Members of the Feliciana chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Sons of the Confederate Veterans and re-enactors from the Louisiana State Militia 10th Brigade held a veterans program intermingled with history lessons about significant places and people from East Feliciana Parish and surrounding areas at Centenary State Historic Site in Jackson on June 4.
Some participants shared facts about the area’s Civil War history or stories of ancestors who were prisoners of war. Others performed music or read poetry about patriotism.
Speakers included Daniel Goyer, manager of Centenary State Historic Site; and Mary Woodyear, president of the Friends of Centenary.
Paul Martin, of St. Francisville, provided information about “The Day the War Stopped,” an annual event held in June in St. Francisville at Grace Episcopal Church, commemorating the funeral of Lt. Commander John E. Hart, of the U.S. Navy.
Michael Fraering, curator at Port Hudson State Historic Site, talked about the Clinton-Port Hudson Railroad before and during the war.
Catherine Jacocks, registrar of the United Daughters chapter, led a remembrance service honoring veterans who were prisoners of war or missing in action.
She also shared a story about her great-great-grandfather, Joseph Strickland, who was mustered into Capt. James W. Starnes’ 4th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. According to Jacocks, Strickland was captured by Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman’s forces near Atlanta on Aug. 19, 1864. While captive and bound for a northern prison, Strickland escaped by jumping from a train.
Others sharing accounts of their relatives were Dawson, Martin, Fraering and Woodyear, who told the story of her great-grandfather, James Gregg Marshall, who was captured. While in a prison camp, some men in his charge removed a button from his uniform and carved out the middle to make a wedding ring for Marshall’s wife.
“I still have that black ring. We call it ‘mourning jewelry,’ even though he did return from the war and had several children,” Woodyear said. “My grandmother was one of his children and was a member of the first United Daughters of the Confederacy in Jackson years ago.”
Beth Dawson, of Jackson, had three relatives who were captured during wars: her great-great-grandfather, Paul Oscar Langlois, of New Roads, who died as a POW in Alabama; her father, Whitney Langlois, also of New Roads, who was a POW in World War II and a survivor of the Bataan Death March; and her cousin, Al Agnew, who was one of the last POWs to be released from Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam.
One of the final performances at the gathering was the ceremonial offering of libation by four members of the 10th Brigade: Francis Broussard, of Lafayette; John Flippen, of St. Francisville; Pat Manning, of New Orleans; and Rafe Stewart, of Jackson.
The offering of libation involves the pouring of liquid, either water or wine, on the ground in a special pattern while homage is paid to an ancestor or fallen comrade.