Nearly 5,000 reenactors with the Blue-Gray Alliance converged on the site of the original Battle of Raymond. The Friends of Raymond website says the group has preserved 136 acres of the original battle ground for posterity and as a site to host educational groups and activities like the weekend's events.
The reenactors take their craft seriously, some dressing in costumes that have remarkable detail. Even some spectators come fully adorned, as if they were actually witnessing the 1863 battle.
As cannons flashed and rifles popped, we spoke with several people who were watching and listening to the crackles and booms as the recreated weapons of the only domestic U.S. war filled the air with smoke.
One man was a reenactor himself, though not in this particular battle. He was in full costume, though. He said he plays in Texas Ranger normally and belongs to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, a group that preserves and celebrates the southern heritage of the Civil War.
"We do this in honor of our ancestors," he said, "and history-restoring history, telling the truth about history."
It was the second time around for another man.
"I'm enjoying the devil out of it," he said. "I attended the Battle of Champion Hill in the 70s and just enjoy seeing what they had to go through in these battles. It's remarkable."
The Battle of Raymond was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's back door campaign to take Vicksburg from the Confederates. From May 1 to May 17, the Union Army fought five battles. They were able to disperse a large portion of the southern forces before reaching Vicksburg. After trying and failing twice to take the city, a seige ensued, which lasted 47 days and eventually led to the Confederates giving up their hold.