Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site is proud to be the home of living history groups that portray the people and events associated with the historic communities in the area of present day central Alabama. The diverse peoples that occupied the area provide the living history participants an interesting cast of characters to portray. Included among the inhabitants are the local natives, those associated with the colonial experience, and the soldiers and settlers of the early nineteenth century.
Goals of the site and the Alabama Historical Commission are the preservation of the historic and natural resources that have been entrusted to us, the researching of the life ways of the people who created our history, and the presentation of educational and entertaining programs. The living history participants associated with the park are key parts of our programming. Each of the past living history participants left a legacy that strengthened our organization. Each of our current participants continues this tradition of excellence and commitment and any future participants will hopefully continue this rich tradition.
Living history groups at the site are divided into two sections, the French Colonial era and the War of 1812/Creek War era. Within each group there are subdivisions or soldiers, civilians, Native Americans, and other supporting characters.
La Compagnie Franche de la Marine du Fort Toulouse is a living history organization dedicated to researching, recreating, and reenacting the everyday life of the French Marines, their families, and the Native allies. This is all for personal enjoyment as well as for public education. The company participates in many reenactments across the nation, as well as a continuing monthly program at Fort Toulouse. The group generally meets for Garrison on the third weekend of every month, with the exception of April and November, when larger events are scheduled at Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson. Each spring the company hosts the French and Indian War Encampment in April, and participates in Alabama Frontier Days in November.
On November 24, 1812, Maj General Andrew Jackson issued a call to arms for the defence of New Orleans and the lower Mississippi. These men were ordered to provide themselves with hunting shirts of dark blue or brown, as well as rifles and a blanket. Men who answered this call saw action in many battles, with both the hostile Indians and the British, from Callabee Creek and the bloody Horseshoe bend and finally on to meet the British at New Orleans.
In the spring of 1814, a fort was erected at the junction of the rivers, where the French Fort Toulouse had once stood. It was here that the remaining hostile Indians signed the "Treaty of Fort Jackson."
Today, a group of reenactors can show the public what life was like for these men. They portray the unit known as "Donelson's Rangers," who were also the lifeguard of General Jackson.
The group is dedicated to the recreation of the life of the militia soldier at garrison in 1814. They regularly participate in many events, including those at Horseshoe Bend, and Chalmette National Battlefield, New Orleans. There is also a regular monthly muster, during which the unit depicts the clothing, weapons, and drill of the militia units of the time. It is the attention to small details that makes this program outstanding.