rail Car Tickets available at The Excelsior House Hotel903-665-2513 or  Daily $5
Sutler’s Emporium Dallas Street or 866-319-5470  Daily


67th Annual Historic Jefferson Pilgrimage

April 11th, 2014 by carriagehouse

Pilgrimage involves a journey– leaving where we are, going towards something set apart, sacred.  It seems to connote not merely initial steps but a search toward something import, significant.  “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.  We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
The first weekend in May for 67 years, the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club has celebrated the beauty of spring in Jefferson, Texas with their annual Jefferson Historical Pilgrimage.  This year’s theme is “Jefferson’s Golden Era” and will be held May 1, 2, 3, and 4, 2014.  Jefferson is filled with events and activities for everyone.  Take a trip to the 1860s while enjoying present day amenities.
DIAMOND BESSIE MURDER TRIAL – Performances May 1 – 4
Beginning on Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 pm, the 60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial will present 5 performances in the Jefferson Playhouse (corner or Market and Henderson streets) and continuing with productions on Friday, May 2, at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 3, at 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm and Sunday, May 4, at 2:00 pm.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 903-665-6075 or writing Diamond Bessie Tickets, 313 Woodland Drive, Jefferson, Texas 75657 (advanced tickets are strongly advised).  Becky Palmer will be playing Diamond Bessie for the 30th year.
On Friday and Saturday, May 2 and May 3, from 11 am – 4 pm, tour five historic churches. The five churches, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic and Baptist, were established in the early days of Jefferson and played a vital role in the life of Jefferson which continues to this day.  The buildings were built during the mid 1800s and their architecture holds significant historical beauty and value.  Period dressed docents will greet you presenting the entertaining stories contained in the church histories.  While touring, you will see the many articles, pictures, furnishings and antique items each church houses.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 903-665-2513 or 800-490-7270 or at Pilgrimage Headquarters in front of the Excelsior House beginning at 9:30 am each day of Pilgrimage.
Enjoy the Crafts Fair and Heirloom Plant Sale in Perry Park next to the Excelsior House on Friday and Saturday, May 2 & 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday, May 4, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.
The “Stitch, Woven & Hooked” exhibit of quilts and heritage fiber arts will be held on Friday andSaturday, May 2 & 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm in the Jeffersonian Institute at 120 East Austin Street. Should you wish to enter one or some of your quilt, embroidery, hooked or stitched projects, contact us at 903-665-2513 or e-mail
At twilight on Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, be delighted and inspired as you stroll through four beautiful gardens.
Downtown is the place to be on Saturday, May 3, at 10:00 am.  Enjoy the Pilgrimage Parade followed by the Town Skirmish.  Watch as Confederate troops protect Jefferson from the Federal troops.  The full scale Battle for Jefferson re-enactments battle site is Cypress River Ranch on FM 2208.  The first battle is on Saturday, May 3, at 4:00 pm and the second battle is on Sunday, May 4, at 1:30 pm.  Signs will direct you to the battle site where there is plenty of parking.  This is the largest Civil War battle re-enactment in Texas.
After the Pilgrimage Parade and Town Skirmish, enjoy The Excelsior House Grand Ballroom/Courtyard Luncheon Buffet served from 11:30 am – 2:00 pm at $14.00 inclusive. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling 903-665-2513 or 800-490-7270.
Continue your Pilgrimage experience on Sunday morning, May 4, at 10:00 in front of the Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street across from Lion’s Park as you watch the Presentation of Colors.  This is the re-enactment of Miss Fannie Benners’ horseback ride presenting the flag, which was made by the women of Christ Episcopal Church, to the Jefferson Guard as they leave to fight for the Confederacy.
Jefferson offers historic hotels, antique and gift shops, bed and breakfast inns, fine restaurants, museums, historic Oakwood Cemetery, train rides, riverboat rides, horse-drawn carriages, mule-drawn wagons, Jay Gould’s private railcar, the R.D. Moses model railroad and much more.
Visit our web site or e-mail or call the Excelsior House at 903-665-2513 or 800-490-7270.

Join us this Pilgrimage.

“Across the Bayou View” of the Jefferson Confederate Powder Magazine Walk

November 14th, 2011 by carriagehouse

Confederate Powder Magazine Walk Fridays at 3:00 PM

Join Jefferson’s Tourism Director, Jeff Campbell, for an out and back walk for an “Across the Bayou View” of the Jefferson Confederate Powder Magazine. The structure is the only surviving powder magazine in Texas.

The walk is approximately 1/3 Mile in each direction.

Call 903-665-3733 for reservations/There is no charge.


No walks on, 11/25, 12/23 and 12/30


Texas Monthly About the Port Of Jefferson Civil War Re-Enactment

July 21st, 2011 by carriagehouse

Little Girls with Chickens

If you have a few minutes today, you should definitely take time to read the wonderful article in this month’s Texas Monthly about my town of Jefferson Texas.  The photographer and writer were here for our annual Battle Of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-Enactment that takes place the first weekend in May every year.  They did a wonderful job of portraying our annual event.

The Skirmish Will Be Followed by a Ladies’ Tea

Our Pilgrimage Weekend and Battle Of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-Enactment are splendid affairs that have people showing up in period dress, fighting skirmishes and battles on our brick lined streets, touring our amazing antebellum homes and attending our grand balls.  If you have not been here for this weekend, then you should put it on your bucket list.  It is a must do and must see.  I will even serve breakfast for you in my Civil War gown.


Images from Pilgrimage and the Battle of Port Jefferson

May 10th, 2011 by carriagehouse

This past weekend was Jefferson’s 64th Annual Pilgrimage and Re-enactment of the Battle of Port Jefferson.  Our Battle of Port Jefferson re-enactment is the largest Civil War re-enactment in the State of Texas.  The weekend kicks off with four of our historic homes opening for tour.  This year, we had a wonderful assortment of homes in different styles and architectures.

The Angel Rose House

 This was one of my favorite homes on tour and for a very unique reason.  It is the sister house to the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast.  I need to do much more research but I think these two historic homes must have a shared history.  I walked through this house and marveled at how the layout matched my own house.  I walked away with a ton of new ideas.  The Angel Rose house was also built in 1920 and is a Craftsman kit house ordered out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog for $900.  The home has had many additions added to it over it’s years and has been fully restored all the way to traditional Craftsman paint colors.

 This amazing home is a beautiful example of a classic Southern Colonial Greek Revival home.  This property sat empty for many years and was purchased last year and is in the process or being restored.  Only the carriage house and the pool house were on tour this time since they are the only structures that have been completed.  The main house is still very much a work in progress.  These beautiful buildings sit on a large piece of land that used to be a cotton and pecan plantation.

This home built in 1852 is one of the oldest homes in Jefferson and was built by one of the of the original founders of Jefferson, Allen Urquhart.  The rest of the house (three front rooms) was added in 1855 by a local merchant by the name of William Clark (hence the name, William Clark House).  I loved the sunny yellow paint that many of the rooms were painted in. It gave the entire house a cheerful feel to it.

This is one of the grandest homes in Jefferson filled with amazing art and priceless antiques.  This home was built by Col. David Browning Culberson who is famous for many things including defending Abe Rothschild at the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial.  This house is another example of the traditional southern architecture of the time, Greek Revival, and was inspired by a Greek Temple.

The home tour was not the only thing going on in town this past weekend.  The town was full of Civil War re-enactors trying to recreate life in 1864.  Entire families were living in tents set up in various parks and lots throughout town.  Not only did they dress in traditional Civil War garb, but they fully immersed themselves in the lifestyle of the time.

Riverport Ambassadors at the Pilgrimage Parade

One of the fun events of the weekend is the annual Pilgrimage parade Saturday morning.  Tom and I are members of a local tourism organization called the Riverport Ambassadors.  We dress up in period dress and assist the tourists on weekends.  We do step on bus tours, and educate the public on Jefferson’s colorful past.  Like many local organizations, we participate in the Pilgrimage parade.  You can’t see me real well, but that’s me in the middle in the sea foam green dress with the black parasol.

Civil War Skirmish on Austin Street

The parade ends with a gun battle and a skirmish in our beautiful Historic Riverfront District before the Civil War heads out to the battlefield set up at Tuscumbia Ranch.  In addition to all of these fun activities, we also have a quilt show, an heirloom plant sale, an art show, the Grande Hertiage Southern Ball, the Great Locomotive Chase, the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial play, and evening Twilight Garden Strolls.

Historic Jefferson Railway presents The Great Locomotive Chase – The Andrews Raid

April 29th, 2011 by carriagehouse

Robert  E Lee


The Historic Jefferson Railway captures the spirit of the Civil War during Pilgrimage Weekend in Jefferson on May 6 and 7 by telling the story of the Great Locomotive Chase. Come ride the authentic 1870’s replica steam train and hear the gripping tale of The Andrews Raid, the Civil War’s most fascinating railroad story.

Steam hissing, whistle blowing and pistons chugging, Old Engine #7 known as The Robert E. Lee, will take you on a scenic trip along the Big Cypress Bayou. As you roll through the history laden Piney Woods, you’ll view a Confederate Powder Magazine and traverse the site of one of the oldest, historical towns in Texas. Come see the Living History Camps along the track.

During the Civil War, famous campaigns were planned and conducted for the primary purpose of capturing or destroying railroad lines of value to the enemy. On the morning of April 12, 1862, the most famous locomotive of the Civil War, The General, was hijacked by the Union civilian spy, James J. Andrews, and his men. After a nail-biting eight hours and 87 miles, the Southerners captured The General, James Andrews and several of his men.

This special event offers a great educational opportunity for school groups on Friday, May 6, with runs at 9:30, 11:30 and 1:30. The public is welcome to attend. Train rides are also available on Saturday, May 7, at 12:30, 2:30 and 5:30.

On Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, a Civil-War themed Fireside Ghost Stories will take place at the Historic “haunted” Depot. And best of all, it is FREE.

Then jump on the Historic Jefferson Railway’s famous Ghost Train at 9:00 p.m. to discover the haunts of the Civil War. The trip takes you deep into the dark and scary Piney Woods of East Texas. Listen to the narrator tell Civil War ghost stories while you keep an eye out for paranormal activity.

Historic Jefferson Railway is located at 400 E. Austin, Jefferson, TX. For more information, contact, visit, or call 866-398-2038.

May 6 and 7, 2011
Adults $12, plus sales tax. Children under 6 FREE
Active Military & Seniors receive 10% discount

Depot opens at 9:00 am
9:30, 11:30, 1:30
Fireside Ghost Stories at 8:00 pm
Ghost Train at 9:00 pm

Depot opens at 10:00 am
Train departs at 12:30, 2:30 & 5:30
Fireside Ghost Stories at 8:00 pm
Ghost Train at 9:00 pm

The Battle of Port Jefferson

April 12th, 2011 by carriagehouse

Civil War Skirmish

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.

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