News Release 028

The Occupation of New Madrid scheduled March 10-11 at Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site

Volume 39-028 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

Visitors to Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site in New Madrid on March 10 and 11 will experience what a town under occupation may have been like during the Civil War. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, The Occupation of New Madrid living history event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday. The event is free and open to the public.

Re-enactors will portray Company C of the 47th Illinois Infantry, which served as Union Gen. John Pope’s escort company. According to Hunter family tradition, Pope used the Hunter home as his headquarters after the fall of New Madrid in March of 1862. Part of the 47th Illinois Infantry served as his escort and bodyguard. Other re-enactors will portray the mostly pro-Confederate residents of New Madrid who were affected by the battles in the area and were not happy about the occupation of the town.

Visitors will be led by interpreters through the historic site and given the opportunity to see a variety of events and scenarios as soldiers and civilians go about their daily activities. The schedule on Saturday will include several drills, fatigue duty, patrols and inspections. Sunday’s schedule begins with church call followed by an inspection. Throughout the event, guests will learn what life may have been like for the people involved in these historic events and gain a better understanding of life in Missouri during the Civil War.

New Madrid was an important Confederate stronghold during the early part of the war and was fortified to help protect the Mississippi River from Northern advances. Combined with the fortifications at Island No. 10 just upstream, the defenses blocked the river and were needed by the Union as part of its strategy to split the Confederacy in two. Army and Navy units set out to capture the town and the island in early 1862. New Madrid fell in March, and troops on Island No. 10 finally surrendered about a month later.

Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site is located at 312 Dawson Rd. in New Madrid. For more information about the event, contact Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site at 573-748-5340. For more information on Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.