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Confederate Reunion Grounds State Park

Sometimes it just feels good to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of city
life. Go to a place in the country where there are no city noises, planes, trains or
sirens. Take a quiet walk down a wooded trail, over a wooden walk bridge across a
babbling brook. A place where you can be alone with nature. This is what you will
find at the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Park southwest of Mexia, Texas.

This would make a nice day-trip where you could enjoy a little peace and quiet,
commune with nature, have a nice picnic lunch and learn a little Civil War History.
Following is a little history of the park, taken from plaques located near the
captured Union Cannon on display in the park.

“In 1889 the Confederate Reunion grounds was created by confederate Veterans. In
1896 two state charters established, first the Joseph B. Johnston Camp No. 94 UCV and
second the Joseph B. Johnston camp No 94 Sons & Daughters of the UCV. These two
charters lasted until the second charter expired in 1946.
“From1946 until 1964 the park lay abandoned and unused. In 1965 Robert T. Shrams
and some former members secured a new Texas state charter and through their efforts
restored and maintained this park.

“In 1994 the Joseph B. Johnston Camp No. 94 CSA donated the grounds to the State of
Texas as a unit of the Texas State Parks System.

“The gift was made in memory of the love, devotion and faith of the people who cared
for these beautiful grounds, 1889 to 1982. In 1989 this marker was presented to the
State of Texas in the 100th year of the Confederate Reunion Grounds. Limestone
County, Texas.”

On display at the reunion grounds is a captured Union Cannon used during the civil war.

“This cannon is a M-1861 Ordnance Rifle, model number 491 manufactured by the
Phoenix Iron Company of Phoenixville, Pa. It was proof tested by second lieutenant
Clemens Chaffee Oct 25, 1862. The Age Ordnance Rifle was the only Rifle Cannon
developed by the US Ordnance in the Civil War. The cannon proved very popular with
965 being manufactured.

“They were widely used by both sides during the war and some continued to be used until
about 1900.

“Confederate Chief of Ordnance Josiah Gorgas stated that the three inch rifle was the
favorite field piece of the Confederate Artillery.

“There were several types of widely used projectiles for this gun. One consisted of a
tinned iron canister, 49.96 caliber, iron balls which were very effective against
massed infantry. More common was a ten pound iron shell with a powder charge and fuse.

“Over a million and a quarter of these projectiles was produced for the southern army
during the civil war.

“This cannon was issued to a federal artillery unit and was captured by confederate
forces. In 1864 it was issued to the fomous Val Verde Battery of Texas Artillery.
The unit gained its name because of six union cannons captured at the battle of Val
Varde New Mexico on April 21st 1862.

“This cannon and another three inch ordnance rifle were added as replacements to the
original compliment.

“The guns saw action in the Louisiana battle of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. They
were still in service when the war ended.

“The last report of the Val Verde Battery dated June 1st, 1865 listed two brass six
pounders and two three inch ordnance rifles as surviving.

“The terms of surrender signed on May 26, 1865 stated that all confederate artillery
was to be turned over to the US Government.

“Captain T D Nettles, commander of the Val Varde Battalion had no intention of
surrendering his guns. Instead, he dismantled the four guns and buried them under a
buggy house near Fairfield, Texas. There they remained during reconstruction. They
were dug up when Grover Cleveland was elected president in 1885.

“The two brass six pounders were sold for scrap, but the two three inch rifles were
restored. One was placed on the courthouse lawn in Fairfield, Texas and the other
here in the Confederate Memorial park.”

Other features of the park include a large covered pavilion for group gatherings, a
permit is required for its use, and other picnic tables scattered throughout the park.

Also, there is “Miss Mamie Kennedy’s 1914 Confederate Flirtation Walk.” No matter
whether you are a newlywed or celebrating your fiftieth wedding anniversary, you will
want to take your sweetie on this walk through the woods and over the little walk
bridge over the Colonel’s Springs. Take a little parasol with you and make her feel
like a real southern belle.

On the archway over the trail leading to the Colonel’s Springs is the following inscription:

“The Colonel’s Springs To Colonel A E Humphreys discoverer and developer of the
great Mexia oil fields, beautifier of these grounds, maintaining them in honor of the
Confederate dead and for the pleasure of the living veterans, their families and
friends this tablet is erected and this spring lovingly dedicated by the city of
Mexia as a lasting expression of their admiration of this great and Godly man and his
splendid achievement.

“I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely,” Rev 21:6”

So, if you want to get away from the crowds and maybe walk with your sweetie hand in
hand down “Miss Mamie Kennedy’s 1914 Confederate Flirtation Walk,” or just to be
alone with nature, then I recommend a trip to the Confederate Reunion Grounds State
Park.

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