Southern States of America
Chapter III - Mississippi in the
Confederacy, 1861 - 1865
Secession of Mississippi.
Immediately after the
election of President Lincoln, Gov. John J. Pettus issued a call for a
special session of the legislature of the state to meet in Jackson, Nov.
26, 1860. In accordance with the advice of the representatives of the
state in both branches of Congress, who met in Jackson four days before
the legislature assembled, the governor inserted in his message to that
body a recommendation that it call a convention for the purpose of
withdrawing from the Union without awaiting the action of other states. On
the third day of the legislative session the recommendation was formally
approved by the adoption of a resolution, providing for a convention to
meet at Jackson, Jan. 7, 1861, and declaring that "secession by the
aggrieved states, for their grievances, is the remedy" to be applied to
the emergency then confronting the South.
Upon the recommendation of
Governor Pettus the legislature authorized him to appoint commissioners to
visit the other Southern states to inform them that Mississippi did not
"intend to submit to the sectional administration about to be inaugurated
at Washington," and to secure their cooperation in the establishment of an
independent nation. The reports and speeches of nine out of the sixteen
men chosen for this important service are still preserved. They show that
the commissioners were received by the states to which they were
accredited as the ambassadors from a sovereign and independent nation, and
as such were treated with great distinction.
The special session of the
legislature then adjourned after providing for a new coat of arms for the
state and adopting a joint resolution justifying its action.
The secession convention
assembled in the hall of representatives at Jackson, Jan. 7, 1861.
Ninety-eight delegates answered to the first roll-call, and the two
absentees were in their seats on the following morning. The delegates were
divided into two classesthe "unconditional secessionists," who
were determined on secession at any cost, and the "cooperationists," who
were in favor of secession "only upon condition that the border states
between the two sections would cooperate in the movement." The latter
class constituted only about one-third of the convention.
Upon the organization of the convention by the
election of William S. Barry, of Lowndes county, president, Mr. L. Q. C.
Lamar, then in his thirty-seventh year, presented a resolution providing
for the appointment of a commission of fifteen "with instructions to
prepare and report as speedily as possible an ordinance providing for the
withdrawal of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union, with a view
to the establishment of a new Confederacy, to be composed of the seceding
states." The resolution was passed, and on the third day of the convention
Mr. Lamar, as chairman of the committee, reported "an ordinance to
dissolve the Union between the State of Mississippi and the states united
with her under the compact entitled 'The Constitution of the United States
of America.' " A substitute motion "providing for the final adjustment of
all difficulties between the free and slave states of the United States,
by securing further constitutional guarantees within the present Union,"
was promptly rejected by a vote of twenty-one to seventy-eight. An
amendment to postpone the application of the ordinance until, at least,
the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana had taken a similar
step, and another to submit the question to the qualified electors of the
states were defeated by overwhelming majorities, the votes being
twenty-five to seventy-four on the former, and twenty-nine to seventy on
the latter proposition. The yeas and nays having been ordered on the final
passage of the ordinance, the secretary called the roll slowly, the first
name being James L. Alcorn. As he had been an ardent "cooperationist," all
who were present awaited his vote with much interest. He arose and
responded with much feeling: "Mr. President, the die is cast ; the rubicon
is crossed; I follow the army that goes to Rome; I vote for the
ordinance." When the roll-call had proceeded until it was manifest that
the state would sever its connection with the Union, tears came into the
eyes of the delegates and of the large throng of spectators who had
assembled to view the solemn proceedings.
In less than an hour from the time of its
introduction, the ordinance was adopted by a vote of eighty-four to
fifteen, only one delegate being absent. The profound silence which
followed the announcement of the vote was finally broken by the earnest
tones of a minister who, in eloquent words, invoked the Divine blessings
on the step just taken, while the delegates and spectators, standing with
bowed heads, joined in the invocation.
Immediately thereafter a gentleman entered the
hall bearing "a beautiful silk flag with a single white star in the
centre," which the president of the convention received, remarking, after
a brief pause, that it was the first flag to be unfolded "in the young
republic." The delegates then saluted it by rising, and the hall rang with
the shouts of applause from the multitude of spectators. This scene gave
rise to the popular war-song "The Bonnie Blue Flag that Bears a Single
Star," written by one of the spectators, who first sang it in the old
theatre in Jackson on the night of the following day. An eye witness of
many of these stirring scenes says that "illuminations and artillery
salutes in Jackson and elsewhere * * expressed the popular approval of
this drama in the history of the state."
The ordinance having been engrossed on
parchment was signed by ninety-eight members of the convention in the
presence of the governor and the members of the legislature on Jan. 15,
1861. Although one of the delegates present, Dr. J. J. Thornton, of Rankin
county, refused to sign the document, he was one of the first volunteers
to enter the army of the Confederacy. The only other delegate who failed
to sign the ordinance, John W. Wood, of Attala, did not attend the final
session of the convention.
The secession convention also adopted "An
address setting forth the Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce
and Justify the Secession of Mississippi from the Federal Union." It
placed the state on a war footing, and elected a major-general (Jefferson
Davis) and four brigadier-generals (Earl Van Dorn, Charles Clark, James L.
Alcorn and C. H. Mott) to take charge of the military forces of the little
nation. Wiley P. Harris, Walter Brooke, William S. Wilson, A. M. Clayton,
W. S. Barry, James T. Harrison and J. A. P. Campbell were chosen to
represent the state in a convention of the seceding states to meet in
Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 14, 1861, for the purpose of framing a constitution
for the new Confederacy. After a session of seventeen days the secession
convention of Mississippi then adjourned subject to the call of the
president. It reassembled on March 25, 1861, and ratified the Constitution
of the Confederate States by a vote of seventy-eight to seven.
When notified of the action of the state in
seceding from the Union, the senators and representatives from Mississippi
in Congress promptly resigned their seats and returned to their homes. In
his farewell address to the United States Senate, Jefferson Davis made a
brief and dignified defense of the step which his state had taken. This
memorable address, "neither apologetic nor aggressive," but chaste in
diction and elevated in sentiment, was widely published and everywhere
received as a statement of the views and incentives that actuated the
people of the seceding states. On February 9 he was elected by the
Montgomery convention to serve as President of the Confederacy. Although
he had neither sought nor desired this position, he promptly went to
Montgomery, where he was inaugurated, Feb. 18, 1861.
Preparations for the Conflict.
As a result of the election of President
Lincoln in November, 1860, military companies were organized in
Mississippi at the rate of from seven to eight a week, numbering from
fifty to sixty men each. At the time of the signing of the ordinance of
secession (Jan. 15, 1861) there were sixty-five companies of volunteers in
the state. On Jan. 23, 1861, the secession convention revised the military
law of 1860 and placed the state on a war footing, as stated above.
Wiley P. Harris, of Jackson, Miss., wrote to
President Davis, Sept. 30, 1861: "You would be struck with the aspect
which our state now presents. Except in the principal towns, the country
appears to be deserted. There are not more men left than the demands of
society and the police of the slave-holding country actually require. The
state has put in the field and in camp about 25,000 men. This exceeds her
proportion." A few weeks later Governor Pettus estimated that the number
of Mississippi volunteers had increased to over 35,000, "which is
probably," he adds, "a larger proportion of the adult male population than
any state or nation has sent to war in modern times."
The problem of arming and equipping this large
number of troops was a serious one. A few of the most wealthy planters in
the state equipped companies at their own expense. Flintlock muskets were
changed for the use of percussion caps, and with these a large number of
troops were armed for battle. Churches gave their bells and housewives
their copper and brass cooking utensils to be used in making cannon.
Spinning wheels and looms were taxed to their utmost capacity to make
clothing for the use of the soldiers.
Several days before the meeting of the
Montgomery convention for the purpose of forming the Confederacy,
Mississippi had entered actively into military operations on her own
account. In obedience to an order from Governor Pettus to "prevent any
hostile expedition from the Northern states descending the river"
(Mississippi), troops stationed at Vicksburg fired upon the steamer 0. A.
Tyler, from Cincinnati, on Jan. 11, 1861. Another force of about 1,500
men, ordered to meet at Enterprise on the same day, was soon (January 13)
on its way to Pensacola to help capture Fort Pickens. On January 15
Mississippi troops made an attack upon the Federal naval works on Ship
Island, capturing the same in a third assault on the morning of the 20th.
In the latter part of March, 1861, twenty
companies of Mississippi troops were sent to Pensacola under the command
of Gen. Charles Clark. They were there organized into two regiments and
transferred (April 14) to the command of General Bragg, being the first
Mississippi troops to enter the provisional army of the Confederate
of Hostilities in the State.
The advance into Mississippi of 100,000
Federal troops under General Grant after the battle of Shiloh (April 6,
1862) marks the beginning of hostilities in the northern part of the
state. When this formidable army entrenched itself before Corinth, General
Beauregard, having only 53,000 men, was forced to evacuate the place and
retire fifty-five miles south to Tupelo, which he made a base of
operations. Here he was superseded by General Bragg. General Rosecrans
fortified Corinth and made it a base of supplies. About this time Holly
Springs was captured by a Federal force. General Rosecrans attacked
General Price at Iuka on September 19, and forced him to retreat to
Dorn made a daring and bloody attempt to recapture Corinth (Oct. 3-4,
1862), but was repulsed with great loss after having taken part of the
town. The Confederate army then retreated toward Ripley and later to
Grenada, where it was stationed when the second campaign was inaugurated
against Vicksburg. As the campaigns against Vicksburg were among the most
important of the war, a more detailed account of them will now be given.
Campaigns Against Vicksburg.
The Confederate government depended on a small
fleet of gunboats above Memphis and a few guns at Memphis, and the two
forts, Jackson and St. Philip, near the mouth of the river, for the
protection of the river and for keeping it under Confederate control.
Early in the war the Union troops had gained Kentucky and Tennessee,
destroyed the Confederate gunboats and taken possession of the upper river
almost to Memphis.
The United States government sent a large squadron under Admiral Farragut,
with a flotilla of gunboats, mortar-boats and transports bearing an army
under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, to the mouth of the Mississippi (May,
1862). By capturing the forts at the mouth of the river and taking
possession of New Orleans, this force opened the river as far north as
Farragut at once steamed up the river to Vicksburg, carrying with him
thirty-five vessels, including nine ocean war vessels, eighteen
mortar-boats and transport boats, with 3,000 troops. He appeared before
Vicksburg May 18, 1862. About the same time Memphis fell, and the upper
river gunboat fleet came down the river and anchored above the city.
Upon the fall of New Orleans the Confederate
government, seeing the danger that threatened Vicksburg, hastily sent a
few heavy guns and troops to defend it. These were scarcely mounted when
Farragut demanded the surrender of the city. The citizens of the place
were well-nigh unanimous in saying "the city must be defended, even if all
our houses and property are destroyed." The two great Federal fleets then
bombarded the city until July 18two months.
We are told that "one of the most brilliant
naval feats recorded in the annals of naval warfare" occurred on July 15,
1862. On that day the Confederate ram Arkansas, which had been built
partly at Memphis and partly near Yazoo City, under the direction of the
gallant Mississippian, Capt. Isaac N. Brown, ran out of the mouth of the
Yazoo River, and "single-handed attacked the whole Federal fleet,
including Admiral Farragut's squadron of eight vessels and Admiral Davis's
gunboat fleet of twelve vessels." She reached the wharf at Vicksburg after
losing about half of her crew, but, being disabled, was finally blown up
by her officers to prevent her capture by the Union fleet. The Federal
authorities having decided that Vicksburg could not be taken from the
water front, brought the first campaign to an end.
The second campaign against Vicksburg was
begun in December, 1862. Gen. W. T. Sherman, after being largely
reinforced, was directed to move rapidly down the river with his fleet to
take Vicksburg, which was then held by only about 5,000 Confederate
troops, before General Pemberton with 21,000 men could go from Grenada to
the relief of the city.
General Grant, then in the vicinity of Oxford
and Water Valley, with an army of 50,000 Federal troops, had planned to
attack the Confederate army at Grenada or to follow it towards Vicksburg
if it left his front. Although these expeditions were well planned, both
of them failed. General Sherman with his force of 33,000 men and sixty
guns descended the river and disembarked near the mouth of Chickasaw
Bayou, ten miles from Vicksburg. In attempting to lead his army to the
hills several miles distant, he encountered a small Confederate force of
about 2,500 men under Gen. Stephen D. Lee and was disastrously repulsed
with an Union loss of 1,776 killed, wounded and prisoners, and a
Confederate loss of only 120 men. This battle took place near the head of
Chickasaw Bayou six miles from Vicksburg on Dec. 29, 1862.
General Grant's plans also failed of execution
because of cavalry raids under Gen. N. B. Forrest and Gen. Earl Van Dorn.
The first of these raids in west Tennessee destroyed bridges and tore up
sixty miles of the railroad over which the supplies for the Federal army
were to be transported. The second, captured and destroyed the Federal
stores amounting to several million dollars that had been collected at
Holly Springs. These two skilfully-planned raids forced General Grant to
move his army to Memphis and enabled General Pemberton to go to the relief
of Vicksburg. When the Confederate reinforcements from Grenada began to
arrive in Vicksburg, General Sherman reembarked his army upon his
transports (Jan. 3, 1863) and disappeared from before the city.
The third campaign against Vicksburg was begun
in January, 1863, immediately upon the failure of the preceding one. It
terminated successfully for the Union army on July 4, 1863. Upon his
return to Memphis General Grant put his army on transports and descended
the Mississippi River, being reinforced by General McClernand, who had
superseded General Sherman after his failure to take Vicksburg.
The united armies, which numbered over 50,000
men, encamped on the Louisiana side of the river. During the months of
January, February, March and part of April, numerous attempts were made in
connection with Admiral Porter's gunboat fleet and the transports to force
a passage through the bayous and rivers in the delta between the
Mississippi and Yazoo rivers and to reach the highlands north of
Vicksburg. By cutting the levee at Yazoo Pass on the Mississippi side a
force under General McPherson was enabled to enter the Coldwater and
Tallahatchie rivers, and the smaller gunboats and transports succeeded in
getting within a few miles of the Yazoo River, where they were stopped by
the guns at Fort Pemberton on the Tallahatchie River. About 30,000 Union
troops were engaged in this attempt. A similar attempt was made by Admiral
Porter and General Sherman to get through Steele's Bayou and Deer Creek
into Sunflower River and into the Yazoo. This also failed. An unsuccessful
effort was then made to get below Vicksburg from Lake Providence through a
bayou into the Red River and thence into the Mississippi. General Grant
also attempted to change the channel of the Mississippi by means of a
canal dug opposite the city of Vicksburg, so as to cause the river to make
a new bed with its waters emptying below the city. This plan also failed.
General Grant then decided upon the bold plan
of running his gunboats and transports by the batteries at Vicksburg in
order to provide facilities for crossing to the Mississippi side below the
city with a part of his army which he marched below Vicksburg on the
Louisiana side of the river. His boats successfully passed the batteries
on the night of April 16 and again a few nights later. General Grant then
landed with two corps of nearly 35,000 men at Bruinsburg, Miss., leaving a
third corps on the opposite side of the river to threaten the bluffs to
the north of Vicksburg. With his troops that had crossed the river he
marched rapidly toward Port Gibson before General Pemberton could
concentrate his forces to check the advance. General Bowen with about
5,000 men stationed at Grand Gulf attempted to stop General Grant, but was
defeated near Port Gibson (May 1) and driven across the Big Black River.
In the meantime several Federal cavalry raids
into different parts of Mississippi forced General Pemberton to send
Confederate troops from Vicksburg for the protection of public and private
property, thereby greatly reducing the forces available for the protection
of the city. The most celebrated of these raids was that made by a force
under General Grierson, who passed through the state from La Grange,
Tenn., to Baton Rouge, La. (April 17-May 2, 1863). Other similar raids
penetrated to different parts of the state from the Memphis and Charleston
railroad between Memphis and Corinth.
After the battle near Port Gibson, General
Grant's army rested near the Big Black River until he was reinforced by
General Sherman. About May 8 the Federal army, numbering about 42,000 men,
moved toward Raymond and Jackson. They succeeded in cutting off
Confederate reinforcements attempting to reach Vicksburg. On May 12, a
Confederate brigade was encountered at Raymond and forced back to Jackson.
One corps of General Grant's army then marched to Jackson by way of
Clinton, while another corps went to the same destination by another
route. As Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who had reached Jackson on the evening
of May 13, had only a small body of Confederate troops at his command, he
was forced to evacuate the city. He made a show of resistance, however, in
order to gain time to move some of his supplies and the state archives
before the entrance of the Federal army. After an engagement which lasted
several hours, the Union army marched in and destroyed the supplies that
had been left and burned several buildings, including the Catholic church
and the penitentiary.
General Johnston, having withdrawn from the
city to the north, sent dispatches to General Pemberton, who was near
Vicksburg, suggesting that he attack the Union army at Clinton. These
dispatches were delivered by a Union spy to General Grant, who promptly
arranged to thwart the plans of the Confederates. In order to prevent the
junction of Pemberton's and Johnston's forces, he planned to concentrate
several divisions of the Federal army near Edwards. Then followed the
battle of Champion Hill or Baker's Creek, May 16, in which the
Confederates with only 15,000 men, after offering a gallant resistance to
35,843 Union soldiers, were forced to retreat across Baker's Creek. After
another small engagement at a railroad bridge over Big Black River (May
17), the greater part of General Pemberton's army retired within the
intrenchments surrounding Vicksburg.
The memorable siege of Vicksburg began after
General Pemberton's return to the city, and lasted forty-seven days (from
May 18 to July 4, 1863). On May 19 and May 22 General Grant attempted to
take the city by assault, but was repulsed with a loss of about 5,000 men.
He was rapidly reinforced, however, until his army numbered about 75,000
men. He placed about 220 guns in position, and the city was encircled on
the land side by his troops and on the river front by Admiral Porter's
formidable fleet. The besieged city, containing only 17,000 effective
Confederate troops, was virtually surrounded by "a sheet of bayonets and
fire." General Johnston, who had succeeded in collecting an army of 25,000
or 30,000 men, planned in vain to go to the relief of General Pemberton.
We are told that the fleet threw into the city "day and night the largest
shells and shots known in modern warfare." The besieging infantry and
artillery on the land side kept up a continuous fire on the entrenched
army within the city. The scream of shells and the roar of cannon were at
times almost deafening. The inhabitants sought refuge in caves dug into
the hillsides. As the siege advanced the supply of food was exhausted, and
hunger and exposure produced diseases which became so widespread that,
when the heroic resistance of the besieged city came to an end on July 4,
1863, 8,000 men were reported sick. With the fall of Port Hudson, four
days later, the work of opening the Mississippi River to Federal commerce
Closing Incidents of the War in the State.
On July 12, 1863, General Sherman made an
unsuccessful attempt to recapture Jackson, from which the Federal army had
withdrawn May 14. General Johnston again evacuated the city because of the
superior numbers of the Union force, and retreated to Brandon on July 16.
He was followed by part of General Sherman's army which, after capturing
Brandon and destroying the railroad, returned with the rest of the Federal
forces to Vicksburg.
After the fall of Vicksburg the greater part of the Confederate forces
were transferred to other states, leaving only a small infantry force in
the state. In the autumn of 1863 and the winter following, cavalry forces
were organized by Gen. Stephen D. Lee and Gen. N. B. Forrest to protect
the state against Federal raids. Many small engagements followed in which
the Confederates were generally victorious. One of the most disastrous
raids was made in the winter of 1864 by General Sherman with a force of
over 30,000 men. He made an expedition from Vicksburg to Meridian along
the line of the Alabama and Vicksburg railroad, being ineffectually
opposed from the Big Black River to the latter place by General Lee with a
small cavalry force of only 2,500 men. In this raid the Federal forces
laid waste the country through which they passed, burning and destroying
public and private property. They burned Meridian and destroyed the
railroads leading into that city, warping the railroad irons so as to make
them utterly useless. They returned to Vicksburg by a route to the north
of the one they had just traveled, continuing their work of destruction.
The following extracts from General Sherman's reports give an insight into
the character of his work: "We are absolutely stripping the country of
corn, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, everything, and the new-growing corn
is being thrown open as pasture fields or hauled for the use of our
animals. The wholesale destruction to which the country is now being
subjected is terrible to contemplate." "We have desolated this land for
thirty miles round about [Jackson]. There are about eight hundred women
and children who will perish unless they receive some relief." "There was
and is too great a tendency to plunder and pillage, confined to a few men,
that reflects discredit on us all."
Gen. William Sooy Smith with a cavalry force
of 7,000 men made a cavalry raid into north Mississippi, intending to
unite with General Sherman's force at Meridian. This expedition got only
as far as West Point, Miss., where its work of destruction was arrested by
General Forrest. This raid resulted in the destruction of the railroads
and much property as far as it extended, over 3,000 mules and as many
negroes being carried off.
Shortly after these raids Mississippi was
again deprived of a large part of the troops that had been collected for
her defense, General Lee's division of cavalry with what infantry had been
left in the state being sent to reinforce Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army
in Georgia. The only troops left in Mississippi were Forrest's cavalry in
the northern part of the state, and a small brigade under Gen. Wirt Adams
Brice's Cross-Roads (June 10) General Forrest met and completely routed a
large Federal force of cavalry and infantry that had been sent from
Memphis to defeat him, gaining one of the most signal victories of the war
for the forces engaged. In the following month another Federal force of
about 15,000 men under Gen. A. J. Smith was sent against General Forrest.
Several engagements were fought near Pontotoc and Tupelo, July 16-19,
ending in a drawn battle at Harrisburg, near the latter place, in which
Generals Lee and Forrest lost nearly 1,000 men. The Federal force then
retreated to Memphis.
Mississippi Troops in Other States.
Before the end of hostilities, Mississippi
furnished over 70,000 troops to the armies of the Confederacy. They did
heroic services in the armies of Robert E. Lee, the Johnstons, Beauregard,
Bragg, Hood, and of other Confederate generals in less important commands.
In the battle of Shiloh the Sixth Mississippi Regiment lost 70.5 per cent.
of those engaged; at Sharpsburg the Sixteenth Mississippi lost 63.1 per
cent.; at Chickamauga the Twenty-ninth Mississippi lost 52.7 per cent.; at
Murfreesboro the Eighth Mississippi lost 47.1 per cent.; in the Seven
Days' battle around Richmond, at Gaines' Mill and Glendale, Featherston's
Mississippi Brigade lost 49.3 per cent. and Longstreet's division 50 per
A list of all
the gallant officers who were furnished by the state to the Confederate
army cannot be given in this connection. No treatment of the military
record of Mississippi would be completed, however, without mentioning the
following commanders whose valuable services reflect credit upon the
history of the state : Maj.-Gen. Earl Van Dorn, the dashing cavalry leader
; Capt. Isaac N. Brown, the brave commander of the Confederate ram
Arkansas; Brig.-Gen. Richard Griffith, who fell in the Seven Days' battle
around Richmond ; Brig.-Gen. Carnot Posey, who was killed at the head of
his command at Bristow Station; Brig.-Gen. William Barksdale, whose
services at Gettysburg have made "the place where Barksdale fell" a spot
of historic interest, and Maj.-Gen. E. C. Walthall, who served throughout
the war without asking for "a hard place for glory" or "a soft place for
comfort." In the Georgia campaign Maj.-Gen. William T. Martin and
Brigadier-Generals Wirt Adams, W. S. Featherston, S. W. Ferguson, M. P.
Lowrey, C. W. Sears, J. H. Sharp and J. A. Smith rendered conspicuous
services. Mississippi was represented in Virginia by Brigadier-Generals B.
G. Humphreys, Nathaniel H. Harris, Joseph R. Davis and Col. J. M. Stone.
Generals J. R. Chalmers, Robert Lowry, S. G. French and others also
rendered valuable services in this great conflict.
Government During the War Period.
The history of the government of Mississippi
while in the Confederacy may be briefly summarized as follows : John J.
Pettus, who was chief executive of the state when it seceded from the
Union, was reelected almost without opposition in October, 1861. He was
succeeded by Charles Clark, who was governor of the state from Nov. 16,
1863, to May 22, 1865, when he was removed by Federal troops, being
followed by Judge William L. Sharkey as provisional governor by the
appointment of President Johnson.
During the greater part of the connection of
the state with the Confederacy, the sessions of the state legislature were
devoted to the consideration of matters pertaining to the war and to the
welfare of the soldiers in the army. In anticipation of the capture of the
state capital by the Federal army in 1863, the public records of
Mississippi were removed to Meridian. They were afterwards moved to
Enterprise, Columbus and Macon, in the order named. The legislature met at
Macon and at Columbus, General Clark being inaugurated at the latter
Upon the fall
of the Confederacy in 1865, Governor Clark issued a proclamation from
Meridian the day after the surrender of General Taylor near that place in
which he directed the legislature to assemble in extraordinary session at
Jackson on May 18 to provide for a state convention. In this proclamation
he enjoined all county officers to be watchful in the preservation of
order and the protection of property. "Let all citizens," he said,
"fearlessly adhere to the fortunes of the state, assist the returning
soldiers to obtain civil employment, and meet facts with fortitude and
common sense." The legislature was in session only about one hour when the
report came that General Osband, of the Federal army, had received orders
to arrest the members. It was hastily dissolved and the members left the
capital in great confusion. In its brief session, however, provision was
made for the appointment of a committee to go to Washington in order to
confer with the President in regard to the situation.
In a short time a Federal officer demanded
that Governor Clark vacate his office and surrender the archives of the
state. Upon leaving the office the governor said : "I comply with your
demands only because I am forced to do so, and protest in the name of
freedom and justice against this act of lawless usurpation on the part of
the President of the United States." Governor Clark was then arrested and
sent to Fort Pulaski, Savannah, where he was imprisoned. This act marks
the beginning of the period of Federal interference with the civil affairs
of the state.
BIBLIOGRAPHY.Lowry and McCardle: History of Mississippi; Riley, Franklin
L.: School History of Mississippi; Rowland: Mississippi Official and
Statistical Register (1908). Publications of the Mississippi Historical
Society: Lee, Stephen D.: The Campaign of Vicksburg, Miss., in 1863 from
April 15th to and Including the Battle of Champion Hill, or Baker's Creek,
May 16, 1863, and Siege of Vicksburg (Vol. III.); Deupree, J. G.: Capture
of Holly Springs, Dec. 20, 1862; Gordon, James: Battle of Corinth and
Subsequent Retreat; Lee, Stephen D.: Campaign of Generals Grant and
Sherman against Vicksburg, December, 1862, and January 1 and 2, 1863,
known as the Chickasaw Bayou Campaign and Sherman's Meridian Expedition
from Vicksburg to Meridian February 3 to March 6, 1863 (Vol. IV.);
Battlefields of Mississippi (Vol. V.); Lee, Stephen D.: Battle of Brice's
Cross Roads and Battle of Harrisburg, or Tupelo; Wood, Thomas H.:
Secession Convention of 1860 (Vol. VI.); Dowman, Robert: Yazoo County in
the Civil War; Deupree, J. G.: Reminiscences of Service in the First
Mississippi Cavalry; Jones, J. H.: The Rank and File at Vicksburg;
McNeilly, J. S.: A Mississippi Brigade in the Last Days of the Confederacy
(Vol. VII.); Lee, Stephen D.: Index to Campaigns, Battles and Skirmishes
in Mississippi from 1861 to 1865 (Vol. VIII.); Love, Wm. A.: Mississippi
at Gettysburg; McFarland, Baxter: A Forgotten Expedition to Pensacola,
January, 1861 (Vol. IX.). Consult also Official Records of the Union and
FRANKLIN LAFAYETTE RILEY,
Professor of History, University of Mississippi.
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