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"Grant's crown of immortality was won, and the jewel that shone most brightly in it was set
Major S. H. M. Byers, Fifth Iowa Infantry
"THE HILL OF DEATH" read by Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emeritus, National Park Service
October 22, 1925 — October 7, 2006
A Day on the
Champion Hill Battlefield
May 18, 2013
Great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis
On May 18, 2013, the Champion Heritage Foundation will host an all-day event to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Champion Hill. Bertram Hayes-Davis, the great-great grandson of the president of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis, has been named as event speaker.
"Having Bertram Hayes-Davis accept the Champion Heritage Foundation’s invitation to speak at Champion Hill was exciting for me," said Rebecca Blackwell Drake, local author and historian who has worked for battlefield preservation in Mississippi since 1999. "The 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Champion Hill calls for a special commemoration and we could think of nothing better than to have Bertram Hayes-Davis as speaker."
By Rebecca Blackwell Drake
Early on the morning of December 12, 2012, trucks and cars began pulling onto Midway Station road, located on the Champion family property. The guests had come to witness the setting of a long overdue headstone for Lula Johnson Townsend, turn of the century matriarch of the Champion Hill community. A light frost covered the ground, casting a shimmering beauty throughout the woods.
The vehicles maneuvered the sunken roadbed before parking in view of an 1840s cemetery. The burial site, accentuated by broken headstones scattered amidst the fallen leaves, held the remains of those who had passed away long ago.
The last vehicle to pull through the gate and up to the cemetery was a company truck from Yazoo City. The truck’s precious cargo was a newly inscribed headstone for Lula Townsend who was born at Champion Hill in 1878, one year after the close of the Reconstruction Era, and lived at Champion Hill until her death in 1958. She was widely recognized as a “mover and shaker” in the black community.
22nd Iowa Infantry
May 16 Three miles west of Raymond I have had no opportunity of sending my letter out yet so I will write some more. I am still well and hearty. Good news. Jackson is ours, the Capitol of the state. O’ we are playing smash down here. I tell you the poor rebs have got perfectly scared and just as soon as we open on them they run. We have tore up their R.R. for miles. Their troops can neither get to nor from Vicksburg.
By Rebecca Blackwell Drake
In 1862, when the War came to Mississippi, one of the Confederate officers assigned to protect the Big Black River railroad bridge between Edwards and Bovina was Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen, commander of the First Missouri Regiment. Accompanying Bowen to Mississippi was his pregnant wife, Mary Kennerly Bowen of St. Louis. She refused to be separated from her husband. When Bowen left St. Louis to enter the war, Mary was by his side, leaving their two small children, Menard Kennerly (age seven) and Anna, (age two), at the family home to be cared for by Mary’s mother.
General Bowen received his first real taste of war on April 6, 1862, when, during the battle of Shiloh, he had two horses shot from under him and was severely wounded. Mary accompanied him to Memphis where he was hospitalized until early May. Bowen rejoined his regiment at Corinth and was soon ordered to Vicksburg to defend the city from naval attacks.
During the opening ceremonies commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Champion Hill, commemorative medallions will be awarded to the descendants of those who fought.
To receive honorary medallion, honorees must apply online and the family member(s) must be present. Rebecca Drake and Sid Champion V, the great-great grandson of Sid and Matilda Champion, will present the medals. The medallions will also be sold to the public with all proceeds going to further interpret the Champion Hill battlefield.
Registration to receive
an honorary medallion at the main ceremony is closed. Late requests are still being accepted and will be awarded at 5:00 p.m. ceremony on the Champion Hill M.B. Church grounds.
Take I-20 to Exit 27, Bolton.
Tour Champion Hill with Sid J. Champion (Sid V), the great-great-grandson of Sid and Matilda Champion.
$50 per person (minimum of 2) Call 601-316-4894
The Rebel Sister of
By Rebecca B. Drake & Sue B. Moore
Darwina's Diary: A
View of Champion Hill ~ 1865
The Civil War Letters of Sid and Matilda Champion
Copyright (c) James and Rebecca Drake