Photos and Text By Kevin Shanahan
Cannons roared and gunfire reverberated through the quiet village of Pleasant Hill March 31 through April 2 as the Union and Confederate armies clashed in one of the battles of Union General Nathan P. Banks’ Red River Campaign. Unlike the actual battle in 1864, the cannon and rifle fire did not result in a storm of lead and iron and the casualties “resurrected” after the battle was over.
Sunday, April 9, will mark the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Pleasant Hill. The first re-enactment was held in 1964 on the 100th anniversary of the battle. After a hiatus of several years, the re-enactment went on to become a beloved tradition presented on, or as close as possible to, the anniversary of the battle. This year’s re-enactment is the 43rd one. The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is a rarity in that it commemorates a specific battle and takes place on the actual battlefield. The site is about 3 miles from the modern site of the Village of Pleasant Hill. This year’s re-enactment featured over 350 participants from Louisiana and surrounding states.
Friday featured an open camp held for local educators so school groups could come and learn about life in the Civil War era. Saturday and Sunday each featured battles fought before a large crowd of several hundred spectators as well as the Battle of Pleasant Hill Queen, court and a contingent of festival and pageant queens from across Louisiana. Young men from a Texas Trail Life Troop raised the flag in the opening ceremony.
There was also a period church service Sunday as well as a memorial luminaria ceremony commemorating the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Pleasant Hill.
The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is an educational and family friendly event that offers something to history aficionados of every age. There is no charge to attend the reenactment. The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is one of the myriad of festivals, concerts and other events that make life in Louisiana anything but boring. The Journal Media Group congratulates the re-enactors and volunteers whose hard work is evidenced throughout the well organized and fun event. The Battle of Pleasant Hill re-enactment is a superb example of what a small town can accomplish working together.
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