Eunice, Down County – Every May the sounds and smells of a bygone era return to the village of Eunice as droves of Civil War enthusiasts and their kin descend on the tiny town for an annual event to commemorate local history. Whoops of costumed men and the chatter of womenfolk fill the night air. Families gather around traditional cooking fires to huddle over cauldrons of squirrel goulash. Others try their hand at the forgotten arts of opium distillation, earthen jug tossing and musket packing.
The original skirmish, known as the Second Battle of Eunice, was itself unremarkable. On the night of May 14, 1863, an inebriated platoon of Union troops, commandeered by Randolph ‘Pinto’ Forde, were assigned to search the Eunice rye fields for whiskey and provisions. Acting on a tip, they raided a farmhouse with cache of raw opium and saws bound for Vicksburg.
But The Rebs were waiting for them.
Led by Lt. Beauregard ‘Cornball’ Jackson, notorious prankster and half wit cousin to the infamous ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, the Federal troops were met with an onslaught of ‘straw men’ that were lit afire with the garrison’s considerable cache of whiskey. The Union troops fled in disarray as Jackson’s men fired their muskets into the air. Unable to mount a counterattack, Forde’s men slept off their considerable drunk in the surrounding rye fields. The next day found them stumbling back to a crude camp that later became the Town of Disfigure.
No re-enactment of hostilities is planned, but all are invited to attend the night-long jamboree to be held on the anniversary of the action. The highlight of this year’s event will be a performance by local folk hero, Gwen, who plans to perform a set of original compositions entitled, ‘Songs of the Sad, Old, Pitiful South.’
Admission is $5.