Today as I sat in church, I was reminded that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. In part of the sermon, I learned the story or perhaps an urban legend, about the origin of “Taps,” the military musical piece performed on a bugle or trumpet. The story tells of a Union Army infantry officer, Captain Ellicombe requesting the Army Band to play at his son’s funeral, a Confederate soldier killed during the Peninsula Campaign. Captain Ellicombe’s son had moved down south to study music, and the Captain was not aware that he had become a Confederate soldier. Distraught that his men had possibly killed his son he asked for the Army band to play at his funeral. The Army only allowed one member of the band to play the bugle. The Captain had found a tune in the pocket of his son’s clothing and asked in honor of his son’s memory for the song to be played.
After hearing this story, I found myself remembering the trips that I have taken that have revolved around the history of the Civil War. As most of you know from a previous post, my son and I, have been to Gettysburg. I thought that the museum there did an excellent job representing both the North and the South, but there is no better way to learn about the Confederates than in the south.
On a trip back home to New Orleans, my parents suggested that we check out the home of the only President of the Confederate States of America, so my son could learn about the Civil War from a different perspective. Trying to bring the lessons of my 7th-grade history teacher, Miss Ginn alive, we headed east to Biloxi, Mississippi where Beauvoir, the retirement home of Jefferson Davis faces the Gulf of Mexico. It is the last home of Jefferson Davis, and it is where he wrote his memoirs.
The day we visited it was gorgeous weather, and we soaked up the sight of the beautiful waterfront that was before us and quickly understood why the property was named Beauvoir which means a beautiful view or nice to look at in French.
The home is on 608 acres and originally there were seven buildings on the property along with the Confederate cemetery. We started at the main house, and a tour guide lead us through the home and gave us the history of each room and also shared stories of restoration that have occurred due to Hurricane Katrina.
After touring the home, we went to explore on our the historic Confederate Cemetery. After a discovery of remains in the late 1970s, a memorial was built and is known today as the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier.
Beauvoir is one of the last restored National Landmarks on the beach of Biloxi, Mississippi. If you are ever in the area, I recommend visiting and learning about Jefferson Davis. Learning about his background and personality and the fact that he did later encourage reconciliation with the Union, it was easy to understand why Southerners admired him and made him out to be a hero.
Seeing unmarked graves, tombs of unknown soldiers, collections and exhibits of the Civil War and hearing stories like the one I heard today in church, reminded me how this war is the most important event in our nation’s history. It was the Civil War that made our country indivisible.
The mansion is open daily from 9 to 5 and admission is affordable for families at $9.00 for adults and $5.00 for children.