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Copyrighted, 1902 

Neither the Editor nor the Society assumes any responsibility 
for the opinions or statements of contributors 






This volume of the Publications has been prepared and print- 
ed under the same authority as was that of last year. Its con- 
tributions are perhaps more varied and certainly more numer- 
ous than have been those in former volumes. This increased 
activity in historical work is largely due to the enlightened 
policy of the Legislature in making provision for the preserva- 
tion of all worthy contributions to State history. It is hoped 
that this policy will find ample justification in the character of 
this and of the preceding volume. 

The contributions for 1901 have been for the most part along 
the same general lines as have those of preceding years. The 
possibilities of archaeological work in the State are emphasized 
in this volume in a way that will lead the reader to expect 
greater activity in this neglected field in the near future. The 
character and extent of the contributions to military, political, 
religious, and literary history will be especially gratifying to 
the reader. A great wealth of genealogical and biographical 
material will also be found in many of the monographs here 
published. The reminiscences of pioneer life and the stories of 
early events in the history of the State will be appreciated by 
the reader, since they contain the flavor of the olden times. An 
important phase of literary and biographical work, the history 
of oratory in Mississippi, has also received attention in this vol- 
ume. It is to be hoped that a future contribution will do jus- 
tice to the pulpit oratory of the State. 

F. L. R. 

University, Miss., Nov. I, 1901. 




STEPHEN D. LEE, Columbus, Mississippi. 


PROFESSOR R. W. JONES, University of Mississippi. 
JUDGE B. T. KIMBROUGH, Oxford, Mississippi. 

CHANCELLOR R. B. FULTON, University of Mississippi. 


PROFESSOR FRANKLIN L. RILEY, University of Mississippi. 

(In addition to the officers.) 

PROFESSOR J. M. WHITE, Agricultural and Mechanical College 

of Mississippi. 

BISHOP CHAS. B. GALLOWAY, Jackson, Mississippi. 

PRESIDENT J. R. PRESTON, of Stanton College; Natchez, Mis- 

DR. CHARLES HILLMAN BROUGH, Mississippi College, Clinton, 


All persons who are interested in the work of the Society and 
desire to promote its objects are invited to become members. 

There is no initiation fee. The only cost to members is, an- 
nual dues, $2.00, or life dues, $30.00. Members receive all pub- 
lications of the Society free of charge. 

Donations of relics, manuscripts, books and papers are solicit- 
ed for the Museum and Archives of the Society. 

Address all communications to the Secretary of the Mis- 
sissippi Historical Society, University P. O., Mississippi. 



Preface 3 

Officers for 1901, 4 

Contents, 5 

I. Report of the Annual Meeting, April 18-19, 1901, by Dr. Frank- 
lin L. Riley, 9 

II. Campaign of Generals Grant and Sherman against Vicksburg 
in December, 1862, and January ist and 2nd, 1863, Known as 
the " Chickasaw Bayou Campaign," by Gen. Stephen D. Lee, 15 

III. Sherman's Meridian Expedition from Vicksburg to Meridian, 

February 3rd to March 6th, 1863, by Gen. Stephen D. Lee, . 37 

IV. Capture of Holly Springs, December 20, 1862, by Prof. J. G. 

Deupree 49 

V. Battle of Corinth and Subsequent Retreat, by Col. James Gor- 
don, 63 

VI. Work of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, by Mrs. 

Albert G. Weems, 73 

VII. Local Incidents of the War between the States, by Mrs. Josie 

Frazee Cappleman 79 

VIII. The First Struggle over Secession in Mississippi, by Mr. Jas. 

W. Garner, 89 

' IX. Reconstruction in East and Southeast Mississippi, by Capt. W. 

H. Hardy, . 105 

X. Legal Status of Slaves in Mississippi before the War, by W. W. 

Magruder, Esq., 133 

XI. Mississippi's Constitution and Statutes in Reference to Freed- 
nien and Their Alleged Relation to the Reconstruction Acts 

and War Amendments, by A. H. Stone, Esq., 143 

XII. History of Millsaps College, by Pres. W. B. Murrah, .... 227 

XIII. Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi, by Bishop Chas. B. Galloway, . . 233 

XIV. Early Beginnings of Baptists in Mississippi, by Rev. Z. T. Lea- 

veil, . . 245 

XV. Importance of Archaeology, by Peter J. Hamilton, Esq., . . . 255 

XVI. The Choctaw Creation Legend, by If. S. Halbert, Esq., ... 267 

XVII. Last Indian Council on the Noxubee, by H. S. Halbert, Esq., . 271 

XVIII. The Real Philip Nolan, by Rev. Edward Everett Hale, .... 281 

XIX. Letter from George Poindexter to Felix Huston, Esq., . . . . 331 

XX. The History of a County, by Mrs. Helen D. Bell 335 

XXI. Recollections of Pioneer Life in Mississippi, by Miss Mary /. 

Welsh, 343 

XXII. Political and Parliamentary Orators and Oratory in Mississippi, 

by Dunbar Rowland, Esq , 357 

XXIII. The Chevalier Bayard of Mississippi, Edward Gary Walthall, 

by Miss Mary Duval, 401 

XXIV. Life of Gen. John A. Quitman, by Mrs. Rosalie Q. Duncan, . . 415 
XXV. T. A. S. Adams, Poet, Educator and Pulpit Orator, by Prof. 

Dabney Lipscomb, 425 

XXVI. Influence of the Mississippi River upon the Early Settlement of 

Its Valley, by Richard B. Haughlon, Esq., 465 

XXVII. The Mississippi Panic of 1813, by Col. John A. Watkins, . . . 483 

XXVIII. Union and Planter's Bank Bonds, by Judge J. A. P. Campbell, 493 

XXIX. Index, 499 




The fourth annual meeting of the Mississippi Historical So- 
ciety was held at Meridian in the parlors of the Hall of the 
Woodmen of the World. The four sessions were presided over 
by Gen. Stephen D. Lee, President of the Society. 

The first session was opened with prayer by Dr. J. M. Weems, 
of Meridian, Miss. Despite the inclemency of the weather this 
session was well attended by members of the Society from dif- 
ferent parts of the State and by the citizens of Meridian. In 
a few well chosen words Mr. R. E. Wilbourn, of the Meridian 
bar, delivered an address of welcome to the Society. His 
sentiments of hospitality and good cheer were eloquently re- 
sponded to by Dr. Charles H. Brough, of Mississippi College. 

Gen. Stephen D. Lee then read an interesting account of the 
battle of Chickasaw Bayou (see page 15), in which battle the 
Confederate forces were led to victory under his able command. 
A brief extract of the paper prepared by Prof. J. G. Deupree, 
of the University of Mississippi, on the "Capture of Holly 
Springs, Dec. 20, 1862" (see page 49), was read by Dr. C. H. 
Brough, the author having been providentially hindered from 
attending the meeting. The next subject on the programme, 
"Battle of Corinth and Subsequent Retreat" (see page 63), by 
Col. Jas. Gordon, of Okolona, Miss., was then presented by 
title and submitted to the Society for publication. In the ab- 
sence of Judge J. A. Orr, of Columbus, Miss., the Society was 
deprived of the pleasure of hearing his carefully written mono- 
graph on the "Hampton Roads Conference." 1 In a few well 
chosen words upon the valuable services of the women of the 
South, in war and in peace, the President of the Society then 
introduced Mrs. Albert G. Weems, of Meridian, Miss., President 
of the Meridian Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, 

1 This paper was not received by the editor in time for insertion in 
this volume of the Publications. 


io Mississippi Historical Society. 

who presented in a charming manner her interesting paper on 
the work of this organization (see p. 73). A "History of 
Millsaps College" (see p. 227), was then read by Dr. W. B. 
Murrah, President of that institution. Judge Richard B. 
Haughton, of St. Louis, Mo., then discussed the "Influence of 
the Mississippi River on the Early Settlement of Its Valley" 
(see p. 465). The Society adjourned to meet at 10:15 o'clock 
on the following morning. 

The second session was attended by a number of distin- 
guished visitors, who were not able to reach the city in time for 
the preceding session. After calling the Society to order, the 
President announced the following Committee on Nominations : 
W. W. Magruder, of Starkville, Mrs. Helen D. Bell, of Jack- 
son, and Hon. P. J. Hamilton, of Mobile. Bishop Charles B. 
Galloway, of Jackson, read a very interesting sketch, entitled 
"Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi" (see p. 233). Dr. Franklin L. 
Riley, of the University of Mississippi, then made a few remarks, 
presenting some amusing characteristics of the religious wor- 
ship of a hundred years ago, as given in Lorenzo Dow's Journal. 
Mr. W. W. Magruder presented a valuable paper in which he 
discussed the "Legal Status of Slaves in Mississippi before the 
War" (see p. 133). An interesting contribution to the early 
local history of the eastern part of the State, entitled "Recol- 
lections of Pioneer Life in Mississippi" (see p. 343), by Miss 
Mary J. Welsh, of Shuqualak, Miss., was then read by the Sec- 
retary of the Society, the author, though in attendance, being 
unable on account of recent illness to present her paper in per- 
son. The following papers were read by title and submitted to 
the Society for publication: "Local History of the War be- 
tween the States" (see p. 79), by Mrs. Josie Frazee Cappleman ; 
"Re-establishment of the Railway and Postal Service in Missis- 
sippi in 1865," by Mr. Jas. W. Garner, of Columbia University, 
New York City; 2 "Reconstruction in East and Southeast Mis- 
sissippi" (see p. 105), by Capt. W. H. Hardy, of Hattiesburg, 
Miss.; "Legal Status of the Negro in Mississippi after the 
War" (see p. 143), by A. H. Stone, Esq., of Greenville, Miss.,' 
"History of the Patrons' Union of Mississippi," by Dr. J. B. 

* A paper entitled the "First Struggle over Secession in Mississippi" 
(See p. 89) has been substituted for the one which appeared on the 

Report of Fourth Annual Meeting. Riley. n 

Bailey, of Conehatta, Miss. 3 The Society adjourned at one 
o'clock to meet at 3 :3O p. m. 

The programme had been arranged for an Archaeological 
Conference, the first one held in the history of the Society, to 
begin at 3:30 o'clock. This Conference was perhaps the best 
session of the meeting, judging from the interest aroused by 
the papers which were read. The exercises began with a val- 
uable paper on the "Importance of Archaeological Investiga- 
tions" (see p. 255), by Hon. Peter J. Hamilton, of Mobile, Ala. 
Mr. H. S. Halbert, of Lucile, Miss., then presented "The Choc- 
taw Creation Legend" (see p. 267) in the Choctaw language and 
an interpretation of the same. Mrs. Irwin Huntington Burton, 
of Meridian, Miss., then read an interesting paper on the Nat- 
chez Indians and exhibited some valuable relics which have been 
found near the former habitat of that tribe. 4 Mr. A. J. Brown, 
of Newton, Miss., author of a History of Newton County, then 
read from his book a chapter entitled a "Sketch of the Choctaw 
Indians of Mississippi." 5 Mr. H. S. Halbert then made a few 
interesting remarks upon the traces of sun worship that still 
remain among the Choctaws. Mr. P. J. Hamilton also pre- 
sented a few facts in this connection. A paper entitled "Ex- 
tinct Towns of Mississippi" (see Vol. V.), was read by Dr. 
Franklin L. Riley. Two valuable contributions by H. S. Hal- 
bert on "Small Indian Tribes of Mississippi" (see Vol. V.), and 
"Last Indian Council on the Noxubee River" (see page 271), 
were then read by title and submitted to the Society for publica- 

By a unanimous vote the Society adopted a programme of 
Archaeological work, which was prepared by Mr. H. S. Halbert, 
and requested him to procure the assistance of competent in- 
vestigators on the "unassigned" subjects. This programme is 
as follows : 

1. Dr. T. H. Lewis, St. Paul, Minn. "The Route of De Soto's Ex- 
pedition from Cabnsto to Minoya." 

2. Unassigned "The Kwapa or Arkansas Habitat in Mississippi. 
Were the Quizquiz People of De Soto's Day Kwapas? Identification 
of the Ancient Arkansa Village on Bernard Roman's Map." 

3. Unassigned "Identification and Description of Bienville's Battle- 

4. Unassigned "Ancient Chickasaw Towns and Trails." 

* This paper was not received by the editor in time for publication in 
this volume. 

4 This paper was not submitted to the Society for publication. 
6 See Brown's History of Newton County, pp. 14-27. 

12 Mississippi Historical Society. 

5. Unassigned "Identification of the Sites of the Chickasaw Mission- 
ary Stations in Pontotoc and Monroe Counties." >f 

Prof Dabney Lipscomb "Antiquities of Lowndes County. 

7. H. S. Halbert, Esq. "Bernard Roman's Map of 1775 i hat Part 
South of the 34th Parallel." 

. Prof. J. M. White "Description of the Ancient Eartnworks of the 
Flat wood's, Three Miles Southwest of Starkville." 

9. W. W. Magruder, Esq. "Identification of the Choctaw Mission- 
ary Stations in Oktibbeha and Lowndes Counties." 

10. Rev. J. B. Bekkers "The Catholic Mission on the Chickasahay 
during the French Colonial Period." 

11. Capt. A. J. Brown "The Antiquities of Newton County, ^Includ- 
ing a Description of the Ancient Fort in Northwest Lauderdale." 

12. Mrs. Irwin Huntington Burton "The Mounds in the Natchez 

13. Peter J. Hamilton, Esq. "The Hiowanni Indians. 

14. Rev. T. L. Mellen "Identification of the Site of the Home ol 
Pushmataha on the Buckatunna." 

15. Hon. J. M. Wilkins "Identification of the Site of the Choctaw 
Agency on the Chickasahay." 

16. Prof. W. I. Thames "Location and Description of the Treaty 
Ground of Doak's Stand or Puckshenubbee's Treaty." 

17. Rev. T. L. Mellen "The Choctaw Towns and Trails West o! 
Pearl River." 

18. Peter J. Hamilton "Prehistoric Antiquities of the Mississippi 
Gulf Coast." 

The papers will upon their completion be submitted to the 
Society for publication. 

The fourth and last session of the meeting was held on the 
evening of April 19, beginning at 8:15 o'clock. The exercises 
were opened with prayer by the Rev. Ira M. Boswell, of Meri- 
dian. Mrs. Helen D. Bell presented some facts upon the his- 
tory of Hinds county in her paper entitled "The History of a 
County" (see p. 335). Maj. John J. Hood, of Meridian, then 
read part of a contribution, which was entitled "Great Missis- 
sippians Davis and Lamar." The next paper read was that 
of Judge J. A. P. Campbell, entitled "History of the Planters' 
and Union Bank Bonds" (see p. 493). In the unavoidable ab- 
sence of Judge Campbell, his contribution was presented to the 
Society by the Secretary. A very amusing account of "The 
Mississippi Panic of 1813," which was written by the late Col. 
John A Watkins, of New Orleans, La., was then read by Mr. H. 
S. Halbert. The following papers were read by title : "Early 
Times in Wayne County." 8 by Hon. J. M. Wilkins, Buckatunna, 
Miss. ; "T. A. S. Adams, Poet, Orator and Divine" (see p. 425), 
by Prof. Dabney Lipscomb, University of Mississippi; "The 
First Settlement at Biloxi," 6 by Peter J. Hamilton, Esq. ; "The 

Report of Fourth Annual Meeting. Riley. 13 

Life and Literary Remains of the Rev. J. H. Ingraham" 6 by 
Prof. A. L. Bondurant, of the University of Mississippi ; "Life 
and Writings of Dr. J. W. Monette," 6 by Dr. Franklin L. Riley ; 
"The Davis-Howell Home at Tunisburg, Louisiana," by W. H. 
Seymour, Esq., of New Orleans, La.; "The Chevalier Bayard 
of Mississippi, Edward Gary Walthall" (see p. 401), by Miss 
Mary V. Duval, of Grenada, Miss. 

Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Nomina- 
tions the members of the Executive Committee, who have serv- 
ed during the past year, were re-elected. Upon the recommen- 
dation of the Executive Committee, the Society then elected the 
following gentlemen to honorary membership: Prof. T. H. 
Lewis, Archaeologist, St. Paul, Minn., who had presented a 
valuable collection of rare old maps of Mississippi to the Arch- 
ives of the Society, and Dr. A. S. Gatschet, of the Smithsonian 
Institution, who had also shown the Society some courtesies. 

Dr. Franklin L. Riley then introduced the following resolu- 
tions, which were unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, The Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1890 sheds 
almost no light upon the deliberations of that epoch-making body, and 

Whereas, Much valuable information on the important problems that 
confronted said Convention will be lost with the disappearance of the 
surviving members of that body from the field of activity. 

Therefore, be it resolved, That the President of that Convention, Judge 
S. S. Calhoun, be requested to prepare a paper on the "Causes and 
Events that led to the Calling of that Convention," and that the fol- 
lowing named gentlemen, members of said Convention be and they 
hereby are requested to write complete histories of the important measures 
that were submitted to their respective committees and the deliberations on the 
same from their inception to their final disposition: 

1. Hon. Edward Mayes of the Committee on Bill of Rights and Gen- 
eral Provisions. 

2. Hon. R. H. Thompson of the Legislative Committee. 

3. Hon. Murry Smith of the Judiciary Committee. 

4. Hon. J. S. McNeely of the Committee on Elective Franchise, Ap- 
portionment and Elections. 

5. Hon. H. L. Muldrow of the Committee on Corporations. 

6. Hon. W. C. Wilkinson of the Committee on the Executive Depart- 

7. Hon. W. C. Richards of the Committee on Education. 

8. Hon. S. E. Packwood of the Committee on Preamble. 

9. Hon. George G. Dillard of the Committee on Penitentiary. 

10. Hon. J. W. Cutrer of the Committee on Levees, Harbors, Water 
Ways, etc. 

11. Hon. J. S. Sexton of the Committee on Revision. 

12. Hon. D. R. Barnett of the Committee on Temperance and Liquor 

That the Hon. R. B. Campbell be requested to prepare a paper on the 
"Effects of the Constitution as Shown in the Code of 1892." 

6 These papers were not submitted to the editor in time for insertion 
in this volume of the Publications. 

14 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Resolved further, That the Secretary of this Society be instructed to 
inform the above-named gentlemen of this action and that he be author- 
ized to arrange with them the time when it will be convenient to have 
them favor the Society with these contributions to Mississippi History. 

After extending a hearty vote of thanks to the hospitable cit- 
izens of Meridian and to the fraternal order, which kindly fur- 
nished a pleasant place of meeting, the Society adjourned, sub- 
ject to the call of the Executive Committee. 


AND JANUARY ist AND 2nd, 1863, KNOWN AS 


Vicksburg was confronted by the Union Army and Navy 
from May i8th, 1862, to July 4th, 1863, a period of a year 
and two months. It may be said to have been under fire nearly 
all of that time. Besides this, there were three well defined and 
separate attempts made to reduce the city and capture it. 

The first attempt was made in May, 1862. The great expedi- 
tion under Admiral Farragut and Gen. B. F. Butler, consisting 
of nine ocean war vessels, thirty mortar boats, besides trans- 
ports having troops on board, arrived in the Mississippi river 
in April, 1862. The forts (Jackson and St. Philip) near the 
mouth of the river were engaged and passed by the Union fleet, 
which also destroyed the few Confederate war vessels cooper- 
ating with the forts. After the forts were passed by the fleet, 
they surrendered to the Union forces. The forts were really 
the only obstacles to prevent these forces from holding the Mis- 
sissippi river near its mouth, and in fact, for a long distance up 
the stream ; and when they fell, the river was virtually open to 
the Union forces as high up as Memphis. Gen. Butler occu- 
pied New Orleans on May ist, 1862, the few Confederate 
troops in the city under Gen. Lovell retreating northward. The 
opening of the Mississippi river and cutting off the States of 
the Confederacy west of the river, was early in the war a stead- 
fast object of the United States. As soon as the city was occu- 
pied by Gen. Butler's army, numbering 13,000 troops, an expe- 
dition was organized to move up the river and open it to navi- 
gation, meeting a naval force and army moving down the 
stream, from Cairo, III, for the same purpose. Admiral Far- 
ragut's fleet consisted of nine ocean war vessels, carrying 150 

1 A biographical sketch of Gen. Lee will be found in the Publications 
of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. III., pp. 21-22. EDITOR. 

1 6 Mississippi Historical Society: 

guns, seventeen mortar boats and transports conveying 3,000 
troops under Gen. Williams, the entire number of vessels being 

As the expedition found the river open from New Orleans to 
Vicksburg, it met with no resistance on the way up, until reach- 
ing the latter point. Here a small Confederate force of a few 
regiments and some heavy guns had been hurriedly sent to de- 
feat their purpose. The guns had barely arrived and been placed 
in position, when the great fleet arrived, May i8th, 1862. 
The surrender of the city was demanded and declined. The 
Admiral at once bombarded it and threw shells from the mor- 
tar boats, and later (June 28th) ran by the batteries, going to 
the north of the city with eight of his vessels, delivering broad- 
side after broadside into the city and the batteries defending it. 
He anchored his vessels to the north of the city. Here he was 
joined, June 29th, by the Mississippi river Gunboat Fleet, under 
Admiral Davis, consisting of iron-clad gunboats, wooden gun- 
boats, rams and other vessels, the two fleets from the ocean 
and river united being one of the most formidable fleets of the 
kind seen up to that time. They remained inactive until July 
1 5th, when the Confederate gunboat, Arkansas, boldly steamed 
out of the Yazoo river, just above them, and fought and butted 
its way through both fleets, and drew up at the wharf at Vicks- 
burg. It was undoubtedly one of the boldest feats in naval 
record. This necessitated immediate action on the part of Ad- 
miral Farragut. That night he ran by the batteries at Vicks- 
burg, rejoining the part of his fleet and command, which re- 
mained to the south of the city. When he passed the bombard- 
ment was repeated, as was the case when he went to the north 
of the city. The two fleets withdrew from the front about July 
28th, 1862, and there was rest for a short time. It was decided 
that the city could not be taken from the river front by the navy, 
but that it could be taken by a large army cooperating with the 
navy from the land side. This in brief was the end of the first 
attempt to take the city of Vicksburg, with a combined naval 
and army force. 

Although this article is intended mainly to describe the mili- 
tary and naval operations incident to the second attempt of 
the Union forces and navy against the city of Vicksburg, and in 
the State of Mississippi, it is deemed necessary to narrate briefly 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee, 17 

the conditions on both sides leading to it. The military and na- 
val operations for the year 1862 were on a grand scale and cov- 
ered a vast extent of territory, from the Atlantic Ocean to and 
including the States of the Confederacy, west of the Mississippi 
river; in fact along the entire frontier of the Confederacy. In 
Virginia and in the East, the Confederate army under Gen. R. 
E. Lee was generally successful, forcing the Union army from 
the front of Richmond and from Virginia and transferring the 
seat of war from Virginia to Maryland, necessitating the call- 
ing out of 600,000 additional men for service in the Union army 
within a very short time. The campaign ended in the bloody 
battle of Antietam, after which Gen. Lee had to cross the Po- 
tomac again into Virginia. 

In the country to the east and west of the Mississippi river 
the results were almost the reverse of those in Virginia, and 
the Union armies were usually successful. The battles of Fts. 
Henry and Donaldson, Shiloh, Perryville, and Corinth were 
all Union victories, gradually forcing back the Confederates 
from Kentucky and Tennessee and gaining possession of the 
Mississippi river, as low down as Vicksburg, and gaining pos- 
session of Ft. Pillow and Memphis and the Memphis and 
Charleston Railroad on the Northern border of the State of 
Mississippi. About the last of October Gen. Grant is found in 
command of West Tennessee with an army of about 50,000 men 
at Columbus, Ky., Memphis, Bolivar, and Jackson, Tenn., and 
Corinth, Miss. He also had the promise of 20,000 more men 
in a few days from new levies (say 70,000 available men), and 
the great naval and transport fleet in the Mississippi river and 
its tributaries to cooperate with him. 

On the Confederate side the army of Gen. Bragg had been 
transferred to Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee ; and there 
remained in Mississippi the commands of Gens. Van Dorn and 
Price. The former had been sent to Vicksburg in June, about 
the time Farragut's expedition was there, with Breckenridge's 
division, to hold that point and the Mississippi river. He had 
gone to Baton Rouge and fought an unsuccessful battle, but 
had seized and fortified Port Hudson on the Mississippi river, 
just below the mouth of the Red river, on the Louisiana side, 
thereby (with Vicksburg) controlling about 250 miles of the 
river. As no active efforts were then being made by the Union 

18 Mississippi Historical Society. 

forces along the southern part of the Mississippi river, Gen. Van 
Dorn left a small garrison at Port Hudson and at Vicksburg, 
and taking all of his available forces to Northern Mississippi 
and uniting his command with that of Gen. Price, who was on 
the M. & O. Railroad above Tupelo, had made the bold, but un- 
successful, attack on the Union troops at Corinth. The battle 
of Corinth (Oct. 3rd and 4th) was a disastrous defeat to the 
Confederates, and it was with difficulty that Van Dorn extri- 
cated his army. President Davis then relieved Van Dorn of 
chief command in Mississippi and appointed in his place Gen. 
Pemberton, who arrived at Jackson, Miss., Oct. I4th, 1862, and 
assumed command of all troops in Mississippi. He found the 
defeated army of Gen. Van Dorn in the vicinity of Holly 
Springs and Oxford, numbering about 22,000 men, exchanged 
prisoners having about replaced the losses sustained at Cor- 
inth ; and increased the forces to the number Van Dorn had at 
Ripley, before the battle of Corinth. In his front was the army 
of Gen. Grant, numbering about 30,000 men, not including the 
garrisons of Memphis, Corinth and some other points. This 
is a fair statement of forces and positions about Nov. ist, 1862. 
The campaign during the year 1862, as stated, covered a 
broad field of operation and brought the resources of the North 
and South prominently to the front, and particularly the great 
advantage the North had over the South in having a strong and 
well organized navy and large fleets of transport steamers and 
barges, on the ocean and rivers ; and a trained seafaring popu- 
lation. The North had extensive shipyards, arsenals and dock- 
yards, machine shops, iron and steel foundries and manufac- 
turing plants and mechanical skill developed by long experience, 
while the South, being essentially an agricultural people, and 
not engaged in sea commerce and manufacturing, had virtually 
no shipyards, no foundries and but a few river steamers, with- 
out adequate means of converting them into war vessels. The 
engines she could collect were very inferior, breaking down in 
almost every emergency, as was illustrated in the ram, Arkan- 
sas, and other improvised vessels of war. What few plants she 
had, like the one at Norfolk, Va., were soon lost because of 
lack of vessels on the water. She had a few privateers, which 
she had procured mainly in Europe, and her coasts were block- 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 19 

aded early in the struggle, preventing the procuring of supplies 
and munitions of war. 

This condition was a disadvantage which could not be over- 
come, and which the operations of 1862 proved to be a power- 
ful and most decisive and potent factor in favor of the Union 
and against the Confederacy, in blockading ports, in cutting up 
the Confederacy by occupying its rivers, in establishing many 
depots and points of departure from the coast and rivers, in 
helping armies to invade, overrun and occupy new territory 
they could not cross, and in saving or aiding them when de- 

In reviewing the campaigns of 1861 and 1862, it is recalled, 
that the coasts were blockaded and Roanoke Island, Beaufort 
and Ship Island, captured by the navy, the last of these serving 
as a base of operation against New Orleans ; that the campaign 
of Forts Henry and Donaldson was made successful in having 
the gunboat and transport fleet to cooperate and assist, to re- 
duce the forts and supply the army under Gen. Grant, by the oc- 
cupation of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers ; that it was 
the navy which was the most important factor in aiding and sav- 
ing Gen. Grant's army at Shiloh, when it was being driven back, 
and in forcing Gen. Buell's reinforcements across the river, and 
in shelling and retarding the approach of the Confederate army ; 
that it was the navy which captured the forts at the mouth of 
the Mississippi river, and, passing them, captured New Orleans 
and opened the Mississippi from its mouth to Vicksburg, which 
was probably the greatest blow to the unity of the Confederacy 
that had been struck up to that time ; that it was the navy which 
sheltered the great army of Gen. McClellan when it fell back be- 
fore Gen. Lee on the James river in Virginia, and that it was 
the navy and great transport fleet which, when the Federal 
army was unable to follow Lee through Virginia in his first 
Maryland campaign, transported it by river and sea around to 
Washington to protect the capital and save Gen. Pope's army ; 
that it was the navy and transport fleet which was the impor- 
tant factor in enabling Gen. Grant to operate in interior rivers 
(Tennessee and Cumberland) almost parallel to the Mississippi 
river, compelling the evacuation of fortified posts on the Mis- 
sissippi river, such as Fort Pillow, Memphis, and other places, 
by passing them or flanking them and getting in the rear, and 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

giving the Union forces possession of the Mississippi river to 
Vicksburg. Thus it is shown that the cooperation of the great 
gunboat and transport fleets was most effective almost every- 
where during the early part of the war, and so it was to the 
close of the war. Although it is a matter of speculation, it 
seems as if the navy and its work during the four years (certainly 
during the first two) in its help to bring the war to a close, was 
as decisive in results as were the mighty Union armies which 
were in the field. Let us now see what part the gunboat and 
transport fleet at Gen. Grant's command played in the second 
attempt to capture Vicksburg. 

The plan of campaign in the second attempt to capture Vicks- 
burg was not Gen. Grant's plan, but really the plan of the au- 
thorities in Washington. The last of October found the Union 
troops in West Tennessee, and depending for supplies on the 
railroads, from Grand Junction to Columbus, Ky. With the 
possible exception of the troops at Corinth, they no longer got 
their supplies from the Tennessee river. Gen. Grant, as soon 
as he felt free to act, wanted to abandon Corinth, as a strategic 
point, considering that as he should advance southward and 
beyond the line of the M. & C. Railroad, it would lose its im- 
portance. He wanted to destroy all roads near Corinth, repair 
the road from Memphis to Grenada, and make Memphis his 
depot. He wanted to continue the plan of campaign which had 
hiterto been successful, viz.: in operating on a line parallel to 
the Mississippi river, causing the Confederates to evacuate 
Vicksburg by his moving and occupying Jackson, Miss., while 
a lesser demonstration was made down the river. While Gen. 
Grant was given partial authority to inaugurate his plans, he 
was retarded in his efforts, as the Washington authorities had 
decided that Memphis should be the point from which a com- 
bined army and naval expedition down the river should be made, 
as a flank movement, to cause the Confederate troops in North 
Mississippi to move southward, while another force should 
operate down the railroads from Grand Junction, Holly Springs, 
and Grenada, to hold as many of Pemberton's troops from 
Vicksburg as possible. 

Gen. Grant was not fully informed as to the matured plan 
at Washington, and was allowed to start to carry out his plans, 
but he soon saw that he was not supported by his superiors. 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 21 

and was checked at almost every step on his advance. He, 
however, had authority to move southward from Grand Junction 
as he had proposed, but not to repair the railroad from Mem- 
phis to Grenada, nor was he to evacuate Corinth and destroy 
the roads near that point. He concentrated his army at Grand 
Junction and La Grange, Tenn., and ordered Gen. Sherman to 
move out of Memphis and join him as he moved south. The 
troops at Helena, Arkansas, also were ordered to cross the Mis- 
sissippi river and move towards Grenada, to the south of Van 
Dorn's army, which was then in the vicinity of Holly Springs 
and Oxford. Gen. Grant was told to return Gen. Sherman to 
Memphis by Dec. 2Oth. 

The several columns moved from Helena, Memphis, Grand 
Junction and LaGrange (about 40,000 men) the last of Novem- 
ber (between the 24th and the 2/th). 

As these several columns of the Union army moved against 
the front and rear of the Confederate army under Gen. Van 
Dorn at Holly Springs and Oxford (22,000 men), he gradually 
fell back, first behind the Tallahatchie, and later behind the 
Yalobusha river, to Grenada, arriving at that place Dec. 5th. 
No serious endeavor was made to check the army under Gen. 
Grant, further than to skirmish with the advance of each col- 
umn and develop the movement. Gen. Grant's army was now 
supplied by a long line of railway from Columbus, Ky., through 
West Tennessee and down about sixty miles into Mississippi 
(180 miles). When he had progressed this far, he was really 
ordered to hold the M. & C. R. Rd., return Gen. Sherman to 
Memphis, in order to carry out the Washington plan, namely, 
that the main attack be made down the Mississippi river and 
that a great military movement be made, with the cooperation 
of the gunboat fleet on the river under Admiral Porter. Gen. 
Grant himself, with his remaining army (30,000), was ordered 
to press Gen. Van Dorn, so that no troops could be detached 
to reinforce the small garrison at Vicksburg, till Gen. Sherman 
had captured the city, or obtained a lodgment on the bluffs near 
the city. Gen. Sherman, who had been placed in command of 
the river expedition, after full consultation with Gen. Grant, in 
which his plans were agreed upon, returned to Memphis, ar- 
riving there Dec. I2th. Gen. Grant then fully fell into the 
Washington plan, and arranged matters for the best possible 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

result. He showed good generalship in what he then did, first 
in fully and readily yielding his views to the plans of his su- 
periors, and then doing his best to insure success. He had 
arranged with Sherman to cooperate with him by holding Gen. 
Pemberton's army at Grenada, or if he moved or sent reinforce- 
ments to Vicksburg, to attack him, defeat him, or follow him 
to Jackson, Miss., or move to the right of the railroad to Yazoo 
City, or even further south towards Snyder's Bluff on the Yazoo 
river (13 miles from Vicksburg). Gen. Sherman took only one 
of his divisions with him (Morgan L. Smith's). He found at 
Memphis the divisions of A. J. Smith and M. L. Smith and 
large reinforcements in the new levies. He at once organized 
two full divisions under the above named officers, which, with 
his own division, made 20,000 men. He was to pick up Gen. 
F. Steele's division at Helena, Ark., making his force 32,000 
men (four divisions) and sixty guns. To show the great re- 
sources of the U. S. Government, and further show the great 
and insurmountable obstacle the Confederacy labored under, 
he (Gen. Sherman) made requisition on the quartermaster at 
St. Louis for a transport fleet to carry 32,000 men and their 
equipments from Memphis to Vicksburg by water, and in a 
week (Dec. iQth), 70 large transport steamers were at Mem- 
phis, almost like magic, to embark his army. But this was not 
all. He called on Admiral Porter to reinforce him and co- 
operate with him in his expedition against Vicksburg. The 
Admiral responded promptly, and was ready and in place Dec. 
i8th at Memphis and below, with the entire gunboat fleet of 
the Mississippi river, consisting of nineteen iron-clads, wooden 
gunboats and rams, assisted by two ordnance vessels and a 
smithery vessel and two mortar boats (31 vessels in all), carry- 
ing about 150 guns. (This fleet, Aug. ist, had 144 guns.) These 
boats (transports) were further supplemented by additional boats 
at Memphis, Helena, and other points, making a fleet of no less 
than 125 boats, as counted by Confederate scouts. It was one 
of the largest and most powerful army and naval forces brought 
together up to that time in the war, in direct cooperation, and 
emphasized what an advantage was held against the Confed- 
eracy. Gen. Sherman left Memphis Dec. 2Oth with his great 
expeditionary force, escorted by Admiral Porter's fleet. He 
arrived at Millikin's Bend, 20 miles above Vicksburg, Dec. 25th 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 23 

(near the mouth of the Yazoo river). Here he detached two 
brigades to destroy the railroad on the Louisiana side of the 
river, opposite Vicksburg, to cut off the reinforcements and 
supplies for that city from the west. He then proceeded up 
the Yazoo river, disembarking his army about 12 miles from 
the mouth of the Yazoo (Johnson's plantation) and 12 miles 
from the city of Vicksburg. He found himself in a low, 
swampy country, intersected by lakes and bayous and about 
three or four miles from the bluffs, running from Vicksburg to 
Snyder's Bluff, on the Yazoo (13 miles from Vicksburg by dirt 
road), with four possible routes to Vicksburg and the Bluffs, 
one near the Yazoo at Snyder's Bluff, where were some heavy 
guns, which obstructed the free navigation of the Yazoo river 
above that point. 

Now let us look on the Confederate side. As stated, Gen. 
Grant detached Gen. Sherman to go to Memphis to prepare for 
his campaign, Dec. 8th. He was waiting for him to mature his 
plans and then he intended to move on Gen. Van Dorn's army 
at Grenada as soon as Gen. Sherman left Memphis, which he 
knew would be about Dec. 2Oth. Gen. Van Dorn, as stated, 
had gradually fallen back behind the Tallahatchie, and later be- 
hind the Yalobusha river, as Gen. Grant's four columns had ad- 
vanced, and especially as the column from Helena was ap- 
proaching his rear. The Confederate authorities were vigilant 
and had an inkling of the expedition from Memphis to Vicks- 
burg, as the arrival of the boats at Memphis and below were 
regularly reported, and Gen. Pemberton had heard as soon as 
Dec. 2ist of the assembling of these boats, and he arranged 
promptly to reinforce the garrison at Vicksburg as soon as the 
expedition was more fully developed. On Dec. 23rd Gen. M. 
L. Smith, in command at Vicksburg, heard definitely of the 
approach of the expedition through scouts along the Missis- 
sippi river from Memphis to Vicksburg, seventy-four transports 
and twelve gunboats having been counted (and as many as 120 
boats of all kinds). Gen. Pemberton was in Vicksburg himself 
on Dec. 26th. The gunboats had been in the Yazoo river a 
week or more reconnoitering, removing torpedoes, and clearing 
the way for the transport fleet, which indicated the probable 
point of attack. Brigades were held in readiness at Grenada to 
move, and began moving about Dec. 24, and after this date, 

24 Mississippi Historical Society. 

troops were ordered rapidly to Vicksburg, but the transporta- 
tion was limited and their arrival was much delayed. When 
Gen. Smith was reliably informed of the danger, he had only 
a small force for the defence of the city, not exceeding 6,500 
men at Vicksburg. And including the cavalry in the Delta 
above the Yazoo river, the command was made up of about 
one thousand artillerymen at the batteries, with the infantry at 
Vicksburg and Snyder's Bluff to protect them. 

On Dec. 25th, when Gen. Sherman arrived at the mouth of 
the Yazoo river, Gen. Smith ordered Gen. S. D. Lee to the com- 
mand of the Confederate line of battle, from Vicksburg to Sny- 
der's Bluff, on the Yazoo river, along the country road at the 
foot of the Bluffs (thirteen miles). There were no intrenchments 
except those immediately around the city from the river on the 
north, to the river on the south of city, and at Snyder's Bluff on 
the Yazoo river (13 miles distant). Gen. Lee was given all the 
available infantry and artillery to defend this line. There was 
left in the city about one thousand artillery troops in charge of 
the upper and lower batteries, and the 27th Louisiana Volun- 
teers (about 600 strong). Gen. Lee took with him six regi- 
ments of infantry and two batteries. He placed one regiment, 
3 ist Louisiana, and two guns from the Mississippi regiment of 
light artillery, at the mound (four miles from the city), and four 
regiments and eight guns at Chickasaw Bayou (six miles from 
the city) and one regiment between Chickasaw Bayou and the 
mound, covering six or more miles. At Snyder's Mills on the 
Yazoo, the extreme right of Confederate line of battle, were 
two regiments of infantry and the artillery (about 1,300 men), 
making about 6,000 men under Gen. Smith's command, and less 
than 3,000 men from Vicksburg to and including Chickasaw 
Bayou, a distance of six and one-half miles. 

Not a spade of dirt had been thrown up along this entire line 
and there were no intrenchments nor covered batteries. A 
good deal of timber had been felled two miles from the city 
at the race-course as abattis, where the Mississippi river turned 
abruptly south and swept by the city. The line of battle natur- 
ally was a strong defensive one (with a sufficient force), as 
along the entire distance, from the race-course to Snyder's Bluff, 
was first fallen timber, then McNutt Lake full of water, except 
at the mound (four miles from the city), where there was a 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 25 

dry crossing of 200 yards ; and again a dry crossing at Chick- 
asaw Bayou (six miles from the city), where McNutt Lake and 
the Bayou join. From the bayou to within a mile of Snyder's 
Bluff was a swamp with a levee along Thompson's Lake (par- 
allel to the Bayou), and a corduroy road leading to the Bluffs, 
the levee and this road being easily commanded from the 
Bluffs. McNutt Lake (80 feet wide) had sloping banks from 
approach from the swamp, where the Union army was, but steep 
and abrupt banks on the side where Confederate troops de- 
fended, and also a levee was on this abrupt bank most of the 
way ; so the advantage of position was on the side of the Con- 
federates, who occupied the road along the Bluff at an aver- 
age distance of one-quarter to three-quarters of a mile from 
the lake with skirmishers along the line of this body of water. 
There was cleared land from the road to the lake, except on 
the bank of the lake. Then, too, no time was lost with a large 
force of negroes in improving this advantage, in felling trees 
across the lake at the two dry crossings opposite the mound, 
and at the intersection of the lake and bayou. This work was 
done rapidly on the 25th, 26th and 2/th, and up to the time the 
workmen were dispersed by the enemy on the evening of the 
2/th, short rifle pits for men and guns were also built at the 
mound and the bayou. The swamp beyond Chickasaw Bayou 
and to within a mile of Snyder's Bluff was almost an insur- 
mountable obstacle to the approach of the enemy. 

It may be stated generally that the great Mississippi Delta 
basin extended from Memphis to Vicksburg, with a flat, low 
alluvial soil, with Vicksburg as the only defensible point on the 
river from Memphis to Vicksburg. Here the bluff formation 
extends to the Mississippi river, and here is the city of Vicks- 
burg, the next bluff formation on the bank being at Grand Gulf, 
30 miles below Vicksburg. At Vicksburg the bluffs run north- 
east for 13 miles, when they strike the Yazoo river, and here 
was the fortified position on the bluffs on the Yazoo. Taking 
the Yazoo river as the northwestern boundary and the bluffs as 
the northern and southern boundaries (with the McNutt Lake 
one-half mile west), we find Chickasaw Bayou running almost 
at right angles from the bluffs to the Yazoo at the middle of the 
line of battle, or six and one-half miles from Vicksburg and 
three miles from the Yazoo river. 

26 Mississippi Historical Society. 

In front of McNutt Lake, and between the Yazoo and Mis- 
sissippi rivers, we find an irregular triangle of low, swampy land 
intersected by an old bed of the river, numerous small lakes 
and lagoons, in irregular order and all in woods, with the ex- 
ception of two plantations. In this triangle was Gen. Sher- 
man's army of 32,000 men and sixty guns, with three possible 
roads to the bluff; one directly from his first landing place 
(Johnson's), almost direct to the city ; another along Chickasaw 
Bayou (Mrs. Lake's plantation) to the center of the Confeder- 
ate line of battle (a good road and really the only good one) ; 
the other, opposite the mound. Some of Sherman's troops 
(Steele's division) spent a day (Dec. 28th) on the levee on the 
north of Chickasaw Bayou ; but they soon found that they could 
not reach the bluffs by that route, owing to the swamps and 
the levee and corduroy road being perfectly commanded by the 
Confederate troops along the bluffs or road at its base ; they 
returned to the south side of the bayou on the night of the 28th 
and 29th of December. No reinforcements arrived at Vicks- 
burg before the afternoon of Dec. 2/th. Early on the morning 
of Dec. 28th three brigades (Barton's, Vaughan's and Gregg's) 
had been placed near the city extending nearly to the mound 
(four miles), but nearly all day of the 28th one regiment and 
two guns were the only defense at the mound or dry crossing. 
Later in the day one regiment and part of another assisted the 
3 ist Louisiana in its defense at the mound. The city of Vicks- 
burg had only one regiment of infantry and the heavy artillery 
until the arrival of reinforcements, which began to get in on 
Dec. 27th, 1862. 

It was evident from the first that the main attack would be 
made against the center of the Confederate line, and it was 
strengthened until attacked where the lake and bayou came to- 
gether. This was the widest part of the cleared land from the 
lake to the bluffs, and this cleared open ground became nar- 
rower between the lake and bluffs, as it approached the city. 
At the intersection of the lake and bayou the bayou bore to the 
left (northeast) towards Snyder's Bluffs, so that when the Chick- 
asaw Bayou battle was fought, the topography presented the 
field almost in the shape of a triangle, with the apex at the in- 
tersection of the two sheets of water. From this apex back to 
the road at the foot of the bluffs was an open plateau of three- 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 27 

quarters of a mile of gradual ascent to the line of battle of the 
Confederates. There was a fence also to the left of the center 
of the line, running obliquely towards the lake (towards Vicks- 
burg), which made almost one side of the open triangle. There 
was at the apex, or intersection, of the lake and bayou, a dry 
crossing (in part of the lake and the bayou) over which the road 
along the bayou from the Yazoo and through the lake planta- 
tion came to the plateau on its way to the bluffs. 

At the apex there was a regiment (26th Louisiana) intrenched 
so as to check too rapid approach of the enemy. This regiment 
was three-quarters of a mile in advance of the center of the 
Confederate line of battle. This was about the situation on 
the Confederate side till the night of the 28th of December. 

In the meantime events of great importance had occurred in 
North Mississippi which were favorable to the Confederate 
side, and which prevented Gen. Grant from carrying out his 
part in the operation against Vicksburg by cooperating with 
Gen. Sherman. Gen. Bragg (in Middle Tennessee), to relieve 
the pressure from the threatened Union advance, from North 
Mississippi, had dispatched Gen. N. B. Forrest from Middle 
Tennessee across the Tennessee river to West Tennessee, with 
2,500 cavalry to break up the railroads over which Gen. Grant 
supplied his army. Gen. Forrest fastened himself on this road 
Dec. igth, 1862 (the day before Gen. Sherman left Memphis). 
He with great skill evaded most of the many Union troops sent 
after him, and destroyed the road from Jackson, Tenn., north- 
ward to the Kentucky line (over 60 miles), burning bridges and 
trestles and tearing up the track so as to prevent its use for 
eleven days. The raid was most successful and displayed great 
generalship on the part of Gen. Forrest. He recrossed the 
Tennessee river, with loss of about 500 men, but a loss to the 
enemy of nearly 2,500 men, and the loss of railroad and tele- 
graph communication with Gen. Grant from Dec. igih to Dec. 

Gen. Grant had sent most of his cavalry (Dec. 13) on a raid 
across the State of Mississippi from Oxford to cut the M. & 0. 
railroad about Tupelo and Okolona. Gen. Van Dorn took ad- 
vantage of this and personally placing himself at the head of 
all his cavalry (about 2,500 men), he left Grenada on the i8th 
of December (a day before Forrest struck the railroad in Ten- 

28 Mississippi Historical Society. 

nessee) and moved rapidly around Gen. Grant's left flank, and 
on the next day (Dec. 2Oth, the day Sherman left Memphis) he 
surprised and captured the post at Holly Springs, Miss., with 
its garrison of 1,500 men, and destroyed the large depot of 
supplies Gen. Grant had accumulated there, valued at $1,500,- 
ooo. But even before this time, Gen. Grant was thoroughly 
aroused as to his danger and Gen. Van Dorn could accomplish 
little more than scatter the Union troops protecting the roads 
from Gen. Forrest and himself. He (Van Dorn) returned safely 
again around Gen. Grant's left flank, arriving at Grenada De- 
cember 28th, 1862, in the afternoon, having sustained but little 
loss in his raid. 

The breaking up of Gen. Grant's line of communication in 
West Tennessee and the destruction of his large accumulation 
of supplies at Holly Springs at this critical moment in the 
launching of the great naval and military expedition against 
Vicksburg from Memphis, and just as he (Gen. Grant) was 
ready to move against the Confederate army at Grenada to at- 
tack it and prevent reinforcements being sent to defend Vicks- 
burg from Gen. Sherman's attack and surprise, completely 
changed the aspect of his campaign in favor of the Confeder- 
ates. Gen. Grant's army of 30,000 men, instead of moving for- 
ward, had to fall back towards Memphis to be supplied with 

His (Gen. Grant's) army gradually moved back, living on 
the supplies that were obtained in the country until within 
reach of Memphis. The Memphis and Charleston railroad 
was fortified and garrisoned, and held from Memphis to Cor- 
inth with 32,654 men. Gen. Grant, on Jan. 8, 1863, received 
orders to go to Sherman's assistance, down the Mississippi 
river. He arrived in Memphis Dec. loth and called for trans- 
portation for 16,000 troops to be taken down the river. The 
rest of the army remained at Memphis and along the M. & C. 
R. R. and in West Tennessee. This relief in favor of the Con- 
federate side was not known at the time the troops were being 
moved to reinforce Vicksburg, and did not really become 
known until the crisis was over at Vicksburg. It was thought 
strange that Gen. Grant did not attack at Grenada at the time. 

Gen. Sherman, after disembarking part of his army Dec. 26th 
on the Yazoo, twelve miles from its mouth, at Johnson's planta- 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 29 

tion, landed the remaining part of it two miles above, opposite 
the Lake plantation. Morgan's division landed first and 
was directed to move to the Lake plantation and along the 
southern bank of the bayou. Steele's division landed next 
and one of his brigades (Blair's) was ordered to report to 
Morgan. The rest of Steele's division was moved by boats 
to the north of Chickasaw Bayou to operate along the levee 
on the southern bank of Thompson's Lake, which was a 
sheet of water parallel to the bayou. He was ordered to try 
to reach the bluffs between the bayou and Snyder's Mill. Mor- 
gan L Smith's division was next disembarked, and was to move 
to the dry crossing of McNutt Lake to the right of Morgan's 
division, and opposite the mound (four miles from Vicksburg) ; 
and A. J. Smith's division was ordered to be on the right and 
move directly on the road from Johnson's plantation to Vicks- 
burg, two miles away. There was a road from the Lake plan- 
tation intersecting Johnson's road to Vicksburg, and also one 
along the bayou (east) to the bluff. The whole army was dis- 
embarked on Dec. 26th and the night of Dec 27th; and as it 
landed it began to push eastward towards the bluffs and to- 
wards Vicksburg, in four separate and distinct columns, under 
llic division commanders, from right to left, in the following 
order: A. J. Smith's, Morgan L. Smith's, George W. Mor- 
gan's and F. Steele's. 

On Dec. 2/th these four columns gradually pressed back the 
Confederate advance towards the lake and formed a continu- 
ous line of battle from the race-course along the west side of 
the lake to Chickasaw Bayou and beyond. Batteries were also 
placed in position ready for battle on the 28th of December 
and the enemy hotly engaged. 

The main resistance from the Confederates was encountered 
in front of the center, along Chickasaw Bayou and in the vi- 
cinity of the Lake plantation. Here there was considerable 
fighting on the 27th and on the 28th, amounting to quite an af- 
fair, several brigades of Morgan's division and several batteries 
being engaged, but ending in the enemy's being pressed back 
by noon on Dec. 28th, across the lake near the intersection of 
the lake and the bayou. The advance here and along the entire 
front being close to the lake banks and to the abattis of fallen 
timbers, which was mainly at the dry crossing near the mound, 

30 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and at the Chickasaw Bayou junction with the lake. Gen. 
Steele, north of the bayou, and operating towards Snyder's 
Mill met with great delay, owing to the swampy nature of the 
ground and the little space he had to operate on along a levee 
leading to the corduroy road. He found a considerable force of 
infantry and artillery well posted to impede his advance, and 
by the night of Dec. 28th, he reported he could not reach the 
bluffs, and his troops, during the night of the 28th were again 
moved by boats to the south side of Chickasaw Bayou, and 
Gen. Steele was ordered to support Gen. Morgan's division, 
where one of his brigades (Blair's) had already reported. 

Gen. Sherman determined to assault the Confederate line on 
the 2pth and made all of his arrangements accordingly. (See 
his order of battle.) Gen. Morgan supported by Gen. Steele 
was to assault in his front and Gen. M. L. Smith's division was 
to assault at the mound, and A. J. Smith's at the race-course, 
the objective point of all four divisions being the bluffs, after 
crossing the lake. The assaults were to be made at the same 
time, so as to prevent the Confederate troops being reinforced 
from any part of their line. During the night of Dec. 28th the 
plans for battle were matured and the lines strengthened. On 
the morning of Dec. 2pth, 1862, the artillery and sharp-shooters 
opened fiercely on the Confederate line from the Chickasaw 
Bayou to and including the race-course near the city. By a 
mistake the small pontoon outfit was laid across one of the 
small lakes before reaching Lake McNutt, the one to be crossed 
by the troops to attack the enemy. An effort was made to rem- 
edy the mistake on the morning of Dec. 29th by attempting to 
throw the bridge over McNutt Lake near the right of Morgan's 
line, but this was prevented by the fire of the Confederate ar- 
tillery and sharp-shooters. The assault was planned to take 
place about noon; Blair's brigade of Steele's division had 
crossed to the north side of Chickasaw Bayou and was ordered 
to attack to the left of the apex, or where the Chickasaw Ba- 
you road ascended the bank to reach the plateau across the lake 
and bayou. At the center the brigades of DeCourcy, Blair and 
Thayer were to make the assault, also the brigades of Lindsey 
and Sheldon on the right of Morgan's division. There were 
really no defenses opposite Morgan's right. The Confederate 
troops were lying in the road at the foot of bluffs without cover, 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 31 

opposite the place where the lake was to be pontooned. The 
brigades of DeCourcy and Blair, at the signal, moved gallantly 
forward, and, crossing the abattis and obstructions and going 
over the steep bank of the lake and bayou, they reached the 
plateau, followed by Thayer with one regiment of his brigade. 
The other regiments of Thayer's brigade took a wrong direc- 
tion to the right or were ordered elsewhere after the move- 
ment was begun. Sheldon and Lindsey reported they could not 
get across the lake in their front. 

No troops could have behaved better than the troops which 
reached the plateau. They were met by a withering fire of 
eight guns and several regiments from the front and two regi- 
ments on their right flank, and the column rapidly melted away. 
No reinforcements came forward and they fell back across the 
lake at the road, leaving their dead and many prisoners. The 
attack on Gen. S. D. Lee's front was really the only vigorous 
one. In front of M. L. Smith's and A. J. Smith's divisions 
there was a brisk fire from artillery and sharp-shooters in vol- 
ume almost equal to a battle, but no such assault as was made 
in Morgan's and Steele's front. The 6th Missouri was the only 
regiment that assaulted. This regiment crossed the lake at the 
dry crossing and burrowed under the bank and it was not re- 
inforced and no effort was made to reach the level ground be- 
yond the lake. The only assaulting troops were the troops of 
Morgan and Steele at the bayou and the 6th Missouri at the 
mound. The efforts of the two right divisions were weak, 
showing little spirit. They had the best crossings at the mound 
and at the race-course, for the McNutt Lake did not extend to 
the Mississippi river. Soon after they should have made the 
assault (with Morgan's and Steele's divisions) they learned of 
the repulse and determined that the attempt would not be ad- 
visable. It was the weak part of the Confederate line of battle 
and the obstacles were not as great as those opposite Gen. 
Lee's position at the bayou. 

Gen. S. D. Lee, commanding the Confederate line from the 
city to Snyder's Bluff, began to retard the Union advance as 
soon as the troops landed. Skirmishing began on Dec. 26th, 
and on the 2/th a force consisting of the ijrth Louisiana, two 
companies of the 46th Mississippi, and a section of Wofford's 
Mississippi battery, under the command of Col. W. T. Withers, 

32 Mississippi Historical Society. 

had quite a skirmish with the advanced columns of the Union 
forces and held the enemy in check near the Lake plantation on 
the bayou, causing them to advance very cautiously. They, 
however, drove Col. Withers' command slowly back. 

During the night of Dec. 27th Col. Withers was relieved by 
Col. Allen Thomas' 28th Louisiana regiment, and Col. Withers 
was put in command on the right of the center, to confront 
Gen. Steele's advance towards the bluff north of the bayou. 
He had the i/th Louisiana and the 46th Mississippi and Bow- 
man's Mississippi battery of artillery, two Napoleon guns un- 
der Lieut. Frank Johnston (Mississippi Light Artillery), doing 
splendid service. This command so effectively checked Gen. 
Steele that by the afternoon of Dec. 28th he abandoned any 
further effort to reach the bluffs, and moved his division south 
of the bayou in the night following. 

The enemy also attacked Col. Thomas' command in the woods 
near lake plantation with two brigades and several batteries, 
early on the morning of Dec. 28th, and, after a stubborn fight, 
drove him up the road along the bayou towards the bluff, and 
across the lake by noon. In this engagement a great many were 
killed on both sides, but Col. Thomas withdrew gradually and 
in good style, the enemy following in close pursuit. The 26th 
Louisiana, entrenched at the apex, on the east side of the in- 
tersection of two sheets of water, protected the withdrawal 
of Col. Thomas' regiment, and caused the enemy to cease the 
pursuit, and retire to a respectful distance. Col. Hall's regi- 
ment remained in its position, preventing the enemy from get- 
ting near till just before day on Dec. 29th, when the regiment 
was withdrawn, leaving the road and dry crossing open, virtu- 
ally inviting the enemy to attack. 

Snyder's Bluffs was also attacked on the 2/th and 28th by 
gunboats, and a small force of infantry landed, but they did not 
move from the banks of the river. On Dec. 28th Col. Morri- 
son's 3 ist Louisiana regiment at the mound, opposite the dry 
crossing, was viciously attacked by several batteries and a large 
force of sharp-shooters. The latter early in the morning al- 
most silenced the section (Drew's Miss. Artillery) on the mound 
and it could be used only at intervals to reply to the two bat- 
teries across the lake. During the night of the 28th and 2Qth 
Gen. Lee's force at the bayou was reinforced by two regiments 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 33 

taken from their position near the city on the morning of Dec. 
28th. The two regiments were the 42nd Georgia of Barton's 
brigade, the 3rd and 3Oth Tennessee regiments consolidated 
(Vaughan's brigade), and a part of the Both Tennessee regi- 
ment, Gregg's brigade, the three small regiments equaling one 
good regiment. 

At 9 a. m. on the 29th the enemy were seen attempting to 
lay a pontoon bridge to the left of the bayou and about a half 
mile from it. This attempt was soon thwarted by the artillery, 
near the center, under the command of Lieut. G. A. Tarleton 
(of Ward's Battalion of Artillery), and also by the sharp- 
shooters along the Confederate line. Two regiments (28th 
Louisiana and 42nd Georgia) were at once pushed to Gen. 
Lee's left to cover the threatened crossing of the lake ; at the 
same time the 4th Mississippi regiment (Col. P. S. Layton) was 
ordered from Snyder's Mill to replace the regiments moved to 
the left. At about 10 130 a. m. a most ferocious cannonade was 
opened upon the entire Confederate lines from the bayou to the 
city, which lasted for some time and during which time the en- 
emy were arranging their columns for assault. The cannonading 
ceased about noon and the assaulting columns (apparently two) 
in front of the center, one in front of the vacated trenches, for- 
mely held by Col. Hall's 26th Louisiana, and the other from 
the north side of Chickasaw Bayou, and considerably to the 
left of the one which moved directly along the road from the 
lake plantation to the plateau beyond the dry crossing of the 
lake. The first column was made up of DeCourcey's brigade, 
Steele's division, and a part of Thayer's brigade. The other 
column to its left crossed over Chickasaw Bayou and was quite 
near the Confederate line (right) from the time it emerged from 
the woods. This was Blair's brigade. The two assaulting col- 
umns were about 6,000 strong. The troops moved forward 
handsomely, in spite of all obstructions, came over the steep 
bank of the lake and bayou and formed on the plateau beyond 
under a withering fire from eight pieces of artillery and sev- 
eral regiments of infantry. After partially forming they moved 
at a double quick towards the Confederate position, to their 
right to Lee's left. As soon as they began to get close to the 
Confederate line they were literally mowed down by the fire of 
the infantry in their front and on both flanks. The fire from the 

34 Mississippi Historical Society 

front and the two regiments sent to the left in the morning was 
most destructive. The assault failed, many recrossing the lake 
at the dry crossing, many lying down to avoid the terrible 
-storm of bullets. As soon as it was plain that the assault had 
failed, two regiments, the 26th Louisiana and part of the i/th 
Louisiana, were double quicked on the field and captured 21 
commissioned officers and 311 non-commissioned officers and 
privates, four stands of colors and 500 stand of arms. Two 
hundred dead were counted on the field. The sharp-shooting 
was renewed by the enemy as soon as the prisoners captured 
were removed to the Confederate rear. The Confederate 
troops, artillery and infantry, behaved with the greatest coolness 
and courage in the face of the large numbers of the enemy in 
the assaulting column in sight, across the lake and not en- 
gaged. The repulse was a most bloody one, arid the assault 
was not renewed. 

The attack on Col. Morrison's 3 1st Louisiana, at the mound, 
was renewed vigorously on the morning of the 29th, beginning 
at dawn. About noon the fire became general on both sides, 
terminating only at dark. One regiment assaulted the Confed- 
erate position on the left of Col. Morrison's regiment but was 
repulsed, and, although several apparent attempts were made to 
assault, only one regiment of the enemy crossed the lake at the 
dry crossing and it retired at dark. Col. Morrison was rein- 
forced during the day on his left by the 52nd Georgia regiment 
(Col. Phillips), who assisted very much in the repulse of the 
enemy. Gen. Barton really commanded Col. Morrison's posi- 
tion at the mound and at his left from his arrival on the morn- 
ing of Dec. 28th. Although efforts were made by the enemy 
on Dec. 2pth to carry the rifle pits along the lake front and in 
front of Barton, it was not a very serious attempt and they 
were kept back by the skirmishers along the lake. At the race- 
course Gen. Vaughan's skirmishers in front of the abattis were 
never driven from the abattis. It may be said the only serious 
assault was made at Chickasaw Bayou and by the 6th Missouri 
opposite the mound. A very heavy rain fell on the night of 
Dec. 29th after the battle. 

Reinforcements came in on the Confederate side all day dur- 
ing the 29th of December, and a part of Maury's division from 
Grenada, reinforced Gen. Lee during the night of the 2gth and 

The Campaign of Vicksburg. Lee. 35 

3Oth of December. Gen. C. L. Stephenson, whose division was 
sent from Gen. Bragg's army to reinforce Gen. Pemberton's at 
Vicksburg, arrived on Dec. 3Oth and assumed command of the 
forces in the field, as he was senior in rank to Gen. M. L. 
Smith. The fire along the whole front sensibly lessened on 
the 3Oth and 3ist of December, but on the latter day it was 
found that the enemy was entrenched in his line of battle along 
his whole front. On the morning of Dec. 3ist a flag of truce 
was sent in by the enemy, signed by Gen. G. W. Morgan, re- 
questing a suspension of hostilities for four hours to bury the 
dead. Gen. Lee was directed by Gen. Maury to reply to the 
flag, granting the request, and two hundred dead bodies were 
carried into the Union line. On Dec. 3ist, 1862, and Jan. ist, 
1863, it was evident that some movement was taking place and 
the report was current that an attack was to be made on Sny- 
der's Bluff. Several regiments were held in readiness to re- 
inforce that point, and, Gen. Lee, taking four regiments with 
him, arrived at the Yazoo river before daylight on Jan. 2nd, 
1863. It then became apparent that there was no truth in the 
report, and Gen. Lee returned at once to Chickasaw Bayou, and 
with the 2nd Texas and two Tennessee regiments (3rd and 
3Oth), pursued the enemy who were found to be re-embarking 
on their boats. Col. Withers had already gone with a con- 
siderable force along Thompson's Lake to reconnoiter and find 
out what the enemy were doing. The 2nd Texas was deployed 
as skirmishers by Gen. Lee and got close to the boats and 
opened fire on them, but the enemy had about gotten aboard, 
and were moving off. The boat howitzers opened fire on the 
Confederate skirmishers for a short time, and then the boats 
disappeared down the Yazoo river. Hebert's brigade had ar- 
rived at Snyder's Mill Jan. ist, 1863, and about the time the 
enemy re-embarked, reinforcements had arrived in sufficient 
numbers to enable Gen. Pemberton to take the aggressive, had 
he so desired. Up to that time the long line of battle of the 
Confederates was scarcely sufficiently defended against the 
great army in its front. 

Gen. Sherman, after the repulse of his assault, Dec. 29th, vis- 
ited Admiral Porter and arranged for 10,000 troops to disem- 
bark in front of Snyder's Mill before daylight on Dec. 3 ist, 
1862, and also on Jan. ist, 1863, and assault the works at that 

36 Mississippi Historical Society. 

point, the gunboats to take part in that attempt. The fogs on 
the Yazoo prevented the carrying out of these plans at the ap- 
pointed time. It was then thought best for the remaining 
troops to embark on the afternoon of Jan. ist and abandon the 
object of the expedition. This was done and it was ordered 
that all troops should be aboard by sunrise of Jan. 2nd, 1863, 
and that the expeditionary force return down the Yazoo river 
to the Mississippi river. This order was executed. 

This campaign was managed with great skill by Gen. Pem- 
berton and Gen. M. L. Smith, who were in command at Vicks- 
burg until the arrival of Gen. Stephenson on Dec. 3Oth, 1862. 
The entire Confederate loss was 63 killed, 134 wounded and 10 
missing, total 206. The troops actually engaged (according to 
report of Gen. M. L. Smith) were, under Gen. Lee at Chickasaw 
Bayou and Snyder's Bluffs, 10 regiments of infantry and 3 bat- 
teries, and under Gen. Barton (from mound to city), five regi- 
ments and a battery. In all there were 15 regiments and tour 
batteries (not exceeding 8,000 men). The brigades of Gens. 
Vaughan and Gregg were in position near the race-course, but 
scarcely engaged. Gen. Vaughan's loss was eight killed and 
ten wounded. The reports show no loss for Gen. Gregg. 

Gen. Sherman in his report says, "Behind this was an irregu- 
lar strip of beach or table land on which was constructed a 
series of rifle pits and batteries, and behind that a high, abrupt 
range of hills, whose scarred sides were' marked all the way 
up with rifle trenches, and the crowns of the principal hills pre- 
sented heavy batteries And his line connecting 

these was near fourteen miles in extent, and was a natural for- 
tification strengthened by a labor of thousands of negroes, di- 
rected by educated and skilled officers." The General was en- 
tirely in error in most of these statements, as fully explained 
in this paper. The Confederate line was naturally strong, but 
lacked a great deal of the presentation the General's report 
gives it. 

The Union loss was over 1,929 men in this expedition. 

The following troops from Mississippi were in the battle: 
The 3rd, 4th and 46th Mississippi Regiments of Volunteers, 
and Companies A, D, E and G of the Regiment of Mississippi 
Light Artillery, and Ward's Battalion of Artillery. 

BURG TO MERIDIAN, FEB. 3 rd to MARCH 6th, 1863. 


In July, 1863, the Confederacy was cut in two by the capture 
of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, including the Confederate gar- 
rison, composing the army of Gen. Pemberton, which had been 
used to keep the Mississippi river closed to navigation, and to 
preserve communication between the States of the Confederacy 
on the east and west of the great river. At the close of the 
Vicksburg campaign, the river and its tributaries were almost 
in full and complete control of the Federal government, being 
protected so thoroughly from Cairo to New Orleans by the 
fleet of Admiral Porter, composed of heavy and light gunboats, 
that it was difficult for even an individual to get across. It was 
essentially free from annoyances, even of field batteries and 
riflemen on either bank. 

About the time of the surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hud- 
son Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who had succeeded in collecting 
a Confederate army of 30,000 men near Jackson, Miss, (the 
present effective force being about 28,000 men), had moved to- 
wards Vicksburg to attempt its relief. He had arrived in the 
vicinity of Mechanicsburg when, on July 4th, he heard of the 
surrender of the city. He immediately retreated to the city of 
Jackson, arriving there July 7th, and placed his army in the 
entrenchments surrounding the city from the river on the north 
to the river on the south. Gen. Sherman followed with an 
army of about 50,000 men, arriving before the city on the 9th 
day of July. The two armies faced each other in the attitude 
of besieged and besieging, from the 9th to the night of the i6th 
day of July, when Gen. Johnston, seeing his danger, crossed 
over Pearl river and marched towards Meridian, Gen. Sher- 
man pursuing beyond Brandon, Miss. It appears that it was 
Gen. Sherman's intention at that time to crush the Confederate 
army, or drive it out of the State of Mississippi, and destroy 
the railroads. There was then a great drowth and the heat 
was so intense that he decided to postpone further pursuit, and 

38 Mississippi Historical Society. 

return to Vicksburg, intending at some future time to penetrate 
the State and drive out any Confederate forces that might be 
found. During these operations the Confederate army lost 600 
men in killed, wounded and missing. The Federal army lost 
1,122. The occupation of Jackson by Grant's army in May, 
1863, began the cruel side of the war in the wanton destruction 
of private as well as public property, which destruction was em- 
phasized especially by Gen. Sherman in all his campaigns to the 
close of the war. He reported July the i8th, 1863, "We have 
made fine progress today in the work of desolation, Jackson 
will no longer be a point of danger. The land is desolated for 
thirty miles around." The destruction of private property 
ever marked the progress of Gen. Sherman's armies. Ray- 
mond, Jackson and Brandon had already felt the shock, and 
monumental chimneys for the most part marked their former 

In the meantime Gen. Sherman had carried most of his army 
to East Tennessee to assist Gen. Grant in his operations against 
the Confederate army under Gen. Bragg. He returned to 
Memphis Jan. xoth, 1864, and began at once to prepare an 
army to go in to Mississippi from Vicksburg as far as Meri- 
dian or Demopolis, Ala. His first step was to order that the 
Memphis and Charleston railroad be abandoned. He had 
a large force guarding the Mississippi river, one division at 
Natchez, McPherson's I7th army corps at Vicksburg, Hurlbut's 
i6th army corps at Memphis, and about 10,000 cavalry in West 
Tennessee, including Gen. W. Sooy Smith's command from 
Middle Tennessee (about 40,000 effectives). With this large 
force and the great Mississippi gunboat and ironclad fleets oper- 
ating with these troops, a diversion was to be made on Mobile, 
Ala., by Gen. Banks and Admiral Farragut. An expedition 
was also to ascend the Yazoo river from Snyder's Mill, con- 
sisting of five gunboats and five transports with several regi- 
ments of infantry. 

As stated, Generals Pemberton's and Gardner's Confederate 
forces had been captured, and there remained in observation 
of this large force in Mississippi two small divisions of Con- 
federate States infantry Loring at Canton, and French at 
Jackson, about 9,000 men with several batteries. Gen. Stephen 
D. Lee, with four brigades of cavalry, Stark's, Adams's and 

Sherman's Meridian Expedition. Lee. 39 

Ross', composing Jackson's division, and Gen. S. W. Fergu- 
son's brigade, which had been drawn from Northeast Missis- 
sippi, covering the country from opposite Yazoo City to Nat- 
chez, Miss, (over 300 miles), and numbering about 3,500 effec- 
tives. Gen. Forrest was south of the Tallahatchie river in 
Northwest Mississippi, picketing towards Memphis and the 
Memphis and Charleston railroad, his force numbering about 
3,500 men. The entire Confederate force in Mississippi did not 
exceed 16,000 men. 

This was the condition of affairs in January, 1864. The con- 
centration of troops at Vicksburg and the marshaling of 10,000 
cavalry in West Tennessee was duly observed and reported to 
Gen. Polk, commanding in Mississippi. Spies reported the 
force as consisting of an army of four divisions of infantry 
with the usual complement of artillery and a brigade of cavalry, 
making an army of over 26,000 men, to move from Vicksburg 
early in February. Another column of 7,000 cavalry, under 
Gen. W. Sooy Smith, was to move from West Tennessee direct 
to Meridian to meet the army under Gen. Sherman from Vicks- 
burg near that point, and then the combined forces to go either 
to Selma or Mobile, as might be indicated. Gen. Sherman was 
to hold Lee's Confederate cavalry and any infantry in his 
front, and Gen. W. Sooy Smith was to engage Forrest with 
his cavalry force, which outnumbered Forrest by double as 
many men. 

To meet the enemy, Gen. Lee concentrated his cavalry in 
front of Vicksburg, along the Big Black river, and near the 
Yazoo river. On January 28th the Yazoo river expedition be- 
gan to move. Federal cavalry advancing on the Yazoo City 
road from Snyder's Bluff on the Yazoo. This force was met 
by Ross' Texas brigade and driven back. On Feb. 3rd Federal 
infantry began crossing the Big Black river at the railroad 
crossing and six miles above, at Messenger's ferry, distant from 
Vicksburg 12 or 15 miles, and rapidly drove in the cavalry 
pickets on the two roads leading to Clinton. Early on the 
morning of Feb. 4th there was severe skirmishing on both 
roads, the enemy deploying their force in the open country and 
steadily driving back the brigades of Adams and Stark in their 
front, their troops being in full view. The day's operations, in 
causing the enemy to develop their forces from actual observa- 

40 Mississippi Historical Society ? 

tion, from prisoners, scouts and other sources, in flank and rear 
of their columns, fixed the force as consisting of two corps 
of infantry and artillery (i6th and i/th), commanded respec- 
tively by Generals Hurlbut and McPherson, and a brigade of 
cavalry under Col. Winslow. The entire force was about 26,- 
ooo effectives, with a comparatively small wagon train for such 
an army. The Yazoo river expedition started about the same 
time and it was intended to divide and to hold a part of Lee's 
Confederate cavalry, so that no concentration could be made 
against Gen. W. Sooy Smith's column, who was ordered to 
start about the time Gen. Sherman started from Vdcksburg. 
The two expeditions displayed the too great resources Gen. 
Sherman had to bring against the small force of Confederates 
in Mississippi. 

An incident near the old battle field of Baker's Creek is wor- 
thy of being recorded. The enemies' infantry deployed was 
moving forward gradually, pressing back Adams' brigade, dis- 
mounting and fighting them in a swamp. While thus engaged 
the Federal brigade of cavalry came charging down on their 
rear and flank, and on their lead horses. The moment was crit- 
ical, as Adams was almost too hotly engaged to withdraw on 
short notice. The two escort companies of Gen. S. D. Lee and 
W. H. Jackson alone were mounted and near at hand, number- 
ing about 90 men all told. Maj. W. H. Bridges, of Texas, was 
temporarily connected with the command, an officer for just 
such an emergency. He was ordered to lead the two com- 
panies against the Federal brigade, and hold them in check. It 
was a choice command, fearlessly led, and it did the work as- 
signed it, but with the loss of the noble leader and many of 
his followers. The dash saved Adams' brigade, which was re- 
tired mounted, and moved over Baker's Creek. At the same 
time Griffith's Arkansas regiment was thrown into the woods 
near the bridge, thus permitting the two escort companies to 
sweep over the bridge, when gradually pressed back by the 
superior numbers of the Federal cavalry following, and just 
as the Federal infantry had got through the swamp and were 
moving towards the bridge. The Federal advance was checked 
by artillery across Baker's Creek, which also enabled the Ar- 
kansas regiment to get over the bridge. 

On Feb. 5th the Confederate cavalry was gradually pressed 

Sherman's Meridian Expedition. Lee. 41 

back to Jackson, where it arrived about dark, passing out on 
the road towards Canton, to enable Gen. Loring's infantry di- 
vision to cross Pearl river from Canton, moving towards Mor- 
ton, on the Jackson and Meridian railroad ; a regiment was also 
sent across Pearl river, to cover the front of the enemy, if they 
tried to cross Pearl river at Jackson. This regiment was also 
to destroy the pontoon bridge over Pearl river. Gen. French 
with two small brigades at Jackson, and Gen. Loring at Canton, 
had been advised to cross Pearl river, owing to the large forces 
of the Federal army, and their rapid advance. As soon as it 
was ascertained that Gen. Sherman was crossing Pearl river at 
Jackson, Gen. Loring, who had marched towards Pearl river 
from Canton, crossed and united his division with Gen. French's 
near Morton, on the Jackson and Meridian railroad. Fergu- 
son's brigade covered Loring's command on the Clinton and 
Canton road. Gen. Lee also crossed with two brigades of 
Jackson's division (Adams' and Stark's) and with Ferguson's 
brigade, which was sent to get in front of the enemy and cover 
the retreat of Gen. Loring's two divisions. Jackson, with 
Adams' and Stark's brigades, was ordered to operate on the 
flank and rear of the enemy on his march at Brandon and Pela- 
hatohie Stations. Gen. Ross, who was operating on the Yazoo 
river, was ordered to abandon his operations there and march 
to join his division under Gen. W. H. Jackson. 

As soon as Gen. Polk was fully advised of the large force 
under Gen. Sherman, and of the cavalry column which was to 
move from the north, he decided that his force was too small 
to give battle. He had drawn a part of the Mobile garrison to 
Meridian as a reinforcement, but considering Mobile as the 
most important place in his department and fearing that Sher- 
man would move towards Mobile instead of Meridian to meet 
Admiral Farragut and Gen. Banks, he ordered Gen. Lee on 
Feb. 9th to move all his cavalry from the rear and the north 
of Sherman's line of march, to the south, to protect the Mobile 
and Ohio railroad, so that he could return the troops he got 
from Mobile, and could also be able to reinforce that point if 
necessary with additional troops. He could not understand 
why Sherman had Meridian as his objective point. Gen. Polk 
at the same time ordered Gen. Ferguson's brigade from the 
front of Gen. Sherman's advance to the south, in order also to 

42 Mississippi Historical Society. 

protect the M. & O. railroad. Gen. Lee, on arriving at Newton 
Station, on the nth of February, met Gen. Ferguson. He at 
once saw that Gen. Sherman was going to Meridian and not to 
Mobile, and caused Gen. Ferguson to retrace his steps and 
again get in front of Gen. Sherman. 

In the meantime, Gen. Sherman, after crossing Big Black 
river on two different roads, advanced rapidly to Jackson, ar- 
riving there on the morning of Feb. 6th. He crossed Pearl 
river on the 6th and 7th of February, and pressed out towards 
Brandon on the road to Meridian, arriving at Brandon on Feb. 
7th, at Morton Feb. ojth, and at Meridian Feb. I4th at 3 p. m., 
the Confederate infantry and cavalry gradually falling back be- 
fore him. 

Gen. Lee made a dash at some wagons near Decatur. The 
enemy was found moving with every precaution, their trains 
perfectly and judiciously arranged with each brigade, no fur- 
aging parties out, and their large infantry force ready to punish 
any ill-advised attempt on their column. Col. R. C. Wood's 
Mississippi Regiment disabled about 20 wagons, but could not 
bring them off, as the infantry advanced on him from the front 
and the rear of the column. This was found to be the case 
wherever an attempt was made by the cavalry to impede the 

On the 1 3th Gen. Polk ordered Gen. Lee to again get to the 
north of Gen. Sherman's line of march, as he proposed to evac- 
uate Meridian and march with his infantry towards Demopolis, 
Ala. The enemy arrived at Meridian at 3 p. m. Feb. I4th, the 
Confederate cavalry retiring towards Marion Station. On this 
date (Feb. I4th), Gen. Polk issued an order placing Ma j. -Gen. 
Stephen D. Lee in command of all the cavalry west of Alabama. 
That officer at once put himself in rapid communication with 
Gen. Forrest, who was then concentrating his command near 
Starkville, Miss., to check the large cavalry force, which had 
left Collierville, on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, and 
was rapidly moving southward in the direction of the Mobile 
and Ohio railroad and towards the great prairie region. For 
some reason this cavalry force of 7,000 men had delayed a week 
in starting to join Gen. Sherman. 

From Feb. 15th to the 2oth, Gen. Sherman, while at 
Meridian, was engaged in destroying the railroad in .every di- 

Sherman's Meridian Expedition. Lee. 43 

rection, north, south, east and west, for this purpose placing 
two divisions of infantry on each road. The road was destroyed 
for 12 miles in each direction, making a destruction of about 
50 miles of railroad. Attempts to stop the work were made by 
the cavalry, but the enemies' force was too large to hinder it. 
In addition to destroying the railroads, they destroyed the 
city of Meridian, burning most of the houses, depots, hotels, 
boarding houses, and all vacant houses and those near them. 
On Feb. 2Oth, Gen. Sherman began his return march to Vicks- 
burg. One of this corps took the road on which he came 
through Decatur to Hillsboro, the other marching from Lau- 
derdale Station, on the M. & O. railroad, by Union to Hills- 
boro, the latter corps feeling northward, hoping to hear of or 
find Gen. W. Sooy Smith's command, which Sherman had or- 
dered to join him at Meridian about the loth of February. The 
cavalry brigade (with Gen. Sherman), was also detached as far 
north as Louisville and Philadelphia, and circled west and south 
through Kosciusko to Canton. The two corps met at Hills- 
boro and moved across Pearl river to Canton, marching on two 
separate roads. They remained at Canton several days, devas- 
tating and destroying the town and country for miles, and then 
returned to Vicksburg. 

In the meantime (Feb. i/th), Gen. Lee, under orders from 
Gen. Polk, left only a few regiments to watch the army of Gen. 
Sherman at Meridian and moved with all of his disposable force 
northward to unite with Gen. Forrest in an attempt to crush 
the cavalry column under Gen. Smith, estimated by Gen. For- 
rest at 7,000 men. Lee put his four cavalry brigades (Ross had 
joined him the day before in the vicinity of Marion Station), 
in motion on the morning of Feb. i8th, and reached Line creek 
north of Starkville (and 9 miles southwest of West Point), on 
the morning of Feb. 22d. It was found that the enemy had be- 
gun a hasty retreat early on the morning of Feb. 2ist. Gen. 
Forrest, as soon as he knew the probable destination of this 
cavalry column, concentrated his command in the vicinity of 
Starkville,and on the 2Oth had a part of his force at West Point, 
one brigade being in front of the town. He had up to this time 
offered no opposition to the advance of the Federal cavalry. 
He intended avoiding a battle, until the arrival of Gen. Lee's 
force, which was rapaidly approaching, and he offered slight 

44 Mississippi Historical Society. 

opposition at West Point, retreating across Sookartonchie 
creek, three miles from West Point. Gen. Forrest knew that 
Gen. Smith's force of 7,000 well-equipped cavalry would out- 
number his command when united to Gen. Lee's, and he be- 
lieved also that there would be trouble in avoiding a battle be- 
fore the junction of the two commands. 

Gen. Sooy Smith began his march with his cavalry (7,000) 
and an infantry brigade on Feb. loth, a week later than Gen. 
Sherman had expected him to start. Under cover of the ad- 
vance of his infantry, he moved eastward with his cavalry to 
New Albany, then towards Pontotoc, and to within a few miles 
of Houston, where he moved due east to Okolona; he then 
moved south down the Mobile and Ohio railroad to Prairie 
Station (15 miles north of West Point), where he concentrated 
his command. On Feb. 2Oth he moved his entire command to 
the vicinity of West Point. Here he encountered the first Con- 
federate brigade drawn up in line of battle a mile out of the 
city. After a slight skirmish the brigade retired before him 
through the city, and on the road towards Starkville over Sook- 
atonchie creek. Gen. Smith, on arriving ait West Point (Feb. 
2Oth), heard of the approach of Gen. Stephen D. Lee's cavalry 
from the direction of Meridian, and had it confirmed from pris- 
oners and deserters taken on the evening of the same date, 
when Forrest was retiring, and being followed across Sooka- 
tonchie, to await the arrival of Gen. Lee's command. 

Gen. Smith, although he had fought no battle, and had met 
with no opposition to amount to anything on his march from 
Collierville to West Point, suddenly determined to retreat, and 
issued orders for his command to begin the return march early 
on the morning of the 2ist of February. He says in his official 
report "Exaggerated reports of Forrest's strength reached me 
constantly, and it was reported that Lee was about to reinforce 
him with a portion or the whole of his command." To cover 
his retreat he moved one of his brigades towards Sookatonchie 
creek and attacked a part of Gen. Forrest's command on Feb. 
21 st. A fight lasted about two hours, wihen Forrest, with his 
usual perception and vigor, began to believe a change of opera- 
tion had occurred in his front, and with a regiment and escort 
he began a headlong charge, breaking through and driving the 
enemy before him. He found that Smith was rapidly retreating 

Sherman's Meridian Expedition. Lee. 45 

northward. He at once had all his command rushed to the 
front in pursuit, overtaking the enemy near Okolona, where he 
began crowding him, and gradually driving him from position 
to position, capturing six pieces of artillery, this pursuit was 
kept up to near Pontotoc, on February 22d and 23d, where it 
was abandoned except by a small force. Gen. Forrest had 
about exhausted his ammunition, and could follow the enemy 
no farther. The retreat was very rapid, the itinerary and reports 
showing that in the first day's retrograde and movement (Feb. 
2ist), a part of the command marched 37 miles and had to re- 
mount with captured horses, abandoning many of their ex- 
hausted stock. It is difficult to understand this headlong re- 
treat, except that the enemy was fearful of being cut off by 
cavalry's getting in their rear. It is difficult now to speculate 
as to the results had Smith not retreated. It was a great dis- 
appointment to Generals Lee and Forrest. Their united forces 
numbered a little less than 7,000 effectives, while Smith had 
that number. With a soldier's pride the Confederate com- 
manders looked forward to the greatest cavalry battle of the 
war, where 14,000 cavalry were to meet in deadly conflict on 
one field. It was arranged that as soon as Gen. Lee arrived 
Forrest was to take his entire force to the rear of Smith, and 
cut off his retreat, while Lee was to battle in front, and in front 
and rear the battle was to be fought to a final issue. It was a 
great disappointment when it was found that the Federal gen- 
eral declined battle, but made one of the most headlong, hasty 
retreats during the war, before an inferior force in pursuit, not 
numbering over 2,500 men. 

Gen. Stephen D. Lee, as soon as he learned from dispatches 
from Gen. Forrest of the rapid and headlong retreat of Gen. 
W. S. Smith and his cavalry back towards Memphis, put his 
cavalry command again in motion to overtake Gen. Sherman's 
command on its way to Vicksburg. Gen. W. H. Jackson over- 
took the enemy in the vicinity of Sharon, Madison county. He 
found the enemy desolating and destroying the country in 
every direction. He soon drove in all foraging parties and con- 
fined their movements to one or two roads and a limited area. 
Gen. Sherman's army recrossed Big Black river, March 6th, on 
its way to Vicksburg. The official reports show that in the 
three columns, Sherman's, Smith's and the Yazoo river expedi- 

4 6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tion, that the Federals lost in killed, wounded, and missing 912 
men, and that Gen. Forrest lost 144 men, and Gen. Stephen D. 
I^ee 279 men, or only 423 men in all. These reports also show 
that Gen. Lee's cavalry was in the saddle actively engaged from 
Feb. ist to March 4th, and that the command marched from 
600 to 800 miles during that time. 

It is difficult to understand the military object of Sherman's 
campaign. He says it was "to strike the roads inland, so to 
paralyze the Rebel forces, that we could take from the defense 
of the Mississippi river the equivalent of a corps of 20,000 men 
to be used in the next Georgia campaign, at the same time I 
wanted to destroy Gen. Forrest, etc." He did destroy over 50 
miles of railroads, but he did not destroy Forrest, although his 
cavalry column of 7,000 men was probably the best equipped 
veteran cavalry that ever went into the field, and outnumbered 
Forrest's freshly raised men two to one. The railroads in 26 
working days were thoroughly repaired and in as good running 
order as they were before his campaign, and this work was 
done by Major George Whitfield and Major Pritchard, of the 
Confederate quartermaster department. 

The campaign, however, did demonstrate how few troops the 
Confederacy had, and that it was a shell, and all the fighting 
men were in the armies at the front, and only helpless women 
and children and negroes occupied the interior; that the few 
troops in Mississippi had to fall back until the armies at the 
front could be weakened to meet any new army not in front of 
the main armies; that Gen. Sherman could easily, at almost a 
moment's notice, take 30,000 men from the garrisons on the 
Mississippi river and move into Mississippi. Gen. Sherman 
was outgeneraled by Gen. Polk, and his expedition was devoid 
of military interest, but was most remarkable as bringing out 
clearly the harsh and cruel warfare waged against the Con- 
federacy. Gen. Sherman in his official report says he "made a 
swath of desolation 50 miles broad across the State of Missis- 
sippi, which the present generation will not forget." In his 
orders to Gen. W. S. Smith, he tells him "to take horses, mules 
and cattle, and to destroy mills, barns, sheds, stables, etc.," and 
to tell the people "it was their time to be hurt." He literally 
carried out his plan to "make old and young, rich and poor, feel 
the hard hand of war as well as the organized armies." The 

Sherman's Meridian Expedition. Le?. 47 

reports of the Confederate commanders show, that with the 
above given license the enemy regarded nothing in the way of 
property, public or private, as worthy to be spared. Gen. 
Stephen D. Lee in his official report says: "On line of march 
the enemy took or destroyed everything, carried off every ani- 
mal, 8,000 negroes, burnt every vacant house, destroyed furni- 
ture, destruction was fearful." The track of the Federal col- 
umn was marked by wanton destruction of private property, 
cotton, corn, horses, provisions, furniture and everything that 
could be destroyed. The people were left in absolute want. 
A Federal correspondent who accompanied Sherman estimated 
the damage at $50,000,000, and three-fourths of this was private 
property, Meridian, Canton, and other towns being almost 
totally destroyed. It is painful now, when we are again a re- 
united and prosperous people, and the worst memories of the 
war have been relegated to the past, to recall this sad recollec- 
tion, but the truth of history demands that the facts be given 
as they really .wore. 


DEC. 20, 1862. 

BY J. G. DEupREi;. 1 

As a survivor of the raiders that rode into Holly Springs, 
Mississippi, before daybreak on the morning of Dec. 20, 1862, 
I have been asked by Dr. F. L. Riley, Secretary of the Missis- 
sippi Historical Society, to write an account of that daring and 
successful adventure. In compliance with his request, I submit 
the following statement of facts as recalled after a lapse of 
nearly forty years. I may add, however, that I have refreshed 
and reenforced my own recollections by reading such meagre 
accounts of this expedition as I can find in all accessible his- 
tories, as well as by statements of fellow-survivors, especially 
that furnished me by Comrade S. B. Barren, of the Third Texas 
Cavalry, now living at Rusk, Texas. 

The battles of luka and Corinth had been fought. General 
Grant renewed his purpose to push south down the Mississippi 

1 Dr. J. G. Deupree is of French-Huguenot extraction. He was born 
in Noxubee county, Miss., in 1843. After preparation under Prof. D. G. 
Sherman, an alumnus of Yale and a cousin of Gen'l Wm. T. Sherman, 
he entered Howard College at Marion, Ala., and two months before the 
close of the session of 1861 received his B. A. degree. He enlisted 
at once as a private in the First Mississippi Cavalry, and served con- 
tinuously for four years, sharing in the capture of a Federal battery 
on the field of Shiloh, in the famous raid into Holly Springs, in the 
brilliant cavalry engagement at Thompson Station, as well as in many 
other bloody engagements on horse and on foot. 

After the close of the war, he married Miss Nellie Durham, whose 
ancestors came from England and settled in Maryland and Virginia. 
He and his wife became teachers and under their tuition many of the 
most eminent men and women of Mississippi have received educational 
training. Dr. Deupree took his M. A. degree in regular course; and, 
in recognition of his scholarly attainments the degree of LL. D. was 
conferred upon him in 1884 by the South Western Baptist University. 
He has filled with marked success Chairs of Latin, Greek, English and 
Mathematics, in denominational colleges, and now holds the responsi- 
ble position of Professor of Pedagogy in the University of Mississippi. 
He is regarded as among the broadest and most accurate scholars in 
the State and is often styled the Nestor of Mississippi Educators. He 
has been a voluminous writer for educational periodicals, and as editor 
of the Mississippi Teacher became noted as a writer of forceful and ele- 
gant English. Still in mind and body, he may well anticipate many 
years of honorable service before he is called to his reward above. 
EDITOR. . < 


5o Mississippi Historical Society. 

Central (now a part of the Illinois Central), then connecting 
Jackson, Tennessee, and New Orleans, La., with the ultimate 
aim of reducing Vicksburg. He had at his disposal about 80,000 
men. Of these, Sherman in command of 18,000 moved from 
Memphis to Chulahoma, protecting the right wing, while Grant 
himself led the main body through Holly Springs. Ait the same 
time, Washburne, with 12,000 men, moved eastward from 
Helena, Ark., threatening the rear of the Confederate army on 
the south bank of the Tallahatchie and forcing them to retire 
to a new line on the Yalobusha. General Earl Van Dorn was 
now without a command, having been superseded by General 
J. C. Pemberton, recently transferred to this department. 

Grant advanced to Oxford, some of his leading divisions 
pushing on to Water Valley, covered by a cavalry force operat- 
ing as far south as Coffeeville. Grant and Sherman at once 
devised a plan of future cooperation. Sherman was to return 
to Memphis, organize a new army of four divisions, proceed 
down the Mississippi, unite with Steele at Helena, and with the 
aid of gunboats attack Vicksburg by way of the river. Grant, 
meantime, was to crush Pemberton's army and advance to the 
rear of Vicksburg by land. If reinforcements should be sent 
from Vicksburg to the army in Grant's front, Sherman would 
have an easier task to capture the city; but if, on the other 
hand, reinforcements should be sent from Pemberton's army 
to Vicksburg, Grant's task would to that^extent be lightened. 
Grant had repaired the railroad as an artery of communication 
with his base at Holly Springs, where he had collected supplies 
of every kind in quantities sufficient to maintain his great army 
during a protracted campaign. Sherman went back to Mem- 
phis to prepare for his part of the program. Grant was daily 
advancing his lines and strengthening his position. His cavalry 
were active in all directions, watching front and flanks, destroy- 
ing everything of conceivable use to the Confederates, and es- 
pecially prohibiting and intercepting such communications as 
the Confederates would attempt in flank and rear. It was 
about the middle of December. Col. Dickey had been dis- 
patched by General Grant with a force of 1,000 cavalry to cut 
the M. & O. R. R. and to destroy the vast stores of corn col- 
lected along its line for the support of Bragg's army in Middle 

The Capture of Holly Springs. Deupree. 51 

Lieut. Ool. Griffith, commanding the Texas Brigade of Cav- 
alry, had joined other cavalry commanders in a petition to 
General Pemberton, urging him to organize a cavalry raid to 
operate against Grant's communications and to place General 
Van Dora in command of the cavalry for this purpose. Ac- 
cordingly the cavalry was organized. The Texas brigade was 
commanded by Lieut. Col. Griffith, the Tennessee brigade by 
Col. W. H. Jackson, and the Missouri and Mississippi brigade 
by Col. Bob McCullough, the three brigades being united in a 
corps of cavalry under General Van Dorn, with instructions to 
cover the front of Pemberton's army and to retard the progress 
of Grant as much as possible. 

The Confederate cavalry were on the north bank of the Yalo- 
busha river. Col. McCullough's brigade, consisting of his own 
Second Missouri Cavalry and of Col. R. A. Pinson's First Mis- 
sissippi Cavalry, were at Antioch church. By the way, as this 
church was much used by officers and soldiers for playing 
poker, its name was accordingly changed from Antioch to 
Ante-Up. On the night of Dec. i6th, the Deupree Mess, con- 
taining six Deuprees, of Co. G, First Mississippi Cavalry, were 
bivouacking at a large fallen oak, against the base of which they 
had built their camp-fire, putting their pistols, carbines, and 
saddles in the tree-top, and hanging their canteens, haversacks, 
and coats on the limbs of this prostrate monarch of the forest. 
About 2 o'clock next morning there was a rapid discharge of 
firearms. The company, the regiment, and even the brigade 
were aroused. Believing a night attack had been made upon 
them, they promptly armed themselves and fell into line. A 
Federal regiment in the vicinity likewise heard the firing, and 
under the like apprehension of a night attack rushed to arms. 
But Ool. Bob McCullough with stentorian voice shouted from 
brigade headquarters : "What in the h 11 is all that shooting 
for ?" He was informed that it was nothing but the discharge 
of pistols and carbines in a burning tree-^top. During the night 
the fire had spread along the log from the stump, fed by bark 
and leaves and brush, consuming coats and haversacks, and dis- 
charging the firearms. So soon as the cause of the disturbance 
was known, quiet came and the men fell asleep as usual. But 
some of us had lost our only coats and had to go without. 

Late in the afternoon of the I7th, rations for three days were 

52 Mississippi Historical Society. 

issued and orders received for McCullough's brigade to mount 
and fall into column. We soon joined the brigades of Jackson 
and Griffith, making a total of about 2,500 cavalry, and the 
march began towards the east. The report was soon spread 
through the command that we were to go in quest of Col. 
Dickey. Perhaps this rumor was designedly set afloat, that it 
might reach the Federals ; it evidently did, for in one of Grant's 
intercepted dispatches it was stated that Van Dorn had gone 
after Dickey, and Cols. Mizener, Hatch, and Grierson were 
ordered to follow up Van Dorn, and by all means rescue 
Dickey. All night we rode, halting in the morning of the i8th 
after sun-up to feed horses. Before noon we passed through 
Pontotoc. Here the good ladies and sweet maidens stood on 
the streets with baskets and disihes rilled to overflowing with all 
manner of edibles, which we seized in our hands as we rapidly 
passed along. Our scouts, who had scoured the country north 
and east, reported a large force of Federal cavalry coming from 
the direction of Tupelo. This was known to be Col. Dickey's 
command. We thought that Van Dorn would halt his column 
and prepare to destroy or capture Dickey. To our surprise he 
seemed only axious to move on and leave Dickey behind. 
Hence, a detachment of Dickey's men were encouraged to pur- 
sue us. They fired a few shots and captured some of our men 
who had fallen behind the command. The colonel command- 
ing our rear regiment sent a courier to notify General Van 
Dorn. He came up the column in a sweeping gallop. To pass 
from the rear to the front of a long column of cavalry, moving 
by twos, is quite an undertaking, but the courier finally reached 
the General. With a military salute, he said: "General, my 
Colonel sent me to inform you that the Yanks have fired into 
his rear." "Are they still in his rear?" inquired the General. 
"Yes, sir," answered the courier. "Well, you go back," said 
the General, "tell your Colonel that the Yanks are just where 
I want them, if they are in his rear." But Dickey had no 
serious intention to pursue us. But it is interesting to note 
how adroitly during this entire expedition Van Dorn managed 
to keep all the forces of the enemy behind him who attempted 
in any way to interefere with the execution of his plan. As 
soon as the way was clear, Dickey passed through Pontotoc, 
hastening back to Oxford to report the destruction he had ac- 

The Capture of Holly Springs. Deupree. 53 

complished on the M. & O. R. R., and to inform Grant that 
Van Dorn's cavalry had gone north through Pontotoc on the 
morning of the iSth. As we afterwards learned, he gave Grant 
this information on the afternoon of the I9th, and Grant im- 
mediately wired the facts to his garrisons along the line of the 
Mississippi Central R. R., warning them to be on the lookout 
for Van Dorn, who was evidently intent upon interrupting his 
communications somewhere. Reinforcements from Abbeville 
and Waterford were to be hurried into Holly Springs, and all 
the cavalry save Dickey's jaded command were to push on after 
Van Dorn and capture or destroy him. 

In going north from Pontotoc, Van Dorn crossed all roads 
leading towards Holly Springs, thus creating the impression 
that we were marching into Tennessee through Ripley. Scouts 
of the enemy could be occasionally seen hovering on our flanks 
and rear, watching our movements, so as, if possible, to ascer- 
tain our destination. From all they could see or hear, they 
were led to conclude that Van Dorn's design was to attack 
Bolivar, Tennessee. 

On the night of the i8th we camped on the river at New 
Albany. We were jaded, having been in the saddle almost con- 
tinuously for thirty hours or longer. Horses and men were 
soon asleep. About midnight or a little later, a fearful storm 
arose; the rain fell in torrents, flooding the camp, compelling 
the men to get up, wade about in water from two to three feet 
deep, gather up saddles, guns, pistols, etc., and move out to 
higher ground. Here, again, we reclined on the wet ground 
and at once fell into a sound sleep, from which we were not 
aroused till the bugle call, about sunrise on the morning of the 

The wind from the north had driven the clouds away; the 
day was bright and beautiful and cold. Within an hour the 
entire command was in column and on the march, headed 
towards Ripley. A strong rear guard was maintained to watch 
for any Federals that might be rash enough to pursue us too 
closely. Towards the east and west and north, we kept out 
scouting parties to warn us of the approach of any hostile 
parties of cavalry that might be coming towards us. About 
noon, in order to assuage the stomachic gnawings of the hun- 
gry Texans, who had long since devoured all the rations issued 

54 Mississippi Historical Society. 

them at Grenada, Van Dorn promised that on the morrow we 
should have rations in abundance, and so the impression was 
produced that Van Dorn had big game in sight. 

Soon the head of the column was turned towards Holly 
Springs, and the precaution was taken to arrest everybody go- 
ing in that direction. Late in the afternoon the column was 
halted long enough to feed horses. Remounting, we moved on ; 
and, as night began to fall, additional means were devised to 
prevent or intercept any possible tidings of our approach. To 
this end guards were stationed at every house we passed, lest 
some one might undertake by a shorter route to get ahead of 
us and inform the enemy of our movements. After striking the 
Ripley and Holly Springs road, we increased our gait, with the 
view of outriding any one who may have been watching us 
with the intention of reporting to the commander at Holly 

About 10 o'clock the command was divided into two columns, 
marching on parallel roads. Within about five miles from Holly 
Springs we were halted and allowed to dismount, but required 
to stand to horse ready to mount at any moment. No fires 
were permitted. It was bitter cold; those of us without coats 
suffered, although we had put on every available shirt. This 
writer remembers he had on six. Pickets were posted on every 
road or path leading towards Holly Springs, to arrest any spy 
or traitor that might attempt to warn, Col. Murphy of our 

Some time before day began to dawn, an order was quietly 
passed along the column to mount and form fours in the main 
road. It chanced to be in order for the First Mississippi Cav- 
alry to be the advance regiment of McCullough's brigade. 
Lieut. S. B. Day was in command of an advance guard of 
twenty men, and the front four were Groves Dantzler, J. G. 
Deupree, W. D. Deupree, and Bob White. The order was 
promptly given to the whole command on both roads to move 
forward at a gallop, to capture the pickets of the enemy, or 
pursue them so closely that no alarm could precede us. The 
wisdom of the order was appreciated, and it goes without say- 
ing that it was obeyed with alacrity. The First Mississippi was 
to enter Holly Springs from the northeast, charge through the 
camps of infantry without halting to receive surrenders or to 

The Capture of Holly Springs. Deupree. 55 

engage in battle, but at once attack the cavalry when discov- 
ered. The Second Missouri were to dismount at the edge of 
town, charge on foot, and capture or disperse any infantry that 
might be encountered. The Texas brigade was to approach 
from the east, coming in by the R. R. depot, and thus prevent 
reinforcements from surprising us in that direction; and a de- 
tachment of Texans was also posted so as to prevent surprise 
from the south. The Tennessee brigade was to approach from 
a northerly direction, preventing possible reinforcements from 
Bolivar, as well as watching the dirt roads coming from Mem- 
phis on the west. 

As we approached the town, we increased our speed. The 
First M'issis'sippi rode through in a sweeping gallop, ignoring 
the infantry, though many of them, awakened and startled by 
the charge, ran out of their tents in night attire and fired into 
our column, wounding nearly every horse in the advance guard 
and several of the men. As we rode on towards the Fair 
grounds in search of the Federal cavalry, Col. Neill and Maj. 
Mudd were forming the Second Illinois Cavalry into line to call 
the roll and go look for Van Dorn, who had been reported as 
coming. Brave and courageous, they boldly drew sabres and 
charged upon us. Without undertaking to tell all that occurred 
in this melee, I give only a few incidents that came under my 
own observation. D. S. Purvine, Orderly Sergeant of Co. I, 
clashed with an expert swordsman and was dangerously cut in 
the face and neck, when our Adjutant Billy Beasley came to his 
rescue and sent a bullet through the head of the Federal. Lit- 
tle Jerry Beasley, a lad of fifteen summers, brother of the Ad- 
jutant, was about to be cut down by a stalwart enemy, when 
L/ieut. Day shot the bold rider with arm uplifted to let fall the 
fatal stroke. Our Major Wheeler had his thumb cut off in a 
sabre duel with a Federal officer. Assistant Adjutant Lawrence 
Yates was seriously wounded in the forehead, and the blood 
gushed from the long deep cut, flooding his face and neck ; but 
with his own pistol he slew his antagonist. My own horse had 
been shot twice as we came through the infantry, and here he 
received a third and fatal wound and fell suddenly to the 
ground. I had experienced many ups and downs, but this was 
one of the most serious of the downs. The peculiar sensation 
of a falling horse was somewhat like that I felt the first time I 

56 Mississippi Historical Society. 

stepped into an elevator to go down, when the whole world 
seemed to be falling and carrying me with it. But I simply 
made breastworks of the dead animal until I could get the 
horse of the Federal with whom I had been engaged, after the 
rider had been shot by myself or some comrade. Promptly 
mounting the Federal charger, I was soon with my command 
chasing the routed Illinois cavalry. 

Many thrilling deeds done by Federals and Confederates can 
never be known. The First Mississippi met a foe worthy of 
their steel in the Second Illinois. Nerve was required to make 
and nerve required to receive that furious charge. Pistols in 
the hands of -the Mississippians proved superior to sabres 
wielded by the hardy sons of Illinois, and the gallant Pinson 
with his reckless Mississippians finally vanquished and drove 
from the field the rough riders of Illinois. 

Some Federal officers and soldiers annoyed us by firing at 
us from adjacent houses in which they had taken refuge. The 
two Roussees and Wohleben were together when one of the 
Roussees was killed. Seeing whence the shot came, and ob- 
serving through the glass door a party of Federals in the front 
hall of a house engaged in hostile demonstrations, they fired, 
killing two and wounding a third. The others then came out 
and surrendered. But, all in all, few of our regiment were 
killed, though many were wounded, most of them but slightly 
with sabre strokes. As victors, we arranged to care for the 
wounded, sending them south by way of the east. 

Meanwhile, the Texans, the Missourians, and the Tennes- 
seeans had entered the town almost simultaneously by different 
routes. Col Murphy's infantry had surrendered and our victory 
was complete. Texans and Tennesseeans were holding in 
check Federal reinforcements conning from the south. The 
4,000 men dispatched by Grant to aid Col. Murphy were push- 
ing on as fast as possible. Holly Springs and the immense 
stores were entirely in our possession; but we knew only too 
well that we must do our work quickly, and we grimly set about 
the task before us with the determination to do it effectually. 
Standing on the tracks near the depot was a long train of box- 
cars loaded with rations and clothing just ready to be sent to 
the front. The torch was applied and the train consumed. A 

The Capture of Holly Springs. Deupree. 57 

regiment was detailed to guard the prisoners, while others were 
engaged in the work of destroying the captured property. 

Holly Springs was at this time the rendezvous of a large 
floating population, following in the wake of Grant's army. 
Speculators were here to engage in the contraband cotton 
trade. Army sutlers were here procuring supplies from stores 
established by Northern merchants. Many officers, too, were 
Tiere on duty, either in garrison or in the quartermaster or 
commissary departments ; and thinking themselves perfectly 
safe, they had taken residence with their families and were liv- 
ing on amicable terms with the natives, though the latter made 
no secret of their sympathy with secession and the Confederacy. 
All these aliens were captured, swelling the total number of 
prisoners to more than 2,500, but women and children and per- 
sonal property were undisturbed. However, all that belonged 
to Uncle Sam, including the cotton, was regarded as properly 
-due the captors. Hence no scruples were felt in applying the 
torch to what could not be carried away. The sight of such an 
.abundance of clothing, supplies of all kinds, blankets, pro- 
visions, arms, ammunition, medicines, etc., etc., for the use and 
comfort of a vast army, was overwhelming to thinly-clad and 
hungry Confederates, who had never seen anything like it be- 
fore. The depot buildings, the round-house, and every avail- 
able place was packed full to overflowing. Scores of houses up 
town were likewise filled. The Court House was filled, and the 
public square contained hundreds of bales of cotton. A large 
brick livery stable was packed with unopened cases of carbines 
and Colt's army six-shooters. A large brick store-house was 
likewise filled with artillery ammunition. Alter appropriating 
all we could use or arrange to carry away, the work of destruc- 
tion was pushed with vigor. From about 7 o'clock a. m. till 
about 4 o'clock p. m., we were engaged in burning this immense 
collection of army stores. Depots of provisions were first 
plundered and then burned ; sutler shops shared a like fate ; 
whiskey flowed in streams, causing more or less disorder, as a 
few soldiers, blue and gray, imbibed too freely. Cotton specu- 
lators were required to share their money with the victors, but 
were allowed to witness the conflagration of their stolen cotton 
without personal restraint. 

The scene might well have been described as "wild and ex- 

58 Mississippi Historical Society. 

citing: Federals running; Confederates yelling and pursuing; 
tents and houses burning; torches flaming; guns popping; 
sabres clanking; negroes and abolitionists begging for mercy; 
women, in dreaming robes and with dissheveled hair floating in 
the morning breeze, clapping their hands with joy and shouting 
encouragement to the raiders; a mass of frantic, frightened 
human beings, presenting in the frosty morning hours a motley 
picture, at once ludicrous and sublime, which words are im- 
potent to portray." 

Mrs. U. S. Grant was in the city, residing in the stately man- 
sion of the late Harvey W. Walter. Of course, she was undis- 
turbed and none of her personal property was touched. In 
consideration of the courtesy shown his wife, Gen. Grant gave 
this house a safe-guard and a guarantee during the remainder 
of the war against search or trespass or devastation by Federal 
parties that might afterwards have occasion to be in Holly 
Springs. Several times after the Federals had given up the 
permanent occupation of Holly Springs and the little city lay 
between Federals and Confederates, our scouts, closely pursued 
by hostile cavalry, took refuge in this safe asylum, whose sa- 
cred threshold the enemy would not dare to cross. As a con- 
sequence of Grant's guarantee, this house was spared while 
many others were burned, and it still stands as a monument of 
Grant's appreciation of Southern chivalry. 

By a little after 4 o'clock in the afternoon all the property of 
Uncle Sam, save what we could appropriate, had been de- 
stroyed, estimated as worth between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000. 
The prisoners had all been paroled. We resumed our march 
northward, hoping to capture other garrisons and to destroy 
more Federal property. On leaving Holly Springs, our entire 
command was the best equipped body of cavalry in the Con- 
federate service. Every trooper had from two to six pistols, 
one or more carbines, one or more sabres, and all the ammuni- 
tion, rations, blankets, shirts, hats, boots, overcoats, etc., his 
horse could carry. With our new overcoats on, it was difficult 
to tell us from Federals. As we moved on separate roads a day 
or two afterwards, with overcoats on to protect us from a freez- 
ing rain, each column suddenly coming in sight of the other 
was mistaken for Federals, and for a time a battle seemed im- 

The Capture of Holly Springs. Deupree. 59 

minent; but on a display of flags, each column was identified 
as Confederates. 

As we moved out of Holly Springs we saw in the distance 
clouds of dust, indicating the approach of the Federal infantry 
and cavalry Grant had sent to reinforce Murphy. They were 
too late. We could not wait to welcome them, and Murphy did 
not care to see them. His chagrin he would prefer to bear 
alone. , 

We continued our march till late at night. On the following 
morning, we made an attack on the fortified post of Davis' 
Mill, which was so gallantly defended that Van Dorn wisely 
concluded it would not be worth the lives it would cost to cap- 
ture it. At Cold Water we also found the garrison too strongly 
posted to admit of capture without excessive loss. The same 
was the case at Bolivar. At Middleburg we found a garrison 
of about 250 men under Col. Graves, of the Twelfth Wisconsin. 
We demanded their surrender and received the gallant and 
curt reply: "If you want us, come and take us." We wanted 
them. The Sixth Texas accordingly dismounted and made 
several charges upon the brick church in which the Wiscon- 
sans had taken refuge, and from which through holes in the 
walls they poured deadly volleys into the ranks of the Texans. 
Nevertheless, according to the courteous invitation that had 
been extended, the Texans would go right up to the house, but 
the Wisconsans refused to open the door and let them in. With 
great reluctance the Texans retired. With but a single piece 
of artillery, this garrison, as well as those of Davis' Mill and 
Cold Water, might have been easily captured. 

But Grierson, Hatch, and Lee, with 2,000 cavalry and 
mounted infantry, were at our heels and threatening to crowd 
us; and, as nothing was to be gained by lingering here or by 
proceeding north, Van Dorn turned his column eastward and 
later towards the south, returning through Ripley, New Albany, 
and Pontotoc, keeping up a constant battle for several days 
with his cautious pursuers, and at the same time beating off the 
forces under Mizener and others that attempted to intercept us 
at Ripley and New Albany. We reached Grenada after an ab- 
sence of thirteen days, during most of fihe time continually 
fighting by day and riding by night. Horses and men were 
thoroughly exhausted, and all were glad to get rest again. 

60 Mississippi Historical Society. 

But we had accomplished one of the most daring and suc- 
cessful cavalry raids of the war. In consequence of the loss of 
so important a post as Holly Springs, Col. Murphy was dis- 
missed from the service in a stinging order by General Grant, 
said order to take effect on Dec. 20, 1862, the memorable date 
of his capture. The destruction of his stores at Holly Springs 
was an irreparable loss to Grant. His army was suddenly de- 
prived of sustenance. To replace his winter stores he must at 
once put into working order the entire line of railroad to Jack- 
son, Tennessee, at that time the northern terminus of the Mis- 
sissippi Central, and thence repair the M. & O. R. R. to Co- 
lumbus. Ky. But Forrest had so completely destroyed this 
road that two or three weeks would be necessary to restore it. 
It may be mentioned in this connection, too, that the Memphis 
and Charleston had been so thoroughly destroyed when the 
Confederates first evacuated Corinth, that Grant had never un- 
dertaken to repair it. Besides, with the fear inspired by the 
dashing Van Dorn and the reckless Forrest, Grant appre- 
hended it would not be feasible to maintain railroads in work- 
ing order. Hence, deeming his position untenable, he fell back 
to open communications by dirt road to Memphis. Not daring 
to subsist his army on the country with Pemberton in his front 
and the dare-devil cavalry on flank and rear, he wisely decided 
to abandon this line of attack altogether and to prepare to 
move his army down the Mississippi river to yicksburg. 

Sherman, in the meantime, ignorant of what had occurred at 
Holly Springs, and of the consequent retreat of Grant, had pro- 
ceded with his part of the prearranged program and landed his 
forces on the bank of the Yazoo river, attacking Stephen D. 
Lee at Chickasaw Bayou. The account of Sherman's defeat 
has been well given by Gen. Lee, and it is mentioned here only 
because of its connection with the agreement of cooperation 
made by Grant and Sherman. Grant was certainly foiled by the 
capture of Holly Springs, and Sherman might not have failed 
so completely if Grant could have pressed forward and held the 
Confederates in his front, so as to prevent the timely reinforce- 
ments of Lee. 

In conclusion, I may join with Comrade Barron in his state- 
ment, that from the beginning of this raid into Holly Springs, 
I served under the immediate command of General Earl Van 

The Capture of Holly Springs. Deupree. 61 

Dorn till his untimely death at Spring Hill, Tennessee. Speak- 
ing from memory and after an experience of four years in the 
cavalry service, under various leaders, including the "game- 
cock" Chalmers, the impetuous Forrest, the cautious "Red" 
Jackson, and that all-around successful soldier, S. D. Lee, I 
must express the opinion that a more chivalrous soldier was 
not found in either army than Earl Van Dorn ; and as a cavalry 
commander, I do not believe he had a superior on the Conti- 
nent of America. 


The difficulty in securing correct war history is not only from 
the reticence of veterans in regard to their valorous deeds, but 

1 Col. James Gordon was born in Monroe county, Miss., Dec. 6, 1833. 
He was graduated at the University of Mississippi in the class of 1855. 
During the last four or five years he has resided at Okolona, Miss. 
Previous to his removal to that place he was from early infancy a 
resident of Pontotoc county, Miss. His father, a native of Scotland, 
was a gentleman of culture and refinement. His mother was a Vir- 
ginian by birth, a descendant from the Waltons of Revolutionary fame. 
Col. Gordon inherited from his father the beautiful estate, "Lochinvar," 
and up to the outbreak of the war between the States he was num- 
bered among the millionaire planters of Mississippi. 

He raised the first company of cavalry that entered the Confederate 
service from North Mississippi, arming and equipping it at his own 
expense. This company, of which he was captain, went directly to 
Richmond and was attached to the Jeff Davis Legion under the com- 
mand of Gen. Stewart. In 1862 Capt. Gordon returned to Mississippi 
and recruited the Second Mississippi Regiment of cavalry, of which he 
was made colonel. He took a conspicuous part in the battle of Corinth 
and in Van Dorn's retreat to Holly Springs. During the war he took 
part in thirty-three battles and skirmishes. 

At the battle of Thompson Station Col. Gordon captured Gen. Shaf- 
ter and by kind treatment established a friendship between them which 
lasts until the present day. The Hon. John Coburn, who commanded 
the captured brigade, requested permission of Gen. Cheatam to pre- 
sent his sword to Col. Gordon in consideration of his kindness while 
escorting the prisoners from Thompson Station, Tenn. to Tullahoma. 
The petition was endorsed by Generals Polk and Bragg and the sword 
was duly presented. When Grierson's command made a raid through 
Mississippi, Col. Gordon's wife showed this sword to Adjutant Wood- 
ward and this saved the old home from being burned by Federal sol- 
diers, who were applying the torch, as a guard was given to protect the 

In 1864 Colonel Gordon was sent to England by President Davis to 
purchase a privateer for use in the service of the Confederacy. After 
discharging this service successfully, he entered upon a checkered 
career, being first prostrated by sickness, then confined in a Federal 
prison-ship and finally becoming a Confederate refugee in Canada. 
While in the latter country he met J. Wilkes Booth, from which fact 
he was unjustly suspected by the Federal authorities of implication 
in the assassination of President Lincoln. After taking the oath of 
allegiance to the United States in 1865 he returned to his old home in 
Pontotoc county. 

Colonel Gordon has represented his country in the legislature during 
several terms, and has for years taken an active part in the political 
affairs of the State. 

He has contributed to the columns of many journals and periodicals 
under the name de plume of "Pious Jeems." 

A more detailed sketch of his life will be found in Goodspeed's 
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, vol. I., pp. 805-7. ED- 

64 Mississippi Historical Society. 

from the fact that a soldier's knowledge is limited to that por- 
tion of the drama in which he was a participant, where he could 
only see what was done in the part of the field where he was 
engaged, and had only a vague idea of what was transpiring 
elsewhere. Therefore in reviewing the battle scene of Corinth, 
I must be pardoned if I can only give testimony to the part in 
which I was an eye-witness, and not immodest in relating my 
own experiences during the battle and retreat. 

I had the honor of commanding the Second Regiment of Mis- 
sissippi Cavalry, Armstrong's Brigade, which I had raised and 
drilled in camp of instruction at Columbus, Miss., during the 
summer of 1862. And reported to Gen. Frank C. Armstrong in 
August at Baldwyn, Miss., and found him after years of service 
under his command as true a friend and chivalrous a knight as 
ever drew sword for the land we loved. By some mistake my 
regiment was first known as the Fourth Mississippi Cavalry, 
which has caused some confusion, as it was afterwards given 
its proper place on the roster. But in the war records Col. 
Falkner's Partisan Rangers is given credit for some of our 
achievements. We marched with Gen. Price's army in Septem- 
ber to luka, which was intended to draw Rosecrans from Cor- 
inth, which Gen. Van Dorn was to attack with a force from 
Greenwood. On the morning of September I3'th, Armstrong's 
cavalry made a dash on luka and drove the enemy out, cap- 
turing a quantity of supplies and sutler's stores, sufficient for 
our army for weeks, but the infantry got possession and used 
them so lavishly that in a few days rations were growing short. 
After a week's inactivity Rosecrans marched out from Corinth 
and gave us battle. The day closed after a well contested fight 
with no material advantage to either side, but being short of 
provisions, early next morning we retired before a vastly supe- 
rior force, by way of Bay Springs, closely pressed by their cav- 
alry until I led them into an ambuscade where we crossed a 
bottom, and had masked batteries on the hill with Rogers' bri- 
gade of infantry, that fired into them, stopping further pursuit. 
We reached Baldwyn the next day and hastily prepared three 
days' rations and began our march for Corinth. On the first 
of October we met Gen. Van Dorn with Lovel's corps, who 
took command as we marched on. As we bivouacked the 
night before reaching Corinth an accident prevented our taking 

The Battle and Retreat from Corinth. Cordon. 65 

it by surprise, a body of Federal cavalry passed in rear of our 
army and carried the news of our approach to the enemy. We 
struck the Federal outpost at Chewalla, six miles west of Cor- 
inth and drove the cavalry back to the protection of the in- 
fantry, who were entrenched behind formidable breastworks 
erected by the Confederates after the battle of Shiloh. As 
we marched gaily forward Gen. Price's Mounted Band kept 
well up in front of our column, just in rear of our skirmish line, 
yet out of range of the retreating Federal cavalry. In the rosy 
realm of childhood my fancy had pictured the bands discours- 
ing martial music while the soldiers were righting. Old Pap 
Price's band soon disabused my mind of this fairy tale. The 
woods resounded with that popular air "Listen to the Mock- 
ing Bird." When we came in sight of the entrenchments one 
of those big guns opened with a terrific roar and a huge shell 
came humming overhead and struck an oak where it forked, 
about twenty feet above us, splitting it in two, scattering frag- 
ments of limbs back and splinters among the musicians. The 
Mockingbird hushed its dulcet strain and the boys shouted 
with glee as the band and negro camp followers "skedaddled" to 
the rear. The ball had opened and it was a different tune we 
danced to the rest of the day. As the infantry moved forward 
and engaged the enemy I marched around the earthworks until 
my left flank rested near the Mobile & Ohio R. R. north of 
Corinth, where I halted behind a blackjack thicket, awaiting 
orders, when I observed a section of King's battery, that had 
been following, turn towards the enemy, and dashing up in gal- 
lant style to an elevation, prepared for action, but prompt as 
they were, those daring Missourians had ventured too far, and 
before they could bring their guns into action, a regiment of 
Federal infantry lying concealed in the hollow arose with a 
cheer and charged them. There was no time for hesitation or 
awaiting orders. I instantly dismounted my regiment, and, 
passing through the thicket that had concealed me, charged 
the enemy in flank and drove them from the guns, which they 
endeavored to turn on me, but failed to do so before my gallant 
Mississippi boys were on them, and the Missourians, seeing help 
at hand, rushed to the guns and poured a terrific fire into their 
disordered ranks. There was a gallant Federal officer riding 
an iron-gray horse utterly regardless of danger, a conspicuous 

66 Mississippi Historical Society. 

mark for our rifles, attempting to rally his men, when our bat- 
tery opened the brave fellow fell a mangled corpse, "dead upon 
the field of glory." I drew my breath and hushed a shout of 
exultation as I saw him fall and his men, completely demoral- 
ized, beat a hasty retreat. I breathed a sigh of regret as I 
halted in passing the body of my fallen foe, while my men drove 
his comrades from the field to the protection of the breast- 
works. My Adjutant, Lieutenant James A. Wiley, and myself 
were the only officers remaining mounted, and one of those in- 
cidents of battle comes back to mind more vividly than more 
important events. While riding up and down my line of bat- 
tle directing the movements of my command, a sharp-shooter 
had esconsed himself in my rear in the railroad cut behind some 
bushes, and brought his rifle to bear on me. His sights, I sup- 
pose, were a little too elevated, as he shot, a twig fell on me 
from a limb I had bowed under in passing. I saw him drop 
back into the ditch, but there was a fascination in the spot and 
I could not help watching for his re-appearance until I saw 
him rise and take another crack at me. I felt the wind of the 
ball as it touched my moustache in passing. The next time he 
arose and as I saw he was about to shoot, I involuntarily 
dodged, which saved me, as the ball struck across the back of 
my neck, knocking me forward on the neck of my horse, mak- 
ing a black bruise, but not breaking the skin, yet the pain was 
so severe I thought I was shot through the neck. It was the 
most demoralizing experience I ever had during my career in 
the army. I did not care for the bullets from the enemy in 
front, they were honest foes, but to have a skulking assassin in 
my rear picking at me and distracting my attention was more 
than I could endure, and I resolved to get rid of him, so I se- 
lected a sandy-haired, freckled-faced fellow in the ranks, who 
had an impediment in his speech, and, touching him and the 
comrade beside him, pointed out the spot where the sharp- 
shooter hid, told them to go and kill him and bring me his 
gun. They started off at a double quick. I watched them 
close in on him, and as he attempted to retreat, they fired and 
he fell. My stuttering friend returned, holding up a beautiful 
Sharp rifle as he said, "By-by-by G d, Colonel, I ga-ga-got his 
gun," and I may add the brave fellow carried it gallantly 
through the war and had it at his home in De Soto County the 

The Battle and Retreat from Corinth. Gordon. 67 

last time I saw him. In the meantime as far as I could see our 
men were victorious all along the line. An hour more of day- 
light and Corinth would have been captured, when night cast 
her mantle of stars over the first act of the bloody drama. I 
can never forget that mild October night, with its thousands of 
starry worlds looking down upon our wearied soldiers sleep- 
ing upon the ensanguined field where silence reigned. The 
fierce rebel yell, a sound that could never be produced except 
by Southern voices, was hushed, and as the veteran dreams 
of the glories past, that fierce yell, so terrible to the foe, still 
lives in the deep chambers of his heart, and rising from the 
depths steals gently o'er the sea of memory in songs of Dixie 
land. As the morning star arose, Van Dorn's signal gun awoke 
the slumbering host, which was intended to open the fight. 
The enemies guns replied all along the line of fortifications in 
our front. It was a grand pyrotechnical display as the hurt- 
ling shells came humming overhead with the burning fuse 
blazing like a comet's tail, then bursting and scattering fiery 
fragments that fell like meteoric showers. Just before dawn a 
large reinforcement of the enemy had passed into Corinth from 
above. Our cavalry had torn up the railroad twelve miles 
north of the city and the Federal troops had marched all 
night, reaching Corinth wornout with fatigue. Van Dorn's 
plan, as he told me afterwards, was to begin the attack on the 
left when the signal gun fired, striking the enemy in echelon 
of brigades. Had his orders been executed the history of that 
day would have been different. The worn-out reinforcements 
could not have resisted the impetuous assault of our army 
flushed with the victory of the preceding day. A fatal error 
caused a delay that brought disaster. The officer who should 
have been ready for the dash at dawn was asleep in a farm 
house, and couriers were riding in every direction in search of 
him, and it was nine o'clock before he was found, by which 
time the enemies reinforcements had breakfasted and refreshed 
themselves with sleep behind intrenchments protected by heavy 
guns. It was ten o'clock before the attack was made and then 
Gen. Price made the advance from the centre, before which 
lay Battery Robinet, frowning with heavy guns and bristling 
with rifles, its approach being protected by fallen trees with 
the limbs sharpened, and through this terrible abattis it was 

68 Mississippi Historical Society. 

necessary for our troops to pass before they could reach the 
formidable breastworks that seemed impregnable. I have wit- 
nessed many a battle scene, and read thrilling accounts of 
others, but cannot conceive of anything that human courage 
could dare more desperately grand than the splendid charge 
of the brigade led by the gallant Colonel Wm. P. Rogers 
through the tangled mass of obstructions, with cannon roaring 
and belching forth great shells that burst as they tore through 
the Confederate ranks, while grape and canister raked the earth 
with iron hail, accompanied by the cracking of thousands 
of rifles from a foe protected by earthworks, whose volleys 
crashed and rung from out the sulphurous canopy of smoke 
that enveloped them, filling the air with hissing balls. Yet on 
those brave men pressed amid an atmosphere choking with dust 
and laden with missels of death. At times the line would reel 
and stagger and the enemy woud cheer a wild huzza as a flag 
went down with its fallen bearer, but another devoted hand 
would raise it, and above the din of battle, the thunder of ar- 
tillery and crash of small arms would rise a shout of defiance, 
as that grand old rebel yell would burst forth, and with a des- 
perate valor that no tongue can describe or pen portray, the 
grey line would close its ghastly gaps and still press on until 
they reached the red earthworks heaped up behind a yawn- 
ing ditch, where, with the flash of guns in their faces, they 
rushed against that wall of fire and bristling steel, and with a 
yell following the gallant Rogers, the bravest of the brave, who 
with the glorious banner of stars and bars in his hand, mounted 
the breastworks and leaped upon the foe, where a desperate 
hand-to-hand fight with bayonet and clubbed guns was fought 
that beggars description, but saddest picture of all, amid the 
heaps of dead lay the embodiment of that splendid courage of 
which heroes are made in the person of the brave Col. Rogers, 
while over their fallen chief his men who loved him fought on, 
driving the enemy in full retreat through the streets of Corinth 
until they reached the hotel and raised the Confederate banner 
over it with shouts of victory. Price's corps had whipped the 
fiercest battle ever fought on Mississippi soil. But where were 
the troops that should have reinforced them from the right? 
Gen. Lovell's corps, for some unaccountable reason, failed to 
oome to their support. They had accomplished all that mortal 

The Battle and Retreat from Corinth. Gordon. 69 

valor oould do. Rosecrans was preparing to retreat, expecting 
attack from our right, but when it failed he attacked the worn- 
out Confederates with fresh troops in overwhelming numbers 
and forced them back over the ground they had won with such 
intrepid valor. And here I may add to the credit of our foe, 
Gen. Rosecrans buried the noble Rogers with the honors of 
war. As Price's corps were falling back I received an order 
to report with my command to Gen. Lovell on our extreme 
right. I was compelled to pass through Price's shattered col- 
umns, which I did as speedily as I could, and pushed on until 
I neared the place where I expected to find Gen. Lovell. I saw 
a long line of grey pushing the enemy before them, so I halted 
my command behind a hill to protect them from the enemy's fire 
as we were not out of range, and proceeded alone to look for 
Gen. Lovell. I found him under fire directing the movement 
of his men fighting in front. He was a blond, light-haired, mil- 
itary-looking man, dressed in a handsome Major-General's uni- 
form, riding a richly caparisoned steed. The bullets were hiss- 
ing and singing unpleasantly numerous around him as I rode 
up, and, saluting, introduced myself, stating my business. He 
replied, "I've no use for cavalry. Look at those men, Colonel, 
isn't that beautiful ?" Sitting on a horse under fire, away from 
my own command, with nothing to do, is not so fascinating as 
to the officer directing the movements of his troops. I con- 
fess I should have enjoyed it more from a less exposed posi- 
tion. 'Brig. Gen. Phifer's brigade was just in front of us and 
I could see that my old college friend, Charlie Phifer was gal- 
lantly performing his duty. Just then a courier dashed up with 
orders to Gen. Lovell to withdraw his men from the fight. 
Turning to me, he remarked, "I don't understand this, Colonel. 
I've got a position here, and I can whip anything that can 
oome out of Corinth or hell, and by G d, I don't want to 
leave it." I replied "Perhaps you are not aware, General, that 
Price's corps has been cut to pieces and are in full retreat, and 
your command is all that are engaged now and you will soon 
have the entire Yankee army down on you." "Is that so? 
Then I want you to cover my retreat." He withdrew his men 
from the fight and they marched off in as perfect order as if 
coming from dress parade. It was handsomely executed. As 
they passed out by me I moved my command to the top of the 

70 Mississippi Historical Society. 

hill in plain view of the enemy, but strange to say, they seemed 
so staggered by the Confederate charge and surprised at their 
withdrawal they never fired a shot at me, although within rifle 
range, and when I retired I was not followed. I overtook 
Ivovell's command about two miles west of Corinth resting by a 
small branch eating their dinners. He then ordered me to go 
south about five miles to guard a road leading out from 
Rienzi, as he apprehended being cut off by a column from that 
direction. I was to remain there until sunset, then overtake 
him. I proceeded to the place designated and remained until 
sunset without any adventure. In the meantime my scouts re- 
ported a large force of the enemy having passed on the north 
of me in pursuit of our army. I was in a dilemma, with a 
column of the enemy on my right and ahead of me, another 
expected from the rear and Tuscumbia river on my left, which 
I must cross if I escaped capture, and in addition to my re- 
sponsibilities, a squadron of the ist Mississippi Cavalry, Col. 
R. A. Pinson's regiment, having been cut off and lost, reported 
to me and fell in with my command. I had sent out and tried 
to procure a guide, but failed, so I sent an order down my line 
for each man to follow his file leader and struck out with the 
hope of finding a ford across Tuscombia river. Night gathered 
in gloomy folds around me as I peered through a hazy atmos- 
phere and entered the sombre shadows of Tuscumbia river bot- 
toms, where, if I chanced upon the enemy with my column 
stretched out for two miles, my command was likely to be 
stampeded. I took my course by the few friendly stars that 
gave but a feeble light to guide me through a labyrinth of wil- 
derness, and as a shadowing cloud obscured their rays I felt 
the trees as I passed along, for the moss on the north side told 
the way to the enemy. From my boyhood I had hunted much 
with hunters and trappers in the Mississippi swamps, and 
learned lessons in woodcraft not taught in military schools, but 
most useful adjuncts to a military education. Among other 
things in my experience in the swamps was to trust to the in- 
stinct of cattle in finding a ford, Which is almost infallible, and 
fortune favored me in striking a cow trail leading towards the 
river, which I followed carefully in the dim light until I reached 
their crossing, where in spite of an ill-omened owl that snapped 
his beak as he flitted across the stream into the gloom beyond, 

The Battle and Retreat from Corinth. Gordon. 71 

I rode boldly in, leading my column safely over, where I 
breathed a prayer of thankfulness for having extricated my 
command from a dangerous position, and was fortunate in 
reaching the pickets of Lovell's corps, who directed me to his 
headquarters. I woke him up and reported. He seemed sur- 
prised and pleased to see me, and cordially grasping my hand, 
exclaimed, "I am glad to see you, Colonel. I feared you had 
been captured, as I saw no way for you to get out. Where 
did you find a guide ?" "I had no guide, General." Then you 
know this country." "I never was here before." "Then how 
did you get out?" "By being a bear hunter and skilled in 
woodcraft." It was an unfortunate avowal that caused me to 
be placed in many a tight place in later campaigns, but it gave 
my men a confidence in my ability to extricate them from any 
kind of difficult situation. I fear I am digressing, but that 
march and the responsibilities attending it through the dismal 
swamp the night after the battle left a more fearful impression 
on my mind than anything that occurred when exposed to the 
enemy's fire, and I relate it here to impress the growing youth 
with the feelings of an army officer when the lives of his men 
depend upon his judgment and promptness in execution, and 
where his reputation may suffer irredeemably from a mistake 
on his part. The next day our army was cut off at Hatchie 
Bridge by a large force from Bolivar, Tennessee. Price's Mis- 
sourians formed line of battle on a ridge in front of a road 
along which our wagon trains passed, while the enemy were 
held in check. In the meantime a bridge was hastily con- 
structed at an old mill, over which our wagon train escaped, 
followed by our infantry skilfully withdrawn from the battle, 
their retreat being covered by our cavalry falling back in good 
order, holding the enemy in check, fighting from every avail- 
able position until we passed Ripley, the enemy pursuing no 
farther. The cavalry had no access to the wagon train since 
leaving Baldwyn, and the three days' rations had long since 

The cavalry soldier usually consumed his rations the first 
day, trusting to luck for the next two. I had tightened my 
belt for three days and when the friends of Capt. James Ruffin's 
company from De Soto County sent the boys a wagon loaded 
with provisions, one of them gave me a large slice of old red 

72 Mississippi Historical Society. 

smoked bacon, which I devoured raw and dropped down at 
the foot of a tree and slept for an hour, the sweetest sleep of 
my life. The bugle call awoke me refreshed and invigorated. 
We resumed our march until we reached Holly Springs, where 
we met the exchanged Fort Donaldson prisoners. Why we 
had not awaited their arrival before attacking Corinth I could 
not comprehend. It would certainly have changed the result 
of the battle of Corinth. But the fates were against us. "The 
stars in their courses fought against Sisera." At Holly Springs 
we rested until Grant moved out from Memphis menacing us 
with a largely superior force. We retired across the Talla- 
hatchie at Abbeville, where we remained until Grant compelled 
us to retire. We had a small fight at Oxford, then again at 
Water Valley. As I was leading a charge there I nearly ran 
over Col. Jacob Thompson, whose horse was killed under him 
and he was feeling around for his spectacles. He had resigned 
his position as Secretary of Interior in President Buchanan's 
cabinet to join the South. At Coffeeville we had a severe fight, 
where we led the enemy into an ambuscade and gave them such 
a thrashing they retired to Oxford. We then went into winter 
quarters at Grenada, from which place Van Dorn started on his 
brilliant raid to Holly Springs in rear of Grant's army, where 
he destroyed his ordnance and commissary stores, compelling 
Grant to retreat to Memphis, which ended the campaign of 
1862 in North Mississippi. 

Note. Col. William P. Rogers, killed at Corinth, a native of Aber- 
deen, Miss. 

Capt. Frank Rogers, his brother, commanding a company from Aber- 
deen, Miss., was killed at Fort Donaldson. 



As the 2/th of this month (April i, 1901) will be the fourth 
birthday of the Mississippi Division of the United Daughters 
of the Confederacy, and as it was in Meridian that she first saw 
the light, it is deemed appropriate to review her short life and 
to show how far she has succeeded in realizing the objects of 
her conception. I will give a "plain unvarnished tale," confining 
myself to facts and figures, feeling that they need no embellish- 
ment to convince the reader that this Division is a prodigy. 
She is truly the beloved child of my heart and mind, in whom I 
am well pleased. 

I will inform the reader just here of the weight of this infant 
at her natal hour. She represented five chapters of Daughters, 
viz: The Columbus Chapter, of Columbus; the Ben G. Hum- 
phrey's Chapter, of Greenville; the Okolona Chapter, of Oko- 
lona; the Vicksburg Chapter, of Vicksburg; and the Winnie 
Davis Chapter, of Meridian. The last of these was the charter 
chapter in the State, the mother of the Division having called it 
into being. I had the honor of being President of this chapter 
at that time. The Division was organized with a total member- 
ship of 303. 

Mrs. Duncan, of Vicksburg, was the foster mother of the 
Division and directed her first steps so well that she did not 
fall into the errors of extreme youth that other bodies suffer, 
but straightway took up her mission and walked. She trebled 
her avoirdupois in the first twelve months, and since then she 
has continued to grow in favor with God and man. 

The objects of this Division as defined in our constitution 

1 Mrs. A. G. Weems (nee Mrs. Williams) is a native Mississippian, 
having been born in Okolona. She graduated with honors from Ward's 
Seminary, Nashville, Tenn., having received the highest reward of 
merit in the gift of the Faculty; also the German Valedictory. 

She has been prominent in all social, literary, religious and patriotic 
organizations in her city. She is at present an officer in the General 
Federation of Woman's Clubs, also the President of the Mississippi 
Federation, but she considers the organization of the Mississippi 
Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy the most import- 
ant work she has accomplished. EDITOR. 

74 Mississippi Historical Society. 

are, "educational, memorial, literary, social, and benevolent; 
to collect and preserve the material for a truthful history of 
the war between the Confederate States and the United States 
of America, to honor the memory of those who served and 
those who fell in the service of the Confederacy, and to record 
the part taken by Southern women in their untiring efforts af- 
ter the war in the reconstruction of the State as in patient en- 
durance of hardship and patriotic devotion during the struggle, 
to cherish ties of friendship among the members of the Society, 
and to fulfil the duties of sacred charity to the survivors of the 
war and to those dependent upon them, to unite with the Con- 
federate Veterans in the determination that American history 
shall be properly taught in the public schools of the State, and 
to use its influence toward attaining this object in all private 

I will discuss these objects in the order given above and will 
inform the reader as near as possible of what has been accom- 
plished by the Division. My report is based on what has been 
printed in our minutes for three years, there necessarily having 
been much done not noted therein. In the first place an Histor- 
ian is appointed in each chapter to record all facts she can 
gather from tongue and pen, from her section, of battles, deeds 
of heroism, nobility, romance and sacrifice, redounding to the 
honor and glory of our State, and thus to preserve forever 
facts of great historical value, a knowledge of which would 
otherwise perish with the memories that recall them. In addi- 
tion to this we have a State Historian, who is ever stimulating 
activity along these lines, realizing the importance of "being 
up and doing," as the day for such work is already far spent. 

The Capitol Commission has been appealed to by our Di- 
vision to set apart a large room in our new building for the 
preservation of papers and relics, planning it with niches 
around the walls for the statues of our great Mississippi Con- 
federate heroes, Jefferson Davis, first and foremost, Stephen 
D. Lee, Walthall, Barksdale, Featherstone, etc., etc., and for 
the private soldier, last, but not least. 

The second clause in our constitution provides for honoring 
the memory of those who served and fell in the service of the 
Confederate States, and for the parts taken by Southern wo- 
men during the periods of war and reconstruction. The ways 

United Daughters of the Confederacy. Weems. 75 

we have sought to accomplish these ends are so manifold that 
I fain would leave some unmentioned. We have marbleized 
our love for our sainted dead in headstones by the hundreds, 
in shafts of heroic size, pointing heavenward in mute eloquence 
all over our fair State. One recently unveiled in Aberdeen is 
of beautiful Italian marble, carved in that country most fa- 
mous for works of art in all the world, at a cost of several thou- 
sand dollars. We have not confined our efforts in this line 
within our own borders, but have assisted in erecting enduring 
monuments on historic battlefields, Chicamauga, Gettysburg, 
and others, and added to the Jefferson Davis and the Sam Davis 
monument funds, to memorial windows, etc., etc. 

We have rescued from the ravages of time burial plots of 
those who wore the gray; fencing, sodding, and planting sweet 
flowers. In one instance, a chapter, the Winnie Davis, bought 
from a former slave, the sacred resting place of a number of 
our soldiers, which he had been cultivating these years. 

We celebrate publicly the birthdays of two of our heroes: 
Generals Lee and Davis. And to stimulate the study of these 
noble characters, whose examples are so worthy of emula- 
tion by our youths, one organization has awarded medals for 
the best essays on their lives. 

We send fair blossoms each spring to distill their fragrance 
on the resting places of those who sleep far away from home 
and kindred, under a Northern sun (Camp Chase, etc.), and 
we also forward money to keep these places in repair. We 
have fittingly observed Decoration Day, having programs of 
songs and addresses, in which the children take a prominent 
part, since our hopes center in them for the perpetuation of 
our glorious memories. 

"With garlands of roses, with hearts full of love, 

In fondest remembrance we come 
To the city of silence, the land of the dead, 

To strew o'er loved forms that rest neath the sod 
Blossoms as fair as the dawn" and bedew them with our tears. 
Yes "We cover them over, parents and brother and husband 

and lover. 

We shrine in our hearts these heroes of ours, and cover them 
over with sweet beautiful flowers." 

We have donated over a thousand dollars to Rouss Battle 
Abbey Fund. Taking advantage of every opportunity that pre- 
sents itself to honor and show to the world reverence for our 

76 Mississippi Historical Society. 

illustrious dead, we have also earnestly sought to have the cor- 
nerstone of our Capitol building laid on the 3rd of June, the 
birthday of the President of the Confederacy, our own Jeffer- 
son Davis. 

Our organization stands with the foremost in having prompt- 
ly met the honorable and worthy obligation to furnish with 
suitable receptacles for our priceless relics, the Mississippi 
room in the Confederate White House in Richmond. The 
Daughters' contributions to this purpose have been supple- 
mented by liberal gifts from Mrs. Davis of our loved leader's 
personal effects and of many objects of historical and senti- 
mental interest belonging to the late lamented Daughter of the 
Confederacy. We now clamor for the faces of some our State's 
valiant soldiers in unperishable oils to adorn these walls. 

Our Division was also among the first to come forward with 
the required amount for the purchase of the famous historical 
war paintings by Mr. Chapman, to be placed in the same build- 
ing. Several chapters are securing grounds in different parts 
of the State and are converting them into Confederate Me- 
morial Parks, by planting in them trees named after our im- 
mortals, and by placing in them fountains and statues, and by 
otherwise beautifying them in such a way as to give splendid 
object lessons of our loyalty to the cause. 

We have organized flourishing chapters of the Children, 
Daughters and Sons of the Confederacy and of Veterans, which 
are very enthusiastic and are accomplishing much practical 
good as well as exciting interest in all things pertaining to the 
Titanic struggle, and stimulating a thirst for more knowledge 
on the subject. 

We are recording the noble part taken by Southern women, 
who during the four long, bloodstained years of war, wept, 
suffered, waited, inspired the soldiers on the field, nursed and 
cheered the sick, the wounded and the despondent, spun, wove, 
planted, cared for the children, the slaves, etc., etc. We are 
not forgetful of her loving services in the bitter, hard, cruel, 
humiliating days of reconstruction, but we are not building 
monuments to her since she has voted that not one stone 
should be put aloft while there is one needy Confederate Vet- 
eran living. Is not that an illustration of that love spoken of 
in the Book of books, "in honor, preferring one another?" 

United Daughters of the Confederacy. Weems. 77 

Our next object is "to cherish ties of friendship among mem- 
bers of the Society." Could we do otherwise with such a com- 
munity of interests? It is the natural outgrowth of being the 
daughters of one cause, therefore sisters, thrilled by the same 
inspirations, prompted by the same devotion, commemorating 
the same period of glory and suffering. There prevails in our 
ranks a beautiful unity, a blessed harmony, sincerest friendship. 

Our constitution also provides that we shall "fulfil the duties 
of sacred charity to the survivors of the war and to those de- 
pendent upon them." 

"We do not grudge our sweets to those living, 

Who, God knows, finds at best too much to gall, 
And then with generous, open hands, kneel, giving 

Unto the dead our all. 
We do not reserve all the tender tokens, 

The love, the praise, the floral offerings, 
For we know that palpitating, living hearts are broken 

For want of just these things." 

We are constantly ministering of our substance (truly love's 
labor) to our needy veterans in part payment of our debt of 
gratitude for the losses they so valiantly bore during the cru- 
cial years of the sixties. The Vicksburg Chapter, with the as- 
sistance of some others, has done a splendid work in pursuance 
of this object by establishing in connection with the State hos- 
pital an annex for caring for the sick, decrepit, and home-needy 
ex^soldiers, worn out by ceaseless struggles in the battles of life 
and almost ready to capitulate. The Mississippi soldiers asked 
no rest during the hard fought battles of long ago ; we are now 
trying to give them the much needed furlough. 

This building consists of eight bed rooms, a library, and a 
bath room, thoroughly equipped and furnished, at a cost of 
about $3,500. The State Legislature appropriated $2,000 and 
the city of Vicksburg gave the lot. We are making a heroic 
effort now to build a home for our veterans, wherein they may 
spend the evening of life in peace and comfort, and we hope 
ere a few more months have been told on the rosary of the 
year to see it in process of erection. 

The last object named in the charter is "to unite with the 
Confederate Veterans in their determination that American 
history shall be properly taught in our schools, public and pri- 
vate. We are doing much to cancel false impressions made 
upon the younger generation 6y Northern versions of our his- 

78 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tory, and trust that soon these untruthful and unjust records 
will be replaced in every instance by those of Prof. Riley, Mrs. 
Williamson, Lee, Lowry, and others. 

Now these divers and sundry objects have required, as you 
may know much and persistent effort on the part of the Mis- 
sissippi Daughters and an outlay of many thousands of hard 
earned dollars. But, could we have done less? We of Missis- 
sippi, the State which was second in order of secession, which 
"sent as many of her sons to stand on the first line of fire and 
to bear their part in every struggle from Pennsylvania to 
Florida," which was the home if not the birthplace of that "un- 
crowned King of the Southern people." May we all, as a peo- 
ple, keep less and less our alabaster boxes of love and apprecia- 
tion to break over our patriots' coffins. 

"Let us not wait to tell their story, 

And weave the bright garlands of praise round their names, 
And crown their cold brows with laurels of glory, 
Till vain is the glory and useless the fame." 




It is with pride and gratification that I give my report for the 
year 1901. The indifference of which I made complaint a year 
ago is rapidly giving way to interest in the preservation and 
perpetuation of our history. The historians of the chapters 
of the U. D. C. are beginning to realize that they have not only 
an office of honor, but a solemn and sacred trust; for it is 
through their patient efforts that the sacrifices, sufferings, and 
heroic deeds of many of our brave men and women must be 
made known to the future. I have received reports from five 
chapters of the U. D. C., Corinth, Okolona, Aberdeen, Yazoo 
City, and Port Gibson which is a great improvement on the 
none of last year. 

I. Some War Reminiscences of Port Gibson and Claiborne 
County. 2 

Our Confederate General, afterwards Governor, Benjamin G. 
Humphreys, was born and lived in this county, and his beloved 
wife, Mildred Maury Humphreys, whose war reminiscenses 
were so varied and interesting, and who was Honorary Vice- 
President of the Claiborne County Chapter, U. D. C., was also 
a native of this county. Here Henry W. Allen, Brigadier Gen- 
eral in the Confederate States Army, who was afterwards, Jan. 
25, 1864, elected war governor of Louisiana, commenced his 
career when quite young, as a tutor in my father's family, carry- 
ing on the study of law while teaching "the boys," who were his 
devoted friends and admirers in after years. But they, like 
Allen, sleep in a Confederate soldier's grave. Gen. Earl Van 
Dorn was born here, and to our beautiful cemetery only a short 
time since his sister, Mrs. Miller, had his remains brought from 
Mobile and interred. 

*A biographical sketch of Mrs. Cappleman will be found in the Pub- 
lications of the Mississippi Historical Society, vol. III., p. 107, foot-note. 

3 This sketch was prepared by Mrs. Emma McAlpine Fulkerson, His- 
torian of the Claiborne County Chapter. EDITOR. 

8o Mississippi Historical Society. 

Early in the sixties Claiborne county sent her sons without 
stint to battle for their rights ; acting on this principle, ten fully 
equipped companies left Claiborne county in 1861. Later in 
the struggle there were several independent companies, all 
of which did good service until the close of the war. Many 
who went out as privates and captains rose to positions of 
distinction. Among the number were: Gov. B. G. Hum- 
phreys, who was first captain, then colonel, and then brigadier 
general; Henry Hughs, who was promoted from captain to 
colonel; Sidney Wilson, who became successively captain, ma- 
jor and lieutenant colonel; and Robert C. McCay, who rose 
from the rank of captain to that of major. James Kennard 
was made chief of ordnance on Gen. Hardee's staff with the 
rank of colonel. Charles Bridewell became lieutenant colonel. 

In the spring of 1863 our country was thrown into the wild- 
est excitement by the arrival of Confederate troops under com- 
mand of that brave Missourian, Gen. Bowen, who immediately 
began fortifying the hill overlooking the Mississippi river at 
Grand Gulf. Other regiments came, the Texas Rangers, Gen. 
Wirt Adams' Cavalry, and others, who were received with en- 
thusiasm by the citizens. The fortifications were scarcely com- 
pleted before the booming of cannon was heard as the Fed- 
eral gunboats attempted to pass our little fortress at Grand 
Gulf. To show with what precision "our men returned their 
fire, a surgeon who was on one of these b.oats at that time, 
and whom my husband met in Louisville just after the war, told 
him that the Federal loss on his boat alone during one day's 
bombardment was 168 killed and wounded, while the Confed- 
erate loss of that day was one killed, Col. Wade, and eight 
wounded. Despite the skill of the Confederates in returning 
the fire of the gunboats, the enemy succeeded in passing the 
fortress with transport and in landing Gen. Grant's army at 
Bruinsburg, near the mouth of the Bayou Pierre, within a few 
miles of Port Gibson. The battle of Port Gibson which then 
followed is now a matter of history. 

Of the sufferings and deprivations endured by the citizens 
during that time, it is impossible to tell. To me those days 
seem like a black dream in the far past. I was only a young 
girl, but remember how sorrowful my mother used to look 
and how often she regretted that she had not fired the old 

Local Incidents of the War. Cappkman. 81 

homestead and left before Grant's army reached us. Like 
many others throughout the country, we often suffered for food 
being forced by dire necessity to draw rations from the enemy 
to keep our bodies alive. Negroes, household furniture, pro- 
visions, everything was gone, and we were reduced from a state 
of affluence to that of abject poverty. The county was fre- 
quently overrun by raiders, who, for the most part, were the 
very scum of the North. Several of these raids were in charge 
of Lieut. Ellet. A number of our citizens and ladies were 
arrested without warrants or warning, carried to Vicksburg, 
and held as hostages of war in tKe common jail, and but for 
the noble women of that city would have suffered for the ne- 
cessities of life. Concerning this I have written before in reply 
to an article published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal of 
June 4, 1899. 

Gen. Bowen and his men were much loved and respected by 
the people during their stay in our midst, and over the graves 
of eighty-three of these brave Missourians, who lost their lives 
on that memorable first day of May, 1863, the Claiborne 
County Chapter has placed headstones to mark their resting 

The brave Georgian, Gen. Tracy, was also killed here on that 
day, but his remains were afterwards carried by loving friends 
to Macon to rest in his home cemetery. 

II. Reminiscences of Corinth in the War. 3 

Corinth from its railway connection was a strategic point and 
was menaced in 1862 by the Federal forces at Pittsburg Landing. 
Confederate troops were rapidly concentrated at this place, and 
going out they met the enemy at Shiloh on a memorable day 
thirty-nine years ago. On the 3rd and 4th of October of the 
same year the battle was fought. The town was in possession 
of the Federals under General Rosecrans and was attacked by 
Generals Price and Van Dorn, who. were repulsed. If there 
is a place" within the boundaries of the Union that has smelled 
the breath of war, tHat place is Corinth. Many of the old re- 
doubts, which at one time encompassed the town, still remain 
to tell of the fearful conflict that once raged over them. The 
history of the war contains no bloodier page perhaps than that 

* This sketch was prepared by Mrs. Jennie Gaston Henderson, of the 
Corinth Chapter of the U. D. C. EDITOR. 

82 Mississippi Historical Society. 

which records this fiercely contested battle. The official Con- 
federate reports make their loss 505 killed, 2,150 wounded, and 
2,188 missing. 

On the green slopes of the earth works those who vainly 
hurled themselves against these fortifications lie buried. The 
grave of only one is known of all the brave Confederates who 
perished in that fearful assault. The intrepid Col. W. P. 
Rogers, of the Texas Infantry, lies buried just where he fell 
within ten yards of the enemy's guns. His heroic death is a 
matter of history. He led in the assault on Fort Robinette, 
and with scores of his brave men falling around him, yielded 
up his noble life under his colors, which he had planted upon 
the enemy's stronghold. His deeds of heroism won the ad- 
miration and reverence of both armies, and a generous foe 
gave him a military burial, with the honors of general. After 
thity-nine years the Daughters of the Confederacy have had 
a neat white marble curbing put around the grave, with a 
promise that it will from this time be kept green. 

III. Reminiscenses of Okolona in the War. 4 

Okolona, though a little inland town during the war between 
the States, had its history, as well as more noted places. Its 
men fought as bravely and its women suffered as heroically 
as many whose names are known and honored by their coun- 
try's worshipers. As is indicated by the Indian word Oko- 
lona, which means "still water," this place and the surround- 
ing country had no running streams. During the long sum- 
mer months of war when the soldiers would stop at a 
house and ask for water, we are told that some of the farmers 
sold it to them. 

No women ever showed greater patriotism than the women 
in and around Okolona. The better class of our men and boys 
volunteered in '61 and '62, and but few were left for the con- 
script officers. 

After the skirmishes at Corinth, May i, 1862, and May 14, 
1862, and along the Mobile and Ohio railroad, at a later date, 
Okolona became a commissary depot. Our school buildings 
were taken for hospitals. It is a well known facts that when 
the first shells fell in the camps at Corinth, the negro men, who 

4 This sketch was prepared by Mrs. Bettie Gill-Poore, Historian, Oko- 
lona Chapter, U. D. C EDITOR. 

Local Incidents of the War. Cappleman. 83 

were the valets of our boys, gathered up their knapsacks and 
left instantly for home, bringing us the first news of this en- 
gagement. News did not travel then as fast as it does now. 

The women of Okolona, left at home with the children and 
the negroes all the young and middle-aged men being in the 
army had to take all the responsibilities of life upon them- 
selves. They not only had to care for the children and the 
stock, manage the negroes and the farms, but they had to make 
clothes and food for those at home and for those far away in 
the army. The long-discarded arts of spinning and weaving 
and dyeing with the bark of trees were revived. Many a Con- 
federate soldier lies shrouded in the gray made by his wife's 
hand or that of some other loved one. And we felt as proud 
in our homespun dress as a queen in her royal robes. After 
our army left Tupelo in '62, it was very difficult to get sugar 
or coffee. Blockade runners had their own prices, and a bale 
of cotton was often exchanged for a sack of coffee, or a load 
of corn (at $1.50 per bu.) for a calico dress. 

In the spring of '63 Gen. Hatch made a raid on our little 
town. It was a terrible thing to us women, to hear "the Yan- 
kees are coming." Our hearts would throb and our knees 
tremble at the dread sound. The old men, white and black, 
would gather up all the mules, horses, and wagons and hurry 
off to the "Bottoms/' The women and children would try to 
hide and otherwise take care of what was left. It was a diffi- 
cult tfiing to do; for some of the negro women would be al- 
most sure to tell where the things were hidden. So, in order 
to save valuables, the women would often wait until midnight 
to bury their prized belongings. 

After Gen. Hatch had raided Okolona and burned all the 
commissary stores, he traveled back to Prairie Mount, about 
six or eight miles and stopped at the home of one of our typi- 
cal Southern gentlemen to spend the night. As usual, when 
the enemy were coming the old gentleman had sent off his 
stock and his negroes. Gen. Hatch made him get on a mule, 
bareback, and ride all the way to the "Bottoms," under bushes 
and through creeks, to find the trunks and other hidden valu- 
ables, which were rifled, scattering to the four winds papers, 
notes, etc., not wanted. After enjoying the "fun," as they 
called it, as long as they wished, they let the old gentleman 

84 Mississippi Historical Society. 

return home, but he had to sleep in the hay loft while Gen. 
Hatch and his men slept on the nice feather beds in the house. 
As we then had no forces in this part of the country, the en- 
emy took their own time in returning to Memphis. 

In the spring of 1864 we were greatly alarmed over the re- 
port of another raid. The raiding party was this time along 
the Houston road near "Suquatouchee bottom." It went into 
the house of a gentleman (Mr. Ezell), and began to search 
the bureau drawers to find what they could carry off. Mrs. 
Ezell, although an invalid, had enough presence of mind 
to outwit them; for while they were intent upon their search 
for valuables, she ordered one of the negroes "to blow the 
horn." The Federals, thinking that this was a signal to some 
hidden Confederates, left without taking time to make their 
adieu. Returning to the main line they stopped at the home 
of Mrs. Gill. Her son, who was exempt from duty, was walk- 
ing in the yard. The "blue-coats" at once relieved him of his 
gold watch and chain and pistol. They then went into the 
smokehouse and took every ham the old lady had. 

While that squad was on one road there were others on the 
other road leading out of Okolona. The "Hessians" rode 
through the newly built house of a farmer by the name of 
Cook (almost frightening his young daughter to death) and 
then burned it. One of their soldiers being ill, a party con- 
cluded to spend the night at the home of, Mrs. Gill. Father 
sent word to Gen. Tucker (then in camp one mile west and at 
home on a furlough), who had only a little band of militia with 
him. Gen. Tucker sent a posse and took the Federals pris- 
oners. Some of the raiders, having been guided by a trusty 
"old nigger," found the wagons containing the valuables of the 
neighborhood and took out of them all the silver forks and 
spoons. One man brought back some silk dresses and told a 
lady that the next time she heard the Yankees were coming 
to keep her dresses in the wardrobe. All the stock was carried 
off, and a "big burly negro" was mounted on my father's finest 
horse and was ordered to burn every corn-crib along his way. 
That night the enemy's route was marked by smoking ruins. 
Another squad of raiders stopped at the house of a widow, and 
while searching the smokehouse for meat they came across a 

Local Incidents of the War. Cappleman. 85 

barrel which they thought contained molasses. They soon had 
full possession and it made the lady laugh to think how sur- 
prised the "blue-coats" would be when they found that they 
had captured only a barrel of soft soap. 

They continued the raid to West Point and then began to 
fall back. But they did not depredate upon their return; for 
Forrest and Tucker were too near for that. At Pikesville they 
took an old gentleman by the name of Hendricks, put him on 
a mule and made him ride, bareback, to Memphis, which treat- 
ment caused his death. A cartoon came out in a Memphis pa- 
per soon afterwards, representing Smith and Grierson on the 
same mule, traveling very fast, one with his face to the mule's 
head and the other to its tail, "Looking for Forrest !" 

IV. Reminiscences of Aberdeen and Columbus in the War. 5 

I recall that early in the spring of 1861 a comet appeared 
with its tail shaped like a sword. The wise said it meant war. 
One afternoon I had been calling on friends and drove home 
late ; as we turned from Commerce into Meridian street, the 
whole western sky was aglow and it seemed as if thousands of 
white tents were pitched there. I never doubted afterwards 
that we would have war. After Mississippi passed the ordi- 
nance of Secession, the first company to enlist from Aberdeen 
was the Van Dorn Reserves. The captain was John Moore, 
lieutenant, R. C. Reynolds. Both of these brave men were after- 
wards colonels of the nth Mississippi. I was so interested in 
them that whenever I heard they were to drill I would order out 
my carriage and drive to where I could watch their manoeuvres. 
When they left for Corinth to enter the army, we, with other 
friends, drove eight miles to Prairie Station and carried lunches 
for them to take on their journey. The scene is still vivid to 
me when Capt. Moore formed them into line and we walked 
down it, shaking hands with every man. Those nearest of kin, 
not content with the grasp of the hands, gave the parting kiss, 
amid the tears of the tender-hearted sympathizers. 

Before our troops left Aberdeen I assisted Mrs. S. J. Gholson 
and her sister, Mrs. A. Y. Smith, to make a beautiful silk flag, 
the first I had ever helped to make. We arranged to have it 
presented to the Van Dorn Reserves, with appropriate cere- 

This sketch is based upon an interview with Mrs. S. B. Haughton, 
of Aberdeen, Miss. EDITOR. 

86 Mississippi Historical Society. 

monies at the old Fair Grounds. The beautiful Miss Maggie 
McMillan was chosen to present it, which she did with an elo- 
quent and befitting address. This was responded to by Capt. 
Moore. We then drove through the streets in a procession, 
my husband holding the flag, its lovely folds proudly floating 
in the breezes. Alas ! 'how tattered and torn it was the next 
time we saw it after the close of the war. Its hallowed rem- 
nant was amid the decorations on the stage the day (Dec. 12, 
1900,) our soldiers' monument was unveiled. I afterwards 
helped my mother, Mrs. Brownrigg, and my sister, Mrs. Wad- 
dell, make another flag for the Tombigbee Rangers, of 
Lowndes county, of which cavalry company my brother was 
first lieutenant and afterwards captain. This flag was the 
stars and bars. After passing through one hundred and fifty 
engagements, this flag was brought home after the war. It 
was in the keeping of Gen. Jake Sharp, the first captain of tfie 
company, but was unfortunately destroyed with his house and 
contents by fire in 1899. 

I stood on the main street of Okolona the day after the bat- 
tle of Brice's Cross roads and saw 1800 prisoners file through 
the town, guarded by Gen. Gholson's soldiers. There were 
no jeers or taunts given these prisoners by our people, but, 
in solemn silence, the long procession filed through the streets 
to the Mobile and Ohio station, where cars were provided to 
carry them to a place of secure detention. A brigade of Mis- 
souri troops (part of Gen. Priest's command) spent some time 
at Columbus, resting and recruiting after their retreat from 
McRand Island No. 10 in the Mississippi river. Many of these 
fine soldiers were barefoot. This we resolved to try to remedy. 
Mrs. Meek, Mrs. Waddell and myself went to work, got up a 
series of entertainments, and charged for admittance $2.50, in 
Confederate money, or a pair of socks. We had beautiful 
evenings and crowded houses, and took in, altogether, $2,000 
and 60 pairs of socks, which we had the pleasure of presenting 
to the needy soldiers. 

Generals A. J. Smith and Grierson made another raid into 
North Mississippi in July, '64, from Memphis. The Confeder- 
ates, under Generals Lee and Forrest, met and fought them at 
Harrisburg, two miles from Tupelo, July 14. This was one of 
the most bloody battles of the war, considering the number 

Local Incidents of the War. Cappleman. 87 

engaged. Our men with inferior numbers attacked Smith's 
forces in a strong position and were repulsed with heavy loss. 
But the Federals, being flanked next day, retreated in good 
order, hotly pressed by Forrest as far as Town Creek. There 
they fought another hard battle, in which Gen. Forrest was 
wounded in the foot. 

Gen. Forrest had sent to Columbus and pressed all the car- 
riage horses into service, to move his guns for those two bat- 
tles, and sixty pair of those fine animals were killed in the ac- 
tion. I recollect telling him when I afterwards met him, that 
I hoped he had saved the hides of the dead horses for making 
shoes for our soldiers. "Why, Madam," he said "them horses 
were so hot, they spiled in three hours." We all knew Forrest 
was a self-made man, and his early education was entirely 
wanting, but his bravery and patriotism, and far-reaching sol- 
diery qualities over-balanced all other deficiencies. Forrest 
stayed awhile at Okolona, nursing his wounded foot and while 
there a committee was sent up from Columbus inviting him 
there, and offering him the freedom of the city. He accepted 
the invitation, and was there several weeks until his wound had 
entirely healed. During that time several of the ladies had a 
fine silversmith make some of our old silver into a large and 
beautiful pair of spurs, with deep rowels and large buckles of 
the same metal. We presented them to our gallant defender, 
Forrest, as a small token of our gratitude for his inestimable 
services. I wrote the note of presentation and kept the reply 
for a long time, but finally lost it, much to my regret. I have 
often wondered what became of the spurs after the death of 
General and Mrs. Forrest. 



Soon after the beginning of the abolition movement in the 
fourth decade of the last century, a policy was adopted by the 
government of Mississippi which had as its purpose the at- 
tachment of the border States to the extreme South in the event 
of a disruption of the Union. In 1833, the Legislature passed 
an act to prohibit the introduction into the States of slaves 
from the border States intended for sale, its purpose being to 
compel those States to keep their slaves and thus perpetuate 
the system of slavery. As the High Court of Errors and Ap- 
peals expressed it, "There was fear that if the border States were 
permitted to sell us their slaves and thus localize the institu- 
tion, they, too, would unite in the wild fanaticism of the day 
and render- the institution of slavery thus reduced to a few 
Southern States, an easy prey to its wicked spirit." 2 In the 
same year in which the Legislature took this action, a conven- 
tion was held at Jackson for the purpose of endorsing the 
course of South Carolina in regard to nullification. Much 
was said on the subject of "resistance," although no offi- 

1 James Wilford Garner was born on a farm in Pike county, Miss- 
issippi, in 1872. After attending the common schools of his county he 
entered the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Mississippi in 1888, 
where he worked his way through, graduating in 1892. He then taught 
in Lincoln and Marion counties and was an instructor in the summer 
Normals of Mississippi in 1895 and 1896. In the latter year he entered 
the University of Chicago as a graduate student in Political Science 
and History. After spending two years at that University he became 
instructor in Political Science and History in the Bradley Polytechnic 
Institute of Peoria, 111. After two years of service at this place he 
resigned to accept a Fellowship in Columbia University, New York 
City. He is an active member of the American Historical Association 
and of the Historical Society of Mississippi, and has taken much in- 
terest in the history of his native State. He has recently written a 
book, entitled Reconstruction in Mississippi. An article from his pen on 
"Mississippi During the Civil War" was published in the June (1901) 
Political Science Quarterly. EDITOR. 

J Mitchell v. Wells, 37, Mississippi Reports, p. 254. 

In this well known case it was declared to be the policy of the State 
to preserve and perpetuate the institution of slavery as it existed in the 
United States, and to this end prevent the emancipation there and else- 
where of slaves once domiciled in the United States. 

9O Mississippi Historical Society. 

cial action was taken by the convention with that end in view. 3 
In 1834, nullification and secession were repudiated by the peo- 
ple of Mississippi acting through their primary elections, 
through a State convention, and through the Legislature. On 
June 9 of that year, the Democratic State convention, presided 
over by General Thomas Hinds, unanimously resolved "that a 
constitutional right of secession from the Union, on the part 
of a single State, as asserted by the nullifying leaders of South 
Carolina, is utterly unsanctioned by the constitution, which 
was framed to establish, not to destroy the Union." The Leg- 
islature passed a joint resolution declaring that it would sus- 
tain the President of the United States with heart and hand 
in the full exercise of his legitimate powers to "restore peace 
and harmony to our distracted country, and to maintain un- 
sullied and unimpaired the honor, the independence and the 
integrity of the Union/'* 

It was not until a decade before the civil war that secession 
in Mississippi was anything more than an abstract question. 
The initial movement which resulted in attempted withdrawal 
from the Union may be said to have begun in May, 1849, when 
an informal meeting of prominent citizens was held at Jackson 
to protest against the policy of Congress in excluding slavery 
from the territories. This meeting issued a call to the people 
of the several counties to elect delegates to a State convention, 
whose purpose was to "consider the threatening relations be- 
tween the North and the South." The convention was held at 
Jackson in October and was presided over by the eminent chief 
justice of the State, Wm. L. Sharkey, a Whig in politics and a 
man of decided Union proclivities, although strongly opposed 
to the policy of Congress in excluding slavery from the terri- 
tories. This is believed to have been the first general meet- 
ing of the people of the State in opposition to the measures 

* General John A. Quitman, a State Rights Democrat, and an ex- 
treme nullifier, was one of the prime movers in getting up this conven- 
tion. United States Senator Foote, afterwards the leader of the Union 
party in Mississippi, witnessed the deliberations of the convention and 
subsequently reviewed the same through the columns of The Mississip- 
pian in language so severe as to highly offend the general. See Foote: 
Casket of Reminiscences, p. 349. 

4 Speech of Hon. J. A. Wilcox, union member of Congress from Miss- 
issippi, March 9, 1852. Globe, 32d Cong., ist Sess., Appendix, p. 284. 

The First Struggle Over Secession. Garner. 91 

of Congress on the slavery question. 5 It adopted resolutions 
condemning the policy of Congress and issued an address to 
the people of the South recommending a popular convention 
at Nashville in the following June "with a view and hope of ar- 
resting the course of aggression." Should this not secure the 
proper redress, it was suggested that as a possible ultimate re- 
sort, the Legislatures of the injured States should call "still 
more solemn conventions elected by the people to deliberate, 
speak and act with all the sovereign power of the people." 
From these conventions there might result a "convention of all 
the assailed States to provide in the last resort for their sep- 
arate welfare by the formation of a compact of union that 
would afford protection to their liberties and rights." 6 Here 
was the first open advocacy of secession in Mississippi by a 
regularly constituted State convention. It will be seen, how- 
ever, that it was a suggestion of secession only in certain con- 
tingencies. It was secession only as a last resort. 

In these incipient secession movements one can easily trace 
the hand of Mr. Calhoun. A copy of the proceedings of the 
May meeting was sent to him with the request that he advise 
the people of Mississippi as to the proper course for the Oc- 
tober convention to pursue. Mr. Calhoun replied July pth, 
giving it as his opinion that the only hope of the slave States 
was a Southern convention which ought not to be delayed be- 
yond another year. He advised that a central committee be 
organized for the State at large, and also one in each county; 
that "firm and determined resolutions should be adopted by 
such meetings as might be held before the meeting of the Leg- 
islature in the fall;" and that the Legislature ought to take up 

8 Speech of Hon. J. J. McRae, Globe, 32d Cong., 1st Ses. Appendix, 
p. 174. Judge Sharkey in his opening address to the convention said: 
"The attempt of Congress to prohibit slavery from the territory of 
California has caused this meeting. The territory is common property. 
There each citizen of the United States has equal rights, is entitled to 
equal freedom in the territories. I am proud to say that in acquiring 
it, Mississippians displayed as much valor as any other portion of their 
brethren in arms, and shed as much blood in proportion to their num- 
ber as the citizens of any State. They were distinguished for their 
prowess in many a hard fought battle, but now they are told that re- 
strictions are to be imposed upon their right to enjoy the conquest. 
Can we, should we yield the fruits of our valor and surrender with it 
our constitutional right of equality?" Globe, Ibid. 

6 An extract containing this part of the address is given in a speech 
by R. B. Rhett, of South Carolina, in the Senate, December 20, 1851. 
Globe, 32d Cong., 1st Ses., App., p. 63. 

92 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the subject in the most "solemn and impressive manner." "No 
State," said he, "could better take the lead in this great con- 
servative movement than Mississippi. It is destined "to be the 
greatest of sufferers if the Abolitionists should succeed; and I 
am not certain, but by the time your convention meets, or at 
furthest, your Legislature, that the time will not have come to 
make the call." 7 

His suggestions were scrupulously followed. The conven- 
tion was held at the time suggested ; Mississippi took the lead ; a 
central committee was organized and local committees were 
formed in a number of counties; "firm and determined resolu- 
tions" were adopted by the convention; and the Legislature 
took up the subject in the "most solemn and impressive man- 
ner" by reserving in the treasury the sum of $22,200 to enable 
the Nas'hville convention to carry out the plan suggested. 8 

The Southern convention which Mr. Calhoun suggested to 
Colonel Tarpley and which the Mississippi October conven- 
tion recommended to the other slave States, met at Nashville 
June 3, 1850, and was presided over by Judge Sharkey, who had 
been instrumental in calling the convention. Nine States were 
represented, Mississippi having, according to one authority, 
eleven delegates, according to another, eight. 9 Judge Sharkey 
in his speech upon taking the chair declared that the purpose 
of the convention was not the disruption of the Union, but its 
preservation. Mr. Calhoun in his letter of advice to the Mis- 
sissippi convention had said, "the object of the Southern con- 
vention should be to put forth in a solemn manner the causes 
of our grievances in an address to the other States and to 
admonish them in a solemn manner as to the consequences 
which must follow, if they should not be redressed, and to take 
measures preparatory to it in case they should not be." "The 
call," said he, "should be addressed to all those who are de- 
sirous to save the Union and our institutions, and who, if the 

T This letter is dated Fort Hill, South Carolina, July 9, 1849, and is 
addressed to Collin S. Tarpley, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Miss- 
issippi. The full text of the letter is given in Foote's Speech on the 
Compromise Measures, Globe, 32d Cong., ist Ses., Appendix, page 52. 

8 See on this point a speech of J. A. Wilcox, cited above. Globe, Ibid., 
p. 282. 

8 Von Hoist says Mississippi had 8 delegates in the Conv. ; Rhodes 
puts the number at n; Cluskey's political text book gives the number 
as 8. 

The First Struggle Over Secession. Garner. 93 

alternative should be forced on us, of submission or dissolving 
the partnership, would prefer the latter." 

The convention passed resolutions recognizing the right of 
secession whenever it might seem proper and necessary ; recom- 
mended that the South refuse to take part in any national con- 
vention for the nomination of a President until the rights of 
the Southern people were guaranteed; that all social, commer- 
cial, and political intercourse with the North be suspended until 
the grievances of the South were redressed; that every com- 
munity appoint a vigilance committee to watch out for incen- 
diary publications, and that Southern literature be encouraged, 
and travel in the North discouraged. 10 A second session of the 
convention was held in November, the California compromise 
measures having in the meantime been passed by Congress, and 
it recommended a convention of the slave-holding States in- 
trusted with full power and authority to act with a view of ar- 
resting further aggression, if possible ; if not, to provide other- 
wise for their future safety and independence. 11 

The enactment of the Compromise measures of 1850 gave 
a strong impetus to the secession movement in Mississippi, al- 
though in the end that movement received a check from which 
it did not recover until the election of Lincoln. Henry S. 
Foote and Jefferson Davis represented Mississippi in the U. S. 
Senate at the time these measures were passed. Foote sup- 
ported the compromise by his speeches and votes ; Davis, to- 
gether with the entire Mississippi , delegation in the lower 

10 The resolutions of the Nashville Convention are printed in part in 
the Globe, 32d Cong., ist Ses., App., p. 337; they are printed in full in 
Cluskey political text book, pp. 595-8. 

11 The second session of the Convention was poorly attended, none 
of the delegates appointed by the Convention of Mississippi attending, 
although there were three Secessionists present who were appointed 
by Governor Quitman. Judge Sharkey, whose duty it was to reas- 
semble the Convention in certain contingencies refused to do so, be- 
lieving that its action at the first session was sufficient. It was thus 
reassembled without authority. J. J. McRae, one of the delegates from 
Mississippi in the Nashville Convention, denies that its purpose was the 
dissolution of the union. He said: "I had the honor to draw up the 
resolutions offered on the part of Mississippi. The first one declared 
that the objects of the Convention were conciliatory, that its end and 
aim was the preservation of the union. There was not a single senti- 
ment in any of them which breathed a spirit of disunion." Foote, on 
the other hand, charged that the original purpose for which the Con- 
vention was called was departed from; that although mainly gotten up 
by union Whigs the Secessionists controlled it and used it to further 
their plans of disunion. Globe, Ibid., 52. 

94 Mississippi Historical Society. 

House, opposed it on the ground that it was no compromise, 
but an abject surrender to the North. Each of the two Sena- 
tors declared that his course had the approval of his con- 
stituency. 12 During the summer and autumn following, much 
excitement prevailed throughout the State on account of the 
enactment of the measure and open advocacy of resistance was 
heard on every hand. After the issuance of the Southern ad- 
dress from Washington the people turned their attention to the 
formation of Southern Rights' Associations. In almost every 
community meetings were held to denounce the measure. At a 
mass meeting in the empire county of the State an old-line 
Democrat offered a resolution declaring that "if we have to 
choose between submission to the Compromise and secession 
from the Union we prefer the latter." This was typical of hun- 
dreds of resolutions adopted by private and public bodies during 
the year. Foote says the press was well nigh unanimous in favor 
of secession. 13 This was certainly true of the Democratic pa- 
pers ; it was not true of the Whig journals. Immediately after 
the adjournment of Congress the Mississippi delegation return- 

" Just before the final vote was taken Davis and Foote engaged in 
an angry colloquy on this point, Foote maintaining that nine-tenths ot 
the people were in favor of the compromise, while Davis was equally 
as positive that every prominent man in the State was against it. 
Davis declared that he would not remain in the Senate another hour if 
he did not believe that he truly represented Mississippi. Memoirs, I.. 
P- 465. 

13 Casket of Reminiscences, p. 355. The Mississippian, of December I3th, 
said: "We place Secession upon the clearly ascertained and well de- 
fined opinions of our people, that the Constitution of the Union has 
been violated, and that there is no remedy for the violation in the 

The same paper of August i6th, said: "We are not afraid to meet the 
raw head and bloody bones disunion, face to face; and it is time that 
the people had become more familiar with the monster, than politicians 
had wont them to be heretofore." 

The Natchez Free Trader said: "We recommend State Secession. We 
see but two ways, secession or submission. Let the issue be fairly pre- 
sented to the people Secession or Submission." 

The Woodville Republican said: "We will and must secede from the 
Union. Either we must submit to disgrace, and soon to abolition, with 
all its horrors, or we must prevent it and that is by Secession." 

The Vicksburg Sentinel said: "It only remains to be decided whether 
we will submit or resist. For one we are for resistance." 

The Whig journals, such as the Natchez Courier, Holly Springs Gazette, 
Vicksburg Whig, Corinth Advertiser and others were strongly opposed to 
Secession. A. J. Frantz told the Boutwell Congressional Committee, in 
1876, that the Brandon Republican, edited by him, was the only paper 
in East Mississippi opposed to Secession in 1860. House Miscellaneous 
Documents, 3d Ses., 4Oth Cong. 

The First Struggle Over Secession. Garner. 95 

ed to the State to give account of their course, and, with the ex- 
ception of Foote, to urge the people to resist the action of Con- 
gress. Brown, in a speech at Jackson, said: "So help me God, I 
am for resistance, and my advice to you is that of Cromwell to 
his colleagues Pray to God and keep your powder dry." 15 
Davis, McWillie, Featherston, and Thompson made similar de- 
clarations. Gov. Quitman at the same meeting declared that if 
Mississippi did not resist the Compromise measures, he would 
throw down her flag with contempt and refuse to carry it 
longer. Foote's course upon his return from Washington was 
very different from that of his colleagues who, he alleges, 
secretly combined against him on account of his position on 
the Compromise and used what influence they possessed to ac- 
complish his political ruin. He says he found upon his ar- 
rival at Jackson almost the whole Legislature arrayed against 
him, the Executive department, and nearly all the Judicial of- 
ficers. 16 The Legislature had already passed resolutions of 
censure against him, declaring that the interests of the State 
of Mississippi were not safe in his hands. 17 But Foote was not 
the man to quietly submit to a form of treatment which he 
thought was little short of disrespect. He resolved to vindi- 
cate his course before the people. Governor Quitman, the ac- 
knowledged leader of the "Resisters," was challenged to meet 
him for a public discussion of the question at the State capital. 
The Governor accepted but at the appointed time was too sick 

15 Globe, 32d Cong., ist Ses., App. p. 336. 

16 Casket of Reminiscences, p. 355. 

17 Globe, Supra, pp. 65, 66. On January 21, 1850, the Mississippi dele- 
gation in Congress, Foote included, had sent a communication to Gov- 
ernor Quitman, informing him of the likelihood of the admission of 
California with an anti-slavery constitution; that their individual posi- 
tions were unchanged; that they regarded the proposition to admit 
California without slavery as an attempt to adopt the Wilmot Proviso 
in another form; that in consequence of their separation from their 
constituencies they desired an expression of opinion from the Legisla- 
ture as to the proper course to pursue. In compliance with this re- 
quest the Legislature adopted a resolution declaring that the admission 
of California with an anti-slavery constitution would be an act of 
fraud and oppression on the rights of the South and that it was the 
sense of the Legislature that the Senators and Representatives of Miss- 
issippi should to the extent of their ability resist it by all honorable 
and constitutional means. The resolution of censure against Foote 
declared that he had acted in violation of the spirit and intent of the 
above resolutions and in opposition to the interest and will of the 
people of Mississippi in supporting the compromise reported by the 
Committee of Thirteen. 

96 Mississippi Historical Society. 

to meet Foote, who, in a lengthy speech, explained his position 
and warmly denounced the secession movement. 18 He then 
stumped the State, traveling night and day, making in all forty 
or fifty speeches urging the people to send delegates to a con- 
vention which he had assumed the authority of calling to meet 
at the city of Jackson on Nov. i8th, the day on which the Legis- 
lature was to meet and the Nashville convention to re-as- 
semble. 19 

While Foote was stumping the State endeavoring to get up- 
a convention to endorse him, the "Resisters" were bestirring 
themselves to work up a secession sentiment. Governor Quit- 
man was able to inform the Governor of South Carolina in the 
latter part of September that his movement was making pro- 
gress. On the 29th he wrote Gov. Seabrook in reply to an in- 
quiry as to the course Mississippi would pursue, that he had 
already called the Legislature to meet in special session on 
Nov. i8th and that he expected to recommend the calling of 
a convention which should be empowered to withdraw the 
State from the Union. "Having no hope," said he, "of an ef- 
fectual remedy for existing and prospective evils, but in sep- 
aration from the Northern States, my views of State action 
will look to secession." 20 . He kept his promise and promptly 

18 Foote had undoubtedly changed his position somewhat with regard 
to secession. On March 21, 1850, he said in the senate: "If the North 
proves unwilling to do justice, and our grievances remain unredressed, 
then the Southern States will assemble in Convention to consult for 
their own safety and welfare; and if justice shall be withheld after all 
pacific and constitutional expedients have been tried, and tried in vain, 
why then the Southern States may feel it to be a duty forced upon them 
of seceeding, in the last resort from the Union." Globe, Ibid., p. 170. 
Secession as a last resort was no more than what Quitman advocated. 

19 Casket of Reminiscences, p. 356. 

20 Claiborne's Quitman, II., p. 37. Although avowedly in favor of se- 
cession, it is to be understood that Quitman did not, at this time, favor 
the secession of Mississippi without the co-operation of other Southern 
States. As late as the 2Qth of March, 1851, he wrote Mr. Preston, of 
South Carolina, that Mississippi was not yet fully prepared for final 
action. "She has less capital," said he, "is younger and weaker than 
South Carolina, and has no sea coast." "South Carolina then should 
take the lead and fearlessly and confidently act for herself 
Mississippi would. I feel assured, take position by her side and soon 
all the adjoining States would follow her example." Ibid., 125. Gov- 
ernor Seabrook was of the same opinion with regard to the position 
of South Carolina. He wrote Quitman early in June, 1851, expressing 
his settled conviction of the extreme danger of the secession of South 
Carolina alone. 

The First Struggle Over Secession. Garner. 97 

upon the meeting of the Legislature he sent in a message in 
which he discussed at great length the institution of slavery, 
declared that if left to the tender mercies of the Federal Gov- 
ernment it was doomed; that having as it did the prejudice of 
the age against it, it required for its kind development a fos- 
tering government, and without such protection it could not 
exist much less flourish. 21 He thoroughly denounced the ac- 
tion of Congress in excluding slavery from California and de- 
clared emphatically that Mississippi would not submit to it. 
He recommended as the best means of redress that a legal con- 
vention should be called with full and ample powers to take into 
consideration Federal relations and aggressions committed on 
the rights of the South, the dangers to their domestic institu- 
tions and all kindred subjects and faintly with other States or 
separately to adopt such measures as "may best comport with 
the dignity and safety of the State and effectually correct the 
evils complained of." He asserted that the purposes for which 
the Union was founded had been so grossly perverted as to 
render its further continuance incompatible with the honor, 
prosperity, and safety of the slave-holding States unless past 
grievances were redressed and guarantees given for the furture. 
"But in the event of a refusal," he said, "I do not hesitate to 
express my decided opinion that the only effective remedy for 
evils which must continue to grow from year to year is to be 
found in the prompt and peaceable secession of the aggrieved 
States." This, he said, was an effective and an unquestionable 
right of sovereign States and should be steadily kept in view, 
whatever measures might be adopted by this State either alone 
or in concert with her sister States. In the meantime some 
common center of opinion and action should be authoritatively 
established. This might be done by the appointment of a com- 
mittee of safety to consist of a membership equal to the num- 
ber of Senators and Representatives in Congress. These com- 
mittees might be authorized to assemble periodically at some 
central point for the transaction of business and should be in- 
vested with adequate powers, absolute or contingent, to act for 
their respective States upon all questions connected with the 

21 This is strange language and furnished a striking commentary on 
the weakness of the institution he sought to defend. 

98 Mississippi Historical Society. 

preservation and protection of their domestic institutions. 22 
Here was mapped out in detail the plan for a Southern Confed- 
eracy. Unless Congress should repeal the Compromise meas- 
ures the Union was to be dissolved by a "prompt and peace- 
able secession of the aggrieved States." In a letter to J. S. 
Preston, of South Carolina, he advised that if South Carolina 
had made up her mind to secede to do so without waiting for 
the action of other States. He believed that there would then 
be more likelihood of other States acting. "The secession of a 
Southern State," said he, "would startle the whole South and 
force the other States to meet the issue plainly. In less than 
two years all the States South of you would unite their des- 
tinies to yours and should the Federal Government attempt 
to employ force, an actual and cordial union of the whole 
South woul'd be instantly effected and a complete Southern 
Confederacy organized. 224 

The day on which Gov. Quitman sent in his message to the 
Legislature, Foote's convention assembled at the City Hall in 
Jackson. It consisted of a large number of delegates, a ma- 
jority of whom were of Union sympathies. 23 They adopted 
resolutions approving Foote's course on the California Com- 
promise, advocated acquiescence in the measure, condemned 
the Governor's message and warmly denounced the disunion 
movement. They then organized the Union Party in Missis- 

This "growl of Whiggery" so near the capital did not, how- 

22 A part of Quitman's message is printed in the Globe, Ibid., p. 336. 
This message was shortly followed by another in which the Gover- 
nor recommended the organization of volunteer companies without 
limit, the appropriation of a fund for their equipment and support, 
the adoption of the rules and regulations of the United States Army 
for their discipline and requiring that officers and men should take an 
oath to serve for a term of five years. Ibid., 337. 

22a Goy. Pickens, of South Carolina, had written a letter to a com- 
mittee in Mississippi designating Quitman and Davis as suitable per- 
sons for the presidency of the proposed Confederacy. The letter was 
read by Foote "in a hundred speeches" which he made. Globe, Ibid., 
P- S3. 

The New York Times said in 1860 that of all the Secessionists that 
have appeared on the stage since the death of Mr. Calhoun, Gen. Jno. 
A. Quitman, of Mississippi, undoubtedly ranked first. His great mili- 
tary ability, his eminently practical cast of mind, his energy of convic- 
tion and straight forwardness of purpose, with so much that was truly 
heroic in his past history, gave him an uncommon hold upon the heart 
of the South. 

18 Senator A. G. Brown says the proportion of Whigs to Democrats 
in this Convention was five to one. Ibid., 356. 

The First Struggle Over Secession. Garner. 99 

ever, disturb the equanimity of the Legislature, a majority of 
whom were of the Quitman belief. The Legislature took up 
the Governor's recommendation and on November 30 passed 
an act calling a convention "to consider the state of our Federal 
relations and the remedies to be applied." 24 It furthermore 
solemnly declared that the evils complained of were destruc- 
tive to the domestic institutions and the sovereignty of the 
State. The date fixed for the election of delegates was the first 
Monday in September, 1851, and the convention was to assem- 
ble on the second Monday in November. In addition to the 
election of delegates to the convention, there was also an elec- 
tion of State officers. The passage of the Compromise meas- 
ures had the effect of dividing the people into two parties, one 
of which advocated resistance to the Compromise; the other, 
acquiescence. The former organized in November, 1850, under 
the name of the Southern Rights party. They continued under 
that name until the i6th of June, 1851, the date of the State 
convention, when they took the name of the Democratic State 
Rights Party. This party was composed of the bulk of the 
old Democratic party and a small element of State's Rights 
Whigs. By some they were called "Resisters." The party in 
favor of acquiescence was formally organized on the i8th of 
November, the day on which Foote's convention met. It 
took the name of the Union Party and was composed largely 
of old line Whigs and a respectable contingent of Democrats 
to whom disunion appeared a worse evil than the exclusion of 
negro slavery from California. The Democratic State Rights 
Party had a preponderance of the wealth and talent of the 
State in its ranks, yet in action it did not exhibit the concert 
and audacity of its adversaries. Quitman, the most extreme of 
the "resisters," was nominated for Governor over Jefferson 
Davis in the belief that he would carry out the secession pro- 

24 Every effort to have the question of the expediency of calling- a 
Convention referred to the people was voted down by the Legislature. 
An amendment, provided that in the election of delegates the sense 
of the voters on the question of a convention should be taken and if it 
should be ascertained that a majority were opposed to it, it should not 
assemble. The amendment was defeated. Another amendment, the 
purpose of which was to ascertain if the voters were in favor of ac- 
quiescence in the compromise measures or in favor of resistance, was 
likewise defeated. 

ioo Mississippi Historical Society. 

ject in the event of his election. 25 The Union Party nominated 
Senator Foote. Their platform was acquiescence in the com- 
promise measures and the preservation of the Union. Quit- 
man openly advocated resistance to the compromise measures 
and was known as the Secession candidate. "The precise ques- 
tion in this campaign," says Foote, "was, will Mississippi join 
South Carolina in the act of secession from the Union," 26 The 
question was to be settled by the election of a Governor and 
delegates to the State convention. Quitman and Foote took 
the field as opposing candidates, and confronted each other 
first at the capital and subsequently at seven or eight other 
places in the State, when Foote's denunciation of Quitman led 
to a personal altercation between the two candidates at a place 
in Panola county, after which the joint canvass was terminated, 
Foote filling the original appointments and Quitman following 

28 Reuben Davis, one of the Delegates to the State Convention, says 
that a decided majority of the committee on nomination favored Jeffer- 
son Davis, but the appeals of Quitman and his friends finally induced 
him to withdraw. Reuben Davis says that three out of every four per- 
sons whom he met on his journey favored the nomination of Jefferson 
Davis, and that as between Foote who it was certain would be the 
opposition candidate and Quitman, they preferred Foote. Recollec- 
tions, p. 315. Jefferson Davis says the effort to fix upon his party dis- 
union proclivities led some to believe that the nomination of Quitman, 
in view of his antecedents, might endanger their success. A proposi- 
tion was therefore made that Quitman withdraw and consent to the 
nomination of Davis, who in the event of his election would appoint 
Quitman to the vacancy in the United States Senate, but the propo- 
sition was not acceptable to the latter and he was accordingly nominat- 
ed. Memoir of Jefferson Davis, I., p. 467. 

M Hon. J. J. McRae, a States Right Democrat, and the successor of 
Davis in the United States Senate, made an address in that body Jan- 
uary 29, 1852, in which he defended his party from the charge of being 
disunionists. He said: "We believed the best way to obtain security 
for the future was to demonstrate against these wrongs and ask for 
guarantees against future aggressions. This was our position and we 
made no ultimatum upon which the dissolution of the Union was 
staked in the event of a refusal of these demands." Globe, 32d Cong., 
ist Ses., App., p. 171. Mr. Freeman, Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Nabers, 
Union members of Congress from Mississippi, in 1852, on the other 
hand charged the States Rights Democrats with disunion pur- 
poses and adduced much evidence in substantiation of their charges. 
Mr. Freeman said on the floor of the House, March 18, 1852: "The 
boundaries of the proposed Confederacy were all marked out; the re- 
sources of the people within its limits for self-protection, and for the 
protection of a national government were publicly canvassed, and 
pamphlets containing geographical description of the 'Southern United 
States, their wealth, population and political power were frequently 
circulated among the people." 

The First Struggle -Over Secession. Garner. 101 

after him and speaking in his poor way to crowds who had 
been entertained by the Senator's splendid oratory. 27 

The election of delegates to the State convention occurred on 
the first Monday in September, a month before the election 
of Governor and other State officers. In the September elec- 
tion the people pronounced against secession by a majority of 
7,000 votes. It was a sweeping triumph for the Union Party. 
Quitman was mortified at such an unequivocal condemnation 
of his secession project. Almost certain that the convention 
which he had initiated would declare against him, and having 
reason to believe that his gubernatorial prospects were doomed, 
he decided to retire from the race after issuing an address to 
the people. 28 The Secession party was discouraged. They 
were without a leader and the State election was but a month 
away. They now turned to Jefferson Davis to lead their for- 
lorn hope. It was said that the party had made a mistake in 
refusing him the regular nomination in June. He was accord- 
ingly prevailed upon to resign his seat in the U. S. Senate and 
become the candidate for Governor in the belief that he alone 

27 The personal relations between the two candidates had hitherto 
been agreeable. Quitman was indebted to Foote for having had his 
nomination as brevet major general confirmed by the Senate against the 
opposition of Jefferson Davis, at that time acting chairman of the com- 
mittee on military affairs. Quitman was one of a trio of eminent Miss- 
issippians (S. S. Prentiss and Robert J. Walker being the other two) 
who were born in the North and emigrated to Mississippi in early life. 
His brilliant success in the Mexican War and his devotion to his adopt- 
ed State made him very popular. He was a man of rugged character, 
of great moral courage, and was thoroughly controlled by his convic- 
tions of right and wrong. He was plain, frank, would not resort to 
personalities, and preferred defeat to equivocation. He brought for- 
ward almost a score of charges against his opponent, the substance of 
which was the hostility of Foote to slavery and his misrepresentation 
of the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate. As a speaker 
he was no match for Foote, who, it was commonly said, was the best 
stump orator in the United States. Foote was well educated and was 
fond of drawing upon the classics for his illustrations. Quitman's style 
was poor and flat, while Foote was a strategist. The chief weapons in 
his arsenal were irony and satire, which he used in a manner truly dis- 
comforting to his antagonist. He says of Quitman: "He was truth- 
ful, honest, brave, of a slow and plodding intellect, but in regard to or- 
dinary matters, sound and practical in his views. He was over ambi- 
tious, fond of taking the lead in all things, somewhat given to selfish- 
ness, and was altogether the dullest and most prosy speaker that I have 
ever known who could speak at all." Foote thinks, however, that he 
had a much stronger intellect and a far truer heart than Jefferson 
Davis. Casket of Reminiscences, p. 356. 

8 His letter of resignation is dated September 6th and is printed in 
Claiborne, II., 146. 

j 02 Mississippi Historical Society. 

would be able to retrieve the September losses. He at once 
entered upon the canvass, but on account of ill health, prose- 
cuted it with little vigor. The party now endeavored to stem 
the tide by announcing that all further thoughts of secession 
had been abandoned. 29 Foote was elected Governor, although 
the Union majority of 7,000 in September was reduced by Da- 
vis to less than i,ooo. 30 The Union Party elected a majority 
of the Legislature, three members of Congress, and a Union 
Democrat was chosen to succeed Foote in the U. S. Senate. 

The convention which Governor Quitman had conceived and 
which he expected would take a stand in favor of secession, met 
at Jackson Nov. 10, 1851. Fifty-six counties were represented 
by ninety-three delegates, a majority of whom were of the Un- 
ion Party. 31 

28 Davis denies that he was in favor of Secession. In a letter to 
James Pearce, of Kent county, Md., under date of August 22, 1852. he 
wrote: "After my return to Mississippi in 1851, I took ground against 
the policy of secession and drew the resolution adopted by the Demo- 
cratic State Rights Convention in June, which declared that secession 
was the last alternative, the final remedy and should not be resorted to 
under existing circumstances." Memoir of Jefferson Dams, by his wife, 
I., 471. He had written on November 19, 1850, in reply to a formal 
question by a number of Union gentlemen whether he was in favor of 
a dissolution of the Union. "If any have falsely and against the evi- 
dence before them, attempted to fix on me the charge of wishing to 
dissolve the Union under existing circumstances, I am sure your in- 
formation and intelligence have enabled you to detect the hollow fraud. 
If any have represented me as seeking to establish a Southern Con- 
federacy on the ruins of that which our revolutionary forefathers be- 
queathed to us, my whole life and every sentence I have uttered in 
public or private give them the lie. If any have supposed gratuitously 
(they could not otherwise) that my efforts in the Senate were directed 
to the secession of Mississippi from the Union their hearts must have 
been insensible to the obligation of honor and good faith which I feel 
are imposed upon me by the position of an accredited agent of the fed- 
eral government." Cong. Globe, ist Ses., 32d Cong., App., p. 171, quot- 
ed by Mr. McRae. 

80 Lalor's Cyclop. Pol. Sci., II., p. 860. In the State Senate, the parties 
stood 21 States Rights Democrats and n Unionists; in the House, 
the proportion was 63 to 35 in favor of the Unionists. Foote, in his 
sarcastic way, said: "In a few weeks Davis was seen wending his way 
to Briarfield, on the banks of the Mississippi, where he would have 
slumbered in deserved obscurity to the present moment but for Mr. 
Pierce's calling him forth and giving him another chance to ruin his 
country." Casket of Reminiscences, 355. 

81 The more prominent members were William L. Sharkey, John W. C. 
Watson. Jason Niles. J. L. Alcorn, Wiley P. Harris, William Barksdale. 
Charles Clark, D. W. Hurst and Amos Johnson. Mr. Carmack, of 
Tishomingo county, was chosen president. This was, perhaps, the 
ablest of the ante-bellum conventions in Mississippi. It was in session 
one week. 

The First Struggle Over Secession. Garner. 103 

The purpose of the convention, as stated by the Democratic 
Executive Committee, was to demand redress for past aggres- 
sions and a guarantee against future assaults upon the rights 
of the people of the State and to provide in the meantime for 
the meeting of a convention of Southern States. The proposed 
redress was a repeal of the law suppressing the slave trade in 
the District of Columbia; the opening of the territory of the 
United States to slavery, and the protection of slavery from in- 
terference by Congress or the States. Should the redress and 
guarantee be refused, the State was to make formal proposals 
to her sister States for a separate Confederacy and to unite 
with any number of them sufficient to secure national indepen- 
dence. 32 Instead, however, of taking any such action the con- 
vention reversed all that had been done in Mississippi looking to 
a disruption of the Union. It declared that the people of Mis- 
sissippi had maturely considered the action of Congress, and, 
while they did not approve it in its entirety, they would never- 
theless abide by it as a permanent adjustment of the sectional 
controversy so long as the same in all its features should be 
faithfully adhered to and enforced; that they saw nothing in 
that legislation which should be permitted to disturb the 
friendly and peaceful relations between the Government of the 
United States and the government of the people of Mississippi ; 
that in their opinion the people of Mississippi would abide by 
the Union as it was and by the Constitution of the United 
States without amendment; that they held the Union second- 
ary, in importance only to the rights and principles it was de- 
signed to perpetuate; that past associations, present fruitions, 
and future prospects would bind them to it so long as it contin- 
ued to be the safe-guard of those rights and principles ; and 
that the asserted right of secession on the part of a State was 
utterly unsanctioned by the Federal Constitution, which was 
framed to establish and not to destroy the Union. 

The convention gave a deserved rebuke to the Legislature 
for peremptorily ordering a convention of the people without 
first submitting to them the question whether there should be 
a convention or not. Its action was declared to be "an un- 
warranted assumption of power at war with the spirit of re- 

w Claiborne's Quitman, II., Chap. xii. 

104 Mississippi Historical Society. 

publican institutions, an encroachment upon the rights of the 
people, and could never be rightfully invoked as a precedent. 33 
Foote was sanguine enough to believe that the question of 
secession in Mississippi was forever put at rest. A few weeks 
after his election he declared in the United States Senate that 
nineteen-twentieths of the people of Mississippi acquiesced in 
the compromise measures and in no part of the State could 
a man with secession sentiments be elected to the most insig- 
nificant office. 34 This set back was truly discomforting to the 
secessionists. The movement seemed to be dead. There was 
no further talk of secession until 1856, the year of the Presi- 
dential election. It was widely asserted that the election of 
Fremont would be a cause for secession. It remained, how- 
ever, for the election of Lincoln to awaken the secession sen- 
timent and bring over to its ranks a majority of the people 
who nine years before had denounced secession as the gravest 
of blunders. 

83 The text of these resolutions is printed in full in Claiborne's Quit- 
man. Vol. II., Chap. xii. 

"'Globe, 32d Cong., ist Ses., App., p. 59. His utterances on this point 
were as follows: "If the gentleman means to say that he has any hope 
that the State of Mississippi will ever unite with the secessionists of 
South Carolina in overturning the Union on account of anything con- 
tained in the measures of adjustment, or that there is the least likeli- 
hood that any other State will participate in a movement at once so 
uncalled for and so replete with mischief, I must tell him with all pos- 
sible earnestness, that he has indeed been laboring under a great 
mistake. Nineteen-twentieths of our people in Mississippi, though all 
of them do not approve as heartily of the plan of compromise as I do, 
have yet deliberately declared their cordial acquiescence in it; nor 
could a man be elected to a constableship in any part of our noble 
State who should be known to entertain such sentiments as the honor- 
able senator from South Carolina has declared on this occasion. The 
truth is that all in the State of Mississippi who six months ago con- 
curred with the honorable gentleman in regard to the extreme views 
expressed by him, have of late openly repudiated both his opinions and 
himself and are now laboring with a most untiring assiduity to throw 
into utter oblivion the interesting fact that they ever did concur with 
him at all. I do not believe in any of the two hundred meetings I have 
attended in the last eight or nine months, a public speaker deemed 
it discreet to mention the name of the honorable senator from South 
Carolina with even ordinary indication of respect." 


BY W. H. HARDY. 1 

To write a complete history of the Reconstruction of Mis- 
sissippi, by the military power of the United States Govern- 
ment, after the overthrow of the Confederate States Govern- 
ment, would make several plethoric volumes. It is to be 

1 Captain William Harris Hardy was born in Lowndes county, Ala- 
bama in 1837. His parents both descended from English and Irish 
ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War under Greene and 
Marion. After attending college at Cumberland University, Lebanon, 
Tennessee, he engaged in teaching at Montrose, in Jasper county, and 
at Sylvarena, in Smith county. In 1858 he entered upon the practice 
of law at Raleigh, the county seat of Smith county. At the outbreak 
of the War between the States he raised a company of volunteers of 
which he was elected captain. He served with distinction throughout 
this great conflict. 

With the return of peace Captain Hardy removed from Raleigh to 
Paulding, where he resumed the practice of his profession. In 1868 
he conceived the project of building a railroad from Meridian to New 
Orleans. The preleminary survey of the railroad having been com- 
pleted in 1872 he removed to Meridian a few months later in order the 
better to promote this great scheme. Negotiations for money to 
build the road were in progress when the financial crisis of 1873 came 
and paralyzed for the time every enterprise. Captain Hardy then de- 
voted himself to his profession until 1880, when prosperity having 
returned to the country, he again took up his project of railroad build- 
ing and three years later he had the satisfaction of seeing his road, 
the New Orleans and North Eastern, in operation. We are told that 
''the construction of this railroad was one of the greatest works of 
public improvement ever constructed in the State," and that it has 
put "millions of dollars worth of property upon the tax rolls where 
before there were only hundreds." Captain Hardy organized the 
Meridian Gas Light Company, the Meridian National Bank, and 
other successful business enterprises. He was also the first man to 
put life and energy into the Gulf and Ship Island railroad and to be- 
gin its construction. In December, 1899, he removed to Hattiesburg, a 
city founded by him in 1882 and named for his wife, Mrs. Hattie Hardy, 
who died in May, 1895, and where he now resides. 

He was elected to the State Senate from his district in 1895. During 
his first session in that body he was chairman of the committee on 
railroads and of the committee on finance, and was also a member of 
the committee on education, the committee on public lands, and the 
committee on public works. His career in the legislature has been 
marked by the introduction of many wise measures for promoting the 
best interests of the State. In 1896 the legislature created a new county 
out of a portion of Perry and named it "Hardy county" in honor of 
Captain Hardy. This bill failed to become a law as it was vetoed by 
the governor. 

106 Mississippi Historical Society. 

hoped, when the passions and prejudices engendered by the 
war, and the tyrrannies and oppressions of reconstruction, have 
subsided and given place to truth and impartial judgment that, 
this history will be written. The object of this paper is to pre- 
serve some recollections of events occurring in East and South- 
east Mississippi during that period for the use of the future im- 
partial historian. 

Historical facts are of little value unless stated in chrono- 
logical order. The most important events in history, would 
become meaningless if stated without reference to the order 
of their occurrence. 

It becomes necessary, therefore, that I should briefly state 
some well known facts in the history of the country that pre- 
ceded the occurrences which it is the purpose of this paper to 

In the formation of the Federal Government there were two 
theories which presented themselves. One was that the Fed- 
eral Government should be supreme in all things, and that the 
States forming the government should be subordinate and 
should derive their powers from the general government. The 
other theory was that the States possessing inherent powers 
were sovereign and independent, except as to the rights and 
powers they might cede to the general government, and that 
the general government should possess no powers except those 
expressly ceded to it by the States, and that it should be su- 
preme only in the exercise of these powers ceded to it in the 

No sketch of Captain Hardy would be complete without special men- 
tion of his oratorical power. Among his published addresses may be 
mentioned "his address delivered at Paulding in 1867, before a lodge 
of sorrow held in honor of the Masons who were killed in the war, his 
address before the literary societies of Mississippi College in 1873, his 
defence of C. H. Williams in the great arson case at Meridian in 1875, 
his eulogy of Jefferson Davis in New York City, December, 1889, and 
his address of welcome at a reunion of Confederate veterans at Me- 
ridian in October, 1890. Many of his best efforts were made in capital 
cases in the courts, but never published." 

In addition to his ability as an orator, Captain Hardy is such a 
chaste and versatile writer that many of his friends regret that he did 
not make journalism his life work. He possesses an excellent library 
and devotes much of his leisure to scientific and literary research. 
"Pinehurst," his home is a mecca for the literary people who visit Hat- 

A more detailed sketch of Captain Hardy's life will be found in 
Goodspeed's Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. I., 
pp. 86i-'6 EDITOR. 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 107 

Federal Constitution. That the relation of the States to the 
Federal Government was that of the Creator to the creature. 
This latter theory predominated in the convention that 
formed the constitution, though there were compromises that 
left room for construction. But to put the question forever at 
rest, the tenth amendment to the constitution was adopted at 
the first session of the first Congress, on the 25th of Sept., 1789, 
and is in these words : 

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, 
nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respec- 
tively, or to the people." 

Nowhere in the Federal Constitution is the right of a State 
to withdraw from the Union prohibited. Indeed it was ex- 
pressly reserved by Virginia, in the resolutions adopting the 
constitution, and those resolutions were sent to all the States, 
and no word of objection or protest was ever heard from any 
of them. 

For the first forty years of the existence of the Federal Gov- 
ernment, no publicist, statesman or jurist of any political party 
denied the right of a State to withdraw from the Union, when 
in its judgment the constitution had been violated. The Con- 
stitution being a compact, or agreement between the States, 
if violated by any member of the compact became nugatory, 
and any State could so hold and withdraw from the Union 
formed by this compact or agreement. The first to hold to 
the doctrine of the indissolubility of the Union was Mr. Web- 
ster. His whole argument was based on the Preamble of the 
Constitution which recites: 

"We, the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect 
union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the 
common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings 
of liberty to ourselves and posterity, do ordain and establish this con- 
stitution for America." 

This was a fallacious argument and was mercilessly exposed 
by Calhoun, but I cannot stop to repeat the arguments em- 
ployed by him. One historical fact relating to the origin of 
the Preamble will suffice. 

When the Constitution had been completed by the conven- 
tion, it was referred to a committee on "Style" to arrange its 
form and grammatical construction, etc., prior to its final 
adoption as a whole. One of its provisions was that it should 

io8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

take effect when ratified by nine of the thirteen States. The 
Preamble, as originally written, recited the names of the thir- 
teen States. The committee on style was confronted at the 
outset with the fact that it was impossible to know in advance 
whether all the thirteen States would ratify the Constitution, 
or if ratified by only nine, which of the thirteen they would in- 
clude. They referred this matter back to the convention, and 
Goveneur Morris, of New York, moved to amend the Preamble t 
by referring the Constitution to the people of the United States 
for ratification. His motion did not meet even with a second. 
The Preamble was then amended by reciting: 

"We, the people of the United States," instead of reciting 
the names of the States as in the original, but retaining the 
provision referring it to the States separately for ratification, 
and it was ratified by each State separately at different periods, 
running from one to three years. 

Mr. Story, who was born at Marblehead, Massachusetts, 
September i8th, 1779, and was graduated from Harvard Uni- 
versity in 1798 and admitted to the bar in 1801, and served a 
term in Congress as a Democrat in 1808-9, was appointed a 
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1811, of 
which Court, John Marshall was Chief Justice, and a man of 
transcendent legal learning but was a decided Federalist and 
believed in a strong centralized government. Judge Story 
presided as a Justice of the Supreme Court till 1832. His long 
association with John Marshall, the Federalist, wrought a great 
change in his views and opinions respecting the Federal Union. 
Following this period Judge Story wrote his Commentaries on 
the Constitution, in which he adopted the arguments of Mr. 
Webtser and held to the doctrine of the indestructibility of the 
Union, denying for the first time, in a law treatise, the right of 
a State to secede from the Union. This work was adopted as 
a textbook in the Harvard law school, of which Judge Story be- 
came a professor, and it was from this great centre of learning 
that the doctrine went forth, denying the right of a State to 
secede, and was seized upon by the Federal party and became 
a political tenet which disturbed the peace and harmony of the 
sections for a quarter of a century, and culminated in the 
greatest war of modern times. 

The South became immensely wealthy and paid nearly three- 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 109 

fourths of the taxes to carry on the Federal Government, and 
received only about one-fourth of the distribution of the public 
funds. In the course of events she believed that the cause was 
sufficient, and the time opportune to exercise the constitutional 
right of secession. The fugitive slave law had been annulled 
by several Northern States ; the people of the South were de- 
nied the right to carry their slaves into the common territory 
of the United States; Mr. Lincoln had been elected President 
of the United States upon the avowed principle that there was 
an "irrepressible conflict between free and slave labor ; that the 
States must be either all free or all slave States." Hence the 
Southern States exercised their constitutional right and through 
conventons elected by the people, withdrew from the Federal 
Union and set up a confederation of States which were homo- 
genous and in which there were no conflicting interests. 

This resulted in a war, declared and waged by the North, to 
coerce the Southern States back into the Union. For four 
long years the red tide of battle flowed back and forth with 
ever varying results till finally the South yielded to overwhelm- 
ing numbers and resources, and gave up the struggle. 

Passing over the arrest and imprisonment of Governor 
Charles Clark, the appointment of William L. Sharkey as 
provisional Governor, and the reconstruction effected under 
his administration, we come to the enactment of the recon- 
struction laws passed by Congress, and the overthrow of the 
State government by the Federal authority, and the appoint- 
ment of a military governor, who removed all civil officers in 
the State, and filled their places with carpet-baggers, scallawags 
and negroes. The carpet-bagger was a Northern camp fol- 
lower and place hunter, who, when the State passed under mil- 
itary power, packed all his earthly possessions in a carpet-bag 
and came into the State overstocked with loyalty to the flag, 
and hunted for the places that paid best. The scallawag was 
a native who shirked service in the Confederate army and who 
now secretly rejoiced in the humiliation of the better classes 
and joined the victors that he might share in the spoils of vic- 

The Confederate States were divided into military districts 
with a commandant in each district. Mississippi was in the 
fourth district and under the command of Major General Ord, 

1 10 Mississippi Historical Society. 

who was later succeeded by General McDowell. The military 
governors of the State were General Gillem, who was suc- 
ceeded by General Adelbert Ames. 

The carpet-baggers were not long in organizing the negroes 
through the medium of the Loyal League. The Freedmen's 
Bureau was also used for this purpose. Congress, in a spirit of 
philanthrophy, knowing that there were thousands of helpless 
negroes among the emancipated old men and women, cripples, 
and fatherless children, whose former masters were now not 
only absolved from taking care of them, but by reason of their 
own poverty, were unable to do so, established the Freedmen's 
Bureau, for the purpose of hunting out this indigent class and 
supplying them with the necessaries of life till the States should 
make provision for them. The agents and employes of the 
government who were appointed to administer this law were 
generally an unscrupulous set of camp followers and adven- 
turers, whose chief purpose was to enrich themselves by gath- 
ering whatever spoils might come into view, and by a system 
of plundering and blackmailing. A Freedmen's Bureau agent 
would issue to a decrepit old negro and family twenty-five 
pounds of bacon, and fifty pounds of flour, but fill out a printed 
voucher for one hundred pounds of bacon and two hundred 
pounds of flour ; but a difficulty was encountered when it came 
to signing the voucher, since the average plantation negro had 
no name except that given him when he was born, such as Ned, 
Bill, Sam, Jake, Primus, Remus, Jim, and the like. He was 
told he had to have a sur-name, and if he did not like his 'Ole 
Marster' he declined to adopt his name, and left it to the agent 
of the bureau to supply him, which he promptly did, and the 
voucher was signed Edward (his X mark) Thompson, and at- 
tested by the clerk or by some negro hanger-on about the of- 
fice. The old negro left happy and smiling, but before he 
reached his home had forgotten his name. He was only 'Ned ;' 
but the "good time" had come at last. Plenty to eat, no work, 
all sleep, and when the "rashuns guv out" he went back to this 
rich fountain of plenty and made another "draw" of twenty- 
five pounds of meat and fifty pounds of flour and signed an- 
other voucher for one hundred and two hundred pounds, but 
this time it was "Ed (his X mark) Jones." 

The difference between the amounts issued and the amounts 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. in 

stated in the vouchers was sold and the proceeds pocketed by 
the agent and his confederates. But this was not the only 
method these noble "patriots" and "philanthropists" had of 
feathering their nests. They preyed also upon the whites. An 
actual occurrence will serve to illustrate their methods. 

There lived in Smith county an excellent citizen who owned 
ten or twelve negroes. He was an "Old Line Whig" who was 
bitterly opposed to secession. He was just past the conscript 
age and did not serve in the Confederate army, but a son who 
volunteered early in the war made a good soldier, lost his life 
in the army. This tended to embitter his father against the 
"unholy war," as he was wont to call it. After the flag of the 
Confederacy went down, this good citizen (he was in truth a 
good citizen) but fanatical on the subject of the Union, and took 
great delight in taunting his secession neighbors with "I told 
you so ! Now you see what you have done ; the negroes are 
all set free and soldiers stationed all over the country, no 
courts, no laws, only military rule. I am sorry for you Secesh ; 
you will catch it; all your property will be confiscated, but I 
will save mine because I was a loyal Union man. All my ne- 
groes are still on my place, and I do not expect any trouble 
from the Yankee soldiers." 

This "loyal" good citizen discovered that some one was steal- 
ing the corn from his crib, and corn was the most valuable spe- 
cies of property in the country, owing to its scarcity. But 
little could be bought and that at from two to two and one-half 
dollars, in gold, per bushel. So he and his young son of six- 
teen, with their shot-guns watched the crib all night for several 
nights, and finally were rewarded. The thief came, pulled the 
staple that held the hasp of the lock on the crib door and went 
in, filled his sack, and as he emerged from the door he was 
covered by the guns of the watchers and surrendered. He 
proved to be one of their own "niggers," who had been raised 
on the place. He was about twenty years old and hitherto bore 
a fairly good character. The negro began to beg and plead 
not to be whipped. The old man said to him "you are free, 
I can't whip you now ; I will take you to Jackson and turn you 
over to the Yankee soldiers; they will put you in jail, and 
every day they will tie you up by the thumbs and let you hang 
an hour. That's the way they punish negroes for stealing." 

H2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The negro said, "For God's sake, Marster, don do dat, jus 
take me down and whoop me like you use ter do." "No, I can't 
do that," said he, "for you would go right off to the Yankees 
and report me and they would come and arrest me." "'Fore 
God, Marster, I won do it; you jes whoop me, I won never tell 
nobody, and I won never steal no mo corn." So our loyal cit- 
izen concluded that he could, being a Union man and a loyal 
citizen, whip a negro caught in the act of stealing corn, espec- 
ially when the negro insisted on being whipped, rather than 
turned over to the military authorities at Jackson for punish- 
ment ; besides he did not wish to incur the trouble and expense 
of taking him fifty miles through the country to Jackson; and 
so he granted the negro's request, laid him across a log, and 
strapped him in due form as he had done for like offenses in 

The matter ran along for awhile and nothing was heard of 
it; but in the meantime the situation throughout the country 
became more acute. Several arrests of white people by the 
military authorities had been made on information made by 
freedmen. Neighbors, when they met in the road, or at 
church, or elsewhere, talked in subdued tones of the current 
events. No man felt secure from arrest ; the negroes were be- 
coming more and more insolent ; and were holding secret meet- 
ings. The negro women, especially, were becoming arrogant 
and insulting to the white women. It was a common thing to 
threaten them with the "Yankee soldiers." In some of these 
interviews the son of our "loyal citizen" had told some of his 
friends how " we treated one of our negroes whom we caught 
stealing corn," and the story was repeated until it became 
known among the negroes. 

A negro went to Forest to make a draw of "rashuns frum 
the Euro." Whilst there he was asked by the agent how the 
rebels were treating the colored people in his section." He 
said, "might bad, Sur. Dey jes whoops 'em now same's dey 
did afore dey was sot free." He then told of the whipping of 
the corn thief by our "loyal citizen" and his son, but of course 
stated "he didn't steal no corn. Dey jes' 'scused him of it." 

An affidavit was made out and the informer made his cross 
mark to it. This was sent to headquarters at Jackson, and in 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 113 

a few days a squad of soldiers rode up to the gate of our "Union 
citizen" and arrested him. He told them what a good Union 
man he was, how loyal he was, how he had always opposed se- 
cession, and had always been an old line Union Whig. They 
laughed at him, and told him they had not found any other sort 
of people in the country. After caviling for a time, they took 
his parole to report with his son to the commandant at Jackson 
within forty-eight hours, and left without telling him, if they 
knew, what the charge against him was. The old man 
mounted his horse and came to see the writer, a Confederate 
soldier then on parole, and a personal friend of his. He was 
very much agitated as he related the whole story and sought 
the writer's advice. He seemed to rely upon his loyalty to the 
Union as a means of securing his discharge, at least with the 
imposition of a small fine. The writer felt incompetent to ad- 
vise him, but suggested that his Union sentiments would avail 
him little, as there were not enough of that class in Mississippi 
to warrant the military commander in making any distinction 
between them and those who participated in the war, especially 
since a large majority of those who were opposed to secession 
had, when it was consummated, cast their lots with the cause 
and made splendid soldiers in the great conflict. The further 
suggestion was made to him that probably the easiest and 
cheapest way out of his trouble would be to pay out ; that when 
he reported to the provost marshal, he could find an oppor- 
tunity to approach him through some attache of his office, and 
with gold he could secure his discharge. He did not relish the 
suggestion, for he loved gold very dearly, and it was very 
scarce and hard to get. 

About a week later he returned from Jackson a wiser man, 
but his stock of loyalty to the "glorious Union" had been 
wholly consumed and he was in first class fighting humor, and 
expressed himself as ready to join any organized movement to 
"bushwhack the dod-blasted Yankees until every mother's son 
of them had been driven from the State," or had, in later par- 
lance, "turned their toes to the daisies." He had bought the 
discharge of himself and son, which took all the money he had, 
and all he could borrow from his friends, besides sleeping two 
or three nights in a vermin-infected guard-house. 

H4 Mississippi Historical Society. 


The Loyal League was a secret, oath-bound organization, 
and lodges were organized all over the country and every male 
negro from eighteen to seventy years old, and every white man 
who would take the oath, was eligible to membership. Only a 
few white men became members, but nearly all the male ne- 
groes within the ages stated, were initiated into its mysteries. 

The initiation was to the negro, very solemn and impressive. 
They usually met on Saturday night at the cabin of some prom- 
inent negro, or in some vacant outhouse. Armed sentinels 
were posted on all the approaches to the house. In the cen- 
tre of the room, which was rarely capable of holding one- 
fourth of the number assembled, was placed a table, or old 
goods box, on the centre of which rested an open Bible, and 
a deep dish or saucer filled with alcohol and myrrh which was 
lighted ; above this altar, so-called, was suspended a United 
States flag, and also a sword. The candidate was blindfolded 
outside and was led in by the arm and required to kneel at this 
"altar" and place his hands upon the open Bible. The presi- 
dent of the League called upon the chaplain to pray. He in- 
voked the divine blessing upon the "poor benighted brother 
who was about to pass "from the night of bondage in slavery 
into the marvelous life and light of freedom." Short passages 
from the account of Moses leading the children of Israel from 
Egyptian bondage were then read, when the "candidate was cat- 
echised, something after this fashion [a prompter answered 
the questions, and the candidate was required to repeat the an- 
swers] : 

"What is your name?" 

Jim Cruise. 

Are you a white or colored man? 

A colored man. 

Were you born free, or a slave? 

A slave. 

Are you now a slave or a freedman? 

A freedman, thank God! 

Who freed you? 

Abraham Linkum, bless God! 

Who helped him to free you? 

The Army and the Publican party. 

Who fought to keep you in slavery? 

The white people of the south, and the Democratic party. 

Who then are your best friends? 

The Publican party and northern soldiers. 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 115 

Whom do you want to hold all the offices in this State and govern 
it, make and execute its laws? 

The Publicans, the friends of the poor colored man. 

Suppose the Democrats carry the elections and get back into power, 
what would become of you and all the colored people in the State? 

We would be put back into slavery. God forbid! 

All Amen! and amen!! 

An oath was then administered to the candidate which he 
was required to repeat after the prompter: 

"I Jim Cruise, do solemnly swear on the holy bible, in the presence 
of God and these witnesses, that I will ever remain true and loyal to 
the Republican party; that I will always vote the Republican ticket; 
that I will keep secret all the signs, pass word, and grip of the Loyal 
League; that I will obey all the laws, rules, resolutions, and commands 
of the League of which I am a member; that I will forever reverence 
the name and memory of Abraham Lincoln, the author and father ot 
my freedom, and that I will observe and keep in holy remembrance 
each anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and that I will 
teach my children to do so. That I will never knowingly vote for any 
Democrat for any office lest I be put back into bondage and slavery. 
That I will never disclose the name of any member of this League, 
or of any League of which I may become a member, nor tell the place 
or meeting of the same; that I will not testify against any member of 
this, or any Loyal League concerning anything done by the League 
or its order, or the order of any of its officers. 

"For a violation of this oath, or any part of it, for the first offense, 
I agree to receive fifty lashes on my bare back; and one hundred 
lashes for the second offense; and for the third, to be secretly shot to 
death by any member of the League appointed for that purpose, so 
help me God!" 

The blindfold is then removed and the candidate receives the 
following lecture: 

"My Brother: You have just been brought from the darkness of 
bondage and slavery, to the glorious light of freedom. You behold 
above you the flag of freedom, beneath whose folds the soldiers of 
the Union marched and fought; and the sword, the implement with 
which they struck from your hands the chains of slavery, and 
made you a free man. You behold on your left, a pot of sweet in- 
cense which constantly rises toward heaven. So let your gratitude, 
sweetened with humility, and- strengthened with courage, ever ascend 
to God in acknowledgment of the blessings of freedom." 

He was then invested with the grip, sign of recognition, pass- 
word, and sign and cry of distress. 

The foregoing is given from memory. The writer once had 
a printed copy of the Loyal League ritual in full, but it has 
been lost, or mislaid and cannot be found, but the foregoing is 
substantially correct. 

The Loyal League of Paulding, Jasper county, met regularly 
once a month and was usually attended by one or two hundred 
negroes, and on extra occasions as many as four or five hun- 

u6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

dred would attend, until an exciting event occurred one Sat- 
urday night which practically broke it up. They met at the 
house of Jim Cruise, a tall black negro, who was a house car- 
penter, and possessed above the average intelligence of his race. 
His house was on a high hill about a mile from Paulding, 
where he still resides, unless he has died within the last two 
years. It was common to see a hundred or more negroes 
march through the town on Saturday evening, some of them 
armed with old muskets and shot-guns, others with pistols and 
clubs, singing: 

"We'll rally around the flag boys, 
Rally once again, 
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!" 

Complaints had been made to the general commanding the 
department of these armed assemblages, that the whites were 
intimidated, especially the women and children, and unless these 
armed meetings of the negroes were suppressed by the author- 
ities, the whites would organize in self defense, and race con- 
flicts would ensue. He promptly issued an order forbidding all 
persons to assemble with arms, and ordered the sheriffs to en- 
force the order by reading it to such assemblies, and order 
them to disperse, and if they refused to do so, to report the 
same to the nearest military officer. Richard Simmons was 
sheriff of Jasper county, an illiterate, harmless old man, who 
lived sixteen or eighteen miles from the court house, but had 
a gallant ex-Confederate soldier for his deputy, Major Q. C. 
Heidelberg, who was raised in Paulding, and who is now an 
honored and useful citizen of the town of Heidelberg, on the 
New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. He desired to break 
up these armed meetings and had often remonstrated with the 
leaders, but to no purpose ; but when he received the order from 
the military commander of the district he summoned three 
young men, Walter and George Acker and J. W. T. Lambeth, 
to accompany him one Saturday night to locate the place of 
the meeting, and to read the order to the meeting, and warn 
them not to bring arms again. He and his posse went to sev- 
eral places where it had been reported these meetings were 
being held but failed to find them, and concluded to return to 
town. They were traveling on foot along a narrow lane, the 
moon was shining brightly, and suddenly a negro stepped out 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 117 

from the fence corner with a gun in his hand and shouted, 
"halt!" They stopped. The sentinel called out, "Who comes 
thar?" Major Heidelberg replied, "I am the deputy sheriff of 
the county. Who are you?" The negro gave his name, and 
Major Heidelberg commenced to advance, and the negro level- 
ed his gun and told him to stop. Major Heidelberg knew the 
negro and called him by name, and remonstrated with him, all 
the while he and his posse were slowly advancing with their pis- 
tols in their hands, until within ten or twelve paces, when they 
covered him, and ordered him to put his gun down, which he 
promptly did. They learned from him that the meeting was 
then in session at the house of Jim Cruise, about two hundred 
yards further down the road. He said he was a picket, put 
out there to prevent anybody from coming to the meeting who 
didn't have the countersign. The Major told him what his ob- 
ject was, to promulgate the order against armed assemblies, 
and that he must not attend any more meetings armed; and 
some of the posse warned him, in language more forceful than 
elegant of what he might expect if they caught him again 
armed. The negro was thoroughly alarmed and promised obe- 
dience, and the party passed on. When they came opposite 
the house the yard swarmed with negroes like black birds on a 
hayrick. They could see through the cracks of the building 
that it was lighted. They stood in the shadow of a tree and 
watched for some time, and they could see persons coming out 
and going into the house constantly. There were so many of 
them they hesitated to venture up to the house, but deter- 
mined to pass on by, and secrete themselves on the roadside in 
the hope that they might catch some prominent negro coming 
or going, and get further information, or open negotiations. 
When past the house about a hundred yards and descending 
the hill on which it stood, they were promptly challenged again, 
and this time by a more determined negro, but one of the 
posse, taking advantage of the animated colloquy between the 
deputy sheriff and the negro, made a slight flank movement, 
and got close enough to cover him with his pistol, and he laid 
his gun down. They learned from him that W. V. McKnight, 
a white native, was at the head of the League and was then in 
the house and that a great many new members were there from 
all over the county to be "tuck in" that night ; that there were 

n8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

four or five hundred people there. The deputy sheriff was 
urged by two of his posse to return and break up the meeting. 
The negro sentinel urged them not to attempt it. He said fully 
half of them were armed, and if they went up there, they would 
probably be killed before McKnight could prevent it; that he 
would go up and see McKnight, and tell him to come out and 
see them. This was agreed to, and the negro started in a 
brisk walk up the hill, but before getting half way to the house 
a crowd rushed out of the house and yard shouting, "halt those 
men ! stop those men ! shoot those men !" and they came pel- 
mel down the hill. The deputy sheriff and his posse ran in a 
stooping posture to a little thicket near the roadside, and as 
they were seen running, the bloodthirsty villains opened fire 
on them, and fully twenty or thirty shots were fired; after the 
first volley the boys opened on the pursuers with their pistols, 
and they not only stopped the pursuit, but the cowardly negroes 
scampered back up the hill. A stentorian voice was heard 
from the house shouting "stop dat shootin' ! stop dat shootin' ! 
nobody tole you to shoot." 

George Acker and Lambeth were thoroughly enraged by this 
time and urged the deputy sheriff that they go back and "clean 
out the whole cowardly crew." Major Heidelberg and Walter 
Acker, both ex-Confederate soldiers, and as brave and fearless 
as ever fought under the Southern cross, said, "no, we can run 
the whole crowd off, but we would have to kill some of them, 
and this we want to avoid, unless they follow us up." So they 
walked leisurely on toward the little village of Paulding. They 
had gone only a short distance, when some one was seen com- 
ing rapidly toward them. They stepped to one side and lay 
down. When he came up they halted him, at the same time 
covering him with their pistols. He had a double-barreled 
shot-gun in his hand and was scared nearly to death, and 
begged piteously that they would not kill him. They were 
amazed to find that their prisoner was Thornton Fox, a negro 
who had been raised in or near Paulding by Burkitt Lassiter, 
the old sheriff, and lived in Paulding, and swept out the sheriff's 
office every morning. He had heard the firing and his wife 
made him get his gun and commanded him to "run for dear life 
and shoot ever white man you see ; ef you don' do it I never 
will lib wid you anuder day." This was old Thornton's story, 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 119 

and doubtless was true, for he was a kind-hearted negro, in- 
dolent and lazy, worked only at little jobs about town, whilst 
his wife was a quarrelsome old virago and a "white folks hater." 

"I jes' hates de groun' white fokes walks on, I dus, but thank 
God, de bottum rail's on top and the cullud fokes is gwine ter 
hab der day now," was a common remark of her's. 

Old Thornton was arrested and brought back by the party. 
The writer had heard the shooting and knew what it meant, 
and with a double-barreled gun and a six shooter, sat near the 
front gate of his residence, whilst his wife in fear, watched the 
little ones who slept, awaiting tidings from the front. Soon 
Major Heidelberg and his party, with Thornton Fox as a 
prisoner, came up and a counsel was held as to what was best 
to do. Four or five hundred negroes incensed and with re- 
venge in their hearts, and believing they would be upheld by 
the military authorities, might march upon the town and fire 
it and commit other and greater crimes against the white wo- 
men and children. When asked what was to be done with 
Thornton Fox, Major Heidelberg said, "I am going to lock him 
up in jail." Lambeth said, "kill him, d n him." George 
Acker said, "say the word, Major, and I will shoot the infamous 
scoundrel now!" The negro was thoroughly overcome with 
fear, and prostrated himself upon the ground and begged for 
his life, and laid all the blame on his wife. It was finally agreed 
to keep Thornton's gun and send him back on parole to the 
League, and find out what was going on; whether they pro- 
posed to attack the town or not, and report back within one 
hour, at the outside. He was thoroughly alarmed, and left on 
a run and within thirty minutes was back and reported that the 
meeting had "done broke up and the niggers was all skeered, 
and was leavin' in all directions for home." He further re- 
ported that W. V. McKnight, the white man who was at the 
head of the League, was greatly alarmed, and that he had se- 
lected a hundred men to escort him home, and that they had 
gone through the woods and fields, avoiding the roads. 

At the next term of the circuit court the district attorney was 
absent and the writer was appointed district attorney, pro tern. 
The grand jury indicted eight or ten of the leaders for con- 
spiracy. The next term was pretermitted, and in the meantime 
Jonathan Tarbell, a carpet-bagger from the State of New 

j2o Mississippi Historical Society. 

York, had been appointed circuit judge, and Simon Jones, a 
scallawag, of Brandon, had been appointed district attorney. 
When the conspiracy cases were reached the district attorney 
arose and stated that the cases were purely political, that no 
offense had been committed against the laws of the State, and 
entered a nolle pros equi. 

Judge Tarbell had read law when a young man, and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in the State of New York, but had never prac- 
ticed his profession. He was about fifty years of age, and was 
a man of fair literary attainments and of splendid physique, and 
whilst ignorant of the law, made a very good judge; he was im- 
partial and courteous to officers of the^court and members of 
the bar, and was personally well esteemed. He was afterward 
appointed by General Ames a justice of the State Supreme 
Court. His opinions are noted for their great length and the 
numerous citations on both sides of the case. 

Simon Jones, the District Attorney (who had been dubbed 
by Frantz, of the Brandon Republican, "Sime, the Spellist"), 
was like necessity, he knew no law. He could not spell cor- 
rectly many of the commonest words used in every-day par- 
lance. He was fond of liquor, good-natured, didn't care a fig 
whether the criminal laws were executed or not. He was a 
Republican "for revenue only," and if a defendant, in any case 
less than felony, would agree to pay his fee, he could get a 
"nolly," as he called it. 

At the first term of court at Paulding of which Mr. Jones was 
district attorney, there were six or eight indictments pending 
against a saloon-keeper for selling liquor to minors, and to In- 
dians, and the proof was clear against him. His attorney 
posted him about the new district attorney and when he ar- 
rived at Paulding Sunday evening, after a drive of about 
thirty miles from the railroad, tired and dusty, the saloon- 
keeper sent a bottle of whiskey over to his room with his com- 
pliments, and informed him that he would call on him during 
the evening. The proposed visit, was as much appreciated as 
the bottle of liquor, as scalawags who were appointed to of- 
fice were generally ostracised by the people, and often found it 
'difficult to obtain comfortable lodging. When the saloon- 
keeper called he was graciously received and assured that he 
had rightly anticipated his wants, and was told "If I can do 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 121 

anything for you during court, let me know." Whereupon they 
took a drink together, and soon another; and this representa- 
tive of the State insisted that he wanted to do something for 
this, his new found friend. Finally the saloon-keeper told him 
there were several indictments against him for selling liquor to 
minors and to Indians. He said, "A great big eighteen or 
twenty-year old boy comes into the saloon and asks for a drink ; 
he has a moustache, looks to be twenty-five years old; how 
can I tell he is a minor?" "That's so," said the district attor- 
ney, "you can't tell his age if you were to look in his mouth," 
and then they laughed. "Then," continued the saloon-keeper, 
"my barkeeper is the best one I ever had, but the darned fel- 
low can't tell an Indian from a mulatto." "That's so, they do 
look alike," said Mr. Jones, "but let us take another drink, 
and to-morrow I'll 'nolly' every d d one of them." 

To clinch this proposition the saloon-keeper said, "but you 
are at great expense, going from court to court, and I will pay 
you your fee of ten dollars now, in one case, if you will dismiss 
all of them to-morrow." The bargain was kept. The cases 
were dismissed. Others "caught on" and there was a general 
jail delivery at that term of court. Only one conviction, and 
that was a negro woman on a charge of "attempt to commit in- 
fanticide" by taking her new born infant to a potato patch and 
burying it beneath a pile of potato vines. A man passing about 
daylight heard its cry and rescued it. The little ten months' 
old "coon" was in its mother's arms when she was arraigned 
for trial. She plead guilty, was sentenced to jail for six 
months and hired out for the costs of the case. 

Such was the way in which the law was administered in East 
Mississippi under military rule during reconstruction. 


The prescriptive constitution which had been framed by the 
"Black and Tan Convention," elected by the military authori- 
ties of the State, disfranchised nearly half the white people. 
Hence it was ratified at an election held by the military au- 
thorities, with armed soldiery at the polls, since only a few 
whites could vote, and many others who were qualified refused 
to do so, because they did not regard the election as free, and 
that ratification was a foregone conclusion. 

122 Mississippi Historical Society. 

General Grant, in the exercise of authority vested in him, re- 
fused to approve the constitution as a whole, and re-submitted 
the obnoxious sections at the election held in November, 1869, 
at which election all State and county officers were to be chosen. 

The writer was making a campaign with Judge W. M. Han- 
cock, who had joined the Republican party, and was a candi- 
date for State Senator in the district then composed of Clarke, 
Wayne, Jones and Jasper counties; he was urging the ratifica- 
tion of the obnoxious clauses of the constitution, whilst the 
writer represented the white people and opposed the ratifica- 
cation. The canvass was a tempestuous one. The negroes 
turned out en masse at every appointment, whilst only a few 
whites attended them, and they were generally young men, and 
most of them ex-Confederate soldiers. At Claiborne, in Jas- 
per county, there were fully five hundred negroes, and only 
about fifty white men, but they were as good "grit" as ever 
ran a gauntlet, polished a blade, or pointed a gun. It was 
Judge Hancock's day to speak first, and during his speech he 
reflected upon the sincerity of his opponent in some statement 
he had made, and was promptly called to account. For a 
time it seemed as if a personal encounter would ensue, and the 
white men crowded around the stand (which was a goods box, 
out in the middle of the street) and this irritated the Judge. 
All were armed, including the speakers. This conduct of the 
white men had its effect, and the Judge disclaimed any intention 
to reflect upon his opponent; said he had been misunderstood, 
and offered him his hand, which was accepted. At this the 
white men yelled and shouted for several minutes, and guyed 
the Judge with such remarks as, "there, now, little ruffle shirt, 
your bluff didn't win ; better quit the race and go with the nig- 

The negroes, very much frightened, began to scatter and 
the Judge became very much incensed. He saw the tables had 
been turned on him. He was a brave and honorable man, 
very small in stature, quick and impulsive, and always carried 
a Derringer pistol in each pocket of his trousers and a bowie- 
knife in his waist belt. He knew that a single shot, or a single 
blow in that crowd meant his certain death, and perhaps the 
death of many others; in fact he came near losing his life, as 
the sequel shows. 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 123 

There was, on the outer circle of the white crowd, an ex- 
Confederate soldier, Si McCurdy, a courageous but quiet man, 
who, when excited, snapped his eyes. He stood quietly, with 
his eyes fixed upon the Judge with the intense gaze of an en- 
ranged lion, ready to spring upon his victim. Judge Hancock 
had observed him, and when the clamor had subsided, he said : 
"I have tried to conduct this canvass upon high grounds. I 
have no complaint to make against my opponent; he is a gen- 
tleman, a brave and able man, but I have not been farly (fairly) 
treated here to-day Thar's a man who has been glaring and 
snapping his eyes at me, and if he fools with me I will shoot a 
hole through him," pointing his left hand at McCurdy, and 
holding his Derringer partly drawn with his right. McCurdy, 
as if startled, raised himself to his full height and shouted in a 
loud voice: "Who, me?" "Yes, sir," said the Judge. Mc- 
Curdy leaped forward with an oath, but was caught by some 
of the boys, who tried to restrain him; but he was gradually 
making his way to the Judge, who stood like a statue, his face 
as white as marble, but not a nerve quivered, or a muscle 
trembled. The peril to both was great. A friend of Mc- 
Curdy's cautiously slipped up within striking distance of the 
Judge, and with a knife drawn, was about to strike him, when 
Dr. McAllum caught his arm. It is due to this gentleman, 
however, to state that he expressly avowed afterward that it was 
not his purpose to strike the Judge unless he drew his pistol 
and attempted to shoot ; that he meant only to save the life of 
his friend, McCurdy. The writer mounted the stand by the 
side of the Judge and urged the boys to allow him to proceed 
with his speech without further interruption, which they did; 
but he only spoke a few minutes and sat down. 

When he closed nearly all the negroes left except a dozen 
or two. They did so upon a signal given by a copper-colored 
negro preacher, named Jake Carlyle. He had done this 
on several occasions previous to this. The white boys deter- 
mined to stop it. So that night, a number of them went to old 
Jake's house en masque, made him get up and make a light. 
They told him that he had lead the negroes off from the joint 
discussions for the last time ; that there would be speaking at 
Shady Grove the next day, and he must be there, and when the 
joint debate was over, they were going to call him out, and if 

124 Mississippi Historical Society. 

he did not get up and make a speech against the ''Black and 
Tan Constitution" they would hang him that night; and they 
shook a rope at him which they carried along, and told him 
he would die on one end of it the next night. They were in- 
tensely in earnest. They told no one what they had done. The 
next day at Shady Grove, there was the usual great crowd of 
negroes and the faithful few white men. After the usual heated 
debate, the boys began to yell : "Jake Jake ! Jake !" The old 
negro arose slowly and came to the stand, and in a voice of 
deep emotion began: "My frens: After de great excitement 
yestiddy at Claiborne, I thought if dis thing wen' on, dar was 
gwine to be blood shed; and so las' night, I praid de Laud, ef 
he would spare me to come to Shady Grove to-day, I would 
lisen to bof sides alike; and I prayed dat he would give me 
grace to see de right way. And so I'm here. I sot doun right 
dar and herd every word of bof de speakers, and as God is my 
jedge, I'm a converted man." Then came the wildest yells 
from the whites, and shout after shout resounded, ''hur- 
rah for Jake ! go on, go on." When the shouting ceased, old 
Jake raised his voice to a high pitch and continued : "My col- 
lud frens and brethren may cas' me off, but I can't help it: I 
bleve its rong to disfranchise de white fokes and not let 'em vote. 
We all live in dis country togedder, and we can never have no 
mo' peace if de colud fokes vote and hole offis, and de white 
fokes can't." Then came a renewal of the yells and shouts : 
"Three cheers for Jake ! We'll stand by you, Jake ! go on, go 

The old negro made a splendid speech of half an hour, re- 
plete with sound arguments why they should all vote against 
the constitution. 

The boys equipped him with a mule and saddle and sent him 
around to other appointments, and he became deeply in earn- 
est, and often wept as he portrayed the horrors' of a race war 
and begged for peace. He never went back to the Republican 
party, but ever after that voted with the Democrats. 

It is not the persuasive argument that is always potential 
with the negro. 

The district could have been easily carried for the Democrats, 
if the white voters had attended the polls and voted. Over 
half of them refused to vote, declaring they never would go to 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 125 

the polls and vote with the negroes. Five years of misrule, 
with taxation which amounted to practical confiscation, caused 
them to change their minds, and many of them not only voted, 
but voted early, often and late. 

The writer wishes here to do justice to the memory of Judge 
Hancock. He became thoroughly imbued with the conviction 
after the passage of the reconstruction laws by Congress, that 
the best policy to be pursued was for the white people to ac- 
cept the situation, join with the Republicans, and gradually get 
possession of the State government. He remained with the 
Republican party to the day of his death, and had great in- 
fluence in its counsels, and that influence was exercised in the 
interests of the white people, as well as of the negroes ; and his 
constant efforts were to harmonize the races as far as possible, 
but where conflicting interests were irreconcilable, he was al- 
ways for the whites. 

He and the writer had over thirty joint debates during that 
tempestuous canvass, and at its close were strong friends, and 
this friendship continued to the day of his death. May he 
rest in peace. 


There were only three resident carpet baggers in East Mis- 
sissippi, H. Musgrove and E. L. Howett, of Enterprise, and 
Barker, of Shubuta. 

Musgrove was elected State Auditor of Public Accounts, and 
made money enough in one term to open a banking house in 
Jackson. He was known as "Modest Mus." This epithet was 
applied to him because of the fact that he was in the habit of 
reporting his own speeches to the Republican press and laud- 
ing himself as a great orator and statesman, as well as a great 
organizer. Howett came from Illinois and was by the military 
governor appointed District Attorney for the old eighth judi- 
cial district. Barker came from the State of New York, penni- 
less and was a tramp for a time, and applied to Mr. Clem Lang, 
of Clark county, for employment. It is said that he often 
slept at night in a horse trough. Colonel Lang, moved with 
sympathy, gave the fellow employment, and he was subse- 
quently appointed by the military governor, Mayor of Shubuta, 

126 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and at the first general election he was elected by the Repub- 
licans Clerk of the Circuit Court of Clark county. 

George C. McKee and W. H. Gibbs who resided in the west- 
ern part of the State, and James Lynch who resided at Jackson, 
Mississippi, came over at different times into the eastern coun- 
ties and made public addresses, the audiences always being com- 
posed mainly of negroes. 

Jim Lynch alone deserves especial notice in this paper. He 
was a dark mulatto, born and raised in Pennsylvania; he was 
highly educated and was a Methodist preacher, and was sent 
down to this State by the Northern Methodists as a mission- 
ary to the negroes. He was a remarkable man. He was of 
medium height, broad-shouldered, with a superb head and 
sparkling brown eyes ; his hair was black and glossy and stood 
in profusion on his head between a kink and a curl. He was 
a great orator; fluent and graceful, he stirred his great audi- 
ences as no other man did or could do. He was the idol of the 
negroes, who would come from every point of the compass and 
for miles, on foot, to hear him speak. He rarely spoke to less 
than a thousand, and often two to five thousand. He swayed 
them with as much ease as a man would sway a peacock feather 
with his right hand. They yelled and howled, and laughed, 
and cried, as he willed. I have heard him paint the horrors 
of slavery (as they existed in his imagination) in pathetic tones 
of sympathy till the tears would roll down his cheeks, and 
every negro in the audience would be weeping; then wiping 
briskly away his tears, he would break forth into honsannas for 
the blessings of emancipation, and every negro in the audience 
would break forth in the wildest shouts. There was a striking 
peculiarity about this shouting. Imagine one or two thousand 
negroes standing en masse in a semi-circle facing the speaker; 
not a sound to be heard except the sonorous voice of the 
speaker, whose tones were as clear and resonant as a silver 
bell ; and of a sudden, every throat would be wide open, and a 
spontaneous shout in perfect unison would arise, and swell, 
and subside as the voice of one man; then for a moment a 
deadly silence would follow, and every eye would be fixed on the 
speaker as he resumed, until all of a sudden the mighty shout 
would rise again, and again, and so on, at intervals for a period 
of from one to three hours. The writer has stood transfixed to 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 127 

one spot, and listened to him, and observed the masses so 
completely under his influence, and how, as one man, they 
would all shout together ; no one gave the cue, but all together, 
and the rythmic cadences were in perfect unison. I could not 
understand it ; but in the light of the discoveries of the laws of 
psychic phenomena, I am now sure that it was done by the hyp- 
notic power or influence of the speaker. Doctor Hudson, in 
his work on the Law of Psychic Phenomena, states that all great 
orators possess hypnotic power, and by this power sway their 

Lynch always spoke out doors, as no house could hold his 
audiences, and always spoke in daylight. He was a great 
coward and could never be persuaded to speak at night. 

He was elected to the office of Secretary of State, and it is 
said that during his term of office he became rather dissolute. 
He drank to excess, and his influence over the better looking 
class of young negro women, lead him into forbidden paths and 
excesses, that cut short his life. He died before his term of 
office expired, and before reaching the full meridian of his 
manhood. The mongrel legislature appropriated two thousand 
five hundred dollars for a monument to his memory, and it is 
a singular fact that he is the only man to whose memory a 
monument was ever erected in Mississippi by legislative ap- 


There was a class of peripatetic carpet baggers who played 
upon the credulity of the negroes, and swindled them under 
various pretexts. One of their favorite schemes was, to re- 
marry them. They were told that, as they had never been 
regularly married, according to law, all their children were 
bastards, and they could not inherit any property that might 
be left by their parents; that the lands and mules of the slave 
owners would be confiscated by the government and divided 
up among the old slaves, and that each man, the head of a fam- 
ily, would receive forty acres and a mule. It was necessary, 
therefore, that he should get a license and marry his wife, and 
legitimatize his children. And this, in the face of the fact that 
the Legislature had passed an act legalizing all marriages, 
where the parties were living together as husband and wife at 

128 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the time of the passage of the act, and legitimatizing all chil- 
dren that had been born of such marriages. 

These rascals usually went in pairs; they had printed mar- 
riage certificates which one of them would sell for two dollars, 
and the other, who was the "parson," would marry them for 
two dollars. Old negroes who had been married for thirty and 
forty years, and had raised large families of children and grand- 
children, would meet these rascals, pay their four dollars, and 
"git marrid, 'cordin' to law." 

Another set would go around and sell the credulous creatures 
painted stakes which they were to use in staking off the "forty 
acres" of land. These were usually sold at fifty cents each. 

The following story was current in those days, but the writer 
does not vouch for the truth of it. An old negro had been to 
Shubuta and sold some produce, and was returning home with 
about ten dollars in cash. He met one of these enterprising 
fellows, who said to him : "Old man, you are going the wrong 
way. Better turn round and go back with me to Shubuta. 
I'm the man that is dividing out the land and mules." "Is you 
de man, Boss? I'se mighty glad to see you, but I can't go 
back to toun dis evenin', but I can come Monday." "No, that 
is not necessary, I can fix you up right here, as you are an old 

He questioned the old negro about the plantation and the 
mules; told him to select the mule he wanted and forty acres, 
and give him ten dollars and he would give him a receipt that 
would entitle him to his deeds when the man came around to 
make them out. The old man said he wanted "Ole Beck, de 
big gray mule, and forty acres in de fork ob de creek." The 
carpet bagger took out his pencil and wrote a paper and gave 
him, receiving ten dollars; the old man went on his way re- 
joicing. He came home singing: 

"Jay bird pull up my new groun corn, 

Shot gun loss um trigger; 
White man ain got no tail, 
Needer has a nigger. 

Chorus: Do come along my sandy boys, 
Do come along, oh do; 
What will uncle Gabriel say, 
Oh do come along, oh do." 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 129 

As he passed through the yard at a side gate a young lady on 
the back piazza observing his merry mood, said: "What's the 
matter, Uncle Joe, you seem very happy?" "Yes, young 
Missus, I is happy. I dun got my forty acres and a mule." 
"How did you get them, Uncle Joe?" "A man 'pinted by de 
guv'ment guv me a paper, here 'tis." 

The young lady opened and read the paper and burst into 
uncontrollable paroxyms of laughter. As soon as she could 
control herself she asked: "Do you know what is in this pa- 
per, Uncle Joe?" "No, mam, but dat offser tole me, it was my 
title paper ; you know I can't read, please read it Missus." She 
read: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so 
have I lifted ten dollars out of this old fool negro." 

The old negro hung his head in silence for several minutes, 
then slowly raising it, and looking away into the distance, sor- 
rowfully said: "I'm sho' a fool nigger," and went his way, a 
sad but wiser man. 

The "Pinch-beck Jewelry" peddler, though, had the bonanza. 
The negro is exceedingly fond of jewelry and they bedecked 
themselves with ringer rings, earrings, breast pins, etc., which 
paid a profit to the peddler of one hundred to two hundred per 

Nearly all of this money came out of the white" people. 
Petty stealing of poultry, pigs, fruits, corn, and cotton in the 
seed, was carried on systematically throughout the country. 
The negroes were taught by these graceless scamps that, as they 
had worked as slaves and accumulated this property without 
being paid for their labor, they had a moral right to it. 

I will close this paper by relating an incident of the election 
in November, 1875, when the white people of the State regain- 
ed control of the legislature. It occurred in Meridian. The 
election was being held on the corner of (old) Johnson Street, 
near the Sajiford residence. The white voters took possession 
of the polls early in the morning, whilst the negroes who out- 
numbered the whites stood in a solid body across, and along 
Johnson street, awaiting an opportunity to march to the polls. 
Each one had been previously provided with his ticket. Re- 
peated attempts had been made by the whites to get them sep- 
arated that they might talk with them singly, and in person, 
and influence them to vote with the whites ; but all to no pur- 

130 Mississippi Historical Society. 

pose. Every imaginable friendly device had been employed by 
the whites, but without success. The negroes stood as solid 
as a Grecian Phalanx, and were sullen and morose. If a negro 
came up to vote unaccompanied by a white man, a Democrat, 
the whites would get in ahead of him, and crowd him out. 
About eleven o'clock the manager of the Western Union Tele- 
graph office came, and voted, and started back to his office. A 
man who shall be nameless in this article, accosted him and 

"Mr. I would like to get a telegram from Oliver Clifton, 
Secretary of the State Democratic Executive Committee, say- 
ing: 'The negroes in Hinds have repudiated Ames, and are 
voting solidly with the white people.' If I can get that sort of a 
message, we can carry this election." In about an hour a mes- 
senger boy with his receipt book was going through the crowd 

saying he had a message for . He was soon found, and 

receipted for it. The crowd had begun to gather around sup- 
posing that it contained election news. It was opened and read 
by the gentleman, who waved it high in the air, saying "Glor- 
ious news from Hinds !" "Read ! read !" shouted the crowd. 
He mounted a goods box and read in stentorian voice : "The 
negroes have deserted Ames, and are voting solidly with the 
white people. Signed, Oliver Clifton, Secretary." 

Such a shout has rarely been heard at an election. The 
whites, as well as the negroes thought the- message genuine, 
and the wildest excitement ensued. The whites poured in 
among the negroes and pleaded with them to follow the ex- 
ample of the negroes in Hinds and vote with the white people. 
But they stubbornly refused, and broke up and left for their 
homes refusing to vote at all except about one hundred or more 
who were induced to vote with the Democrats. 

A gentleman who formerly lived in Enterprise, thought the 
dispatch genuine, and rushed to the telegraph office, and re- 
peated the message to Enterprise; and another, who lived in 
Columbus, did the same thing and this little ruse made victory 
for the whites easy. 

Whilst upon purely ethical grounds this act might be con- 
demned, yet those who are familiar with the conditions which 
existed at that time, and which made success an imperative 
necessity, will rather applaud than condemn; it was a harmless 

Recollections of Reconstruction. Hardy. 131 

piece of strategy that bore abundant good fruit for both white 
and black. 


From A. D. 1866 to 1876 were perilous times indeed. 
Neither the whites, nor the negroes were prepared for the con- 
ditions that confronted them. It was impossible for the whites 
to recognize their former slaves as their equals civilly and pol- 
itically, to say nothing of social equality, which the white car- 
pet-baggers practiced, and which they persistently taught the 
negroes that they were entitled to. 

Federal troops were stationed in the State to uphold the 
civil authority and the negroes, taught and misguided by the 
designing carpet baggers and scallawags, assured of protection 
from the soldiers, they became exceeding arrogant and insolent, 
to a degree that would cost them their lives if indulged in to- 
day. It was not uncommon for white men, who had braved 
the leaden hail, and roar of many a battle with unblanched 
cheek, to give the side walk to half drunk swaggering negroes, 
rather than be knocked off by them. To begin a fight was to 
involve everybody in it, white and black, as shown by the 
bloody riot at Meridian; then the military authorities were in 
sympathy with the negroes. As for the white women, they 
dared not go out, day or night without an escort. Everybody 
went armed, and a sense of insecurity and uncertainty pervad- 
ed every home and every community. 

It was out of this state of things, the Ku Klux Klan was 
evolved. It was a necessity of the times. It came, it was ef- 
fective, and was and should ever be, esteemed as a great boon 
to an impoverished and oppressed people. I cannot write the 
history of the K. K. K. in this paper, but leave that for a 
future day or for another. 


I am not an alarmist, but I must be pardoned for expressing 
the opinion that the greatest problem that confronts the South- 
ern people of to-day, is the race problem. It is not only, not 
settled, nor being settled, but on the contrary we are farther 
away from a solution of it than ever before. 

I can see no solution possible, except ; First : Deportation of 

132 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the blacks by the United States government; or Second: A 
race war in which the colored race will be practically exter- 

If the first is not adopted, the latter is inevitable in the course 
of time. 

It is contrary to the law of the Almighty that two separate 
and distinct races of people, should live in the same country 
on terms of equality. 

"Of one blood he made every nation (not all nations) of men 
for to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined 
their appointed seasons and the bounds of their habitation," are 
the words of the great apostle of the Gentiles. 

It is claimed by many that education and the Christian relig- 
ion will afford a true solution for the race problem. But this 
is mere opinion. There are few facts to support it. On the 
contrary, over a third of a century of freedom and education 
and religious instruction, have signally failed, so far, to sub- 
stantiate that claim. The "new negro" has not the general in- 
telligence, nor the politeness and refinement, nor the industry, 
nor the love of truth and virtue, of the "old negro" the slave. 
The "new negro" has more book learning, but he does not 
compare to the old slave in the qualities of sturdy manhood 
and the exercise of truth and virtue. 

The deportation of the Spanish army from Cuba by the gov- 
ernment demonstrates the fact that, it can within a period of 
twenty-five or thirty years, deport the negroes of the South to 
the Philippine Islands, and extending over such a long period of 
time, it could be done without material detriment to the in- 
dustrial interests of the South. 

It would be a humane and benevolent solution of the prob- 
lem, and one that is due to the negroes, that the government 
should do this at its own expense. 

With the race problem settled, or its settlement assured at 
any period within the near future, the South would enter upon 
the greatest era of prosperity within her history, or within the 
history of any other country. The infinitude of her undevelop- 
ed resources under the skill and manipulation of the Saxon 
race, would soon make her the wealthiest and most powerful 
section of this great country. 



It has been nearly four decades since the War between the 
States. We are standing to-day in the new light of the twen- 
tieth century ; and many past events have receded into the dim 
shadows of oblivion. We are not now in that immediate prox- 
imity to those tremendous incidents which fills the vision and 
takes away the power of seeing either their perspective or the 
surrounding situation. The history of the South is written in 

1 William Wailes Magruder was born at "Hazlewood," the old 
homestead of his grandfather, which was situated in Madison county, 
Mississippi, near Sharon, about seven miles from Canton. His father 
was Dr. Augustin Freeland Magruder, son of Major John Hawkins 
Magruder, who came to this State from Maryland. His mother was 
Julia Harriet Abbey, daughter of Rev. Richard Abbey, a prominent 
minister of the M. E. Church, South, author of Diuturnity and several 
other religious and ecclesiastical works, and for many years Financial 
Secretary of the great Methodist Publishing House at Nashville, 

In 1868 Dr. Magruder removed with his family to Yazoo county, 
where the subject of this sketch was reared. T,he family lived in Yazoo 
City and then upon a plantation, two miles from that point, where Dr. 
Magruder died on the I4th day of December, 1884. His wife died 
August 22nd, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she had lived for 
several years. 

The early education of W. W. Magruder was acquired in the private 
and public schools of Yazoo City. He entered the University of Mis- 
sissippi in the fall of 1883, remaining there until called home during 
the next session by the illness of his father, after which he entered the 
Mississippi A. & M. College, where he graduated with the B. S. degree 
in the class of 1887. He located in Starkville soon thereafter, and was 
married on the 2Qth day of May, 1888, to Clemmie A. Henry, only 
daughter of Mr. J. O. Henry, a prominent citizen and leading mer- 
chant of that place. 

For several years he was engaged in book-keeping and in mercan- 
tile and banking enterprises. Deciding to enter upon the practice of 
law, which had been his chosen vocation from early life, he re-entered 
the University of Mississippi in 1894, and received the degree of LL. 
B. "with special distinction." He then entered upon the practice of his 
profession at Starkville, Mississippi. In 1806 he became associated 
with Mr. Thomas Battle Carroll, under the firm name of Carroll and 
Magruder. For two years Mr. Magruder has been President of the 
Alumni Association of the Mississippi A. & M. College. He is also 
President of the Security State Bank of Starkville, Director in the John 
M. Stone Cotton Mills, and in the Starkville Cotton Oil Company. 
He is a member of the Methodist Church and Superintendent of the 
Sunday school. EDITOR. 

134 Mississippi Historical Society. 

broad statesmanship, pure patriotism, splendid courage, and 
good citizenship. Our older men do not dream dreams; but, 
accepting Appomattox in good faith as the final arbitrament of 
controverted issues, ask only that the record shall do them 
justice, and deal fairly with the events and conditions which 
preceded Fort Sumter. Our young men, proud of their fathers 
and respecting their unexampled achievements in peace and in 
war, have turned their own faces to the future, and look with 
confidence upon its large opportunities in science, literature, 
and industrial development. They have come to know that the 
lump of coal, black with nature's pigments, but glowing in the 
flame of the furnace, is a slave that never sleeps, never grows 
weary, but toiling day and night, unemancipated, yields a rich 
recompense of reward to him who controls and directs its 
power. They realize that to-day is our industrial renaissance, 
and that Southward the irresistible impulse of industrial im- 
perialism makes its way, impelled by the laws of commerce and 
the forces of infinity. Slavery, or involuntary servitude, had its 
bright side, and its dark side, although some there be who see 
only the former, and some, only the latter. 

It is usually a mistake to assume that any cause has only 
one side; and the assertion that this principle does not apply 
where moral questions are involved finds its refutation in the 
intolerance of the middle ages, the persecution of early Chris- 
tians, the Reformation, St. Bartholomew's massacre, and the 
burning of the Salem witches. It is to be feared that there are 
many to-day who would conscientiously light the fires on 
Witches' Hill. 

A former scholarly discussion of this subject under the title, 
"Early Slave Laws of Mississippi" (Vol. II., Publications of the 
Mississippi Historical Society, page 133), by Hon. Alfred H. 
Stone, a talented and distinguished citizen of the Delta, relieves 
us of the necessity of tracing in careful detail the origin and 
development of the State's legal system with reference to the 
institution of slavery ; and we will therefore indulge in a some- 
what general review of the operation and application of those 
laws as we find them, necessarily referring more or less ex- 
tensively to some of the constitutional provisions, congressional 
and legislative acts, and judicial decisions cited and discussed by 
Mr. Stone. 

Slaves in Mississippi Before the War. Magruder. 135 

The dark cloud of human slavery has been forever rolled 
away ; and we, a slave-holding people, now view its passage with 
a large degree of equanimity, only regretting that the principle 
of confiscation rather than compensation was adopted by our 
Northern friends. It was good morals for them to sell us the 
slaves ; but it was bad morals for us to keep them. The right 
or the wrong of the matter seems to have been largely a ques- 
tion of ownership, the principle involved changing eo instanti 
with the title. The industrial and climatic conditions of the 
Southern States made slavery more profitable here than else- 
where, and naturally the slave population was concentrated 
where the situation was most favorable. Brother Jonathan in 
due time passed his nominal laws in the New England States 
prohibiting slavery, where it was already prohibited by the 
logic of nature's stern decrees ; but his slaver sailed the seas, 
coining the black man's sweet freedom into Southern gold. 
The institution of slavery as it was operated here among us may 
have been bad ; but the incidents of the system elsewhere were 
infinitely worse. The South pleads guilty to the cotton planta- 
tion with its hard labor and its reasonable chastisement for in- 
subordinate slaves ; its happy, contented, well fed, well clothed 
people; the negro quarters full of melody, music, and simple 
joys; the "great house" with "Old Master" and "Old Miss;" 
the little pickaninnies and the black "mammies ;" the full un- 
derstanding between us and them out of which grew so much 
of comradeship, genuine loyalty, and affectionate consideration. 
The North must upon the facts plead guilty to the slave trader 
and the slave ship with fork and scourge, cruelty, starvation, 
pestilence, and death. We are willing to assume full respon- 
sibility for our part of the system, if they will take charge of its 
incidents under their preliminary administration. However, the 
practical issue has been long since settled; and upon these 
questions of ethics, we and our friends will continue to differ. 
Emancipation has given us for solution questions of tremen- 
dous import in the domain of good citizenship and statesman- 
ship, all of which we must be left to settle in our own time and 
our own way. 

Among the papers constituting the organic law of this coun- 
try, the Ordinance of 1787 for the government of the great 
Northwest Territory stands in importance subject, perhaps, to 

136 Mississippi Historical Society. 

only the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 
the United States. The ordinance prohibited slavery within 
that extensive jurisdiction to which it was applied. It is a 
noteworthy circumstance that this ordinance, the first legal 
limitation imposed upon the extension of slavery in America, 
was supported by every Southern member of Congress. We 
did not seek and encourage the development of the institution 
of slavery it resulted from the inexorable logic of our situa- 
tion and circumstances, and most especially from the invention 
of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney. 

By the Act of Congress, April 7, 1798, for the Formation of 
the Mississippi Territory, the President was authorized to es- 
tablish for the said Mississippi Territory "a government in all 
respects similar" to that provided in the Ordinance of 1787, 
excepting only the last article thereof, which prohibited slavery. 
In the seventh paragraph of the Act for the Formation of the 
Mississippi Territory, the importation of slaves from without 
the limits of the United States was forbidden under penalty of 
fine, the slaves so imported to receive their freedom. 

The view is advanced by Mr. Stone that slavery in this Terri- 
tory in its incipient organization was prohibited until the 
Georgia Cession in 1802 ; but we cannot subscribe to this opin- 
ion, regarding the exception in the Act of 1798, and the section 
thereof prohibiting the importation of slaves from any point 
WITHOUT the limits of the United States as permitting their 
importation from any point or place WITHIN the United States, 
and recognizing human slavery as an established legal institu- 
tion. We are thus forced to the conclusion that slavery was 
never at any time prohibited in Mississippi Territory. 

It is probably not possible to fix with certainty its origin in 
the Territory. There can be no serious question but that it 
existed here as a legal institution of the various colonial gov- 
ernments from some remote time in the period of exploration 
and discovery. It was introduced into the United States in 
1620; and African slaves were owned in the territory of this 
State at least as early as 1707. At the time of the grant by the 
King of France, Louis XIV, to Antoine Crozat in 1712, there 
were already about twenty African slaves in the colony, and 
Crozat was obligated to import a cargo of slaves annually from 
Africa, which he failed to do, the first full cargo of this human 

Slaves in Mississippi Before the War. Magruder. 137 

freight not being received until the month of July, 1720. Under 
the administration of John Law, by authority of the Charter to 
the Western or India Company, an active slave trade was in- 
augurated in the year 1718. The Company's Charter contained 
a stipulation that 3,000 African slaves should be imported ; and 
a census taken in 1720 showed that there were 500 in the 
colony all told, while in June, 1721, there were some 600, from 
which time their numbers rapidly increased. Their exportation 
from the Colony was forbidden; and their value was fixed at 
660 livres (about $170.00), for each able bodied man or woman 
between the ages of seventeen and thirty, and free from all 
physical imperfection : the same price was fixed for three chil- 
dren of eight to ten years old, and the same price for two chil- 
dren over ten and under fifteen years of age, the consideration 
being payable one-half in cash and the other half in twelve 
months. The Black Code of 1724 for the government of the 
slaves required that they should be brought up in the Roman 
Catholic faith, and among other noteworthy provisions pro- 
hibited all amalgamation of the races. It may be mentioned as 
remarkable that the Church of Rome has practically no adhe- 
rents to-day among our negro population. During the period 
of French colonization, the authorities used their slaves as sol- 
diers in the constant Indian warfare of that time. After the 
Fort Rosalie massacre, the negroes attached themselves to the 
Natchez tribe of Indians, and operated with them in their mili- 
tary organization until they were at a later date mainly killed 
or recaptured in a desperate engagement with the French. 

Neither is it by any means easy to ascertain the exact time 
at which the slaves in Mississippi received their legal freedom. 
The Supreme Court of the State has twice declined to decide 
the question. By Lincoln's proclamation of September 22, 

1862, all persons held as slaves in the seceding States were de- 
clared to be free on and after January i, 1863. In the case, 
V. & M. R. R. Co. vs. Green, 42 Miss., 42, the Court held that 
the President's proclamation was only a military order, and 
that the slaves were not emancipated thereby on January i, 

1863, the opinion further reciting, "How or when they were 
emancipated after this time is not important to the decision of 
the case before us." 

In Herrod vs. Davis, 43 Miss., 102, the Court stated that the 

138 Mississippi Historical Society. 

precise time when slavery was abolished had never been judi- 
cially determined. The provision adopted by the Constitutional 
Convention of 1865 prohibiting involuntary servitude in the 
State, by way of preamble or recital, declared that slavery had 
long before that time ceased to exist. How, when, or where 
the emancipation of the slaves was legally accomplished in the 
State has, therefore, never been definitely settled by legislative 
announcement or judicial opinion; and remarkable as it may 
seem, it is impossible to fix the time when slavery ceased to 
exist as a legal institution in Mississippi. However, any negro 
to-day will promptly inform you that the date of emancipation 
was "Ada May" (8th of May), which day they religiously and 
devotedly celebrate at their "Black Jack," "Chigger Hill," and 
"I. John" churches. 

The people of the western part of the Mississippi Territory in 
pursuance of the preliminary Act of Congress adopted the first 
Constitution of Mississippi at the town of Washington in a 
convention extending from the 7th day of June to the I5th day 
of August, 1817; and the State was formally admitted to the 
Union on the loth day of December, 1817. During her colo- 
nial settlement, her territorial organization, and from the time 
of her admission as a State, Mississippi authorized and legal- 
ized slavery until after the war. Every constitution of the State 
within that period, a great number of legislative enactments, 
and a multitude of judicial decisions recognize the established 
existence of slavery, and define the limitations of the slaves' 
rights and wrongs. 

In the case of Harry vs. Decker, Walker (i Miss.), 36, our 
Supreme Court in 1818 announced that, "slavery is condemned 
by reason and the laws of nature," expressly holding that in- 
voluntary servitude can exist only by virtue of municipal regu- 
lations, and that all questions of doubt must be resolved in favor 
of liberty. 

The Supreme Court in the State vs. Jones, Walker (i Miss.), 
83 (decided in 1821, and the second criminal case officially re- 
ported in Mississippi), held that slaves were rational human be- 
ings, and that it was as clearly murder to kill a slave as to kill 
a freeman, even though the homicide be committed by the 
master. The defendant, a white man, was here sentenced to be 
hung for the murder of a slave. Our Court expressly held in 

Slaves in Mississippi Before the War. Magruder. 139 

later cases that the status of slaves was not determined by 
general legislation ; and this decision in the Jones case was ren- 
dered and subsequently cited with approval only under the view 
that, when the law recognizes the existence of a person as a 
human being, the law will protect that existence. However, 
with the exception of this class of cases involving their lives, 
they were never punished or protected by general legislation ; 
and no law affected slaves, unless they were specially indicated 
or included in its terms. Slavery as it existed in this country 
was not known to the common law of England; and its pro- 
visions were held by our Court to be not applicable to the status 
of slaves under the conditions of the system here. 

The various codes of the State declared them to be personal 
property; and while their rights as persons were also declared 
and enforced, yet their status as property was so definitely fixed 
by statutory enactment and judicial construction that owners 
or claimants could only be deprived of asserted authority and 
title by the verdict of a jury, the writ of habeas corpus being 
held not applicable in such cases. Color was taken to be prima 
facie evidence of liability to servitude of property in some one, 
or, in plain terms, every negro was presumed to be a slave. 
While slaves were thus precluded from the writ of habeas cor- 
pus, they were entitled by statute, as indicated above, to a "suit 
for freedom" or emancipation either in term time or in vaca- 
tion and to trial on the issue, aided by counsel, before a jury. 

They enjoyed in criminal cases the same right to bail as did 
other persons, and in capital cases, the right of appeal to the 
Supreme Court. 

Slaves were competent witnesses in all cases, civil or criminal, 
where only negroes or mulattos, bond or free, were parties, but 
in no other cases. Our juries to-day attach but little importance 
to negro testimony where a white man is involved; and our 
courts, recognizing its uncertainty and danger in all cases, 
weigh it with great caution. No thoughtful citizen, and more 
especially no member of the legal profession, can view the 
general competency of negro evidence without grave apprehen- 
sion. Their lack of education deprives them of those aids to 
memory by way of written records or statements upon which we 
rely so largely; and it thus comes to pass that the faculty of 
memory (upon which they must depend), is abnormally de- 

140 Mississippi Historical Society. 

veloped. This makes them with their usual indifference to the 
truth most dangerous witnesses, and their testimony is a men- 
ace to the administration of public justice. 

The voluntary confession of a slave could be taken by the 
Court. Owners were competent to testify in behalf of their 
slaves, notwithstanding their interest, and the general disquali- 
fication then existing on account of interest. 

Slaves or free negroes were not sworn as witnesses, but were 
enjoined to tell the truth under threats, it must be confessed, 
of most extreme severity in event of perjury. 

The law declared nearly two score offenses to be capital 
crimes when committed by slaves, and in such cases, the de- 
fendant was tried under the general laws applicable to white 
persons, with certain modifications. In cases not capital, the 
mode of trial varied at different times, being under the Code 
of 1857 the organization of a special court composed of two 
magistrates and five slave-holders, a majority of the seven triers 
rendering a verdict and sentence. Upon the trial of slaves for 
criminal offenses, under the first Constitution of the State, no 
investigation and indictment by a grand jury was necessary, 
although trial by jury was mandatory in all capital cases. The 
Constitution of 1832 retained the jury trial, and also required 
indictment by grand jury in capital cases. 

By virtue of provisions in the Constitutions both of 1817 and 
1832, the Legislature was empowered to pass laws permitting 
owners, subject to certain qualifications, to emancipate their 
slaves; but the passage of any law for the emancipation of 
slaves without the consent of their owners was forbidden, ex- 
cept in cases where "the slave shall have rendered to the State 
some distinguished service," in which event the "owners shall 
be paid a full equivalent for the slaves so emancipated." 

While the Legislature was thus constitutionally authorized to 
enact laws for the emancipation of slaves under certain condi- 
tions, the different assemblies seem to have regarded all eman- 
cipation with grave disfavor. Early laws passed by the Legis- 
lature did permit owners to emancipate their slaves, but under 
such restrictions as almost amounted to the absolute prohibi- 
tion subsequently declared by the Code of 1857. 

Both constitutions granted to the Legislature full power "to 
oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity;" and 

Slaves in Mississippi Before the War. Magruder. 141 

laws were passed forbidding on the part of owners all "cruel or 
unusual punishment" under severe penalty. 

It was early established by our court in a series of decisions 
that slaves were not citizens, that they were incapable of own- 
ing property in the State, and that their status in other States, 
whatever that might be, was not recognized here. 

The importation into the State of slaves "born or resident 
out of the United States" was at all times prohibited. Their 
importation as merchandise or for sale from other States of the 
Union was for a time prohibited, though this latter inhibition 
was soon repealed. Both constitutions and codes prohibited 
the importation into the State of slaves guilty of felony or other 

The law took no cognizance whatever of the marital relations 
of slaves, and their marriages were without legal validity. This 
was a grievous offense in the mind of the abolitionist, and it 
must be admitted was from the standpoint of morals an unfor- 
tunate incident of the system. On the other hand all well in- 
formed people acquainted with the conditions in the South are 
aware that the family relations of the slaves were not only per- 
mitted, but encouraged; and it is entirely within the record to 
say that slave marriages were of more permanent character 
than the negro marriages of to-day, when the men not infre- 
quently exchange their wives temporarily, or barter away the 
virtue of their daughters. The family relations of our negro 
population, after nearly forty years of freedom, constitute but a 
travesty and mockery upon the sacred institution of marriage 
far more revolting than the conditions of slavery. The pos- 
sibility then that the slave husband or wife or children might at 
any time be sold away of course existed ; but the disposition of 
slave-owners was to hold their slaves and use them in the de- 
velopment of their large estates. 

It is also true that the relations between the slaves and the 
families of their owners were frequently of such a character that 
no art, power, or persuasion could have been sufficiently potent 
to scatter the slave families or to disrupt their family circles. 
Their morality was encouraged, and any tendency to immoral- 
ity discouraged and discountenanced. Their marriages fre- 
quently took place in the parlor or dining room of their owner's 
residence ; and in those cases where household servants were of 

142 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the contracting parties, the dusky brides were in some cases at 
least arrayed for the ceremony by the young ladies of the fam- 
ily, and dressed in elegant garments contributed by them for the 
occasion. An instance is mentioned by a prominent minister of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in which at the request 
of the owner, Judge H. F. Simrall, Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court of the State, he performed a marriage ceremony in the 
family residence between a pair of slaves with all the rites and 
sanctity of a church marriage. 

In this general connection there is a vast volume of law, writ- 
ten and unwritten, by which the system of slavery was adminis- 
tered. Our statute books are full of enactments (in the main 
just and reasonable, but not infrequently both unwise and per- 
nicious), by which the legal status of slaves was fixed and de- 
termined. In this paper, it has not been my purpose to digest 
the many slave laws of the State "commanding what is right 
and prohibiting what is wrong," but only to review those broad 
provisions in its legislative enactment and its judicial construc- 
tion defining and establishing the character and limitations of 
an institution, happily passed away, that had in it much of evil 
and no little of good. 



Since the formation of the Federal Union the most important 
and critical period of its history is the decade ending with the 
year 1870. During this period the struggle between the two 

1 Alfred Holt Stone was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 
16, 1870. His maternal grandfather, Dr. Alfred C. Holt, was a dele- 
gate from Wilkinson county to the Mississippi Secession Convention, 
having been all his life an intense States Rights Democrat. After the 
War between the States, he removed to New Orleans and practiced 
his profession until his death. He served throughout the war. His 
father, the Hon. W. W. Stone, and his paternal grandfather lived in 
Missouri, both likewise spent four years in the Confederate service. 
In 1866 his father removed to Washington county, where he has since 
engaged in cotton planting. He has also been identified with local and 
State politics, and held the office of Auditor of Public Accounts of 
Mississippi from 1885 to 1895. 

Until his sixteenth year the author of this monograph lived on a 
plantation. Here he began early in life to take a deep interest in the 
study of the Negro race and of cognate subjects. He was educated at 
the University of Mississippi, where, after taking special work in the 
literary department, he graduted in law in 1891. He engaged in the 
practice of his profession from 1891 to 1895, and in the fire insurance 
business from 1895 to 1899. In 1896 he was married to Miss Mary 
Bailey Ireys, of Greenville, Mississippi. He has been a cotton planter 
since 1893. 

His duties as a planter having again brought him into close practi- 
cal relations with the Negro race, he conceived the ambition of writing 
a history of that race upon an exhaustive scale. Since that time he 
has worked steadily towards the final accomplishment of this object, 
though the completion of his researches is not contemplated earlier 
than twelve of fifteen years from this date. 

He is a member of the American Academy of Political and Social 
Science, the American Social Science Association, the Southern His- 
tory Association, the American Economic Association, and the Miss- 
issippi Historical Society. He is a member of the committee of five, 
appointed at the Detroit meeting of the American Economic Associa- 
tion, to investigate and report upon the "Economic Condition of the 
American Negro." His name is on the programme of the next meet- 
ing of that association for an address on "The Negro in the Yazoo- 
Mississippi Delta." 

From June, 1900, to June, 1901, he edited the The Greenville Times. 
He contributed an article to the second volume of the Publications of 
the Mississippi Historical Society (pp. 133-145), on "The Early Slave Laws 
of Mississippi." EDITOR. 

144 Mississippi Historical Society. 

opposing schools of constitutional construction reached its 
bloody and costly termination; the contention between the 
theories of those who held this government to be a federation 
of sovereign States, and those who would clothe it with the full 
habit and attributes of nationality, sought the ultimate arbitra- 
ment of war; the American disciples of the English school of 
which Clarkson, Wilberforce and Channing were so long the 
chief exponents, witnessed the triumph over the organic law of 
the union of the "higher law" which they had proclaimed, and, in 
the violent destruction of an institution recognized by the Con- 
stitution, realized the full fruition of all their zealous labors ; the 
spectacle was presented of the creation, by the mere fiat of law, 
of American citizens from African slaves, and in these revolu- 
tionary acts were laid the foundations of problems yet unsolved. 
A comprehensive study of the events of this brief period in- 
volves the student in the consideration of many questions ; but 
none of more profound importance than the conditions and cir- 
cumstances surrounding the adoption of the constitutional 
amendments designed to affect the status of the former slave, 
and the congressional legislation enacted with reference to the 
status of his former master, as resultant upon the war. 

Inseparably associated with this matter of the attitude as- 
sumed by the Federal Government towards the negro and the 
Southern white man, is the consideration of the position taken 
immediately succeeding the war by the white man of the South 
himself, with reference to the negro. 

A thorough and accurate knowledge and understanding of 
the truth of this position of the status of the negro, and his 
relation towards his former owner, as that owner would have 
willed it are vitally essential to any proper apprehension of the 
history of this period. Chief among the causes contributing to 
the importance of this question are two facts : that congres- 
sional reconstruction was a mistake and a failure, and that the 
position of the dominant party of the period, with reference to 
the negro and the white man of the South, has been defended 
by reiterated appeals to the attitude alleged to have been as- 
sumed by the latter towards the former. This claim has been 
urged with singular persistence, by both apologists and eulo- 
gists, and it has come to be admitted as valid by a large class 
of writers, among which are some in whom one has a right to 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 145 

expect more than a superficial acquaintance with the truth of 
so grave a proposition. 

The foundation upon which has been erected this explanative 
and defensive superstructure, may be found in the legislation 
for freedmen enacted by the Southern States, during the brief 
period succeeding the cessation of hostilities in which they were 
permitted, to a certain extent, civil control of their domestic 
affairs ; the period of presidential reconstruction. This legisla- 
tion has been characterized as a blunder, by the mildest of its 
critics, and denounced as -barbarous, and an attempt to per- 
petuate slavery, by the most extreme. The naked letter of the 
law, not infrequently garbled and distorted, has been paraded as 
a deaths-head of typically Southern creation, well calculated to 
justify the harshest clause of the reconstruction acts, proof con- 
clusive that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments were 
necessary to endow with viability the status bestowed upon the 
negro by the war. Without any fair consideration of the cir- 
cumstances and conditions attending their enactment, without 
honest attempt to grasp or appreciate the real spirit and temper 
and intent of the men who framed them, the dead literalness of 
these statutes has been made to do more than thirty years of 
scarecrow duty to blunders whose criminality has been accen- 
tuated by the maliciousness of their inspiration. 

Mississippi, in her legislation and general attitude, was typical 
of the South of the period, and in this attempted review of her 
constitution and statutes in reference to freedmen, the hope is 
indulged that a not unfair presentation may be made of the gen- 
eral subject in behalf of the South at large. 

The acceptance of, and acquiescence in, accomplished facts, 
the making the best of the inevitable, has ever been a distin- 
guishing and saving trait of the American people. It is this 
characteristic national, it may be termed which has brought 
confusion to those foreign critics of an earlier day who pre- 
dicated a failure of our form of government, upon the assump- 
tion that the entire people could not be relied upon to accept 
the results of elections without revolution. It is this trait which 
differentiates the people of this government from those con- 


146 Mississippi Historical Society. 

stituting the petty, so-called republics of South and Central 
America. It was this trait which furnished an astonished and 
skeptical world with the spectacle of the acceptance univer- 
sally and without reserve by the Southern people, of the dis- 
astrous verdict of four years of war, and made possible the 
disbanding of the Northern armies, without fear of Southern 
guerilla warfare. In this trait we see the explanation of the 
absolute surrender of the Southern armies, and their immediate 
resumption of peaceful pursuits when once, in the judgment of 
their commanders, the moment of useless resistance had ar- 
rived ; in the lack of this characteristic may be found a reason- 
able explanation of the senseless policy which impels the self- 
destructive tactics of the Boers. 

In the failure of the political leaders of the successful party 
to the American Civil War to credit the defeated party with the 
exercise in good faith of this trait, may be read the fundamental 
error of this government's post bellum policy. That this failure 
to accord honesty of purpose to Southern men at that time was 
not due to a mere misconception of the truth, but was rather 
one of the essential elements in a gradually assumed attitude of 
punitive hostility and mistrust, the history of the course adopt- 
ed by those leaders leaves scant room for doubt. 

That the legislation of Mississippi, and other Southern States, 
was not enacted with any purpose of nullifying the accom- 
plished emancipation of the negro, but that it was natural, 
abundantly justified by precedent, and sincerely deemed neces- 
sary to meet the anomalous conditions which demanded imme- 
diate treatment, are propositions which are established beyond 
controversy by a fair consideration of the attendant acts and 
circumstances, coupled with an investigation of the conduct of 
other peoples similarly situated. 

In his treatise on the "principles of interpretation and con- 
struction in law and politics," Dr. Lieber says that to interpret 
the actions of men is "to designate the endeavor to arrive at 
their direct meaning, the motives from which they flowed." 2 
In laying down his rules he takes occasion to observe that the 
"artifice to which revengeful tyranny so often resorts to obtain 
its objects without incurring the direct charge of guilt, * * * * 

J Hermeneutics, 3d Edition (Hammond), p. 8. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 147 

or which we use when we are anxious to throw the guilt from 
our shoulders, * * * is generally, in its essence, founded upon 
literal or unfaithful interpretation." 3 He further enjoins upon 
us that "we should not studiously endeavor to make the worst 
of the words or actions of our neighbors. Plain justice de- 
mands that we should take them in the spirit in which they were 
meant, and that we should endeavor to find out that spirit ; plain 
charity demands that we should give full weight to a possible 
good interpretation, which charity becomes but justice, con- 
sidering that all of us stand in equal need of it." 4 

In the misconstructions and perversions of the acts of South- 
ern legislatures, by the radical political leaders of the time, may 
be found a persistent disregard of all such principles of political 
and legal hermeneutics as the German-American publicist has 
left us, which, after all, are but principles of common political 

Mr. Lincoln had regarded the restoration of the Southern 
States to their normal relations with the rest of the Union as a 
matter clearly within the scope of executive power. This, and 
the salient features of the plan of reconstruction which he had 
already inaugurated, are, fortunately, too well authenticated to 
justify an attempt at denial. 

Mr. Johnson, with none of Lincoln's prestige, none of his 
tact, and little of his ability, attempted to carry out his plan; 
but, in his conceit, enunciated it as his own, and thus lost for it 
the weight of his illustrious predecessor's name. 

Mr. Lincoln's plan of reconstruction had contemplated the 
control of the domestic affairs of the Southern States their 
legislation and elections by their own citizens, such as chose 
to qualify under his proclamation, though he recognized the 
right of Congress to determine the question of the admission 
of individual members elected from States conforming to his 
scheme of restoration. 

As adopted by Johnson, through Seward's persuasive influ- 
ence, the Louisiana plan, in its important features, was prac- 
tically unchanged. The only fault that could be found with this 
plan was that it was too mild to suit the radical element in 

' Ibid, p. 86. 

4 Ibid, pp. 140 and 141. 

148 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Congress and the North, who wanted something more than 
the mere accomplishment of the objects of the war. 

Mr. Blaine himself admits that "as a theory it was perfect," 
and refers to it as a "process which was designed to be ex- 
haustive, by fully restoring every connection existing under the 
Constitution between the States and the National Govern- 
ment." 5 The most that he could do was to attempt to ridicule 
it; against it he never advanced a single argument. 

The plan did not fail ; it was abandoned by Congress as lack- 
ing in the elements of punishment and severity ; though the 
substitution of another was sought to be justified upon other 
grounds, viz : The alleged conduct of the Southern constitu- 
tional and legislative assemblages held under the Presidential 

In putting into execution in Mississippi his plan of recon- 
struction, Mr. Johnson's initial act was the appointment of a 
provisional governor. This was done by a proclamation, of 
June I3th, 1865, and the appointee was Judge Wm. L. Sharkey. 
The proclamation 6 recited that it should be his duty, "at the 
earliest practicable period, to prescribe such rules and regula- 
tions as may be necessary and proper for convening a conven- 
tion composed of that portion of the people of said State who 
are loyal to the United States and no others, for the purpose of 
altering or amending the constitution thereof, and with author- 
ity to exercise within the limits of said State all the powers 
necessary and proper to enable such loyal people of the State 
of Mississippi to restore said State to its constitutional rela- 
tions to the Federal Government." All members of the pro- 
posed convention must have taken the amnesty oath of May 
29th, 1865, to render them eligible to their seats. 

Pursuant to his instructions, Gov. Sharkey ordered an elec- 
tion for delegates to a convention, to convene on August i/j-th, 
1865. This convention, as well as the Legislature which fol- 
lowed it, has been severely arraigned by hostile critics of the 

In attempting to arrive at a just estimate of the opinion of 
these conventions, legislatures and laws, entertained by Repub- 
lican leaders of the period, fairness has determined me in the 

11 "Twenty Years of Congress," Vol. II., p. 78. 
'Richardson's Messages and Papers, Vol. VI., p. 314. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 149 

selection of Mr. Elaine as the best authority from which to 

In addition to having been far less radical and vindictive than 
many, we have the advantage of possessing his views as he pre- 
pared them for posterity, in the calmness and deliberation of 
the mellowing influence of twenty years' removal from the 
times of which he wrote. 

An absolutely essential function in the exercise of "the pow- 
ers necessary and proper" to restore the State "to its consti- 
tutional relations to the Federal Government," as constituting 
the sole purpose of the conventions ordered by Mr. Johnson, 
was the providing for the election of State officers and repre- 
sentatives in Congress. This duty was enjoined upon these 
conventions as clearly as words could imply it, yet Mr. Elaine 
ignores this mandate of the President's proclamation, and says, 
"the Reconstruction Conventions usurped legislative power, 
and hastily proceeded to order the election of representatives in 
Congress." 7 He declares them to have been "in their member- 
ship and their organization, little else than consulting bodies 
of Confederate officers under the rank of brigadier general," 8 
with their "official acts * * * inspired by a spirit of ap- 
parently irreconcilable hatred of the Union." 9 His more gen- 
eral indictment he has expressed in these terms : "It seemed 
impossible at the time, it seems even more plainly impossible 
on a review of the facts after the lapse of years, that any body of 
reasonable men could behave with the ineffable folly that 
marked the proceedings of the Reconstruction Conventions in 
the South, and the still greater folly that governed the suc- 
ceeding Legislatures of the lately rebellious States." 10 

In view of the wealth of maledictory criticism heaped for 
thirty-five years upon these assemblages, and as assisting some- 
what in giving equitable interpretation to their acts, it is not out 
of place to consider briefly the personnel of the first reconstruc- 
tion convention to assemble in the South ; that of Mississippi, in 
August, 1865. 

In his selection of a provisional governor for Mississippi, 

7 Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. II., p. 87. 

8 Ibid. 

Ibid, p. 89. 
10 Ibid, p. 86. 

150 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Mr. Johnson was singularly fortunate. Judge Sharkey had all 
his life been an ardent Whig, and had been unalterably opposed 
to secession, but no man ever enjoyed the supreme confidence 
of his fellow citizens more universally than he did that of Mis- 
sissippians, without regard to political affiliations. We have 
no truer index to his character, his convictions, and the pro- 
foundest sentiments of his heart, than he has left us in the 
closing words of the proclamation which provided for this con- 
vention. Said he: 

"The people of the South have just passed through a most terrible 
and disastrous revolution, in which they have signally failed to ac- 
complish their purpose. Perhaps their success would have proved to 
be the greatest calamity that could have befallen the country, and the 
greatest calamity to the cause of civil liberty throughout the world. 
The true patriot finds his greatest enjoyment in the noble and pleasing 
reflection that his government is to live with an honored name, to 
shed its blessings on millions through future centuries. And as good 
governments are things of growth, improved by the lights of experience 
and often by revolutions, let us hope sad and disastrous as this revo- 
lution has been that the lessons it has taught us will not be destitute 
of value. 

"The business of improving our government, if it should be found 
to need it, and of promoting reconciliation between the Northern and 
Southern people, are now prominent duties before us, so that we may 
hereafter live in the more secure and perfect enjoyment of the great 
patrimony left us by our fathers, and so that those who are to come 
after us may long enjoy in their fullest functions, the inestimable bless- 
ing of civil liberty, the best birthright and noblest inheritance of man- 
kind." 11 

So much for the man who convened this most important 
gathering. What of the convention itself? 

As to political affiliation, a poll of the convention showed 
its membership to consist as follows: 51 Old Line Whigs, 9 
"Whig and Union," i "Inveterate Whig," 2 "Cooperation 
Whigs," 3 "Whig and Opposed to Secession," i "Steadfast 
Whig," 2 "Henry Clay Whigs," i "Whig and Death Against 
the War." This shows a total of seventy Whigs. Of Democrats 
there were eighteen, of various shades, describing themselves as 
follows: 9 "Unqualified," 2 "Douglas," i "Jackson," i 
"States Rights," i "Secession," 2 "Union," i "Cooperation," i 
"Jeffersonian." There were nine members classed as "scatter- 
ing," being made up of 5 "Conservatives," i "Cooperationist," 
i "Opposed to Universal Suffrage," i "Union," i "Opposed 
to the War." One member's political bias is not indicated. 

11 Convention Journal, p. 7. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 151 

One hundred delegates were elected to the convention, ninety- 
eight qualifying for service. 12 

It is of some interest to note that of this entire membership 
but seven had participated in the deliberations of the conven- 
tion of 1861, and of these, six opposed and voted against the 
Ordinance of Secession. That historic gathering had consisted 
of eighty-four Democrats and twenty-five Whigs, as against 
eighteen Democrats and seventy Whigs in this. 

By birth, six of its members were Northern men, two being 
natives of Pennsylvania, one of New York, one of Vermont, one 
of Connecticut and one of Maine. But eleven were native Mis- 

Of the individual members of the convention it is unneces- 
sary to speak, but we may recall among its leaders such names 
as J. S. Yerger, Amos R. Johnston, Will T. Martin, George L. 
Potter and William Yerger. 

Profoundly impressed by the extreme gravity of the situation, 
and mindful of the injunctions of Gov. Sharkey, the people of 
the State had chosen for the dispatch of the serious business 
which confronted them, men not only of acknowledged conser- 
vatism, but of high character and unquestioned ability as well. 
Nothing could be more maliciously slanderous than the attempt, 
gone for so many years unchallenged, to write down this con- 
vention as a body of marplots and discontents, of "office-seek- 
ing rebels," bent only upon an effort to seek the technical eva- 
sion of "the consequences of their treason." 

The real leaders of the convention, with one notable excep- 
tion, had not been in the Confederate army, as was equally true 
of a large percentage of its membership. Of those who had 
been thus identified with the Confederacy there was not one 
whose course was not marked by dignity, prudence and a high 
sense of the responsibilities of his delicate and trying position. 
Fortunately for the truth of history, their record is an open 
book to such as care to read it. 

Upon the organization of the convention, his colleagues chose 
as their president Judge Jacob Shall Yerger, a delegate from 
Washington county. Than this action, no truer earnest could 
have been given of the spirit and purpose with which the con- 

11 Convention Journal, Appendix. 

152 Mississippi Historical Society. 

vention approached its appointed tasks. Born in Pennsylvania, 
Judge Yerger had come South in early life, had adopted the 
law as his profession and in it had attained a degree of eminence 
which will associate his name for generations to come with all 
that is best and noblest in the annals of the Mississippi bar. In 
politics a Whig, he had been among the strongest opponents of 
secession, and, as a member of the convention, had thrown the 
weight of his influence and intellect in vain against the rising tide 
which ultimated in the extreme expression of the doctrine of 
State's rights. 

It has been variously charged against this convention that it 
went too far ; that it did not go far enough ; that it should have 
abolished the State's constitution entirely; and that it should 
have extended full political and civil rights to the freedmen. 

The only prescript before that body was the proclamation 
pursuant to which it had convened. This contained no refer- 
ence to the future status of the negro, further than was con- 
templated in the act of so "altering or amending" the constitu- 
tion of the State as to restore the latter to "its constitutional 
relations to the Federal Government." It was not asked in 
that proclamation, it was neither required nor expected, that 
Mississippi should do more than harmonize her organic law 
with the altered aspect of her domestic economy. 

Much has been made of Mr. Johnson's suggestion to Gover- 
nor Sharkey, that it might be expedient to extend the elective 
franchise to all freedmen "who can read the Constitution of the 
United States, and write their names, and also to those who 
own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty 
dollars, and pay taxes thereon." To have done this would have 
been to do violence to its every conception of wisdom, propriety 
and statesmanship, and the convention did not even consider 
the suggestion. The closing paragraph of the President's let- 
ter to Governor Sharkey is a flashlight revealing for an instant 
a glimpse of radical purpose, even then assuming concrete form, 
which renders paltry and absurd the plea of later "black code" 
justification. Said he : 

"I hope and trust that your convention will do this, and, as a con- 
sequence, the Radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, will be 
completely foiled in their attempt to keep the Southern States from 
renewing their relations to the Union by not accepting their senators 
and representatives." 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 153 

But little more than a year before Mr. Lincoln had made a 
somewhat similar suggestion to Governor Hahn, of Louisiana, 
but in a most careful and tentative manner. "Now," said he, 
"you are about to have a convention which among other things 
will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest," 
note the tone, "for your private consideration, whether some of 
the colored people may not be let in, as for instance, the very 
intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our 
ranks." Yet the members of this convention held no other 
views upon the subject than such as had been enunciated and 
elaborated again and again, by Mr. Lincoln himself. In the 
debate with Douglas, at Charleston, 111., which occurred on the 
i8th of September, 1858, Mr. Lincoln had most clearly defined 
his attitude, as follows: "I will say then that I am not, nor 
ever have been, in favor of bringing about, in any way, the so- 
cial and political equality of the white and black races," [here, 
we are told in the report of the speech, he met with a response 
of loud applause,] "that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor 
of making voters or furors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to 
hold office, nor to intermarry with white people ; and I will say 
in addition to this that there is a physical difference between 
the white and black races which, I believe, will forever forbid 
the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. 
And, inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain to- 
gether, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and 
I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior 
position assigned to the white race." 13 And yet this convention 
of Southern men, amid the most trying surroundings that ever 
confronted a similar body, is taken to task for the crime of 
merely making Mr. Lincoln's philosophy its own. 

The only obligation assumed by the men who composed the 
convention of 1865, in any way touching the negro, beyond the 
convening proclamation, was that involved in the undertaking 
of the amnesty oath; to "abide by and faithfully support all 
laws and proclamations which have been made with reference 
to the emancipation of slaves." The proceedings of that body 
bear cumulative testimony to the absolute acceptance by the 
people of Mississippi of the unalterable and existent fact that 

18 The Italics are mine. 

154 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the negro was no longer a slave. There was discussion of the 
means whereby this freedom had been wrought ; of its bearing 
upon the question of possible compensation; of the precise 
terms in which the recognition of existing conditions should 
be couched ; of the grounds upon which that recognition should 
be technically based. But all this was academic. 

There was much discussion of the probable effect of the ne- 
gro's new status upon himself, upon the white population, and 
upon the State in her efforts at repairing her wasted fortunes ; 
of the best means of meeting the situation; of how to secure 
what was best for all, for the negro no less than for the white 
man. All this was practical. 

On the first proposition to elicit discussion, no contrariety of 
opinion was exhibited. It was that the proceedings of the con- 
vention be stenographically reported and it is eminently proper 
that the remarks of the delegate who had attained the highest 
rank in the Confederate service, of such of the members as 
had taken active part in the war, be made a portion of this 
record. The speech is that of General William T. Martin, of 
Adams county. He said : 

"It is important for us not only that the constitution which we shall 
adopt shall show the spirit of our people, but it is also important to 
show by the debates the spirit in which these propositions were dis- 
cussed. That constitution will go out to the world as the action of a 
majority of this convention, and it is necessary to show, as these de- 
bates will by giving in full the expressions uttered on the spur of the 
moment, of those representing the people of Mississippi the feeling in 
this State. It is also necessary and proper that we should show, as 
was suggested by the gentleman preceding me, that it is a mistake to 
suppose that in surrendering, and as a people giving our paroles, we 
merely did it to gain time; and that there was still a disposition among 
the people of the State of Mississippi to carry on the war against the 
Northern States against the Federal Government. I think it alsc 
important, in the present crisis, that whatever can, should be done to 
assure the people of the North and especially that portion of the North- 
ern people disposed to be conservative and consider that we have some 
rights at least in the South, to show them, and to show the Govern- 
ment of the United States, also, that having first tried the logic of the 
schools, and having failed in that, and having then resorted to the 
sterner logic of arms, and having failed in that also, we are now hon- 
estly disposed to return to our allegiance, and to make out of the 
disasters that have befallen us the best we can. I think there is no 
surer and better way of showing the conservatives of the North, and 
the Government of the United States, that we are in earnest and that 
we are sincere than by publishing the debates of this convention. 

"There is no other way in which we can ascertain, with any certainty, 
the views of the people of this State, whose opinions are supposed to 
be represented here; and I desire that in some permanent manner 
these may go abroad in the country, to show our action, and to show 
that we intend to deal fairly in this matter; and that we may, for many 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 155 

reasons satisfy them that we are not, while we are preparing to return 
in form to our allegiance, entertaining opinions and feelings hostile to 
the government of the country."" 

The committee on "alterations and amendments" suggested 
the "abolishing and striking out" of all sections of the con- 
stitution of 1832 having reference to "slaves," and reported an 
amendment in the following terms : 

"That neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than in 
the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly con- 
victed, shall hereafter exist in this State; and the Legislature at its 
next session, and thereafter as the public welfare may require, shall 
provide by law for the protection of the person and property of the 
Freedmen of the State, and guard them and the State against any 
evils that may arise from their sudden emancipation." 

This amendment, embodying the precise language subse- 
quently incorporated in the Federal Constitution as Article 
XIIL, was adopted; the only modification being the striking 
out of the opening word, "That," and the substitution of the fol- 
lowing: "The institution of slavery having been destroyed in 
the State of Mississippi." 

The substitutes offered for this amendment ranged from a 
preamble reciting the fact of the war, and acknowledging spe- 
cifically the constitutionality of the emancipation proclamation, 
to a mere declaration that slavery had been destroyed. One 
took the form of a conditional agreement upon the part of the 
State, to regard the negro as free until the constitutionality 
of Mr. Lincoln's proclamation should be passed upon by the 
court of last resort ; while one actually proposed to make the 
amendment stand "suspended and inoperative" until the accom- 
plishment of the restoration of the status quo ante bellum, as re- 
garded the State's Federal relations. 

It is worthy of comment that the authors of these proposi- 
tions were Whigs of the old school, had been bitterly opposed 
to secession, and advocated consistently Mr. Lincoln's theory 
of the Federal compact and the inability of a State to withdraw 
from the Union. One of them was a no less distinguished dele- 
gate than Judge George L. Potter, a native of Connecticut, who 
defined his politics as "Whig and Union." Contemplated 

14 Convention Journal, pp. 26 & 27. The words of these men consti- 
tute the ablest vindication of themselves and their times; therefore I 
shall accord them the privilege of once more speaking at length in their 
own behalf. 

156 Mississippi Historical Society. 

through the perspective of thirty-six years, with the details of 
the reconstruction program, as finally developed and applied, 
a matter of historical record before us, it is at first difficult to 
realize that such proposals could have emanated from such 
men. Yet the very ingenuousness of their arguments furnishes 
the amplest proof of their frankness and good faith. Judge 
Potter's theory being that the State could not leave the Union, 
and had never been out of it, he would not listen to the argu- 
ments of expediency, touching the matter of her "^"-admis- 
sion. Defining his view of the existing legal status of Missis- 
sippi, he said that she was "still a State of the Union, with all 
her rights and privileges under the Constitution, precisely as 
she stood in the day when she was admitted, in the year 1817." 
He said: 

"She stands under the Constitution the co-equal of every other State 
in this American Union. So regarding her, and feeling myself under 
special, solemn obligations to regard and support the Constitution of 
the United States that obligation being higher and above all others 
I am not disposed to submit to any conditions imposed upon this State, 
as conditions precedent to the admission of her Senators and Repre- 
sentatives into the National Congress, that are not authorized by the 
National Constitution * * * I admit, sir, there is a party at the North, 
and I think it probable there is a large party in the Federal Congress, 
who will insist upon imposing upon the State of Mississippi, through 
her delegation, illegal restrictions Another of these (restrictive con- 
ditions) is, that the population lately occupying the position of slaves 
in this State, shall be raised, by State action, and that immediately, to 
the position and dignity of equals with the white population * * * 
It is a great question of party with them their continuance in power 
as a party, If the party in power desires to impose this con- 
dition of free suffrage upon us, we can not avoid it by any submission 
short of that. If the party in power in Congress is a Constitutional 
party. if it regards the right of the States to regulate their own 
domestic concerns in their own way why, then, it will admit our dele- 
gation as in times of old. What, then, do we gain, on the question of 
expediency, by the policy suggested by gentlemen on the other side." 

Keen as was Judge Potter's apprehension of the real merits 
of the question, as regarded the probable action of the radical 
element in Congress, he yet permitted the hard, practical argu- 
ment of actual conditions to be overshadowed in his mind by 
his devotion to the abstractions of constitutional rights. 

His ideas were not those of the convention; results showed 
that clearly enough. As a body, it was willing to waive ab- 
stract questions, to make any reasonable concession for the 
blessings of peace and the restoration of civil government. The 

15 Convention Journal, pp. 56, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 157 

true sentiments of the convention, as attested by the final adop- 
tion of the reported amendment, were voiced in the speech of 
Wm. Yerger, a delegate from the county of Hinds. 

In common with most of the leaders of the State, immedi- 
ately succeeding the war, such men as Sharkey, Potter, Hum- 
phreys, Amos R. Johnston and Judge J. S. Yerger, Wm. Yer- 
ger was a Whig and opposed to secession. He had probably 
enjoyed greater opportunities for learning the actual state of 
public opinion among radical Republicans, with reference to the 
future status of the negro, than any other member of the con- 
vention. He had been one of the commission appointed by 
Governor Clarke to seek a personal expression of Mr. Johnson's 
views as to the proper course for the State to pursue to bring 
about normal relations with the general government. On his 
trip to Washington he had availed himself of every opportunity 
of ascertaining the real temper of the people and politicians 
relative to .the negro, and had formed the eminently correct 
opinions which he expressed to his colleagues. He said : 

"The course of argument of those who advocate this substitute 
strikes me with astonishment. They seem actually to ignore the 
events of the past five years to ignore the present condition of 
the people of the State, and in some dreamy, abstract revery, to in- 
dulge in visions and fancies of Constitutional law and Constitutional 
government, which they think ought to prevail, but which men of prac- 
tical commonsense, viewing facts stubborn facts, as they are well 
know are not attainable at this time by the people of this county." 

Referring to his interview with President Johnson, he stated 
that the President had advised the commissioners that the pro- 
posed convention should formally, and at once, abolish slavery 
by constitutional amendment. He then continued as follows : 

"There was no order, there was no dictation, that we should do this, 
but there was a distinct admonition that unless it was so done, so far 
as the Executive was concerned, he would not consent to the restora- 
tion of our members in Congress, and that we would not obtain the 
strength of the administration in support of our restoration; and we 
well knew that without the strength of that right arm we would be to- 
tally powerless to resist the overwhelming tide of radical fanaticism 
which at that time was clamoring, not for the abolition of slavery, but for 
universal suffrage and the social equality of the negro." 

We have here, again, the testimony of one who knew whereot 
he spoke, that the "tide of radical fanaticism" was even then 
rising to overwhelm the South with "universal suffrage and the 
social equality of the negro ;" that it was even then before the 
assembling of a single convention or legislature whose actions 

158 Mississippi Historical Society. 

were to be subsequently alleged as a provoking cause clamor- 
ing for these things. 

Stating that on his Washington trip he had made it his busi- 
ness to ascertain Northern public sentiment as to the negro, and 
declaring that he found that there were no two opinions as to 
the fact of slavery being dead forever, he continued: 

" * * but I did find, Mr. President, that there were two parties at the 
North, parties organized, not in reference to the institution of slavery, 
but in reference to the position which the Southern States should have 
under the Government of the United States, and in reference to the 
place which the negro should hold under the Constitution and laws. 
Upon this question two parties were arrayed, and were preparing for 
the struggle which is now imminent. Upon one side the Chief Justice 
of the United States supported by all the ultra radicals though I do 
not believe anything like a majority of the people but strong in num- 
bers powerful in intellect and vigorous in prosecuting every plan 
which their fanaticism, or their opinions of right and Constitutional 
law, suggest to their fertile and scheming brains. That party insists 
that the Southern people, having withdrawn from the Government of 
the United States, by an act of secession although unconstitutional 
and void as to the government have estopped themselves from in- 
sisting upon a return to the government, as States, except upon such 
terms as may be accorded to them by the parties who have triumphed 
in this contest. They insist, that for a period of time, indefinite, in its 
length, the Southern States shall be kept in territorial .organization 
that they shall remain under martial law that they shall remain 
under the control of the Federal Government and Federal bayonets, 
until the scheme of universal suffrage which these gentlemen have 
sprung upon the country, shall have ripened into perfection; then, 
having thus carried into effect the scheme, they will permit a conven- 
tion in the States to be assembled an organization of State author- 
ity to take place, and a return, as states, into the Union; but not as 
President Johnson proposes we shall now return; but with members of 
Congress composed of white and black delegates, with equal suffrage 
with equal civil rights with equal political rights with equal social 
standing on the part of the negro. That is their platform and their 
fixed determination is, if they have the power, to carry it into effect." 1 ' 

We have here a statement of the program in Stevens' first 
bill, and practically as finally forced through Congress, of the 
extremists, theorists, pseudo-philanthropists and negrophilists, 
as clear as it could possibly have been made had its discerning 
author been reviewing the situation after the fact, instead of 
exhibiting a declaration of purpose upon the part of those who 
have so persistently insisted that their action was the outgrowth 
of events in the South, the response of the nation to the acts 
of Southern Legislatures. The fact is too v plain that, as Judge 
Potter had declared, it was with the radicals "a great question 
of party power ;" it is too patent to be denied, save by the most 

18 Convention Journal, pp. 140, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 159 

purblind partisanship, and at the expense of historical truth, 
that even when Judge Potter spoke, and as Judge Yerger fore- 
told, it had already been decreed that the South must pass un- 
der the yoke that she must sit for a season in sackcloth and 
ashes, must drink of the gall proffered in the iron chalice of 
the conqueror ; and this regardless of what she did or failed to 
do, whether she brought forth "fruits meet for repentance" or 
held a stubborn, wayward course. 

And yet Mr. Blaine tells the world that the South herself 
forced the ballot into the ex-slave's hand. 

Judge Yerger urged the adoption of the amendment, and 
counselled the convention to discharge its duty as it saw it, 
leaving to posterity the verdict upon its course. 

The vote upon the adoption of the section showed eighty- 
seven for the amendment, only eleven being cast against it. 17 

Thus had Mississippi written the opening chapter of the 
record of her people upon the first and gravest problem sub- 
mitted to them as the legacy of war. 

In his address to the convention upon its adjournment, Judge 
J. S. Yerger, its president, spoke as follows: 

"There has been no assemblage in the State of Mississippi more dis- 
tinguished for its urbanity, for its intelligence, for its patriotism, and 
for its singleness of purpose to act for the public good and the pros- 
perity of the State, than this convention. No heated partizan feeling 
has been exhibited; no unbecoming recurrence to past differences of 
opinion has been permitted to enter into the discussions and delibera- 
tions of this body; but we have met together in a spirit of harmony and 
forbearance as I believe and trust in God this great people will come 
together again and all together, as brothers of a common land and 
chiWren of our common inheritance with a determined purpose to 
cherish to the last day of our generation, and hand down to our chil- 
dren, to protect and cherish forever and forever, this great form of 
public liberty the Constitution and Union of these States. * * * * 
I was here, gentlemen, to witness the State of Mississippi, in the hour 
of the delusion of her people, lay her hand to the destruction of the 
fabric of the constitution and the Union of these States. I was a mem- 
ber of that convention; I raised my voice against what I believed 
to be sacrilegious wrong. It was in vain; * * * I could but bow 
my head and weep o'er the appalling ruin that was spread before me, 
threatening to overwhelm the State. 

"I have again met the representatives of the sovereignty of the peo- 
ple of Mississippi, in this convention; come together that they may, 
if possible restore Mississippi to her proper and constitutional relations 
with the United States, and aid in the restoration of that beautiful 
form of government that they had imperilled that great government 
whose protecting influence was as a shield over this whole land, and 
under whose kindly rule we had been protected in peace, prosperity and 
happiness. God grant, gentlemen, that your deliberations and example 

17 Convention Journal, p. 165. 

160 Mississippi Historical Society. 

may aid in the consummation of this result. In my conscience I do 
believe that such will be their influence, and that you may return to 
your constituency with the comforting conviction and consciousness 
that you have done much to restore, not only peace, but peace with 
harmony and prosperity, as extended as this republic." 18 

Thus deliberated and thus adjourned the first of those con- 
ventions declared, as we have seen, to have been "little else than 
consulting bodies of Confederate officers," their proceedings 
marked by "ineffable folly," their acts inspired by a spirit of "ir- 
reconcilable hatred of the Union." Thus its members separ- 
ated, conscious of the rectitude of their purpose, honest in the 
acceptance of the conditions confronting them, cherishing the 
vain assurance that duty faithfully performed was sure of its 
reward, and in their ears the comforting reflection of their 
president, "you have done much to restore, not only peace, but 
peace with harmony and prosperity." 

Pursuant to a convention ordinance providing for its election 
and assembling, the first Mississippi Legislature after the war 
met on the third Monday of October, 1865. In the selection 
of their governor and legislators, at the election on the second 
of that month, the people of the State had exhibited the same 
high regard for the qualities of character and conservatism 
which had marked their choice of delegates to the Constitution- 
al Convention. Governor Humphreys had been a life-long Whig, 
and was an opponent of secession. More than this, he was not 
a politician, was a man of large experience, and thoroughly 
familiar, through a lifetime spent among them, with the con- 
fusing and contradictory traits that enter into the composition 
of the negro character. 

To a large degree, this was true of the entire legislative mem- 
bership ; they had all spent their lives in actual contact with the 
negro. In addition to this essential qualification for the pecu- 
liar duties before them, they possessed, as indeed did the entire 
State, a profound sense of the gravity of their undertaking. 
The personnel of the legislative committees, the nature of their 
deliberations, the tone of their resolutions and reports, all fur- 
nish ample evidence of this, even to one unfamiliar with the 
names of the leaders of that body. 

18 Convention Journal, pp. 275, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 161 

Examining the conditions under which this Legislature pro- 
ceeded to the discharge of its duties the manner of doing 
which has been so bitterly denounced we find a most anomal- 
ous and trying state of affairs. The people of the State found 
themselves confronted with many problems, as the result of the 
revolutionary changes which had been wrought in their domes- 
tic affairs, but among them all they quickly realized the tran- 
scending importance of the question of how best to render ef- 
fective the labor of the emancipated slave. 

Down to that time the emancipation of every large body of 
negroes had had as its invariable concomitant some plan for the 
utilization and control of their labor as freedmen. The discus- 
sion of the problem of how to secure this result had been the 
rock upon which the abolitionists of England and France had 
seen go down in wreck more than one scheme of emancipation, 
before their efforts were crowned with success. Only in the 
South was the formulation of such a plan not an incident to the 
act of emancipation, but a necessity consequent upon it, and 
that under circumstances which rendered the undertaking an 
hundred-fold more difficult than it had ever been elsewhere. 

No one had a keener appreciation of these difficulties than 
Governor Humphreys, and every recommendation to the Legis- 
lature bears within it the evidence of the earnest and patient 
thought which he brought to their consideration. He had been 
a large planter and slave owner himself, and he was profoundly 
impressed with the proportions of this labor problem, for none 
apprehended better than he the vast extent of its ramifications. 

Not only was it true that the very life of the State depended 
upon the labor of the negro, but it was no less an oppressive 
truth that upon it also hinged the existence of the negro him- 
self. Upon making that labor effective depended every whit as 
much for the black as for the white man ; for just in proportion 
to his idleness would be his pauperism, his disease, his criminal- 
ity and his death. To the overshadowing importance of this 
question the governor directed his first attention. 

Touching, in his message, upon such matters as his well- 
known attitude on the question of secession, and solemnly af- 
firming his abundant knowledge from "the unvarying profes- 
sions that spring from private and public sources" of the sin- 
cerity and honesty of his people, he addressed himself to the 

162 Mississippi Historical Society. 

consideration of affairs uppermost in the minds of all. In 
speaking of the duties before the State, he said: 

"The sudden emancipation of her slaves has devolved upon her the 
highest responsibilities and duties. Several hundred thousand of the 
negro race, unfitted for political equality with the white race, have been 
turned loose upon society; and in the guardianship she may assume 
over this race, she must deal justly with them, and protect them in 
all their rights of person and prosperity. The highest degree of ele- 
vation in the scale of civilization to which they are capable, morally and 
intellectually, must be secured to them by their education and religious 
training; but they can not be admitted to political or social equality 
with the white race. [Here again was a repetition of Lincoln's solemn- 
ly asserted convictions.] It is due to ourselves to the white immigrant 
invited to our shores and it should never be forgotten that ours is 
and ever shall be a government of white men. The purity and pro- 
gress of both races require that caste must be maintained, and inter- 
marriage between the races be forbidden. * * * To work is the law 
of God, and the only certain protection against the pauperism and 
crime of both races. The negro is peculiarly adapted to the cultiva- 
tion of the great staples of the South. He should be encouraged to 
engage at once in their production, by assurances of protection against 
the avarice, cupidity and injustice of his employer. He is free to choose 
his own labor and make his own bargain. But he should be required 
to choose some employment that will insure the maintenance of him- 
self and family. 

"On the other hand, the employer must be assured that the labor 
contracted for will be specifically performed. 1 ' The cultivation of the 
great staples of the South requires continuous labor from January to 
January. The planter can not venture upon their cultivation unless 
the laborer is compelled to comply with his contract, remaining and 
performing his proper amount of labor, day after day, and week after 
week through the whole year; and if he attempt to escape he should 
be returned to his employer, and forced to work until the time for which 
he has contracted has expired. By such a system of labor the welfare 
and happiness of the African may be secured, the agricultural and com- 
mercial prosperity of the State sustained, and^our homes again be- 
come the abode of plenty." 30 

In addition to the message of Governor Humphreys, the 
Legislature had before it the report and suggestions of the 
committee appointed by the convention. The amendment for- 
mally recognizing the negroes as free, also contained a manda- 
tory clause requiring the Legislature, at its next and subsequent 
sessions, to "provide by law for the protection and security of 
the person and property of the Freedmen of the State, and guard 
them and the State against any evils that may arise from their 
sudden emancipation." It was deemed wise by the Convention 
to delegate to a committee the work of preparing a draft of 
laws for submission to the Legislature. This was accordingly 
done, under an ordinance reciting the scope of the committee's 

19 Note the words of General Banks, infra. 

20 House Journal, pp. 16, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 163 

duties to be, "to prepare and report to the next Legislature, 
for its consideration and action, such laws and changes in ex- 
isting laws of this State, as to said committee may seem expe- 
dient in view of the amendments to the Constitution made by 
this Convention." 

This committee consisted of three men, and their report was 
as comprehensive as the commission given by the convention. 
As their suggestions, such as were acted upon favorably, are, 
in common with the general spirit of Governor Humphreys' 
recommendations, to be found incorporated in the acts we are 
to review, it is not necessary to discuss the report in this place. 
In conformity to my purpose of showing from their own utter- 
ances the spirit and temper of the men who were associated 
with this legislation, I shall, however, quote from the observa- 
tions submitted with their suggestions. The report reads : 

"They have proceeded rather upon their own observation and know- 
ledge of the nature, * * habits, capacity, conditions * * and 
necessities of the two races, ***** than upon a theory or 
system that might have been wise or judicious * * * under a 
wholly different condition. 

"Your committee have thought it best to deny to the freed- 
men some ***** privileges, for the present, not from any 
apprehension or sense of danger to the white population, but 
from the clear conviction that such denial and restriction will be 
for their present and ultimate good; in the suppression of vice, 
idleness, vagrancy, ***** th e promotion of industry, and the 
diminution of crime and its * * consequences among themselves, 
in their juvenile liberty and ignorance. ***** Their labors 
propose to protect the persons, property, labor, wages and contracts of 
the freedmen more promptly, fully and with more certainty than was 
ever before given to the whites of this State, and to secure them 
against * * frauds * and impositions."" 

One of the earliest acts of the Legislature was the appoint- 
ment of a "joint select committee," charged with the duty of re- 
porting "such laws as may seem expedient 'for the protection 
and security of the persons and property of the Freedmen of this 
State,' including their social relations toward each other that 
of husband and wife and parent and child; and what laws are 
necessary to make their labor available to the agricultural inter- 
ests of the State, and to protect the State from the support of 
minors, vagrants and paupers." To this committee were ap- 
pointed the ablest and most conservative members of the two 

21 Senate Journal, Appendix, pp. 14, et seq. 

164 Mississippi Historical Society. 

houses, and to it were referred all suggestions bearing upon 
the proposed legislation. 

Through all the many suggestions made by members, and the 
recommendations from the governor, as likewise through the 
discussions which they provoked, runs the same fixed purpose, 
clear and undisguised, to grant to the freedman such measure 
of privileges as he was thought justly entitled to, and capable at 
that time of appreciating and exercising without abuse, and to 
place such restrictions about him as to compel him to earn a 
support for himself and those dependent upon him. 

The men who had undertaken this task were not theorists, 
nor had they gleaned from books the peculiar knowledge which 
they brought to bear upon the labor which confronted them. 

The war had been brought to a close, and the complete and 
final manumission of the negro been generally recognized 
only about six months when they entered upon the duty of 
framing "expedient and proper" legislation for a people which 
had been in bondage for two centuries and a half. With this 
people their habits, when unrestrained, their natural bent of 
mind, their capacity for labor, under proper supervision, their 
ingrained tendency to idleness and shiftlessness these men 
were familiar through years of intimate personal contact and 
observation. They knew the negro to be docile, tractable, and 
obedient to command; they knew him to be abundantly able, 
physically, to provide from the soil a return for his own labor 
and upon the investment of its owner ; they knew, also, that his 
own wants were easily satisfied, and that, when left to his own 
devices, he would labor, with neither thought nor care for his 
future needs, only long enough to meagerly supply them ; they 
knew his roving tendency ; they knew that his agreement to per- 
form a given work was valueless without some means of its 
enforcement; they knew that, with the negro, as with other 
races, idleness begets crime, and that the negro was by nature 
prone to idleness. 

They had seen the negro as the realization of his new estate 
broke full upon his mind; they had witnessed the occasional 
instances of his remaining on his former master's land, appar- 
ently but little eager to test his new found freedom in a de- 
parture from the providing care which had never failed him in 
sickness or in age; they had witnessed also the thousands of 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 165 

instances of the hand turned back from the half-run furrow 
the plow left to rust where freedom found it ; they had seen the 
plenty of the "quarters" deserted for the hunger and squalor 
of the purlieus of the town ; had witnessed the escape from the 
tyranny of the plantation bell's morning call to labor and to 
food, to the urban privileges of idleness and want; they had 
seen the thousands crowded round the army camps, subsisting 
upon government's free rations, in dumb expectancy of they 
knew not what ; they had seen the depravity and demoralization 
and viciousness which even a brief period of a misunderstood 
condition had engendered, under the fostering care of the mis- 
chief-making counsels of malice and of hate. 

Realizing that the immediate present demanded the applica- 
tion of practical methods to the treatment of a condition fraught 
with the gravest possibilities, their first concern was with the 
necessity of preventing a total lapse of the labor of the State 
upon which all, including the labor itself, depended into a gen- 
eral condition of "vagrancy and pauperism, and their inevitable 
concomitants, crime and misery," the initial steps to which were 
even then being rapidly taken. To this end the saving of the 
negro from himself and his new-found friends there was but 
one means, that indicated by St. Paul more than eighteen hun- 
dred years before, when he said, "If any will not work, neither 
let him eat," compulsory labor; its compensation assured, in- 
deed, but compulsory, none the less. This was the vital, the 
paramount, consideration in that juncture of this people's af- 
fairs; the abstract, ethical question of determining with just what 
formal garments their freedom should be clothed, was of infin- 
itely less practical moment to either the black man or the white. 

After the Legislature had been in session about thirty days, 
Governor Humphreys sent to it a special message on the sub- 
ject of legislation for the freedmen, which is another excellent 
exhibit of existing conditions. He had long favored the admis- 
sion to the courts of negro testimony, and took occasion to 
again urge his views on the subject. Strongly as he favored 
this, however, he took the same practical view that was held by 
the joint committee. He spoke as follows : 

"The question of admitting negro testimony for the protection of 
their person or property sinks into insignificance by the side of the 
other great question of guarding them and the State against the evils 

1 66 Mississippi Historical Society. 

that may arise from their sudden emancipation. What are the evils 
that have already arisen, * * * * ? The answer is patent to all. 
Vagrancy and pauperism, and their inevitable concomitants, crime and 
misery, hang like a dark pall over our * * * now desolated and 
ruined land. 

"To the guardian care of the Freedmen's Bureau have been entrust- 
ed the emancipated slaves. The civil law and the white man, outside 
the Bureau, have been deprived of all jurisdiction over them. Look 
around you and see the result. Idleness and vagrancy have been the 
rule. Our rich and productive fields have been deserted for the filthy 
garrets and sickly cellars of our towns and cities. From producers they 
are converted into consumers, and, as winter approaches, their only 
salvation from starvation and want is Federal rations, plunder and 

The prime cause of trouble, he stated, lay in the administra- 
tion of the Freedmen's Bureau. 

The labors of the Legislature eventuated in the enactment of 
four statutes having particular reference to freedmen. The 
general effect of these was to confer upon them standing in all 
the courts of the State ; to extend their competency as witnesses 
to civil cases where party to a suit with either freedmen or white 
men, and to criminal cases wherein a crime was charged to 
have been committed by a white person against a negro ; to con- 
fer equal personal property rights with white persons, but not 
permitting them to own, rent or lease land ; to permit marriages 
among them under same laws as applied to white persons, but 
not permitting intermarriage with the latter; to legalize all 
slave marriages, and legitimate the issue of such unions ; to 
prevent their riding in same railway coaches with white people ; 
to confer the right to charge white persons by affidavit with 
criminal offenses against negroes, and to have the same process 
and action thereon as a white person ; to provide a system of 
compulsory labor. 23 

In considering these laws it should be borne in mind that 
they were experimental in their nature, intended for immediate 
application to pressing conditions, and that the convention com- 
mittee's report, and legislative discussion of them, show clearly 
their temporary character. They were, in short, designed to 
meet conditions the speedy passing of which their framers most 
devoutly prayed for. Their criticism as an attempt to circum- 
vent emancipation, and work the practical and permanent re- 
enslavement of the negro, is so shallow, under any fair study of 

M Senate Journal, Appendix, p. 45. 

23 Laws of 1865, Chapters 4-5-6 and 23, and pp. 71 and 194. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 167 

them, as to provoke one to marvel at the widespread credence 
given such opinions. 

In accomplishing its first object, the prevention of idleness 
and pauperism by means of compulsory labor, the Legislature 
deemed it wisest to temporarily provide a form of paternalism, 
for such freedmen as might engage in agriculture, "by the 
year," allowing an election by them between this and "irregular, 
or job work." It was accordingly enacted that every freedman 
should have, by the second Monday of January, 1866, and an- 
nually thereafter, "a lawful home or employment." If he elected 
to do "job work," he was required to have a license, in evidence 
of his occupation, from the mayor, if resident in a town, and 
from a member of the Board of Police, if living in the country. 
If he should choose to do plantation, or other work, requiring 
more than one month's service, his contract for such work must 
have been in writing, and duplicate, the freedman and employer 
each having a copy. 

To be binding upon him this contract was required to be 
attested and read to him by a beat, city or county officer, or by 
two disinterested white persons of the county wherein the labor 
was to be performed. 24 

To insure to the employer the performance of the stipulated 
service, he was entitled, upon affidavit before a justice of the 
peace to the fact of his legal employment of a freedman, and of 
the latter's illegal desertion, to the issuance of a warrant for the 
return of such freedman to his service ; the freedman being en- 
titled to a summary trial, before a justice of the peace or mem- 
ber of the Board of Police, of the facts alleged by the em- 
ployer. 25 

For the enforcement of the act relative to "lawful homes or 
employment" it was provided that any freedman who failed to 
comply with its requirements should be deemed a vagrant, 
and, on conviction, be fined not exceeding fifty dollars and im- 
prisoned, in "the discretion of the court," not exceeding ten 
days. 26 Whenever a fine was imposed on a freedman he was 
allowed five days in which to pay it. Upon his failure to do so, 
it was made the duty of the sheriff to hire him out to the person 

"Laws of 1865, p. 83. 
" Laws of 1865, P- 84. 
16 Ibid, p. 91. 

168 Mississippi Historical Society. 

who would pay such fine in consideration of the shortest period 
of service by the prisoner. In all cases the freedman was guar- 
anteed the right of appeal. 

With a view to the care of freedman paupers and orphans, 
and to prevent their becoming a charge upon the state, two laws 
were enacted. One of these declared the existence of the same 
duty among freedmen to provide for their indigent as obtained 
among white people, and for such purposes required the county 
Boards of Police to levy a capitation tax of one dollar on each 
freedman in the county between the ages of eighteen and sixty. 
The tax thus levied was to provide in the county treasury a 
fund known as the "Freedman's Pauper Fund," to be dis- 
bursed by the commissioners of the poor for the benefit of indi- 
gent freedmen. 27 The other act devolved upon the probate 
court of each county the duty of apprenticing all freedmen un- 
der the age of eighteen who were orphans, or whose parents 
could, or would, not support them. It was directed that the 
court should have "a particular care to the interest of the 
minor," and that it should "be fully satisfied" that the person 
to whom the minor was apprenticed was "a proper and suitable 
person." When these requirements were met, the preference 
was to be given to the former owner of such minor. 

It is a singular perversion of fact to charge that this relation 
was unprotected against abuse, and the apprentice subject to 
the whims of the master. Even upon this word "master" 
used among English speaking people since the law was written 
in books, to denominate one party to every apprenticeship 
have all the changes most clamorously been rung. The law 
made it mandatory upon the court to exact of the master a bond 
obligating him to furnish his apprentice with good and sufficient 
food and clothing, with proper medical attention, to treat him 
humanely, and, if under fifteen years of age, to teach him to read 
and write. In the event of the desertion of an apprentice the 
party entitled to his service could bring him before a justice of 
the peace and have him duly remanded. The apprentice was 
entitled to an appeal to the county court, which, if it considered 
the cause of the desertion to have been good, could discharge 
him from the indenture and enter in his favor a judgment 

"Laws of 1865, p. 92. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 169 

against the master for as much as one hundred dollars. The 
master was allowed, in the control of the apprentice, to inflict 
"such moderate corporeal chastisement as a father or guardian 
is allowed to inflict on his or her child, or ward, at common law : 
provided, that in no case shall cruel or inhuman punishment be 
inflicted." The privilege of apprenticing their minor children 
was under this act extended to freedmen parents. 28 

Certain privileges were denied freedmen, and certain punish- 
ments affixed to certain acts when committed by them. They 
were not permitted to keep or carry firearms, except under li- 
cense granted them in the discretion of the Board of Police, 
without cost. It was also enacted that "any freedman commit- 
ting riots, routs, affrays, trespasses, malicious mischief, cruel 
treatment to animals, seditious speeches, insulting gestures, 
language or acts, assaults on any person, disturbances of the 
peace, exercising the functions of a minister of the gospel with- 
out a license from some regularly organized church, vending 
spirituous or intoxicating liquors," should be fined not less than 
ten, nor more than one hundred dollars, and might be imprison- 
ed, in the court's discretion, not exceeding thirty days. The 
laws touching "crimes and misdemeanors committed by slaves, 
free negroes and mulattoes" were "declared to be in full force 
and effect against freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes," ex- 
cept as "the mode and manner of trial and punishment" had 
been altered by law. 29 

Such were Mississippi's first statutes in reference to freed- 
men the Draconian code which called down upon her devoted 
head the "righteous wrath" of "outraged Northern sentiment." 

With very few exceptions the discussion by Northern politi- 
cal writers of the reconstruction acts and the fourteenth and 
fifteenth amendments have taken the form of a defense based 
upon the alleged spirit of the Southern conventions and legis- 
latures of 1865. The real motives behind these acts of the 
dominant party a desire for punishment and vengeance, an 
effort to perpetuate its power through a large and reliable ac- 
cession of suffragists, and the emotional promptings of senti- 

28 Laws of 1865, pp. 86, et seq. 
28 Laws of 1865, pp. 165, et seq. 

170 Mississippi Historical Society. 

mental philanthrophy have occasionally been proclaimed. Mr. 
Elaine, as was most natural, in his partisan effort to justify the 
radical action in which he aided and abetted, upon the ground of 
a necessity forced upon his party by the South, adopted the 
favorite attitude, though in doing so he has led himself into 
some singular inconsistencies. 

He says, in discussing the rights and benefits which, in his 
opinion, should have been conferred instanter upon the freed- 

"In view of these facts the course of the newly organized Legislatures 
was watched with deep and jealous interest. It was in their power 
to repair, in large degree, the blunders of policy nay, the crimes 
against human rights which the Reconstruction Conventions had abet- 
ted if not committed. The membership of the Legislatures in all the 
States was composed wholly of those who, either in the military or 
civil service, had aided the Rebellion. If in such an organization a 
spirit of moderation and justice should be shown, if consideration 
should be exhibited for the negro, even so far as to assure to him the 
inherent rights of human nature, a deep impression would be made 
on the conscience and the public opinion of the North. * * * * 

"As soon as the Southern Legislatures assembled, it was made evi- 
dent that their members disregarded, and even derided, the opinion of 
those who had conquered the Rebellion and held control of the Con- 
gress of the United States. If the Southern men had intended, as 
their one special and desirable aim, to inflame the public opinion of 
the North against them, they would have proceeded precisely as they 
did. They treated the negro, according to a vicious phrase which had 
at one time wide currency, 'as possessing no rights which a white 
man was bound to respect.' Assent to the Thirteenth Amendment to 
the Constitution by the Southern States was but a gross deception so 
long as they accompanied it with legislation which practically deprived 
the negro of every trace of liberty. * * * * ^* The truth was. that 
his liberty was merely of form and not of facC and the slavery which 
was abolished by the organic law of a Nation was now to be revived 
by the enactments of a State." 80 

He dwells, too, upon the legal terms, "master," "mistress," 
and "servant," employed in these statutes, and declares that 
"under the operation of the laws a form of servitude was re-es- 
tablished, more heartless and more cruel than the slavery which 
had been abolished." For a full-fledged abolitionist, this is 
quite a concession that anything could be "more heartless and 
more cruel" than the inhuman institution peculiar to the South. 

Discussing Mississippi's "black code," he adjudges it "bad 
enough to stir the indignation of every lover of justice." "The 
Legislature," he proceeds, "had enacted a law that 'if the laborer 
shall quit the service of the employer before the expiration of 

30 Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. II., pp. 93, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 171 

his term of service without just cause, he shall forfeit his wages 
for that year up to the time of quitting.' " 

This provision seems to have impressed itself upon our ami- 
able commentator as peculiarly heinous, which evidences his 
characteristically studied effort at doing the thing against 
which, as we have seen, Lieber enjoins endeavoring to make 
the worst of the words and actions of one's neighbors. It had 
not even been thought necessary to specially advert to this 
clause, 31 inasmuch as the most that could be made of it was that 
it merely worked a forfeiture of the consideration of a contract 
for a failure to make good the contract's stipulations some- 
thing, it may be assumed, not wholly unknown, even to the 
highly moral state of Maine. 

He quotes the clause of the act relative to yearly contracts 
for plantation work which provides, as a means of enforcing it, 
as mentioned above, that the deserting laborer might be re- 
turned to service by process of law, being, however, guaranteed 
a summary trial of the facts alleged by the employer, and makes 
it the occasion of a vicious thrust at Southern justice. Says he : 
"It requires little familiarity with Southern administration of 
justice between a white man and a negro to know that such 
appeal (for summary trial) was always worse than fruitless, and 
that its only effect, if attempted, would be to secure even harsher 
treatment than if the appeal had not been made." 

Such flings may have been calculated to once evoke applause 
in some quarters, but their lack of the element of veracity, es- 
sential to every honest argument, deprives them of value as 
comments upon legislative enactments. 

His concluding observation is : 

"Justice was defied, and injustice incorporated as the very spirit 
of the laws. It was altogether a shameless proclamation of indecent 
wrong on the part of the Legislature of Mississippi." 32 

Still laying the foundation for later charges that the South 
was herself responsible for the pains inflicted upon her, Mr. 
Elaine again indulges himself at the expense of the general 
subject of her legislation. He says: 

"These laws with all their wrong (even a stronger word might be em- 
ployed), were to become, and were, indeed, already an integral part of 

31 Laws of 1865, p. 84. 

82 Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. II., pp. 100 and 101. 

172 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the reconstruction scheme which President Johnson had devised and 
proclaimed. Whoever assented to the President's plan of reconstruc- 
tion assented to these laws, and, beyond that, assented to the full right 
of the rebellious States to continue legislation of this odious type." 

Here is developed his general line of defense; to first make 
these laws seem as repugnant, cruel and unjustifiable as possible, 
and then associate them with the plan of reconstruction which 
it was his endeavor to prove chimerical and impossible, having 
therefore to be supplanted by one more "practical." Not for 
an instant losing sight of his objective, the demonstration of the 
devolution upon his party, through Southern perverseness and 
turpitude, of the duty of saving the negro from the criminal 
machinations of his arch enemy his former master he again 
engages the congenial task: 

"It was at once seen that if the party which had insisted upon the 
emancipation of the slave as a final condition of peace, should now 
abandon him to his fate, and turn him over to the anger and hate of 
the class from whose ownership he had been freed, it would countenance 
and commit an act of far greater wrong than was designed by the most 
malignant persecutor of the race in any of the Southern States. 
When the Congress of the United States, acting independently 
of the executive power of the nation, decreed emancipation by 
amending the Constitution, it solemnly pledged itself, with all 
its power, to give protection to the emancipated at whatever cost 
and at whatever sacrifice. No man could read the laws which have 
been here briefly reviewed without seeing and realizing that, if the 
negro was to be deprived of the protecting power of the nation that 
had set him free, he had better at once be remanded to slavery, and to 
,that form of protection which cupidity, if not humanity, would al- 
ways inspire." What was done by the South at that time, he says, was 
"done with a fixed and merciless determination that the gracious act 
of emancipation should not bring amelioration to the colored race, 
and that the pseudo philanthrophy, as they regarded the anti-slavery 
feeling in the North, should be brought into contempt before the 
world." 3 * 

Through all the pages of his argument an argument by no 
means free of unseemly gasconade, when he institutes com- 
parisons between the North and South, and descending at times 
to the low plane of pamphleteering abuse he consistently 
pursues his purpose. Discussing the amended Freedmen's Bu- 
reau act, a measure which required, as he admits, "potent per- 
suasion, reinforced by the severest exercise of party discipline," 
to make possible its forced passage over Mr. Johnson's veto 
an act which applied only to the still "rebellious States," and 
not to similar conditions of legislation in others (the existence 

** Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. II., pp. 105 and 106. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 173 

of which will presently be shown), a measure which, even in 
that Congress, as he also admits, "had lost, under discussion, 
much of the popularity which attended its first introduction," 
the skeleton is again brought forth, and its bones made to rat- 
tle once more. Says he, half apologetically, half heroically : 

"In a time of peace these provisions seemed extraordinary, but the 
condition of affairs, in the judgment of leading Republican statesmen, 
justified their enactment. The Thirteenth Amendment * * * had 
made every negro a free man. The Southern States had responded to 
this Act of National authority by enacting a series of laws which really 
introduced, as has already been shown, a new, offensive and most op- 
pressive form of servitude. Thus not only was rank injustice contem- 
plated by the States lately in rebellion, but they conveyed also an in- 
sulting challenge to the authority of the Nation." 34 

The grave fault with Mr. Blaine, and writers of his class, even 
granting them perfect honesty of expression, lies in their failure 
to apprehend the real motives of the Southern people the real 
object sought to be accomplished by the legislation upon which 
they animadvert. 

The South was preoccupied with the effort to avert a still 
further disaster to her material resources, and, at the moment, 
this effort took the shape of legislation, directed solely to one 
object, in so far as it concerned the freedman, the utilization of 
his labor, to his own, no less than the country's, salvation. 

The defeat of the Southern armies was a fact not more uni- 
versally accepted than was the additional and consequent fact, 
that the negro was free ; "free," as Governor Sharkey expressed 
it, "by the fortunes of war, free by the proclamation, free by 
common consent, free practically as well as theoretically." 

No question of freedom confronted or disturbed Mississippi's 
Legislature; with that body the sole purpose was to prevent 
lawlessness and idleness, and its vagrancy and compulsory 
labor statutes constituted simply an answer to a demand for the 
prompt application of a radical remedy to a dangerous disease. 

These writers ignore any discussion proper to the practical 
domain of a domestic economy in which the question of labor 
held the place of undisputed primacy, and, invading with elo- 
quent denunciation the altogether irrelevant fields of ethics and 
philanthrophy, thunder on abstract questions of social and civil 
rights and wrongs. While Mr. Sumner was filling forty-one 

34 Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. II., p. 166. 

174 Mississippi Historical Society. 

columns of the Congressional Globe with a sublimated abstrac- 
tion attempting to demonstrate the eminent fitness of the negro 
for the ballot, and his "right" to its exercise, the South was ab- 
sorbed in the question of bread. 

These statutes must be considered only in the light of what 
they were; attempts upon Mississippi's part, not to rob the 
negro of some abstract "right," not to reenslave him, but to 
render immediately available and reliable his labor, for his own 
as well as the public good, at a time when it could not otherwise 
be commanded or relied upon. Instead of going into hysterics 
and making a too liberal and indiscriminate use of such terms 
as "outrage" and "shame," the mind should be calmed to a 
consideration of the very practical and very simple questions of 
their necessity and expediency, in view of the end desired and 
the conditions then obtaining. 

Only occasionally does Mr. Elaine touch even the border line 
of the real question confronting Mississippi and the South, and 
when he does, it is to speak of the "visible means of support" 
possessed by the negro, as being "his strong arms and his wil- 
lingness to work," which brings us to a consideration of the at- 
titude of the freedmen of Mississippi at the time of the enact- 
ment of these laws. 

It has been suggested above that a comparison might be 
instituted between Mississippi's freedmen statutes and those of 
other peoples "similarly situated." Such an attempt must of 
necessity prove a failure through sheer inability to discover in 
history conditions constituting the parallel. This truth is essen- 
tially corollary to the mere historical fact that no large body of 
negroes had ever been manumitted under circumstances even 
approaching those attendant upon the emancipation of the Afri- 
can race in the Southern United States. In Haiti, we see it re- 
sultant upon the bloody insurrections of Toussaint Louver- 
ture and Dessalines, rendered successful through English as- 
sistance and the French Revolution. For their government as 
freedmen, we witness the codes of the barbarous autocracy of 
the "Black Napoleon" and his successors. In the islands of the 
French West Indies and Bourbon, we have it finally accom- 
plished after the vacillating and contradictory policies of fifty- 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 175 

eight years of discussion following the first timid suggestion of 
the Assembly of 1790; accompanied by laws and orders and de- 
crees laboriously elaborated during a period of many years. In 
the English dependencies we see it worked out through the 
sixty-six articles of the Emancipation Bill of 1833, providing 
^20,000,000 of indemnity to former owners, and a system of 
graduated apprenticeships extending over periods of five and 
seven years. In the Northern and Eastern States of the Union, 
as a rule, slavery died a natural death, through unfavorable 
economic conditions; but howsoever emancipation eventuated, 
it came with the accompaniment of severe and discriminating 
laws, enacted in the midst of profound peace and quiet, and in 
the exercise by each State of the undisputed right to regulate 
its own domestic affairs in its own discretion, free of outside 
interference or control. It came to Mississippi and the South, 
through the sudden overthrow of long established laws and 
institutions, in the violence of the bloodiest war of modern 
times, working, through extraneous influences and revolution- 
ary methods, the temporary destruction of States themselves. 

How idle then, to attempt the establishing of parallels the 
instituting of comparisons ! 

Down to that day, the law which had said to the slave : "Here 
is your freedom," had said to the freedman, "Here also are the 
conditions under which, for a time, at least, your liberty is re- 
strained." In the South, he was told, not only that he was free 
free without condition or constraint but that he was an 
equal and a brother; that he had been the subject of half a cen- 
tury of discord and four years of war ; that he was still the cen- 
tre of the tragic stage whereon his freedom had been wrought. 
By deeds no less than words, he was given to understand that 
he was the protege of the nation, the object of its solicitude and 
laws. He was made to believe that his only enemy was his 
former master, his only friend the conqueror. He saw his mas- 
ter well nigh a mendicant, where he had once been a lord a 
suppliant, where he was wont to command ; and in the presence 
of armed soldiers of his race, clothed with powers and privi- 
leges, associated in his mind only with superiority, he was fur- 
nished the visible symbol of his own simultaneous exaltation. 
He was given his former master's land to work, and led to be- 
lieve that to work for that master was but to perpetuate his 

176 Mississippi Historical Society. 

bondage ; while the belief that the master's land was to be par- 
celed amongst the slaves was allowed to "take possession of 
his mind. He was made the spoiled pet of misdirected philan- 
thropy the ignorant tool of political hate. 

For one who is familiar with the negro, it is easy to appre- 
ciate the inevitable effect upon him of a procedure so ineffably 
foolish. It worked the state of temporary demoralization which 
Governor Humphreys and the convention committee so fre- 
quently described and directed attention to. It is not, however, 
intended to adduce such testimony as could be attacked as 
theirs would be, but rather to go to sources unimpeachable 
upon any such ground as partiality to the South. 

Among the first resolutions offered in the Constitutional 
Convention was one bearing upon the demoralizing effect 
upon the freedmen of the State of the presence of negro troops. 
The resolution was directed to securing an inquiry into the ad- 
visability of "memorializing the President of the United States 
on the subject of garrisoning our towns with negro troops, set- 
ting forth the * * * demoralizing influence produced upon 
the recently freed blacks of the State, and the propriety of ask- 
ing the President if it shall be necessary to continue the armed 
garrisons in the State, that said garrisons may consist of white 
troops and not of freed blacks." This was in August, 1865. 
In November and December of that year General Grant made 
the trip of investigation to the South upon which he based his 
memorable report. How nearly, though as should be expected, 
in mild and guarded terms, this report confirmed the truth of 
Governor Humphreys' statements of labor and general condi- 
tions, an extract will suffice to show. He said : 

"There is such universal acquiescence in the authority of the general 
government throughout the portions of country visited by me, that the 
mere presence of a military force, without regard to numbers, is suffi- 
cient to maintain order." 

General Grant did not visit Mississippi on this trip, but his 
description of general conditions, as he saw them, is peculiarly 
applicable to this State. He continued : 

"The good of the country and economy, require that the force kept 
in the interior, where there are many freedmen (elsewhere in the 
Southern States than at forts upon the seacoast no force is necessary), 
should all be white troops. The reasons for this are obvious, without 
mentioning many of them. The presence of black troops, lately slaves, 
demoralizes labor, both by their advice and by furnishing in their 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 177 

camps a resort for the freedmen for long distances around * * * *, 
and the late slave seems to be imbued with the idea that the property 
of his late master should, by right, belong to him, or at least should 
have no protection from the colored soldier. There is danger of colli- 
sions being brought on by such causes. My observations lead me to 
the conclusion that the citizens of the Southern States are anxious to 
return to self-government, within the Union, as soon as possible; 
that whilst reconstructing they want and require protection from the 
government; that they are in earnest in wishing to do what they think 
is required by the government, not humiliating to them as citizens, and 
that if such a course were pointed out they would pursue it in good 

"Such a course" had been "pointed out" by Mr. Johnson and 
Mr. Seward, and was pursued "in good faith." 

****** j n some instances," he continued, and he might 
well have said in well nigh all, "I am sorry to say, the freedman's 
mind does not seem to be disabused of the idea that a freedman has 
the right to live without care or provision for the future. The effect 
of the belief in division of lands 35 is idleness and accumulation in camps, 
towns and cities. In such cases I think it will be found that vice and 
disease will tend to the extermination, or great reduction, of the col- 
ored race." 88 

That such a report, from such a source, of conditions as they 
actually existed, touching the attitude of the freedmen, signally 
failed to comport with the radical idea of conditions as they 
should exist, in order to justify the radical conception of their 
proper treatment, there is abundant evidence. Mr. Sumner 
characterized the transmission of this report to the Senate as a 
"white-washing" scheme upon the President's part, and it suited 
the purposes of the Senate's leaders to accept, as a revelation 
from on high, the accompanying, and radically contradictory, 
report, submitted to the President by that very extraordinary 
individual, Mr. Carl Schurz, in preference to this from the Lieu- 
tenant General of the army. That each saw fit later, in the ex- 
igencies of party politics, to double on his tracks, has no bear- 
ing whatever upon the relative claims of the two reports to 
truthful presentation of the freedman-labor conditions con- 
fronting Mississippi and the South in the year 1865. 

In commenting upon the legislation of 1865, the author of a 
recent work a work absolutely unbiased in its treatment of 
conditions has this to say: 

"However, something should be said in explanation of these meas- 
ures. The sudden emancipation of the slave population, and the too 

35 The reference was to the prevalent belief that the land of the late 
slave owners was to be apportioned to the late slaves. 
** Senate Executive Documents No. 2, p. 106, 3Qth Congress, ist Session. 

178 Mississippi Historical Society. 

generous course of the government in furnishing them with the means 
of subsistence during their idleness, not only deranged the labor sys- 
tem of the South, but demoralized the colored laborers to such a de- 
gree that to the planters of the State in 1865 the outlook was disheart- 
ening. The freedman was made to believe that liberty meant license, 
that as he had been freed from slavery by a powerful government he 
would also be clothed and fed by it whether he chose to labor or not. 
He was told by unscrupulous Freedmen's Bureau agents and negro 
soldiers that he ought not to work for his former master for any 
promise of compensation, that his freedom was not secure so long as 
he remained on the old plantation, and that the government in due 
time expected to confiscate the land of the late masters and divide it 
up among the slaves. As a result, the freedmen left the plantations 
and moved to the towns or military camps, refusing to make contracts 
or to fulfill them when made. The amount of robbery and larceny 
was alarming. The farmer's swine were stolen for pork, his cows were 
penned in the woods and milked, and his barns and cotton houses were 
broken open. 

"If he was fortunate enough to procure laborers to plant his fields, 
he had no assurance that they would remain with him until the crop 
was harvested. In fact, it was almost certain that they would not. * 
*********** The condition of things .seemed to de- 
mand the immediate adoption of measures to check the demoraliza- 
tion of the freedmen ,and compel them to labor. Laws were passed, 
most of which, when impartially enforced, as they generally were, did 
not work injustice to the negro. Their purpose was to force him to 
cease his roving and become a producer." 87 

In speaking of the influx of Northern men shortly after the 
war, attracted to the State by the prospect of realizing fortunes 
from cotton planting, the same author tells us: 

"The belief was general among the Northern settlers, that they could, 
by the introduction of scientific methods, revolutionize cotton planting. 
The impression also existed that in view of their relations to the negro 
race, free negro labor could be made to yield greater returns than 
where Southern whites were the employers. This, however, did not 
prove to be true. The remorseless energy and thrift of the Northern 
planter, and the exacting nature of the service which he demanded, did 
not appeal to the slow-going freedman, who was accustomed to the 
patience and forbearance of the Southerner. None of the planters 
were so quick to declaim upon the unreliability of negro labor as those 
who had helped to emancipate the negro." 88 

He says that Governor Andrews, of Massachusetts, of course 
not as an immigrant, however, was reputed to have lost largely, 
and to have attributed his failure "to negro labor." 

Touching the freedman's labor, even the testimony of Mr. 
Elaine is not without some value. It is at least amusing. He 

"A belief was prevalent in the North that great profit might be de- 
rived from the cotton culture, and that with the assured sympathy of 

"Reconstruction in Mississippi, Garner, p. 118. 
88 Reconstruction in Mississippi, p. 136, and note. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 179 

the colored men they would be able to command the requisite labor 
more readily than the old slave masters. As a mere business enter- 
prise cotton-growing at that period, except in a very few instances, 
proved to be unprofitable. The complete disorganization of labor 
throughout the South, consequent upon emancipation, had embarrassed 
production and added greatly to its cost. It would inevitably require 
time to build up a labor system based on the new relation of the 
negro to the white race, and it was the misfortune of the Northern men 
to embark on their venture at the time of all others when it was least 
likely to prove remunerative." 

In consideration of even so small an admission as "the com- 
plete demoralization of labor," one is almost tempted to forego 
any allusion to the touching reference to the freedman's "strong 
arms and willingness to work," in discussing Southern compul- 
sory labor laws. 39 

Just here we are treated to a suggestion of the compensating 
feature to these gentlemen, of the failure of their mission, "as a 
mere business enterprise." "But these men," we are told, 
"though pecuniarily unsuccessful, quickly formed relations of 
kindliness and friendship with the negro race. They addressed 
them in different tone, treated them in a different manner, from 
that which they had been accustomed in the past to receive from 
the white race, and it was natural that a feeling of friendship 
should grow up between the liberated and those whom they 
regarded as liberators."* 

Though having his confidence thus grossly abused by the 
freedmen, through the "complete disorganization of labor," 
the Northern cotton planter, through the incidental establish- 
ment of these "relations of kindliness," and the complete re- 
organization of labor into voters, was enabled, a little later, to 
secure ample amends in staunch and faithful service at the 

The most superficial acquaintance with the history of the ad- 
ministration of the Freedmen's Bureau in Mississippi would 
fully satisfy any unprejudiced mind as to the utter demoraliza- 
tion of the labor of the State, as well as of the necessity for 
compulsory labor laws. Garner quotes the report of the Sec- 
retary of War to show that Grant had as camp followers, at the 
fall of Vicksburg, some fifty thousand homeless, straggling ne- 
groes. In the attempt to rid the army of such an incubus, re- 
sort was had to the plan of settling the freedmen on the confis- 
cated plantations along the Mississippi river. In carrying out 
this plan the Federal officers soon realized the necessity of 

89 P. 98. 

40 Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. II., p. 471. 

i8o Mississippi Historical Society. 

adopting and enforcing the most stringent regulations, with 
penalties for disobedience. As also shown by Mr. Garner, 
the visits of negro troops to these plantations were interdicted, 
and the freedmen forbidden to leave them. Ten hours daily 
"faithful and honest" labor was exacted, with a forfeiture of 
one-half their monthly wages for "indolence, insolence and 
disobedience," while "in case of stubbornness the offender was 
to be turned over to the provost marshall."* 1 

After the establishment of the bureau upon a working basis, 
even greater difficulties were encountered by its chief officials. 
The same authority tells us : 

"The freedmen were advised to remain at home, but the advice was 
not generally taken. They congregated in the larger towns to such 
an extent that it became necessary in some instances to order them 
back to the plantations by military force. Thus at Columbus the 
commander issued an order reciting that freedmen in great numbers 
were 'revelling in idleness/ and that they must 'retire to their home^ 
or seek employment elsewhere.' They were given ten days to find 
employment. They were ordered out of Natchez in a similar manner. 
In August, 1866, all negroes in Vicksburg without visible means of 
employment were informed by General Wood that they must leave at 
once. In June, 1865, General Osterhaus ordered that vagrancy among 
the negroes must not be permitted, that they must be put to work, 
and the issue of rations 'closely watched.' " 

We are further told that: 

"During the summer of 1865, 182,899 rations were furnished to freed- 
men in Mississippi. They were alleged to be in destitute circumstances, 
although the commissioner says in his report of December i, 1865, 
that no necessity existed why a single freedroan should be out of em- 
ployment, and that 50,000 more laborers could be profitably employed 
if they could be obtained." 

Mr. Garner adds still further: 

"No complaint was more general among the whites than that the 
bureau encouraged the negroes in their idleness by taking them under 
its care and dispensing rations to them. ******* it W JH 
be remembered that the freedmen for the most part refused to make 
contracts for the year 1866, in the belief that the lands were to be dis- 
tributed among them. Colonel Thomas issued circular after circular 
admonishing the negroe's that complaints were being made to him that 
they could not be induced to labor, and that as laborers they were un- 
reliable. In order to encourage them to seek employment, he offered 
to furnish free transportation to any freedman who found it necessary 
to go to another part of the State in order to find employment." 

Mr. Garner quotes the New York Times, Feb. 4, 1866, as au- 
thority for the statement that "when the Fifty-fifth United 
States Colored Infantry was mustered out at Jackson in Febru- 

41 Reconstruction in Mississippi, p. 253. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 181 

ary, 1866, not one of them could be induced to enter into a 
labor contract ;" and the Herald, of October 2, 1865, as contain- 
ing a statement from "a Northern traveler" that "an intelligent 
freedman in Mississippi told him that he considered no man 
free who had to work for a living." 

Turning again to the bureau, we are told that Colonel 
Thomas reminded the freedmen once more, in January, 1866, 
"of the necessity of entering into contracts for the ensuing 
year, informed them that he had received many complaints 
charging them with not living up to their contracts, but work- 
ing as they pleased, and deserting their crops when they knew 
that the employer would lose all. 'The time has come/ he 
said, 'when you must contract for another year's labor. I wish 
to impress upon you the importance of doing this at once. You 
know that if a crop of cotton is raised, the work must be be- 
gun soon, and hands employed for the year/ Continuing, he 
said, 'I hope you are all convinced that you are not to receive 
property of any kind from the government, and that you must 
labor for what you get like other people. As the representa- 
tive of the government, I tell you that your conduct is very 
foolish, and your refusal to work is used by your enemies to 
your injury/ He told them that the vagrant laws were right 
in principle, and he could not ask the civil authorities to allow 
freedmen to remain idle and depend for their subsistence upon 
begging or stealing. In regard to the professed fear of en- 
tering into written contracts, he said: "Some of you have the 
absurd notion that if you put your hands to a contract you 
will somehow be made slaves. This is all nonsense, made up 
by some foolish, wicked person. Your danger lies exactly in 
the other direction. If you do not have some occupation, you 
will be treated as vagrants, and made to labor in the public 
works/ " 

Mr. Garner says that 

"Colonel Thomas' administration was marked by numerous conflicts 
between the military and civil authorities, and his course was the 
subject of constant complaints by the whites." His successor seemed 
a more capable man, gave general satisfaction, and "reported that the 
whites were 'acting nobler than could be expected of them.' " 

Speaking of the investigation of the conduct of the bureau 
by Generals Steadman and Fullerton, special commissioners, 
Mr. Garner says : 

182 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"They reported that only here and there had the bureau accom- 
plished any good. The chief objection, they said, was not due to the 
conduct of the higher officials, but to the subordinates, 'who had the 
idea that the bureau was established simply for the freedmen.' "" 

This was Governor Humphreys' position, he going further, 
however, and saying that the bureau had not only done no 
good, but had done positive and serious harm. In a message 
to the Legislature he referred to the bureau, under its first ad- 
ministration, as "this black incubus." He said that many of the 
officers connected with it were "gentlemen of honor and in- 
tegrity, but they seem incapable of protecting the rights and 
property of the white man, against the villainies of the vile and 
vicious with whom they are associated." 

The trouble with the administration of the bureau in Missis- 
sippi was the same as that which afflicted the entire scheme of 
Federal legislation for the freedman. It was an attempted ap- 
plication of theories evolved from the ideas of philanthropists 
and doctrinaires, as to what was "right," to a people and con- 
dition for which the plan adopted was most chimerical. Though 
refusing to permit the State to put into execution her plan of 
compulsory labor, the bureau officials yet admitted the sound- 
ness of its principles, and sought to accomplish its ends through 
the medium of threats of resorting to it, coupled with the use 
of "circular letters" of supplication and objurgation. These 
circulars addressed the freedmen in terms such as Napoleon 
might have used to his legions in the shadow of the Pyramids. 
They told him that the eyes of the country were upon him, im- 
plored him to shun vice and wickedness ; advised him to make 
contracts and work; told him that he should lead an upright 
life, "observe the sanctity of the marriage relation" and "re- 
gard his contracts and obligations as sacred." These were cir- 
culated through agents and colored ministers; they were pre- 
pared in the office of the head of the bureau, while the State 
swarmed with subordinates spreading through personal contact 
the vicious ideas against which the circulars warned. 

When Major General Banks inaugurated, in 1863, his system 
of labor in Louisiana, for which he was taken to task by his own 
section, he encountered the same conditions that existed in Mis- 
sissippi in 1865, and for a long while afterwards. In a defen- 

** Reconstruction in Mississippi, pp. 256, 259, 261, 262, 266, 267, 268. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 183 

sive address, at Boston, October 30, 1864, he refers to the freed- 
men, as clustering "about the military posts and garrisons, com- 
ing in from the surrounding States, without shelter, food, 
clothing, employment, or means of support." He further says : 

"Their condition was that of abject misery. Suffering, disease and 
death were seen everywhere. * * * * * the support of the people, 
which was dependent upon the cultivation of the soil, considerations of 
public health, and the preservation of the negroes themselves, re- 
quired that they should separate, rather than be concentrated at mili- 
tary posts. The only method of doing this was to give them employ- 

There is additional testimony to the conditions which pro- 
voked the legislation of 1865, which should be introduced in this 
discussion of those laws. It does not bear directly upon that 
year, but its competency cannot be challenged, for it is an ex- 
hibit of the continuance of those conditions of their projection 
into later years. 

When the Constitutional Convention of 1868 assembled, with 
its personnel as contemplated by the authority convening it, it 
at once proceeded to take such action as comported with the 
character of its membership. One of its first acts indicated the 
conception of its province entertained by its members. This 
was the adoption of a resolution to appoint a committee to con- 
sider "the destitute condition of a large number of the citizens 
of this State, and the most appropriate means of a present and 
permanent relief to the same." In the discharge of its duties 
that committee submitted a report from which the following 
extracts are taken: 

"They * * * find that there exists, at this time, nearly all over this 
State, an alarming state of destitution among the laboring classes, and 
to some extent, among other persons, strangers to labor and economy." 

This was more than three years after the close of the war. 
We are not informed of the method observed in differentiating 
between the destitute "laboring classes" and the destitute 
"strangers to labor," they were represented as in equal need of 
"the permanent relief of the State." 

"From a careful investigation of this subject, we have been induced 
to set down the number of the destitute and suffering at thirty thou- 
sand. ***** it becomes us in the discharge of our duty, to 
point out some present and permanent mode of relief for this truly 
alarming condition of the destitute citizens of this State. This is by 
no means an easy task, and has caused us much serious thought and 

184 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"But after listening to many suggestions from different persons in 
and out of this Convention, we have thought best to recommend the 
following plan of present relief as the best we can devise, to wit: 
That the Sheriffs of the several counties in this State be authorized 
by this Convention to hold, subject to the order of a commissioner to 
be appointed by this Convention for said counties, the poll-tax col- 
lected or to be collected by said Sheriffs, to be applied by said com- 
missioners to the relief of destitute persons in their respective counties, 
requiring of said persons, if able-bodied, to work on the public roads, 
or some other public works of the county, * * * * *" 43 

In response to the presentation of this report, recognized at 
once as a mere pilfering scheme, the Commanding General of 
the 4th Military District stated that the "subject of destitu- 
tion" had received his "careful consideration," that he consid- 
ered the committee's estimate as "much too great," and that 
he was able to relieve such suffering as might actually exist. 
The reply he ordered made the committee was accompanied by 
reports to him from his subordinate investigating officers, sub- 
mitted with this observation: 

"It will be seen from the accompaning reports that the demand for 
labor exceeds the supply. While this is the case, it is not believed 
that any great degree of suffering can exist among the laboring 
classes. It will be seen from the accompanying order that transporta- 
tion is furnished to laborers unable to procure employment, to points 
where their services are in demand. It may not be out of place to 
remark here that at this time letters are constantly received requesting 
aid in hiring laborers; and five hundred laborers and their families 
could this day secure employment at the office of the Sub-Assistant 
Commissioner of the Bureau in this city (Vicksburg). * * * * With 
these convictions the Commanding General deems it inexpedient to 
divert so large an amount of the revenue of this State as that derived 
from the poll-tax, to the subject specified in your resolution." 

Lieutenant Williams reported: 

"The amount and generality of the destitute has been very much 
exaggerated, even in Washington county, and I have no doubt that is 
the poorest county in the State to-day, as far as their ability to pro- 
vide for the destitute is concerned." 

A circular from the Assistant Commissioner was also ap- 
pended, containing this admonition, still deemed necessary by 
that official on January 25, 1868: 

"All freedmen who are laboring under the delusion that lands will 
be furnished them by confiscation or otherwise, are warned that this 
is a mistaken idea. The only way in which they can obtain land is by 
purchase, like other people, or by locating upon the public domain." 

43 Convention Journal, p. 157. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone, 185 

Colonel Scully reported, after a tour of inspection in the 
counties along the Yazoo river : 

"The freedmen are in a destitute condition, mainly because they will 
not hire out to farmers and planters a great number of the latter re- 
quiring their services. The reasons assigned for this are that wages 
are too low, ***********. Also, they, the freedmen, 
insist that upon the adjournment of the Convention, at Jackson, the 
lands in this State will be divided out amongst them, and that they can 
live until then. My belief is that if the freedmen will work, they can 
find employment, food and clothing for the present year. I saw no 
destitution among the planters or people generally, and believe that 
the many reports of such existing are greatly exaggerated." 

Lieutenant Barber reported, from a trip to Grenada, through 
the central portion of the State : 

"As a general thing, the freedmen have entered into contracts for the 
present season, although I found more idlers and dissatisfaction among 
the laborers there than at any other point on my route. This is not 
due, however, to any lack of employment, for I was informed of several 
persons, from Tennessee and points in Mississippi, having visited 
Grenada for the purpose of procuring laborers, and offering excellent 
terms, without being able to secure a single hand. The sub-Assistant 
Commissioner in charge, reports some destitution among the old and 
infirm, and among some women and children, who have been deserted 
by their husbands and fathers. There is a considerable number of the 
latter class reported in the vicinity of Grenada."* 4 

So much for the labor conditions of the State, the attitude 
of the freedman towards the question of labor, his relation to 
it, as he viewed it in 1865 ; and even at a later date. 

This grave question was the mainspring of the action of the 
Legislature of 1865. Whether or not the laws of that body 
were justified by the conditions then confronting the State, is a 
matter which, the facts having been reviewed for his benefit, 
may be submitted to the candid judgment of the reader. 

It has been suggested that additional- considerations prompt- 
ed some of Mississippi's legislation of this memorable year. So 
distinguished an authority as Hon. Hilary A. Herbert thus re- 
fers to certain of these acts: 

"Acts were also passed * * * forbidding to negroes the use of 
firearms. * * * * Recollections of the negro insurrection, headed 
by Nat Turner, coupled with predictions long ago made by Mr. Cal- 
houn, and frequently by others during and preceding the Civil Wai-, 
had inspired in the South a very general fear that, in favoring locali- 
ties, the suddenly emancipated slaves might attempt to repeat the 
massacres of San Domingo." 

44 Convention Journal, pp. 223, 224, 225, 226, 227. 

i86 Mississippi Historical Society. 

He also says : 

"There was little chance for moderation in public sentiment * * * 
when Southern. people, in constant dread, were watching and guarding 
against insurrection * *' )41 

The suggestion that any of Mississippi's laws were influenced 
by such fears, rests upon a poor foundation indeed. The denial 
to the freedmen of certain privileges, such as the possession of 
firearms, was a precaution prompted by no such fear, and one 
the continuance of which would have been to the best interests 
of the negro; would be, were it obtaining now, in this day of 
"picnic" brawls and crime-breeding "excursions." It would be 
idle to deny that a few intelligent men entertained such ideas; 
it would be equally as idle to claim that such opinions were 
held by, or dictated the policy of, men as familiar with the ne- 
gro as were those who composed the Legislature of 1865. 

The Convention Committee, which recommended this pro- 
hibitive legislation, emphasized the fact that in doing so it was 
moved, not by "any apprehension or sense of danger to the 
white population, but by the clear conviction that such denials 
and restrictions will be for their (the freedmen's) present and 
ultimate good * * * ." 

A passage in Governor Humphreys' message, of November, 
has sometimes been brought forward to support this claim, but 
not by any one familiar with the weighty purpose which was 
the real prompting of his recommendation. To his every ef- 
fort at securing some promise or assurante of the withdrawal 
from the State of Federal troops, and the termination of mil- 
itary interference in its civil affairs, the response from Wash- 
ington was that this would occur when "in the opinion of the 
government," peace and order could be "maintained without 
them." There was never profounder peace within the borders 
of the State, and the danger of an outbreak between black and 
white was a figment of the Federal official mind. Even if its 
potentiality were granted, it was dependent upon the very con- 
dition sought to be removed, but which was continued, as was 
claimed, to prevent it, the presence of negro and other troops. 
To remove even the excuse of this alleged fear of the results of a 
withdrawal of these troops, Governor Humphreys favored the 

"Atlantic Monthly, February, 1901, p. 153. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 187 

organization of a State militia upon an effective basis, capable 
of taking the place of the Federal soldiers, and of "maintaining 
peace and order" after their departure. He accordingly ad- 
vised in this message, among other things, the passage of "a 
militia bill that will enable the militia to protect our people 
against insurrection, or any possible combination of vicious 
white men and negroes." In concluding his message, he ex- 
pressed his sense of the importance of his various suggestions 
being enacted into laws, saying that, through them, the State, 
among other accruing benefits, might "secure the withdrawal of 
the Federal troops. The bill which became a law, in response 
to this suggestion, contained only the usual enumeration of the 
duties of the militia ; the repelling of invasions and the quelling 
of insurrections. The language was not even as specific or as 
comprehensive as is that of the existing law, which is "to execute 
the laws, repel invasions, and suppress riots or insurrections." 
However, even where Governor Humphreys' language may be 
fairly construed to suggest such an apprehension, it was re- 
flective neither of the State's nor his personal fears, but was 
uttered at the suggestion, or earnest solicitation, of the military 
officers representing the Federal power in Mississippi. 

On December 9, 1867, two years subsequent to the enact- 
ment of these laws, Governor Humphreys did issue a proclama- 
tion bearing upon the matter of "insurrections." He stated 
that communications had been received at his office, and at the 
headquarters of the Military District, indicative of apprehen- 
sions of "combinations and conspiracies" on the part of the ne- 
groes to "seize lands and establish farms" in the event of Con- 
gress failing to "arrange a plan of division" by January, 1868. 
Governor Humphreys thus admonished the freedmen : 

"* * * If any such hopes or expectations are entertained, you have 
been grossly deceived, and if any such combinations or conspiracies 
have been formed to carry into effect such purposes, by lawless vio- 
lence, I now warn you that you cannot succeed." 

This proclamation became the subject of an investigation by 
the Constitutional Convention of 1868. Governor Humphreys 
was asked to give the information on which he had based the 
proclamation, and replied as follows: 

****** j h ave no secr ets I desire to withhold from any class 
of our people, white or black. My Proclamation of the Qth of Decem- 
ber, 1867, was issued at the urgent request of General Ord, Comman- 

1 88 Mississippi Historical Society. 

der of the Fourth Military District, and all the information I have on 
the subject you desire to investigate, was received from and through 
him, except a few letters received from prominent citizens, which I 
referred to him, as soon as received, and which, I presume, are now 
in his possession." 

He referred the committee to General Ord, and that officer 
referred them in turn to General Gillem, who had succeeded him 
in the command of the District. General Gillem informed them 
that he had concluded that it would be "incompatible with his 
duty" to comply with their request ; advising them, at the same 
time, that he himself had never entertained the belief "that in- 
surrection was meditated by any class of the inhabitants of this 

The committee reported: 

"They have made diligent inquiry of different delegates in this Con- 
vention, coming from all parts of this State, and at no place within the 
limits of this State, before, at the time, or since the issuing of said 
proclamation, were there any indications of insubordination, riot, in- 
surrection or outbreak of any description whatever among that class 
of citizens referred to in said proclamation." 

They stated that the alleged causes for issuing the procla- 
mation were "utterly without foundation," and declared, gen- 
erally, that the freedman, though they did not so designate 
him, had been grossly maligned. 46 And therein he had been, 
but by those sent to guard and defend him, not by those who 
knew him best. 

It is not necessary to pursue this subject further, but this 
testimony, from one who in that troubulous time lived in one 
of the blackest counties in the South, and was a participant in, 
and observer of, the movements of the period, is well worthy 
of incorporation here : 

"Living in a black county of the State then, we are in a position to 
affirm that this picture of 'dread of insurrection' is wholly delusive and 
imaginary as to Mississippi. There was one thought that dominated 
all, in the black codes: Provision for the material needs of the future, 
and against the debts of the past to preserve the freedmen, upon 
whose labor all depended, from degenerating into vagrants and tramps. 
This aim was the WHOLE underlying principle of the freedmen acts of 

It is not claimed for Mississippi's freedmen statutes that they 
embodied the perfection of human wisdom, but only that their 

48 Convention Journal, pp. 577-581. 

"]. S. McNeily, in Vicksburg Herald, March 3, 1901. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 189 

authors were prompted by motives both reasonable and honest, 
and that, in actuating their conduct, "hatred of the negro" and 
"disloyalty to the Union" played no part. To demonstrate 
even a lack of wisdom upon their part, viewing their acts in as- 
sociation with their surroundings and necessities, the history of 
negro freedmen legislation throughout the world must needs 
be re-written, and the acts of its authors undone. 

The members of the Legislature of 1865 were not drafting 
laws for all time, but merely to meet a transient condition. To 
the experimental and temporary character of these acts, the dis- 
cussions and committee reports bear abundant evidence. These 
legislators were by no means wedded to their ideas, but were 
open to discussion and conviction. For the time being, they 
preferred to. err, if at all, upon the safer side. 

Within less than twelve months after the adjournment of 
this Legislature, it was convened in extra session by the Gov- 
ernor. In his message, of October 16, 1866, he thus reviewed 
conditions and proffered suggestions : 

"No special emergency, but a general exigency, resulting from the 
altered and deranged condition of our Federal Relations and domestic 
affairs at the termination of the late Civil War, which, in the nature 
of things, could not be fully adjusted or provided for at your first ses- 
sion, now demands your further consideration and attention. The re- 
moval of the negro troops from the limits of the State, and the trans- 
fer of the Freedmen's Bureau to the administration and control of the 
officers of the Regular Army now commanding the white troops in the 
District of Mississippi, are subjects of congratulation to you and to the 
country. The white race is thus relieved from the insults, irritations 
and spoliations to which they were so often subjected, and the black 
race from that demoralization which rendered them averse to habits 
of honest industry, and which was fast sinking them into habits of 
idleness, pauperism and crime." 

It is not surprising that Governor Humphreys should have 
thus congratulated this session of the Legislature upon being 
rid of the two prime causes provocative of the conditions which 
confronted its first sitting. 

The Governor commented upon the enactments of the first 
session, and suggested various modifications of them. Some 
of these, he considered, a year's observation had shown to be 
unnecessary from their inception ; some, the removal of irritat- 
ing causes, upon which he had congratulated them, rendered 
no longer necessary; some he thought needlessly restrictive. 
He renewed his recommendation of the first session as to ne- 

190 Mississippi Historical Society. 

gro testimony, saying: "Public justice to both races demands 
the admission of negro testimony in all cases brought before 
the civil and criminal courts." He still thought, however, that 
firearms were not essential to the freedman's "protection, pros- 
perity or happiness," and that he should be allowed them only 
upon license, "a privilege he can always secure where his char- 
acter for good conduct and honesty is known." 48 

Following the general line of the Governor's recommenda- 
tions, a number of changes were made in the existing laws. 

The law providing for a Freedman's Pauper Fund was so 
amended as to relieve minors and women from its operation, a 
capitation tax having been originally levied on all freedmen be- 
tween the ages of eighteen and sixty for the benefit of this fund. 
The law conferring personal property rights upon freedmen 
was extended to real property also, thus placing the two races 
upon an exact equality in all property rights, privileges and ex- 
emptions. While the first session had not entirely met Gov- 
ernor Humphreys' advanced position on negro testimony, this 
session did. By repealing all the qualifying and delimiting pro- 
visions of the Code of 1857, as well as of the laws of 1865, every 
restriction was removed from the competency of freedmen to 
testify upon an equal footing with the white man. 

By a sweeping provision as to infractions of the criminal laws, 
freedmen were put in every and particular respect upon an 
equality with white offenders ; it being enacted : "That all laws 
imposing discriminating punishment on freedmen be so amend- 
ed that for all offenses committed by freedmen against the crim- 
inal laws of this State, they shall be tried in the same courts 
and by the same proceedings as are the whites, and, upon con- 
viction, shall be subject to the same pains, penalties, forfeitures, 
and punishments." 

While the apprentice laws of 1865, still denounced by critics 
who "wilfully themselves exile from light," were mere tran- 
scripts from Northern statute books, as is shown below, it was 
yet determined to eliminate discriminations between white and 
black children, in advance of such "free State" action, and em- 
brace all in one common provision. The entire act of 1865 was 
accordingly repealed, and it was enacted that the provisions of 

48 House Journal, pp. 7, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 191 

the Revised Code of 1857, "in relation to poor orphans, and 
other children, shall be so construed, as to apply to and include 
freedmen." Such portions of the Code provisions as originally 
had special reference to negro children were specifically re- 
pealed 49 

The laws of Mississippi, then, as enacted and amended at the 
legislative sessions of 1865 and 1866, and upon the sole initia- 
tive of those who time and again, both before and after, were 
declared unfit to legislate for him, left the freedman the equal 
of his late master in the courts of his State, his testimony un- 
discriminated against ; they endowed him with every property 
right possessed by the white man ; they obliterated the distinc- 
tions of the criminal code; and over the orphaned children of 
his race and the white, they exercised a common care. 

In these two sessions, but a year removed, the same men 
served; of their actions in the first much has been said, of the 
second but little is heard. The time is probably not yet come 
for history to enter its final judgment upon what they did, or 
sought to do ; when it is written, they may not be found to have 
been altogether wise surely it will not be set down against 
them that they were strangers to justice and the right. 

One of the most accomplished of the innumerable publicists 
of Europe and America who have concerned themselves with 
the subject of negro emancipation, was Pierre Suzanne Au- 
gustin Cochin. Identified from early youth with the movement 
for abolition in the French possessions, his discussion of that 
movement and its results, the work of his maturer years, be- 
came, to the French school of emancipationists, the final au- 
thority upon its subject. Translated into English, and brought 
out in Boston during the progress of the war, in 1863, it at- 
tained a no less eminent place in the estimation of that school 
of American doctrinaires of which Mr. Sumner was the most 
distinguished exponent. 

Recounting that the French Academy had decreed to this 
work a prize of three thousand francs, and that it brought to 

49 Laws 1866-67, PP- 227, 232, 233, 443, 444. 

192 Mississippi Historical Society. 

its author an order of knighthood from the Pope, the American 
translator has this to say of The Results of Emancipation: 

"Its value in this country can hardly be estimated, appearing as it 
does on the eve of a crisis of emancipation, caused abruptly, as in the 
French colonies, by revolution, and which, as in these, will wreck for a 
time the prosperity of the States in which it is wrought, or lead them 
without suffering to a more prosperous condition, according as we 
profit by the experience of our neighbors." 

Though an ideologist to a large degree, Cochin's work 
abounds in much that would have profited the country, the 
North as well as the South and the negro, had it been only 
heeded. Saying that he had "made the tour of the world only 
in books," that he had visited "neither Timbuctoo nor Cayenne, 
nor even Senegal, or Mississippi," and though one of his dreams 
was, as a result of universal emancipation, the peopling of trop- 
ical lands with an "intermediate race," "providentially made," 
from the mixed blood of white and black, yet the practical teach- 
ing of his work was the dependence of the first success of 
emancipation upon the precautionary maintenance of labor. 
His declaration of faith in the possibility of "liberty, equality 
and fraternity" accomplishing all things for the African, re- 
ceived in America a hearty response, the lessons below these 
superficial abstractions were never learned. 

It was the failure of the North to profit by this record of the 
experience of France, that caused the "crisis of emancipation" 
to "wreck for a time the prosperity of the States in which it was 
wrought." It is this which brings at this" late day this record 
to the serving of a purpose, foreign, if not hostile, to any end 
sought to be accomplished by its author, its use in defense of 
the State which he classed with Senegal and Cayenne, as having 
visited only through the medium of books. 

It has been stated above that emancipation in the French 
West Indies and Bourbon was accompanied by restrictive laws. 
This is not a literally correct statement of fact, though practi- 
cally true, since such orders and decrees, long before proposed, 
soon followed it ; while such governors as saw fit, exercised the 
right to make a simultaneous application of them. It is neces- 
sary to our purpose to merely review and contrast the experi- 
ence of those wherein they, or equivalent restrictions, were re- 
sorted to, with those in which they were not invoked. 

It may be affirmed as a truth of universal application that ne- 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 193 

gro emancipation has been invariably followed by an immediate 
tendency among the freedmen to sink into habits of vagrancy 
and idleness. This proposition has been so plainly true that it 
has not been denied by well-informed and honest writers. They 
have rather met it with a plea in confession and avoidance. 
Throughout Cochin's work he is continually explaining why 
this fact is as it is, alleging reasons for these synchronous con- 
ditions. The reasons may have been excellent, but they were 
not in question ; it was the condition itself against which wisdom 
would seek, through the laws of England, of France and of the 
Northern and Southern States, to provide. 

In the island of Guadaloupe, we are told, "doubtless labor 
suffered in the beginning," though, consistently with his policy, 
he suggests a number of reasons therefor, making emancipa- 
tion merely incidental to the others: "Lastly," says he, "the 
sudden liberation of the slaves complicated a position which it 
had not alone produced." He adds, of the freedmen: 

"They were naturally seen to abandon the large plantations (though 
here he injects, as usual, a saving clause), especially those where they 
had been worse treated, and to divide into two classes the idle, who 
thought themselves called to the liberty of doing nothing, and the in- 
dustrious. * * * Even among those who consented to work on the 
plantations, a great lack of regularity was remarked * * *." 

Describing the tumults into which the island was thrown, we 
are assured that : 

"Disorder was not born at Guadaloupe with emancipation, but only 
through the consequences of revolution. Thus a great part of the loss 
of time by the former slaves came from their subjection to numerous 
formalities, not only in registering themselves in the Civil state and 
obtaining the emancipation papers, to which they attached a rightful 
importance, but also in exercising political rights. They were not 
disturbed by their recognition as men; they were agitated by their 
improvisation into citizens." 

The latter portion of his proposition will readily be accepted. 
On May 27, 1848, emancipation was formally proclaimed with- 
out conditions without restrictions as to labor; for two years 
labor was disorganized and riots were the pastime of the popu- 
lace; on July u, 1850, the island was placed under martial law, 
and we are gravely informed that "prosperity did not return as 
speedily as tranquility," and that it was not by unrestricted 
emancipation that "peace had been troubled," "although it had 
served as the pretext." To the American dominant party of 

194 Mississippi Historical Society, 

1865 this observation might have proven valuable if taken to 
heart : 

"Emancipation had been there a day of rejoicing; the elections 
brought days of mourning, and politics remain responsible for tears 
and blood which had not been caused by freedom.' 

Unrestricted freedom, however, combined with politics, came 
also to the South. The difference of degree in the confusion 
which it wrought, merely marked the difference of temperament 
between the Latin and the Anglo-Saxon. 

In Martinico, we are told that "the news of emancipation at 
first caused no disturbance." This must have reference to a 
temporary absence of riots, for the commission which the gov- 
ernor deemed it necessary to appoint to examine "into the state 
of labor" reported that immediately succeeding emancipation, 
"culture on a large scale * * * was completely aban- 
doned." There had also been strife and bloodshed, however, 
occasioned by politics, to which M. Cochin refers as "the 
mournful days which had witnessed murder and incendiarism." 51 
Here, also, had been emancipation unaccompanied upon the 
governor's part by the application of restrictions as to labor and 
vagrancy. These, however, were enforced at a later date, as 
necessary to check the excesses of the freedmen, and bring or- 
der again to the island. 

Of the unimportant colony of Guiana, we are told : 

"If order did not suffer, it was impossible that it should have been 
the case with labor. * * * * But, in general, inconstancy, the love 
of small estates, the novelty of independence, and the incitement of the 
republican reunions, estranged the negroes from labor. The letting 
of the colonial lands for a part of their produce was vainly essayed; 
the blacks distrusted any system which did not secure them the fruits 
of their labor day by day." 

As though it possessed not the least significance, and dis- 
missed with the bare statement of the fact itself, our author 
naively remarks : 

"A commission appointed by the Governor for the regulation of 
tasks had more success." 

The statement, however, is doubtless literally true. Still ex 
plaining, he tells us why the freedmen would not work : 

"If a great number of blacks returned to Indian life by installing 

80 Results of Emancipation, pp. 107-112. 
^Results of Emancipation, pp. 101-106. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 195 

themselves on bits of ground in the uplands, they were not led there 
merely by an instinct of vagrant independence. Averse to working the 
plantations on shares, or to hiring the colonial lands for a part of thefr 
produce, the tardy results of which inspired them with a natural dis- 
trust, they wished to labor only for wages, and their former masters 
had not capital wherewith to pay them." 

Truly, a most excellent reason why they should not labor! 
As if in further proof of the high ground taken by these new 
"citizens of France" he tells us that, though the negroes knew 
their strength, they permitted the elections to pass off "with- 
out disturbance/' "and added another proof to the demonstra- 
tions, furnished by the long months of crisis, of the gentleness 
of these people, who lacked labor much more than labor lacked 
them." 52 Guiana was made a penal colony in 1851, and is hence 
dismissed from further consideration here. 

Because of the agreeable surprise which its conduct afforded 
the abolitionists of France, and for which, apparently, they were 
unable to account, M. Cochin dwells with peculiar pleasure 
upon emancipation in the Isle of Bourbon. He says : 

"Numerous reasons united to give rise to the fear that emancipation 
would be the signal for a more painful crisis on the Isle of Bourbon 
than anywhere else; on the contrary, it was milder. On an island situ- 
ated four thousand leagues from the mother country, * * * * * * 
was crowded a population of 37,000 whites, 66,000 slaves, and 7,695 
bound laborers of all sorts * * * In the number of whites were 
reckoned the free colored men, almost all opposed to labor, and in- 
capable of filling office or maintaining order. The bound laborers were 
far inferior to the slaves." 

With the statistics of production recited in proof of the tran- 
quility and prosperity of the island of all the colonial posses- 
sions of France, the only one capable of making such an ex- 
hibit we need not concern ourselves. Only the causes of these 
conditions, as presented by the author, possess any interest for 

Three months elapsed between the receipt of the first news in 
Bourbon of the establishment of the Republic of 1848, and that 
of the decrees abolishing slavery. An assembly of citizens of 
the island "declared them rendered by incompetent authority," 
"and," he continues, "drew up a plan to be submitted to the 
mother country, which, without opposing the emancipation of 
the slaves, demanded," among other things, "the postponement 

52 Results of Emancipation, pp. 117-120. No apology is offered for the 

196 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of the measure, in order to give time to gather in the harvests, 
and organize schools, hospitals, and penal labor," and for "the 
formation of a National Guard and Municipal Councils before 
emancipation." We are also told: "The same unanimity ap- 
peared in the public square at St. Pierre, where in August, an 
imprudent speech having exasperated the negroes, five thousand 
inhabitants assembled on the instant to watch over the mainte- 
nance of order." 

As stated above, many differences existed between emancipa- 
tion in these islands and in the South, the two vital points be- 
ing readily seen to have been the absence from the islands of 
military or other active intervention, and the power in the local 
authorities to exercise their unhampered judgment in dealing 
with the situation. This discretion was not availed of in Guada- 
loupe or Guiana (except to a slight degree in the latter colony), 
and to only a limited extent, and not at once, in Martinico. We 
have glanced at an exhibit of the results in these three. What, 
now, of the methods and results in the island under considera- 

Letting our distinguished authority speak for himself, he tells 

"To guard against the diminution of labor, the Governor resolved to 
abrogate the order given March 6, 1839, to prohibit the future immi- 
gration of Indians, but he did not consider himself obligated to 
promulgate prematurely the abolition of slavery, though authorized 
to do so by a dispatch dated May 7th; and when his successor arrived 
(October I3th), the colony was at peace, and labor was scarcely any- 
where interrupted. 

The Commissioner-General, M. Sarda-Garriga, published the decrees 
of emancipation, October i8th, in a solemn audience of the court. He 
had the good sense to close the clubs, to surround himself with en- 
lightened counsels, and to prescribe, by a provident order, that before 
the 20th of December, the end of the delay accorded by the decrees, 
every slave should hire himself to labor for two years on a sugar plan- 
tation, or for one year as a domestic, under penalty of being regarded 
and punished as a vagrant." 

The wisdom of this law compels, even from Cochin, the plau- 
dit of "provident order;" the less severe statute of Mississippi 
was such an "effort to perpetuate slavery" as to "outrage 
Northern sentiment" and invite reprisals of a harsh and bitter 
and vindictive kind. He continues : 

"Thanks to these measures, followed by an order to establish penal 
works, with the approbation of the planters, and under the control of 
the former Governor and principal functionaries, the transition was 
easier than had been hoped." 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 197 

It would seem that M. Cochin would rest content with this. 
Not so. He mentions another cause of the excellent state of 
affairs which he describes. He says: 

"Without doubt the kindness of the whites and the gentleness of the 
blacks facilitated the relations between them. Happily, during the 
past few years, the negroes had been evangelized with as much suc- 
cess as zeal by excellent priests, whose personal influence contributed 
powerfully to the union of classes." 58 

But did all the whites who were blessed with kindly hearts 
reside at Bourbon ? Certainly not all the blacks of "gentleness" 
lived there, for we have left some, who at elections refrained 
from murder, in the penal colony of Guiana. But upon the 
respective claims for the merit of producing so pleasing a pic- 
ture, as presented in the "provident order" of the Governor and 
the zealous evangelization of the priests, we shall not presume to 
pass. The mere presentation of the situation itself quite fully 
answers our every purpose. 

Referring to the various provisions of the French govern- 
ment antecedent to the liberation of its negroes, Cochin says : 

"Before the emancipation of the slaves, every step taken towards this 
solemn hour was lighted by immense labors, reports, discussions, and 

What he says of the scope of the labors of the commission on 
laws, whose appointment after emancipation, in 1849, was made 
necessary by "the sufferings which the transitory and violent 
state of affairs * * * * had drawn upon our posses- 
sions," may be affirmed of all the labors of those who sought 
to provide against the consequences of emancipation by various 
restrictive systems. This was summed up by him as "govern- 
ment, repression and labor." It is needless to enumerate the 
many devices suggested during the kaleidoscopic changes in the 
French government, made while they were being discussed, and 
covering more than half a century preceding final emancipation. 
They covered the entire field of politico-economics, with a 
breadth of range which extended from the philosophic elabora- 
tions of De Tocqueville and De Broglie, to the quite simple and 
truly practical provisions "borrowed from the code of Haiti." 
They all had one object the following of emancipation by im- 
mediate laws for temporarily enforcing labor upon, and prevent- 
ing the vagrancy of, the freedmen. 

53 Results of Emancipation, pp. 112-116. 

1 98 Mississippi Historical Society. 

As it is not the purpose of this review to devote any special 
attention to this Haitian Code, it may be remarked here that 
these eminent Frenchmen honored it with mention in their re- 
port, though Cochin is silent as to the exact extent to which 
they "borrowed" from it. According to a most intelligent dis- 
cussion of the committee's report, about the time of its publi- 
cation, 64 it found as follows: 

"In San Domingo, the negroes, having made themselves free, of 
course took holiday, and it was found necessary to force them to work. 
The first regulations for this purpose were mild, and failed. The ne- 
groes did not understand or regard them. Toussaint Louverture, 
'Vainqueur des Anglais,' as the Committee called him, * * * 'gov- 
erned the colony very wisely, which, under him, says Malenfant, 'was 
flourishing. The whites were tranquil and happy on their estates, and 
the negroes worked.' And well might they work! 'His code,' say the 
Committee, 'was infinitely more rigorous than that of Polverel.' But 
even this code, rigorous as it was, soon became a disregarded and for- 
gotten form. 'Toussaint simply instructed his inspectors, and they 
acted accordingly.' These inspectors were his own nephews, Moses 
and Dessalines, 'afterwards emperor.' 'These officers exercised over 
their subordinate an unlimited power, and all the declarations con- 
cur in representing the system established as the most arbitrary and 
despotic possible. * * * * These two chiefs, naturally impetuous, 
were ill humored, and of difficult access. General Dessalines, above all, 
conversed with a savage and repulsive air. It was rare that he did 
not distribute blows of the cudgel to the chiefs of gangs when he in- 
spected the works of a plantation. If any of them threw the blame of 
defective culture upon the laziness of the hands generally, he had one 
of them selected by lot to be hung. But if they indicated one by name, 
as a disputer or sluggard, this cruel man, in his rage, made them bury 
him alive and forced the whole gang to witness the agonies of his 
victim.'" The Committee significantly add: "One may conceive that 
* * ten new citizens should do as muclv work as thirty slaves 

Our amiable author may well afford to assure us that "no ex- 
cesses (by the freedmen) existed under the strict and intelligent 
administration of Toussaint 1'Ouverture." 

To return to France : Though the revolution through which 
emancipation ultimately reached the French colonies, overturned 
these elaborate preparations, so far as making them an actual 
feature of an emancipation program was involved, the governors 
of these colonies, as has been shown, did, or did not, as their wis- 
dom dictated, invoke their aid either their letter or their spirit 
in handling the conditions eventuating upon the freedom of 
the slaves. 

Cochin admits, as we have seen, that emancipation without 

64 Dr. S. Henry Dickson, Charleston, 1845, pamphlet. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 199 


labor laws meant vagrancy, idleness and crime, and it is need- 
less to follow his many and devious explanations of the cause. 
Let one suffice. 

"But is it correct," he asks, replying to a statement, "that the labor of 
the former slaves and their descendants is no longer to be taken into 
account * * * * ? If we speak of the first years, this result is true, at 
least in part. ******* w e have seen that the diminution of labor 
during these years should be attributed in great part to political ex- 
citement; but it is perfectly true that it was also among the first effects 
of emancipation. This was natural. What prisoner does not escape 
when his prison door is broken? What bird does not take flight when" 
his cage is opened? 55 

A pretty enough way of explaining why the freedmen "passed 
continually from one plantation to another," but unnecessary. 
The excuse of a natural action may be sound, but Mississippi 
sought to deal merely with the existence of the fact. 

We have seen the circumstances attendant upon emancipa- 
tion in Martinico, Guadaloupe and Bourbon. Let us dismiss 
the subject with a glance at their later respective conditions. 
Says Cochin: 

"The following fact has always struck me: The prosperity of the 
Isle of Bourbon is incontestably far superior to what it was before the 
abolition of slavery." 6 " 4 

"It is, furthermore, impossible to pretend that this island has re- 
ceived from nature a perpetual advantage over the rest. For before 
1848, Guadaloupe was the most flourishing of our colonies, Martinico 
next, Bourbon last; the order is now exactly reversed, Bourbon comes 
first, then Martinico, lastly Guadaloupe. However disagreeable, there- 
fore, may have been the sequel of emancipation, it is not justifiable to 
affirm that the ruin of the colonies has been the infallible and in- 
evitable consequence of this measure, since this consequence has been 
averted at Bourbon. In the second place, since three colonies, under 
the influence of the same cause, are in wholly different conditions, 
this cause has not been the only thing that has acted on them. Either 
it is joined to other evils, or it has presented other remedies. It Is 
unjust to say that this cause has done all the harm, since the same 
cause elsewhere has not done the same harm. Facts fully justify this 

The explanation of this great difference of conditions would 
seem to be transparent to any but the wilfully blind, though 
he seems scarcely to apprehend it, in the following feeble recog- 
nition: "At Bourbon the government was more far-sighted; con- 

55 Results of Emancipation, pp. 208, 209. 

Ma Let us here remark that in this argument no issue is joined be- 
tween slavery and freedom. We are dealing with facts merely dem- 
onstrative of the wisdom of the South, in her attempted exercise of a 
measure of temporary control over the labor upon which this freedom 
was bestowed. 

2OO Mississippi Historical Society. 

tracts for labor were effected through its care without delay" Con- 
trasting Martinico with Bourbon, to the former's disadvantage, 
he says : "Nevertheless, this colony has uprisen ;" and through 
what intervention ? "An energetic governor, Admiral de Guey- 
don, has given the most intelligent attention to the re-organiza- 
tion of labor." Through what means was this "re-organiza- 
tion" accomplished? He does not state, though he has told us 
elsewhere ; 56 a resort to the decrees long before promulgated by 
Bourbon, "on the labor, police, vagrancy, and immigration, fol- 
lowed by numerous and severe measures." As Bourbon had 
surpassed Martinico, so, he says, had the latter "surpassed 
Guadaloupe, to which, formerly, it remained inferior. The lat- 
ter has, notwithstanding, more laborers, more land, and better 
conditions." 57 It merely lacked the application of the decrees 
none being enforced till 1857 when, nearly ten years after 
emancipation, a resort to them was compelled by necessity. 
Yet one thing more, and he does not permit us to overlook it : 
At Bourbon, he tells us, "The negroes were more religious." 

A mere recital of these conditions renders obviously unneces- 
sary comparisons, deductions or comment. 

As stated above, the emancipation acts passed by the British 
Parliament in 1833, provided apprenticeships, the longest of 
which was to expire in 1840. In 1836 it was sought to termi- 
nate these apprenticeships, but Cochin tells us : 

"The cabinet of Lord Melbourne, supported in its hesitation by Lord 
Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and Mr. Gladstone, sustained the system 
of apprenticeship, because it had been successful ****." 

They were abolished, however, in 1838 and 1839. Our author 
admits that, under this system of provision for labor after eman- 
cipation : 

"The transition of the negroes from slavery to freedom was affected 
without commotion; from 1834 to 1838, the crimes and misdemeanors, 
null, or very nearly so, with respect to the person, continually diminish- 
ed with respect to property; production, less on certain points, equal 
or superior on certain others, was maintained in general during the 
four years of apprenticeship." 58 

88 Results of Emancipation, p. 207 and note. 

"Ibid, pp. 295 and 296. 

K Results of Emancipation, pp. 324, 330, 331. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 201 

In defending, before a Boston audience, in 1864, as mentioned 
-above, the labor system which he had established when in mil- 
itary command in Louisiana, in the preceding year, Major Gen- 
eral W. P. Banks thus recapitulates the conditions agreed upon 
between the negroes, the planters and himself: 

"First, that their families should not be separated; second, that they 
should not be flogged; third, that their children should be educated; 
fourth, that they should not be compelled to labor where they had been 
abused; and fifth, that they should be paid reasonable wages for their 

The system was inaugurated under martial law, labor, of 
course, being compulsory. 

Even he did not escape the criticism of the ignorant. De- 
fending, or explaining, if it be preferred, his course, he says: 

"The system is but an experiment, made necessary as much for the 
preservation of the oppressed race as from the condition of the coun- 

He declared it to be his belief that for every case of wrong 
suffered under such a system an offset would be found "in the 
workshops of England or the United States." He said : 

"The complaints of seamstresses and other persons, male and fe- 
male, employed in Northern cities or towns, whether in domestic or 
agricultural service, will show as much diversity of interests, as much 
dissatisfaction, as many cases of inexcusable wrong." 

He maintained that the objections that were raised were 
"fully answered by a statement of facts not known to those by 
-whom they are urged, and not entertained where the general 
situation of the country is understood." 

He had the temerity to make two statements which must have 
grated harshly upon ears acute to catch the tale of negro woes : 
The first being: 

"The production of crops in that part of the country requires the 
steady labor of a year, and without this security it is impossible for 
any employer to enter into contract with his laborers. It has never 
been demonstrated by actual experiment that the negro would subject 
himself to continuous labor by any engagement or choice of his own. 
This doubt was and still is entertained by many who sympathize with 
the slave." 

The second reads as follows: 

"The people of the North are much more disturbed and distressed at the 
condition of the negro than he is himself."* 9 

89 Equally as true nearly forty years afterwards. 

2O2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

He further said: 

"It is not a new idea that is embodied in the re-organization of 
labor in Louisiana. It has been tested for three-quarters of a cen- 
tury. Toussaint L'Ouverture tried the experiment in San Domingo. 
There is nothing different in his system from that which we have 
adopted, except that it was infinitely more severe upon the negro 
****** England has tried the same experiment and has 
not been able to succeed except by such general method. France, 
whose ablest men have been employed in its consideration for sixty 
or seventy years, * * * adopted the same principles ***** Can we 
demand, even if we had no other ground for our procedure, that a 
philosophy which has been thus discussed and practically tested in the 
colonies of England and France for half a century, should be dis- 
carded altogether, until somebody can suggest a plan more perfect, 
and more certain to benefit the laborer?" 

His closing was his keenest thrust: 

"The best service the City of Boston or its patriotic associations can 
render to the country in times like these, is to direct intelligent men 
to visit distant portions of the Union where important principles are 
tested, for the purpose of instructing the public mind by imparital 
statement and a calm judgment upon the real condition of public af- 
fairs." " 

In reviewing the salient features of the legislation devised 
by other countries for the newly emancipated negro, the 
full measure of our purpose has not been a mere resort to a 
tu quoque argument. In entering more largely into a discussion 
of the immediate results of emancipation in the French colonies 
than in the English, the purpose was to show from history the 
contrasts between the immediately resultant condition of both 
the freedmen and the country, in the islands that did not resort 
at once to labor and vagrancy laws, and in the one that did, as 
best illustrated in Martinico, Guadaloupe and Bourbon, 
Though even a fair apprehension of the conditions set forth in 
Mississippi must show that labor fared best, and, with the plan- 
ter, was most prosperous, where the Freedmen's Bureau of- 
ficials made the closest application of the fundamental princi- 
ples underlying the State's laws as to vagrancy and labor. Such 
sequential conditions are amply demonstrative of the wisdom of 
the men who enacted those laws. We have now to show how 
base, as well as baseless, is the charge preferred for the most 
unworthy of political objects, that these statutes sought to "per- 
petuate slavery" and were prompted by "hatred of the negro." 

60 Emancipated Labor in Louisiana, address at Boston and Charleston, 
Mass., 1864, pamphlet. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 203 

To demonstrate that the course pursued by Mississippi was 
identical with that adopted throughout the world, is, we take it, 
sufficient to absolve her from these unjust accusations ; since it 
can hardly be maintained that in the same treatment of the same 
conditions, there were present in the South motives which were 
absent from all the rest of Caucasian mankind. To complete 
the proof of this identity of treatment, wherever the conditions 
had up to that time been presented, it is necessary to add, to 
what has already been given, merely a review of the legislation 
of the Northern United States. 

More than a quarter of a century ago it was claimed in Mis- 
sissippi that, not only was this legislative treatment not racial 
in its extent, but that it was not even coextensive with the 
United States ; and it was sought to narrow it down to even less 
than sectional lines, by charging it to a single political organi- 
zation. This charge was made on the eve of the revolution of 
1875, to use a popular expression, and was, of course, like Mr. 
Elaine's far graver accusations, solely a result of the exigencies 
of party politics. The answer to this charge was made by the 
late Senator J. Z. George. It served its purpose then, it will 
probably serve ours now. Said he : 

"The argument presented to the freedmen by those who would still 
further inflame the colored people against the Democrats and Con- 
servatives, is that the Democrats were in power in 1865, and the result 
was the legislation of that year; and that if they were again in power, 
it is a fair presumption that they would act as it was charged they 
acted then. If this charge is made simply against the Democratic party, 
as a political organization, and is intended alone to affect men who 
are Democrats, it is easily answered." 

After showing that there was no such thing as an organized 
party of any sort in Mississippi at that time, he continues : 

"The plea that the whites are not to be trusted because of the legis- 
lation of 1865, will not be received as a good one. The answer to it 
will be found in the legislation of the Northern States themselves, in 
the action of the United States Congress and Executive, preparatory 
to emancipation, during the late war, and in the example of Great 
Britain when she abolished slavery in the West Indies. 

"A short review of this legislation will be well; for it will be found, 
after all, that the legislation of 1865 has, in most of its provisions, its 
prototype in the legislation of Northern States, and, taken altogether, 
was more moderate in its character, securing greater and more sub- 
stantial rights to the freedmen, and that at a shorter period, than the 
legislation attending emancipation in any other country. It will be 
seen that this legislation was, in fact, an attempt to solve a great 
problem, to evade a great difficulty, and that this solution and evasion 
were wrought out, or attempted to be, with less infringement on the 

2O4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

rights of the colored people than in any other State where slavery had 
once been established. 

"It is complained that the whites of Mississippi did not at once allow 
the freedmen to hold real estate, and that each one was required to 
have a home or employment by the ist day of January, 1866. S1 

61 The only form in which I have seen this discussion by General 
George is in its publication by the Clarion (Jackson), September 15, 
1875. The citations of authorities appeared as an appendix to the 
article. In so far as it was possible to do so through the volumes of 
State laws now in the State Library, I have verified the references, to 
guard against such typographical errors as might be expected in a 
newspaper publication of such an article. If any errors of pagination 
still exist, it is believed that they will not be found sufficient to in- 
terfere with the easy use of the references. I am indebted to the 
editor of the Clarion Ledger for the privilege of examining his files. I 
have taken the liberty of altering General George's arrangement of his 
citations, grouping them by subjects, rather than States. The value of 
this comparative digest, even if only regarded as an historical docu- 
ment, when its distinguished authorship is considered, justifies its re- 
production and preservation in the Publications of this Society. 

As to militia service: Massachusetts negroes not allowed to enroll, 
but subject to call for any desired work: Rev. Laws, 1814, p. 386; not 
allowed in Conn. Revisions 1839, p. 426, 1849, p. 652, 1866, p. 557, and 
not till that of 1875, p. ill. 

Vermont Revisions 1825, p. 6n, 1840, p. 557, 1850, p. 630, permitted, 
1870, p. 645. New Hampshire Revision 1853, p. 197. New Jersey Re- 
vision 1847, p. 745. 

Indiana Constitution 1816, art. 7, par. II, Constitution 1851, art. 12, 
par. i, Davis' Supplement, 1870, p. 341. 
111. Constitution 1847, art. 8. 

Iowa Constitution 1846, art. 6, and Constitution 1857. 

Mich. Constitution 1850, art. 17 not allowed till Acts 1870. 

Wise. Rev. Stat. 1858, p. 340. 

Minn. Revision 1858, p. 798. 

Nevada Revision 1873, p. 359. 

Kansas Constitution 1859, art. 7. 

Penna. not till 1872, Purdon's Digest, 1269, Brightley's Purdon, 1040. 

States requiring bond precedent to negro's emancipation, or his en- 
try into, or for residence in, them: 

Mass. Revision 1814, p. 745. 

New Jersey Rev. 1847, p. 380. 

Ohio Rev. 1847, p. 593. 

Ind. Rev. 1831, p. 375, const. 1851, art. 13, standing till 1870, and 
laws pursuant to it as to settling in State; Rev. 1852, pp. 375-76, not re- 
pealed till 1867. 

Ills. Revs. 1829, p. 109. 1833, PP- 357 and 457, 1844, P- 387, Const. 1847. 
art. 14, Rev. 1858, p. 824. Last Constitution and Revision prohibited 
absolutely settling of negro or mulatto in the State, under penalty of 
$50 fine to be paid, or defendant sold to work it out; this process to be 
repeated at expiration of each sentence, till negro died or left the State. 
This and other 111. laws noted here make rather ludicrous this extract 
from the Chicago Tribune of Dec. I, 1865 quoted by Garner, Reconstruc- 
tion in Miss., p. 115: "We tell the white men of Mississippi that the men 
of the North will convert the State of Mississippi into a frog pond be- 
fore they will allow any such laws to disgrace one foot of soil in which 
the bones of our soldiers sleep and over which the flag of freedom 

Oregon Const. 1857, prohibited negroes settling in the State at all. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 205 

"In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, when 
they were set free, they were not allowed the privilege of selecting 
homes at all. They were required to remain with their old masters, 
and serve without pay; those already born when emancipation took 
place, for life, those born afterwards, from twenty-one years to twenty- 
eight years. * * * * The Legislature of 1865 gave to the freedmen the 
right to select their own employers, and to receive the wages of their 

As to intermarriages between whites and negroes: 

Mass. Revs. 1814, p. 748, 1836, p. 475. 

Rhode Island Revs. 1822, p. 371, 1857, p. 312, 1872, p. 325. 

Maine Revs. 1841, p. 359, 1857, p. 390, 1871, p. 483. 

Ohio Swann & Sayer's Rev. 1868, p. 267. 

Ind. Revs. 1831, pp. 595 and 970, 1852, p. 361. 

Ills. Rev. 1829, continued in that of 1845, p. 353, 1858, p. 579, in force 
till 1865. 

Mich. Rev. 1850, p. 950, Code 1871, p. 1463. 

Nebraska Rev. 1866, p. 254, Code 1873, p. 462. 

Kansas Stats. 1855, p. 488. 

As to apprenticeships: 

Rhode Island Children of former slaves, after slavery was abolished, 
were continued under control of their owners till twenty-one years of 

Conn. Slavery was abolished by declaring free all children to be 
born of slave mothers, but these children were compelled to serve their 
mother's owner till twenty-five years of age (see Geer vs. Huntington, 
2 Root, p. 364, and Windsor vs. Hartford, 2 Conn., p. 355.) 

Penna. Slavery abolished by declaring free all children to be born 
of slave parents, but requiring them to serve their parents' master 
till twenty-eight years of age. Dunlap's Rev., p. 126. 

New Jersey Act 1820 declared free all children born since July 4, 
1804, but bound the males to owner till twenty-eight years of age, and 
females till twenty-one. Rev. 1847, p. 360. In 1846, Rev. 1847, p. 380, 
slavery was abolished entirely, but every freedman made an apprentice 
to his master, who could discharge him from service only under most 
stringent exactions as to his capacity for self-support, or under guaran- 
tees for his not becoming a charge upon the county. These require- 
ments extended even to children of these apprentices, who were to be 
supported by their masters till six years old, and then bound out as 
poor children, the former owner in all cases being given the prefer- 
ence. It was this provision in Southern Statutes which so aroused 
Mr. Elaine's indignation. The provisions as to enticing apprentices 
from masters, and for restoring them, were much the same in all these 
States, and generally more stringent than in Mississippi. 

Ills. Slavery prohibited in Constitution under which State came 
into the Union, but binding out negroes as apprentices was provided 
for. "Under this Constitution," says General George, "there were many 
stringent and severe provisions enacted, to secure the rights of the 
masters to the apprentice, and to his labor, and to enforce the subor- 
dination of negroes and mulattoes." In the main, these are contained 
in Revs. 1833, pp. 457 et seq., and 1858, commencing on p. 815. The Mis- 
sissippi acts contain nothing so severe as the Illinois Statutes on ne- 
groes, in apprenticeship, as found in Revs. 1845 and 1858. 

Ind. Negroes could not be employed at all, under Const. 1851, art. 

As to voting: 

Rhode Island Rev. 1822, p. 89, Constitution of 1844 allowed only 
citizens to vote, negroes not then being citizens. 

Conn. Const. 1818, art. 6, Rev. 1821, amended const. 1845, Rev. 
1849, p. 47, not allowed to vote till isth amendment. 

206 Mississippi Historical Society. 

own labor, only requiring that they should have homes and an em- 
ployer by a day named. 

"Again, the States before named just as effectually prohibited 
negroes from having real estate as did the legislature of Mississippi; 
for how could they have real estate, when they were bound to remain 
with, and serve, their former owners for the terms before stated! But, 
if it be said that it was harsh to require the freedman, then just eman- 

Maine Const. 1819, art. 2, allowed only citizens to vote.. 
Penna. Only whites could vote till 1870. 
New Jersey Const. 1847, art. 2. 

Ohio Const. 1851, art. 5, par. i Swann and Critchfield's Rev. 1860, pp. 
548-9, Swann and Sayer's Rev. 1868, p. 336, severe provisions against 
negroes voting. 

Ind. Const. 1816, art. 6, par. I, Const. 1851 prohibited negro suffrage, 
and was in force as late as 1870, see art. 2, sees. 2 and 5. 
Ills. Const. 1847, art. 4. par. i. 

Iowa Const. 1846, art. 2, par. I, Const. 1857 prohibited negroes vot- 
ing, classing them with "idiots, insane, and persons convicted of in- 
famous crimes," art. 2, pars. I and 5. 
Mich. not allowed to vote till 1870. 
Wise. Const. 1848, art. 3. 

Minn. Const. .1857, Indians could vote but not negroes. 
Oregon Const. 1857, art. 2, and not changed till as late as 1872, 
probably later. 

Nebraska Rev. 1866, p. 145, Const. 1866, art. 2, sec. 2. 
Nevada Const. 1864, art. 2. 
Kansas Const. 1859, ai "t- 5- 
As to jurors and witnesses: 
Penna. Brightley's Purdon's Digest, p. 829. 

Ohio Rev. 1841, pp. 592-600, incompetent to testify where white 
person interested. Laws 1840, p. 27, Swan's Rev. 1854, p. 487, jurors 
must be voters, Rev. 1861, p. 751, not competent for jury service, and 
prohibition continued till 1868, and possibly later. 

Ind. Rev. 1831, p. 404, could not testify for or against white person. 
Rev. 1843, p. 719, prohibition continued till 1862, probably later. G. & 
H. Statutes, vol. 2, p. 166. 

Iowa Code 1851, p. 322, not repealed till 1860-; could not testify 
where whites were interested. 

Wisconsin Rev. 1858, p. 655, only white jurors. 
Minn. Rev. 1858, p. 749. 

Oregon Rev. 1872, p. 291, none but white jurors. 
Neb. Rev. 1866, pp. 449 and 509, Code 1873, p. 642. 
Kansas Statutes of 1855, pp. 445 and 765. Rev. 1868, no. 49, 65. 534. 
Ills. Rev. 1845, PP- 2 57 an d 377, continued in Rev. 1858, and not re- 
pealed till 1865. 

Sundry discriminating statutes: 

Mass. negroes not allowed to entertain each other socially. Rev. 
1814, p. 386, to be punished by whipping for striking a white person, 
Rev. 1814, p. 748. 

Rhode Island not allowed to keep any sort of public house, individ- 
ually or as agent for white person, Rev. 1822, pp. 296 and 444. 

Ind. not liable to school tax, but not entitled to benefit of public 
schools, G. & H. Rev. vol. i, p. 542, re-enacted 1865, Davis, Supp., 
p. 440. 

Ills. negro servant "being lazy, disorderly, or guilty of misbehavior 
to his master," punishable with stripes, and same for refusal to 
work; liable to his master for all expenses incident to his recapture, 
if he attempted to escape from his apprenticeship; required to serve 
two days for every one he refused to work; apprentices punishable with 
stripes in all cases where free men punishable by fine; Rev. 1833, p. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 207 

cipated, to have employment, it will be found that this was much less 
harsh than the legislation of the Northern States. The truth is, that all 
white people who had known anything of negro slavery doubted that, 
when set free, they would voluntarily work and support themselves, and 
it was feared that pauperism would be largely increased by the emanci- 
pation of even a few negroes. Massachusetts prohibited any owner 

457, and contained in Revs. 1845 and 1858; public houses not allowed 
to entertain negroes and mulattoes, Rev. 1845, pp. 154 and 237; negroes 
to have benefit of only such school taxes as they paid themselves, Rev. 
1858, p. 460; see Rev. 1858, p. 418, for peculiarly discriminating punish- 
ment for adultery between whites and blacks. 

Neb. schools were for "white youth," Rev. 1866, p. 372, not altered 
till 1869. 

Kansas negroes excluded from common schools, Statutes 1855, p. 
700, and continued till 1868. 

Ind. not only forbid entry into the State, but forbid white persons 
to encourage those already in State to remain, either by giving them 
employment or otherwise, Const. 1851, art. 13, sec. 2. 

For additional laws see 111., Rev. 1858, pp. 817-826 Iowa, Code 1851, 
sees. 1127 and 1160. 

Garner makes reference to some vagrancy laws of other States; 
Wise., Rev. Statutes 1878, p. 465 N. Y., Rev. Stats. 1881, vol. Ill, p. 
1898 Maine, Rev. Stats. 1871, p. 260 Ind., Rev. Stats. 1881 Mass., 
Supp. to General Stats., vol. I, 1860-1872, ch. 235, p. 510 Conn., Rev. 
1866, ch. 4, p. 642. 

Mr. Herbert says (Atlantic Monthly, Feb., 1901, p. 152): "These stat- 
utes embraced, most of them without material variations, the features 
of the old law of Maine, brought forward in Rev. Stats, of 1883, sec. 
17, P- 9 2 5" punishing begging, or "tramping," by imprisonment at hard 
labor; "and the old law of Rhode Island, brought forward in Rev. 
Stats, of 1872, p. 243: 'If any servant or apprentice shall depart from 
the service of his master, or otherwise neglect his duty,' he may be 
committed to the work-house; and the long existing law of Connecti- 
cut, contained in Rev. of 1866, p. 320, punishing by fine or imprisonment 
one who shall entice 'a minor [apprentice] from the service or employ- 
ment of such master." 

As to voting, Mr. Elaine, speaking of determination of his party 
to enfranchise the negro, says (Twenty Years of Congress, vol. II, p. 
244) : "They were embarrassed, however, in this step by the constantly 
recurring obstacles presented by the constitutions of a majority of 
the loyal States. In five New England States suffrage to the colored 
man was conceded, but in Connecticut only those negroes were 
allowed to vote who were admitted freedmen prior to 1818. New 
York permitted a negro to vote after he had been three years a citi- 
zen of the State and had been for one year the owner of a freehold 
worth two hundred and fifty dollars, free of all encumbrances. In 
every other Northern State none but 'white men' were permitted to 
vote. Even Kansas * * * at once restricted suffrage to the white 
man; while Nevada, whose admission to the Union was after the Thir- 
teenth amendment had been passed by Congress, denied suffrage to 
'any negro, Chinaman or mulatto.' A still more recent test was ap- 
plied. The question of admitting the negro to suffrage was submitted 
to popular vote in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the au- 
tumn of 1865, and at the same time in Colorado, when she was forming 
her constitution, preparatory to seeking admission to the Union. In 
all four, under control of the Republican party at the time, the 
proposition was defeated." To one interested in the subject of the 
status of the negro in the organic laws of the various States, Poore's 
compilation of State Constitutions will be found invaluable Govern- 
ment Printing office, 1877. 

208 Mississippi Historical Society. 

from emancipating his slave unless bond and security were given that he 
should not become a charge on the town; stating, as a reason there- 
for, that 'great charges and inconveniences had accrued to divers 
towns by the setting free of negro and mulatto slaves.' Ohio, Indiana 
and Illinois prohibited free negroes and mulattoes from coming into 
and settling in those States, without such a bond being given; and they 
imposed heavy penalties on any person who would harbor, employ 
or give sustenance to such negro. And finally, after many years ex- 
perience with this class of people, Indiana and Illinois, by constitu- 
tional provision, prohibited the removing to and settling withii* 
their borders, of free negroes and mulattoes, on any terms whatever. 

"Oregon which was settled almost exclusively by Northern men 
likewise, by a similar constitutional provision, prohibited the immigra~ 
tion of free negroes and mulattoes, and deprived all such, so settling 
in the State, of the power to hold real estate or to make any contracts 
within the State, or to maintain suits in her courts. 

"Rhode Island, more than thirty years after slavery had been abol- 
ished there, would not allow licenses to keep a tavern or any kind of 
public house to be granted to negroes or mulattoes, nor would 
she allow a negro or mulatto to sell liquor as the agent or employee 
of a white person. 

"It is objected to the legislation of 1865 that the orphan children 
of deceased freedmen were required to be apprenticed, and that in- 
binding such out, the Court was required to give the preference to the 
former owner, if found suitable. This provision in the laws of 1865 
was much more liberal than similar provisions in Northern States. 
Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in their 
statutes abolishing slavery, provided that the children of living freed- 
men, not orphans merely, should remain bound to their former owners, 
till they were twenty-one years old, in some of these States, and till 
they were twenty-eight in others. 

"The Mississippi acts of 1865 required colored apprentices to be 
taught to read and write, but the Illinois statutes, whilst requiring 
white apprentices to be taught to read and write and to know arith- 
metic, provided that colored apprentices should only be taught to 
read. It is again objected to the legislation of 1865 that our colored 
friends were unnecessarily degraded by the provision in relation to- 
their being witnesses. This provision allowed them to be witnesses in 
all cases where colored people were interested; or had been injured, 
although white people were also interested in the suit or proceeding. 
This was ample to protect the rights of the colored people in all cases 
where they had any interest. If any were injured by this exclusion 
from being witnesses in cases where whites only were interested, it is 
clear that only the whites themselves were the sufferers. But this law 
is more liberal than that which obtained in the Northern States for 
many years after slavery had been abolished there. In Indiana, Illi- 
nois, Iowa and Kansas, negroes and mulattoes were not allowed to 
testify in any case in which a white person was interested, although 
free negroes and mulattoes were also interested. In many States they 
were not allowed to serve as jurors. In all the New England States, 
such qualifications were required and such a mode of selection adopted 
as almost necessarily excluded all negroes from juries. In Pennsyl- 
vania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and 
Kansas, free negroes and mulattoes were expressly excluded from the 
jury service, and in all others they were practically so excluded. Free 
negroes and mulattoes were also excluded from service in the militia, 
in the following States (reciting dates of exclusion in each) : Mass- 
achusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, 
Vermont, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, 
Nevada, and Kansas. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 209 

"It is also claimed, as an evidence of the unfriendly feeling of the 
whites toward the blacks in 1865, that no provision was made for their 
education. It will be remembered that at that time the State was 
greatly impoverished, and that no public schools were, or could be, 
put in operation for any race. The great and pressing necessity of our 
people then was food and raiment; but even then, as above shown, 
provision was made more liberal than in the Northern States for the 
education of apprenticed freedmen. As late as the sixth of March, 
1865 the very year in which this legislation was had Indiana re- 
enacted a provision which had long been standing on her statute books, 
that the school taxes should only be collected from whites, and only 
white children should go to the public schools; and in Illinois the 
school tax was to be divided between the whites and blacks, by giving 
to each race what that race paid. Which, considering the poverty, and 
small number of blacks, was an effectual exclusion of that race from 
the benefits of education. In Nebraska, the common schools were for 
whites only, till 1869. 

"The police regulations, and provisions against vagrancy, as applied 
to free negroes and mulattoes, were also more stringent in the North- 
ern States than those contained in the legislation of 1865. In Mass- 
achusetts, long after slavery was abolished, negroes and mulattoes were 
prohibited from entertaining any negro or mulatto servants, i. e., ap- 
prentices. In Rhode Island, they were, as before stated, prohibited 
from keeping any public house of entertainment, or saloon; nor were 
such persons allowed to keep a disorderly private house, nor entertain 
at their private dwelling, 'at unseasonable hours, or in an extravagant 
manner,' any person whatever, under penalty of having their private 
housekeeping broken up, and themselves bound out to service for two 
years. And in Illinois no person was allowed to permit three or more 
servants of color to meet at his house for the purpose of dancing and 

"Intermarriages between whites on the one side and negroes and 
mulattoes on the other, were prohibited and made void in most of 
the Northern States. In Massachusetts, the provision was, that 'no 
one of the English, Scot, or other Christian Nation, shall intermary 
with a negro or mulatto,' and a penalty of two hundred and fifty dollars 
was imposed on any minister solemnizing such a marriage. In Rhode 
Island, intermarriages between whites and colored persons were pro- 
hibited and made void, and this provision was re-enacted as late as 
1872. This provision was re-enacted in Maine, in the revision of 1871. 
In Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Nebraska, and probably in 
other States, such intermarriages were declared void, and these pro- 
visions were re-enacted in some of these States since the conclusion 
of the war. In Indiana and Illinois such intermarriages were so 
thoroughly condemned that the parties to them were punished by con- 
finement in the penitentiary. And in Illinois they were also punished 
by whipping, and an officer granting license for such a marriage was 
made thereafter ineligible to office. In these last two States, as a 
condition of settling and remaining there, in addition to what has 
been before set forth, colored persons were required to give bonds, 
in large penalties, which were to be forfeited upon the least violation 
of the laws of the State by them. 

"As to the right of voting, the laws in the Northern States were 
equally stringent against persons of the African race. In Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, Maine. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Nebraska, Nevada and 
Kansas, free negroes and mulattoes were prohibited from voting; and 
in nearly all of these the provisions remained unchanged until the 
adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment, in 1870. In many of these the 
provision excluding negroes and mulattoes from voting remains un- 


2io Mississippi Historical Society. 

changed in terms in their present constitutions, and their right to vote 
in these States rests entirely in the Fifteenth Amendment. It will be 
noted, too, that in some of these States unnaturalized foreigners, and 
Indians were allowed to vote, yet the right was denied to persons of 
African descent, and it will be noted also, that this exclusion obtained 
in the States where the colored population was so small that if they 
had been allowed to vote, the exercise of the right by them would 
have had but little effect on the result of the elections. 

"That the right of voting was almost universally considered as be- 
longing almost solely to the whites in the Northern States, up to the 
adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment, I refer to the proclamations of 
President Lincoln, dated December, 1863, and July, 1864, and designed 
to secure a reconstruction of the Southern States, in which suffrage 
was confined to whites only; and Congress, in the year 1864, passed an 
act for the same purpose, giving only whites the right to vote. 

"And in Mr. Lincoln's proclamation, above referred to, dated Decem- 
ber, 1863, this remarkable passage occurs: 'That any provision which 
may be adopted by such State government (referring to the State 
governments to be reconstructed in the Southern States, under his 
proclamation), in relation to the freed people of such State, which 
shall recognize and declare their permanent freedom, provide for their 
education, and which may yet be consistent as a temporary arrangement 
with their present condition as a laboring, landless and homeless class, 
will not be objected to by the National Executive.' 82 And in a speech 
which he made afterwards, on the nth of April, 1865, at Washington, 
being the last speech ever made by him, he distinctly admitted that 
he referred, by this clause to a temporary apprenticeship of freedmen, 
after their emancipation. 

"The war ended in the summer of 1865. The slaves were emancipat- 
ed, suddenly, without previous preparation. The emancipation was 
sweeping, including all. Many thousands of the freedmen had aban- 
doned their homes, and had congregated in the cities, and were living 
on the bounty of the Freedmen s Bureau. 

"The State had just been devastated by war. The people were with- 
out farming implements and stock, and without the means of buying 
them. Proper food and raiment were not to be had. A large number 
of men had just returned from the army, without the means of support, 
and were without employment. The government over the State was 
partly civil and partly military, and the bounds of neither were ac- 
curately defined and understood. The white people were overwhelmed 
by the magnitude of the calamity which had befallen them, and the 
blacks were almost stupefied by the novel circumstances which sur- 
rounded them. 

"Under these circumstances the white race was called upon to solve 
the most difficult problem that had ever been presented to the human 
intellect. The time was unsuited for calm and deliberate action, yet 
the duty to act was emergent, not admitting of delay. Is it to be 
wondered that the first effort that was made, though intended only 
as a temporary arrangement, was a mistake? 6 * Is it strange, that in 
groping their way through this darkness, in undertaking to solve this 
great problem, they fell into the paths which had been trodden by the 
whites of the North and of England? And is it not now still more 
strange that having corrected their error in about a year after it was 

62 Richardson's Messages and Papers, vol. VI, p. 214. 

83 If General George intended to include in this characterization the 
labor and vagrancy laws, he had probably not closely studied their 
operation in the French colonies and British West Indies. This much 
of Mississippi's legislation was clearly not a "mistake;" the rest, as he 
notes, was soon repealed. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 211 

committed, by a repeal of the most obnoxious provisions, they are 
now charged with enmity and vindictiveness toward the freedmen, 
whilst those who, under circumstances far more favorable, acting calmly 
and in perfect peace, and in their own good time, passed more strin- 
gent regulations, and kept them in force for many years, are to be 
regarded as having acted justly and properly?" 

A discussion of Mississippi's conduct in the matter of amend- 
ing her constitution and framing legislation for freedmen, would 
manifestly be lacking in an essential particular if it failed to no- 
tice her action on the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. 
These matters are too intimately correlated to be disassociated 
in any treatment, at all comprehensive, of either. The same 
men who enacted the legislation of 1865 and 1866 also declined 
to ratify either of these amendments when submitted to them. 
They may not have been subjected to as much abuse for this ac- 
tion as for their laws, but equally as much capital has been 
sought to be made out of the one as the other. It is an old 
claim, this, that they had no good reason for their action, but 
that it was founded in both cases upon nothing higher than 
hatred of the negro and their inability to reconcile themselves 
to the idea of his becoming a citizen. The real grounds of their 
objection have not received such wide currency as those alleged 
by men ever seeking an excuse in Southern political conduct for 
the inexcusable in their own. 

In Governor Humphreys' message submitting the proposed 
Article XIII., he advised the ratification of the first section, 
abolishing slavery, and the rejection of the second, the enforcing 
section. His message was referred to the Committee on State 
and Federal Relations, and the report of that committee was 
prepared by Hon. H. F. Simrall, later a distinguished Justice of 
the State Supreme Court. The report follows, in part : 

"The first and main section of the Article has already been adopted 
by Mississippi, in so far as her territory and people are concerned. 
It was substantially, and almost in terms, incorporated into the State 
Constitution by the late Convention. Nor is it possible for the State, 
by any act or in any mode, conventional or otherwise, to change the 
status fixed by the Convention. ****** The late constitutional 
amendment was adopted in perfect good faith. The people have ac- 
cepted it, and will adhere to it, in the like spirit. * * * * The adoption 
of the proposed amendment, as Article XIII, can have no practical 
operation in the State of Mississippi. The absolute freedom of the 
African race is already assured here. It is an accomplished fact. 

"The second section is subject to most grave objections. It confers 
on Congress the power to enforce the article by 'appropriate legisla- 

212 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tion.' Slavery haying already been abolished, there is really no neces- 
sity for this section, nor can the committee anticipate any practical 
good that can result from its adoption. On the contrary, it seems to 
be fraught with evils which the Legislature and the people of Miss- 
issippi are most anxious to guard against ******** j^ j s t ne 
anxious desire of the people of Mississippi to withdraw the negro race 
from State and National politics; to quiet forever all subjects and 
questions connected with it, and, so far as forecast and precaution can 
do so, to forestall and prevent the outbreak of agitation hereafter. 
The committee cannot anticipate what construction future congresses 
may put on this section. It may be claimed that it would be 'appro- 
priate' for Congress to legislate in reference to freedmen in the State. 
May not the harmony of the country be interrupted and disturbed by 
the efforts of a political party to interfere in the domestic polity of the 
State on the pretext that its legislation trenched on the freedom of a 
certain class of its population, and therefore it ought to be revised and 
corrected by Congress. 

"This committee can hardly conceive of a more dangerous grant of 
power than one which by construction might admit Federal legisla- 
tion in respect to persons, denizens and inhabitants of the State. * * * 
* * *Mississippi cannot give her deliberate consent to leave open any 
question from which agitation can arise, calculated to disturb the 
harmony so happily being restored among the States and the people. 
****** It is the common interest of the people in all quarters ot 
the Union, now that the vexed questions connected with the negro 
race are all merged and settled in liberation, that ***** the door 
be * * * closed against future agitation and disturbance from this cause. 
****** The tendency of the section is to absorb in the Federal 
Government the reserved rights of the States and people, to unsettle 
the equilibrium of the States in the Union, and to break down the 
efficient authority and sovereignty of the State over its internal and 
domestic affairs. In any aspect of the subject this section is unpro- 
ductive of good, and may be fruitful of most serious evils. Connected 
as the first section of the proposed Article is with the second, and 
both being included in the same Article as an amendment to the 
Constitution, and a ratification of the first, and a rejection of the sec- 
ond, being as your committee think, inappropriate, and of non-effect: 

Resolved therefore, by the Legislature of tlie State of Mississippi, That 
it refuses to ratify the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the 
United States."' 

In considering these two amendments, Mississippi had two 
courses open before her : She could act in unquestioning com- 
pliance with the demands so clearly visible behind the formal 
requests from Congress for her judgment upon these proposed 
articles, to the stultification of her historic attitude on the vital 
question of the reserved rights of the State having abandoned 
forever any attempt to exercise that of withdrawal from the 
Federal compact, the only one involved in and determined by 
the war or she could, in the exercise of her sovereignty as a 
State in the Union of which she was declared to be still a part, 
put away from her every consideration of servile expediency, 

"Laws of 1865, pp. 270, et seq. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 213 

and record her solemn and deliberate conviction upon the wis- 
dom of so grave a proposition as altering the organic law of 
that Union. Whether wisely or unwisely, she chose without 
hesitation, the latter course. 

Governor Humphreys submitted the proposed Fourteenth Ar- 
ticle to the session of 1866, in a message in which he said: 
"Our people are wearied of war, its desolation, its vandalism. 
They have returned to their allegiance to the Constitution of 
the United States. They now seek for peace, its quiet and se- 
curity, by submission to its power." He declared the proposed 
amendment to be : "* * such a gross usurpation of the 
rights of the State, and such a centralization of power in the 
Federal Government, that, I presume, a mere reading of it will 
cause its rejection by you." 

The report on which the action of the Legislature was based 
was the work of the same distinguished gentleman who had 
prepared that on the former amendment. A careful study of 
this profound disquisition on the Federal Constitution, of which 
only a few arguments are presented here, will rank it among 
the ablest papers of its kind ever prepared in America. Says 
the report: 

"History has taught how exceedingly difficult it is to establish any 
form of government and definitely settle its powers. The interests to 
be subserved by it are susceptible of almost infinite modifications. 
These should, as far as practicable, be reconciled and harmonized. It 
may not be prudent to venture on the untried experiment of improve- 
ment, from the mere suggestions of theory. Unless defects have been 
clearly discovered which retard or impair the beneficial operation ot 
the government, or which endanger its purity and integrity, it were 
wise to let the Constitution alone. **************** 
The civil war has closed with two facts indisputably established, uni- 
versally accepted and recognized by the people of the South. First, 
that slavery is forever abolished. Second, that the Federal Union is 
indissolvable. The State Convention of 1^65 so declared. * * * * The 
people, in the highest form in which they can exert sovereign power, 
have declared that slavery does not, and shall not hereafter exist, and 
that the secession ordinance is null and void." 

Declaring that both these matters slavery and the right of 
secession had reached a complete and final adjustment, he 
said that they carried with them a determination "of all and 
everything that has been in dispute between the sections." 

"The committee see nothing in the intrinsic merits of the proposed 
amendment, in the manner of its adoption by Congress, or in the cir- 
cumstances that environ the State of Mississippi, that commends its 
ratification. Every important amendment paves the way for future 

214 Mississippi Historical Society. 

changes. Prior to our late troubles, all the amendments made to the 
Federal Constitution were of the nature of limitations and restrictions 
on power. The one proposed is so comprehensive, touching so many 
points, and including so many subjects that have heretofore belonged 
exclusively to State cognizance, that, for a long time, there must be 
embarrassment, confusion and interference between the Federal and 
State jurisdictions. It is recommended as a cure for present dis- 
tempers. The good which its friends are assured it will bring, may 
all turn to ashes in practice, and, instead of remedying grievances,, 
it may entail on the country a long train of evils. *********** 

This amendment would disturb to a degree which no jurist can fore- 
see, the established relations between the State and Federal courts. 

* * * It confers on Congress large and undefined power, at the 
expense of the reserved rights of the State. It transfers to the United 
States a criminal and police regulation over ;the inhabitants of the 
States, touching matters purely domestic. It intervenes between the 
State government and its inhabitants, on the assumption that there is 
an alienation of interest and sentiment between certain portions of 
the population, and that such intervention is for the benefit of one 
class against the other. It tends to create distrust and jealousy be- 
tween the white and black races, and perpetually to disturb and keep 
alive these evil passions. It invites appeal from the domestic to the 
Federal judiciary, on questions arising on local law, on the predicate 
that the State courts will not deal between the parties with fairness 
or impartiality. It inculcates in the colored population a distrust of 
State law and authority for the protection of person and property, and 
[a tendency] to regard both as alien and inimical and constantly to 
require the legislative and judicial corrective of the Federal power. 
The amendment introduces new rules, or attempts to enforce them 
on the States, in regard to citizenship and the elective franchise. * * 

* * * It is obvious that the object is to compel the Southern States 
to accept negro suffrage, on pain of the reduction of their representation 
in Congress and the Electoral College. ********* 
The franchise of voting is not a natural right. In no age or coun- 
try has suffrage been universal. ***** When the scheme of 
government is so contrived that ultimate power is with the people, * 

* * especial care should be taken that the voting class should not 
be swollen by sudden and large infusions of ignorance and prejudice. 
It cannot be pretended that the lately enfranchised blacks are, as a 
body, either morally or intellectually entitled to vote. ***** 

Judge Simrall, in discussing the Fourth section, which dis- 
franchised certain classes connected with the Confederacy, and 
reciting the fact of the pardon of so many of these by the Presi- 
dent, entered at length into the nature and effect of the execu- 
tive pardon. Showing that these men had been thus restored 
"to the precise status they bore towards the United States be- 
fore the criminating acts were done," he says : 

"These citizens would not be convicted by the courts. To reach them 
by a bill of attainder or ex post facto law, is beyond the power of Con- 
gress. The problem is yet unsolved, whether they may not be punished 
by a Constitutional Amendment." 

He discussed at length, and most exhaustively, the numerous 
Executive and legislative acts which, during the war, had uni- 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 215 

formly regarded the Southern States as incontrovertibly mem- 
bers of the Union, and reviewed the mode prescribed by the 
Constitution for its amendment. He demonstrated the impos- 
sibility of the passage by Congress of an amendment, in con- 
formity with the constitutional requirement, with the Southern 
States excluded ; on the simple ground, of course, that there 
were not the required two-thirds of the people and States repre- 
sented in the House of Representatives and Senate, respectively. 
Contending that the result of the war, of itself, worked the 
preservation of the Union of the States, he declared: 

"It is impossible, in our complex system, that a State can occupy a 
middle ground. It is revolutionary, subversive of fundamental princi- 
ples, that a State may be in the Union for some purposes, and out ot 
it for others. That she may, through her legislature, ratify an amend- 
ment to the Constitution, and at the same time be excluded from the 
consideration and vote on the amendment in Congress. : 

"To deny to the State representation, ***** an( j a ^g same 
time to levy on her people direct taxes, which can only be apportioned 
on the representative basis, * * is to hold the State and people under 
the disabilities of conquered territory. 


"The assumption that twenty-five States can govern the other eleven, 
in a mode different from that prescribed in the Constitution, is nothing 
more nor less than a subversion of the Constitution and the Union 
created by it ****************** 

"The Senate and House are, respectively, the judges of the election 
and qualification of their respective members. The inquiry is limited to 
each individual applicant for a seat. What the qualifications are. are 
plainly written in the Constitution. If the Congress can go outside oi 
the Constitutional rule, and exclude an entire State delegation, because 
of their political opinions, or those of their constituents, then a ma- 
jority in Congress may perpetuate its faction or party in power, by 
shutting the doors of Congress on all who do not agree with it." 85 

Because of the vituperation heaped upon Mississippi for this 
action, because it has been charged that it was merely in con- 
sonance with her previous course of "ineffable folly," and to 
have been expected of such men as composed her convention 
and Legislature in 1865, these extracts have been made as full 
as they are. Mr..Blaine says that this action "was scarcely less 
mad than the madness of secession," and that "it is difficult, in 
deliberately weighing all the pertinent incidents and circum- 
stances, to discover any motive which could, even to their own 
distorted view, justify the position they had so rashly taken." 
He applies this to the entire South. His favorite mode of re- 
ferring to this grave action is to speak of it as a "contemptu- 

85 House Journal, 1866-67, Appendix, pp. 77 et. seq. 

216 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ous rejection." Not satisfied with heaping upon these legisla- 
tures all the varied forms of abuse which his ready wit devised, 
he stoops, even beneath himself, to charge them by implication 
with cowardice as well as folly. He says, "It was naturally in- 
ferred and was subsequently proved, that the Southern States 
would not hare dared to take this hostile attitude except with the 
encouragement and the unqualified support of the President." 

With even this fragmentary exposition before us, of the faith 
which was within these men, of the reasons moving their steps, 
how undignified, how shallow, how unworthy even its author, 
becomes this charge, fit only to be preferred against the "deals" 
which might influence such transactions as the altering of a vil- 
lage ordinance. 

What, then, is the relation which these actions as part of 
the general conduct of the South at large bore to the recon- 
struction acts and the last two amendments? Can the Con- 
gressional legislation which converted a great section of country 
into a military satrapy, can the radical and unconstitutional 
changes in the organic law, which, for the accomplishment of 
the low aim of perpetuating political power, would wreck the so- 
ciety and arrest the progress of the civilization of that section ; 
can these things be fairly traced, in any part, to the acts of Mis- 
sissippi's Constitutional Convention and Legislature of 1865? 

Mr. Blaine has told the world that this relation was nothing 
less than that of cause and effect ; that but for the one, the other 
would not have been. 

But even Elaine's exceptionally able combination of sophistry 
and logic is unequal to the task of evoking harmony from the 
double claim that the South brought all her woes upon herself, 
while endeavoring at the same time to establish his party's 
claim to the negro's gratitude for making him a citizen and a 
voter. Speaking of the reconstruction acts, under which it was 
so arranged that, through the disfranchisement of white men 
and the enfranchisement of black, the Republican leaders could 
force through Southern Legislatures any action necessary to 
their purposes, he says : 

"It was the most vigorous and determined action ever taken by Con- 
gress in time of peace. * * * It changed the political history of the 
United States. But it is well to remember that it never could have 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 217 

:been accomplished except for the conduct of the Southern leaders. The 
people of the States affected have always preferred as their chief griev- 
ance against the Republican party, that negro suffrage was imposed 
upon them as a condition to their re-admission to representation; but 
this recital of the facts in their proper sequence shows that the South 
deliberately and wittingly brought it upon themselves." 

His reference here is to the rejection of the Fourteenth 
Amendment, and her general legislative conduct. To quote 
again : 

"If, therefore, suffrage was prematurely granted to the negro; if, in 
consequence, harm came to the Southern States; if hardship was in- 
flicted upon Southern people, the responsibility for it cannot be justly 
laid upon Northern sentiment or upon the Republican party." 

Really, a stranger to the facts might well imagine the ship of 
State to have been manned, during the stormy five years follow- 
ing the war, solely by a Southern crew, with "the pirate of the 
Alabama" himself at the helm ! But what of the record ? 

Let us collate a few, but a very few, of Mr. Elaine's own ex- 
pressions on the subject, with such utterances from other lead- 
ers as he has seen fit to use. To return to the very beginning of 
Johnson's reconstruction plan, and glance at the reason for its 
disfavor with the dominant power and section before any con- 
ventions had been held, prior to the assembling of the first 
Legislature. We are told : 

"It soon became evident 86 that President Johnson realized how com- 
pletely he had excluded men of the colored race from any share of 
political power in the Southern States by his process of reconstruction." 

It was at this time that Mr. Johnson, from the very storm 
centre of partisan politics, aware of every intention of the rad- 
ical leaders, had written Governor Sharkey that the radicals 
were even then "wild upon negro franchise." This was the time 
when Judge Yerger, from personal discussion and observation 
at the National Capital, was able to outline the provisions and 
demands and conditions of the already matured plan of recon- 
struction, which the radicals were to force through at the op- 
portune moment, and to do it so closely as to exactly parallel 
Stevens' bill, even to the clause which was finally modified that 
making the military governments of indefinite duration. 
Even then Judge Potter felt the very atmosphere to be laden 

68 Mr. Elaine's assertions as to the absence of Northern sentiment, 
and his disclaimer of Republican responsibility, must be borne in mind. 

218 Mississippi Historical Society. 

with the demand for negro suffrage, for "equal political rights 
to the blacks." And all this was early in 1865. 
Mr. Elaine continues: 

"It is true that he stood loyally by the Thirteenth Amendment. * * 
* * * But he saw, as others had seen before him, that this was not going 
far enough to satisfy the reasonable desire of many in the North whom he felt 
it necessary to conciliate. To emancipate the negro and concede to 
him no possible power wherewith to protect his freedom would, in 
the judgment of many Northern philanthropists, prove the merest mockery 
of justice." 

Keeping in mind the objects sought to be accomplished 
through the Lincoln-Seward-Johnson emancipation policy, let 
us again follow Mr. Elaine: 

"The President seemed to have no comprehension of the fact that 
with inconsiderable exceptions the entire party was composed of Radicals, 
men who in aim and sympathy were hostile to the purposes indicated 
by his policy. * * * * The radicalism to which he now contempt- 
uously indicated his opposition was that which looked to the broadening 
of human rights, to philanthropy, to charity and to good deeds." 

And again he says : 

"The truth was that the Republicans of the North, constituting, as 
was shown by the elections of 1865, a majority in every State, were 
deeply concerned as to the fate and fortune of the colored population 
of the South." 

He insisted, however, that, 

"Only a minority of Republicans were ready to demand suffrage for 
those who had been recently emancipated, and who, from the ignor- 
ance peculiar to servitude, were presumably unfit to be intrusted with the 
elective franchise." 

It would appear to the casual reader that, even if there were 
no Northern sentiment favorable to this movement, here might 
be found a fair foundation for building upon. Even Mr. Elaine, 
at this time, 1865, seems to have thought of the possibility of 
such a thing though, it seems, according to his statement, 
that nothing came of it that the seeds failed to bring forth 
their fruit: 

"The minority, however, was composed of very earnest men of the 
same type as those who originally created and combined the anti- 
slavery sentiment of the country, and who now espoused the right of 
the negro to equality before the law. Equality, they believed, could 
neither be conferred nor maintained unless the negro were invested 
with the badge of American manhood the right to vote a right zvhich 
they were determined to guarantee as firmly to the colored man as it was 
already guaranteed to the ivhite man." 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 219 

He claims that the Republican masses were not then pre- 
pared to go to this extreme, but he accounts for it easily : 

"That privilege was, indeed, still denied him in a majority of the loyal 
States, and it seemed illogical and unwarrantable, to expect a more 
advanced philanthropy, a higher sense of justice, from the South than 
had been yet attained by the North." 

It is well enough to note this, for we shall presently see how 
readily and easily were these trifling scruples disposed of. 

As early as February, 1865, Mr. Sumner declared that "the 
cause of human rights and of the Union needs the ballots as 
well as the muskets of colored men." How comes it that the 
Southern Legislatures brought upon their States the horrors 
of reconstruction according to the Stevens-Morton plan, when 
Mr. Stevens had, in December, 1865, already given utterance 
to the sentiments which dominated every feature of that plan? 
In the speech with which he opened the Reconstruction debate, 
he laid down the principles to which his associates afterwards 
subscribed. These were simple enough : 

"The future condition of the conquered power depends on the will ot 
the conqueror. They must come in as new States or remain as con- 
quered provinces;" the coming in was to be on such terms, too, and with 
such regulations of suffrage, as would "secure perpetual ascendency to the 
party of the Union." 

As Mr. Herbert says, Stevens had already declared that, 
"Congress would take no account of the aggregation of white- 
washed rebels who, without any legal authority, have assembled 
in the capitals of the late rebel States and simulated legislative 
bodies." This was the idea, and it was followed to the letter; 
Congress "took no account" of Mississippi's acts, legislative, 
executive or judicial, and what she did had about the same ef- 
fect on reconstruction legislation as an appeal to reason would 
have had upon the Radical minds of that time when judgment 
truly had fled to brutish beasts. 

To again quote Mr. Summer: 

"Nothing is clearer than the absolute necessity for suffrage for all 
colored persons in the disorganized States." 

This was the program : there was to be no half-hearted, half- 
way business, when once the dance of death was fairly started. 

"It will not be enough if you give it to those who read and write; you will 
not in this way acquire the voting force which you need there for the 
protecting of Unionists, whether black or white. You will not secure 
the new allies who are essential to the National cause." 

22O Mississippi Historical Society. 

In this connection Mr. Herbert has called attention to a fact 
now seldom adverted to ; the popular discussion, from the 
stump and rostrum, of these measures by Radical leaders. Says 

"In the spring of 1865, the New York Tribune, while contending that 
the negro was entitled to the ballot, was urging the unwisdom of taking 
issue with a Republican President who had at hand all the patronage of 
the government. When, however, the 4th of July, the national anni- 
versary, had come, orations were made by such leaders as Boutwell in 
Massachusetts, Garfield in Ohio, and Julian in Indiana, advocating 
broadly negro suffrage for the late Confederate States, and this before 
a single State convention had assembled under Johnson's reconstruc- 
tion proclamations." 67 

Touching Mr. Elaine's disclaimer as to responsibility and 
sentiment, there is other testimony which should be introduced. 
It emanates from no less a personage than Henry Wilson, Sen- 
ator from Massachusetts, and Vice-President of the United 
States. Speaking of the joint resolution introduced by Mr. 
Stevens, from the reconstruction committee, which became, 
with some alterations, Article XIV. of the Constitution, Mr. 
Wilson says: 

"The measure now proposed by Mr. Stevens was far from satisfactory 
to either the mover or those he represented. For it has since transpir- 
ed that another plan had been submitted to him and others by Robert 
Dale Owen, who, though not a member of Congress, was, as chairman 
of a government commission in 1863, to inquire into the condition of 
the freedmen, prepared to speak with some knowledge upon the sub- 
ject. This plan had received Mr. Stevens' assent and earnest advocacy, 
and had been adopted by the Committee on Reconstruction." 

It was not reported for the reasons to follow. This plan, ad- 
vocated, and actually adopted, by the committee in whose keep- 
ing, as Mr. Blaine says, were "in an especial degree the fortunes 
of the Republican party," provided that no discrimination 
should be made by a State, "as to the civil rights of persons, 
because of race, color or previous condition of servitude," and 
that after July 4, 1876, none should be made "as to the enjoy- 
ment of the right of suffrage." This, let it be remembered, 
was early in 1866, and was the formal adoption of a plan ma- 
tured long prior to that time. Mr. Wilson dwells particularly 
upon its suffrage feature, thus early determined upon, and says : 

"The main significance of this plan and its importance as a matter 
of history lie in the facts that it at first commanded the support of the 
Committee on Reconstruction, though it was afterward rejected, with 

07 Atlantic Monthly, Feb., 1901. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 221 

the reasons given for that final rejection. The latter, according to the 
testimony of Mr. Stevens to its author, were that caucuses of the Re- 
publican members of the States of New York, Illinois and Indiana, had 
decided that, for fear of its influence upon the pending elections, it 
would not be safe to incorporate into the avowed policy of the party the 
idea of negro suffrage, even prospectively, at the end of ten years, and 
the fact that the committee so far yielded to the clamor as to recon- 
sider its action, and submit the article as reported, hastily drawn up, 
and so far defective and so far inferior to that it rejected as to render 
necessary the subsequent adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment. So fearful, 
not to say cowardly, were even Republicans of that day, so faintly did 
they discern the issues of the war, and the necessities of the situation, and so 
afraid, in the slang parlance employed on the occasion, were they of 
the 'nigger in the wood-pile.' " 

But Mr. Wilson was needlessly severe. It was early yet, and 
"the issues of the war" were soon discerned, "the necessities of 
the situation" soon realized, the fear soon overcome. He 
should have considered, as we have seen that Mr. Blaine did, 
the fact that those States did not yet care to experiment with 
negro suffrage upon themselves, either at once or prospectively, 
when its effects could be observed with so much more safety by 
first trying it on the South ; especially since it might require an 
autopsy to fully determine its operation. 

Discussing, a little further on, the Fifteenth Amendment, 
we have this candid deliverance : 

"It should be premised and it may be appropriately mentioned in this 
connection that from the first the thought of negro suffrage, as one 
of the logical results of the Rebellion, was entertained." 

Quoting the language of Mr. Boutwell, Mr. Wilson throws 
some additional light upon the matter of "Northern sentiment :" 

"* * * *if this country is true to itself it will rise in the majesty 
of its strength and maintain a policy, here and everywhere, by which 
the rights of the colored people shall be secured through their own 
power, in peace the ballot, in war the bayonet." 88 

It may be mentioned that Mr. Schurz also, in his report on 
Southern conditions, prepared in the winter of 1865^6, recom- 
mended that the negro be "endowed with a certain measure of 
political power," saying that, considering "the security of hu- 
man rights in the South," and other things, "the objections 
raised upon the ground of the ignorance of the freedmen be- 
come unimportant." 

To return to Mr. Blaine. After reviewing the reports and 

88 Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, vol. III. pp. 650-652, 662- 

222 Mississippi Historical Society. 

measures emanating from the reconstruction committee, and 
the discussions, pro and con, he says, speaking of "the great 
majority of Northern people," that "the average judgment ap- 
proved the sharply defined and stringent policy of Congress as 
set forth by Mr. Stevens." 

Upon this "stringent policy" the Republican party went be- 
fore the country in 1866. Among the features of the campaign, 
as indicative, it is to be presumed, of "Northern sentiment," 
was the convention of "citizen soldiers and sailors." From the 
Radical standpoint its action left nothing to be desired. Of 
Mr. Johnson it declared: 

"His attempt to fasten his scheme of reconstruction upon the country 
is as dangerous as it is unwise; his acts in sustaining it have retarded 
the restoration of peace and unity; they have converted conquered 
rebels into impudent claimants to rights which they have forfeited and 
to places which they have desecrated." 

Every utterance of the leaders in Congress was fully en- 
dorsed, and Mr. Elaine says that the convention's action was 
"most influential upon public opinion." 

He also says : 

"There was an unmistakeable manifestation throughout the whole 
political canvass of 1866, by the more advanced section of the Repub- 
lican party, in favor of demanding impartial suffrage as the basis of 
reconstruction in the South. It came from the people rather than from 
the political leaders." 

"A large number of thinking people," he says, "* * could not see 
how * * * the Republican party could refrain from catting to its aid the 
only large mass of persons in the South whose loyalty could be impli- 
citly trusted." 

This and the expressions discussed above, were all occur- 
rences of the years 1865 and 1866 many being merely the ut- 
terance of convictions and determinations reached prior, even, 
to the first named year. The Fourteenth Amendment was not 
submitted to the South until the latter part of 1866. Yet, with 
all this before us, we are complacently informed, touching negro 
suffrage, "that the South deliberately and wittingly brought it 
upon themselves," that "the original difficulty was the rejection 
of the Fourteenth Amendment by the South;" that it "cannot 
be justly laid upon Northern sentiment or upon the Republican 

Not satisfied with the stultifying exhibit already made, he 
further enlarges it by quoting his own remarks on the military 
reconstruction bill of 1867, the first act of a Congress whose 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 223 

course, he says, "was firm to the point of severity." He said 
that he believed 

"The true interpretation of the election of 1866 was that, in addition 
to the proposed constitutional amendment, impartial suffrage should be 
the basis of reconstruction. Why not declare it so? Why not, when 
you send out this military police through the lately rebellious States, 
send with it that impressive declaration?" 

Garfield himself, in the same debate, declared that it had been 
known at the previous session that "if the Republican party 
lived, it must live by the strength of the Constitutional amend- 
ment." As if to conclude for all time any question as to the 
significance of the election, Elaine adds the declaration that 

"The Republican victory of 1866 led to the incorporation of impartial 
suffrage in the reconstruction laws." 89 

With what followed the application of the reconstruction acts 
of 1867, we have no concern here ; but it is proper to bring into 
view a single act of the Republican party in the year follow- 
ing. This, because of its bearing upon the attitude of certain 
Northern States, and of the dominant political party of the 
Union, upon a once perplexing phase of the negro suffrage pro- 

It will be recalled that Mr. Elaine has more than once ad- 
verted to the embarrassment of his party on the question of 
negro suffrage, by reason of the fact of its denial in the con- 
stitutions of a "majority of the loyal States." We have also 
been afforded, by Mr. Wilson, a glance at the troubles arising 
from this "loyal State" inhibition. The matter being one of 
purely partisan advantage except, possibly, in the case of a 
few idealists of the Sumner type the question was presented 
as one demanding a "practical" solution. Congress having 
usurped the power of regulating the franchise in the Southern 
States, and the Fifteenth Amendment not yet having been pro- 
posed, a very simple expedient for avoiding the difficulty was 
determined upon. 

The highest authority known to the American party system is 
the National Convention. This question, then, came naturally 
before that of the Republican party at Chicago, May 20, 1868; 
and the assembled judgment of that party, speaking its de- 

** Twenty Years of Congress, vol. II, pp. 80, 82, 92, 128, 150, 192, 232, 
243, 244, 256, 259, 262, 264, 412. 

224 Mississippi Historical Society. 

liberate conviction of justice and of right upon this proposition, 
thus recorded itself, in the second section of the declaration 
of its principles : 

"The guarantee by Congress of equal suffrage to all loyal men at 
the South was demanded by every consideration of public safety, of 
gratitude and of justice, and must be maintained; while the question of 
suffrage in all the loyal States properly belongs to the people of those States." 

To do justice to this brazen exhibition of the real impelling 
force behind a policy so long pursued under the guise of high 
impulse and broad political philanthrophy, this crowning revela- 
tion of vindictive malignity, it may answer to paraphrase Mr. 
Elaine's characterization of Mississippi's "black code," and say 
that it was altogether a shameless proclamation of indecent 
wrong on the part of the Republican party, and to invoke the 
aid of John A. Logan's diatribe on Andrew Johnson, in declar- 
ing that the world in after times will read the history of this act 
as an illustration of the depth to which political turpitude can 

What then becomes of the allegation of cause and effect, 
as indicating the relation between Mississippi's actions, and the 
South's, and the reconstruction acts and war amendments? 

Where is the necessity for further testimony? The amount 
of evidence available depends merely upon the patience of him 
who seeks it, and it were an idle pastime to pile proof upon 

Let the last word be spoken by the most competent authority 
now alive a Northern Republican one who was a very part 
of the work of reconstruction, as the head of a State under- 
going its process Governor Daniel H. Chamberlain : 

"The white South was helpless. The black South was equal to all the 
needs of the hour; ignorant, to be sure, but loyal; inexperienced, but 
with the ballot as its teacher and inspiration, capable of assuring good 
government. Hardly anywhere else in recorded debates can be found 
so surprising a revelation of the blindness of partisan zeal as these dis- 
cussions disclose. (The debates on reconstruction.) But it may now be 
clear to all, as it was then clear to some, that underneath all the avow- 
ed motives and all the open arguments lay a deeper cause than all 
others, the will and determination to secure party ascendency and 
control at the South and in the nation through the negro vote. If this 
is a hard saying, let anyone now ask himself, or ask the public, if it is 
possibly credible that the reconstruction acts would have been passed 
if the negro vote had been believed to be Democratic." 70 

70 Atlantic Monthly, April, 1901, pp. 473-4. 

Legal Status of Freedmen. Stone. 225 

And yet there are not wanting, at this late day, American 
publicists, and some even of the South, to declare that the 
Southern States could have altered the course of events that 
in that time Mississippi did not wisely play her part. Why 
longer attempt to perpetrate upon history so barefaced a 
fraud ? 

In pleading for negro suffrage Mr. Sumner had declared his 
belief in "equality as the God-given birthright of all men," say- 
ing, that "If this be an error it is an error which I love." 
Upon the altar of his devotion to this error he hestitated 
not to risk the sacrifice of millions of his countrymen. But 
his associates in this error and with them it was not an 
error, but rather a deliberate crime are denied even the excuse 
of being idealists. They were men of practical mind, and in 
considering their course we see to what desperate measures 
lust for power may lead. The stake for which they played was 
high, 'tis true, and in those times cupidity held within her own 
revenge's helping hand ; but the men with whom they had to 
deal were white men like themselves, and it would seem that 
the reflection of a passing hour must have shown them how 
desperate was their venture. 

They had ample warning from the South herself, for the 
President had told them that of all the dangers yet encoun- 
tered by the Nation none were equal to those "which must re- 
sult from the success of the effort now making to Africanize 
the half of our country." He said: 

"We must not delude ourselves. It will require a strong stand- 
ing army, and probably more than two hundred millions per an- 
num, to maintain the supremacy of negro governments after they are 

But from such a source only treason could spring, and so the 
work went on. 

To such an attempt it had been ordained in the very creation 
of mankind that there should ever be but a single end. That end 
was inevitable, and in due time it came, and in its wake have 
followed, "not only peace, but peace with harmony and pros- 
perity, as extended as the Republic." 

It has been said of the accomplishment of the results which 

226 Mississippi Historical Society. 

followed this radical folly, by one never charged with friend- 
ship for the South, 71 that 

"It was a magnificent sentiment that underlay it all, an unfaltering 
determination, an invincible defiance to all that had the seeming of 
compulsion or tyranny. One cannot but regard with pride and sym- 
pathy the indomnitable men, who, being conquered in war, yet resisted 
every effort of the conqueror to change their laws, their customs, or 
even the personnel of their ruling class; and this, too, not only with 
unyielding stubbornness, but with success. One cannot but admire the 
arrogant boldness with which they charged the nation which had over- 
powered them even in the teeth of her legislators with perfidy, 
malice, and a spirit of unworthy and contemptible revenge." 

It should not be forgotten that what we have to-day we owe 
to these men. This generation owes it to them that their cour- 
age, their sufferings and their achievements should sometimes 
be recalled ; for our society, our peace, our happiness, our very 
civilization itself, are but monuments to their heroic deeds. 
Nor can we more greatly honor ourselves than by honoring the 
men who wrought these things; for in their high resolve that 
this land which their fathers had given them, and upon which 
had been freely poured the libation of their blood, that this 
land should again be theirs and their children's forever, they 
were not deterred by threats, nor force, nor violence, nor the 
might of armed power, nor by the form and letter of procured 
organic law. 

"Judge Albion W. Tourgee 

BY W. B. MuRRAH. 1 

Millsaps College, located in Jackson, Mississippi, is the prop- 
erty of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. It is owned 
and controlled jointly by the Mississippi and North Mississippi 
Conferences. It was established under a charter issued by the 
Mississippi Legislature in the year 1890. The terms of the 
charter prescribe that the incorporators "may accept donations 
of real and personal property for the benefit of the college here- 
after to be established by them, and contributions of money or 
negotiable securities of every kind in aid of the endowment of 
such college, and may confer degrees, and give certificates of 
scholarship and do and perform all other acts for the benefit of 
said institution and the promotion of its welfare that are not re- 
pugnant to the constitution and laws of this State or of the 
United States, subject, however, to the approval of the said two 
Conferences." The College has its remote origin in the gen- 
eral policy of the Methodist Church to maintain institutions 
under its own control for higher learning in the Arts and Sci- 
ences as well as for the special training of young ministers. 

At the annual session of the Mississippi Conference in the 
city of Vicksburg on December the 7th, in the year 1888, the 
following resolutions were adopted by a large majority of the 
Conference : 

1 Rev. William Belton Murrah was born at Pickensville, Ala., in 1852. 
In 1874 he graduated at the Southern University, Greensboro, Ala. 
The degree of D. D. was conferred upon him by Centenary College, 
Jackson, La., in 1887, and the degree of LL. D. by Woffprd College, 
South Carolina, in 1897. He joined the North Mississippi Conference 
of the M. E. Church, South, in 1876, and was stationed successively at 
Oxford, Winona, and Aberdeen. From i886-'oo he was vice-president 
of Whitworth College, Brookhaven, Miss. When Millsaps College, 
at Jackson, Miss., was established, Dr. Murrah was made president of 
that institution, which position he still holds. 

Dr. Murrah has been a representative of his church in all the im- 
portant councils since 1890, having just returned from an ecumenical 
conference held at London, England. His publications include popu- 
lar addresses, lectures, sermons and contributions to religious period- 
icals. A sketch of his life will be found in Who's Who in America 
(1901-1902), page 817. EDITOR. 

228 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"i. That a college for males under the auspices and control of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, ought to be established at some 
central and accessible point in the State of Mississippi. 

"2. That the committee of three laymen and three preachers be ap- 
pointed to confer with a like committee to be appointed by the North 
Mississippi Conference to formulate plans and to receive offers of do- 
nations of lands, buildings or money for that purpose, and to report to 
the next session of that conference." 

In accordance with this action the president of the Confer- 
ence, Bishop R. K. Hargrove, appointed the following commit- 
tee : Rev. T. L. Mellen, Rev. W. C. Black, Rev. A. F. Watkins, 
Major R. W. Millsaps, Col. W. L. Nugent and Dr. Luther Sex- 

On December the I2th, 1888, the North Mississippi Confer- 
ence met in Starkville Miss., Bishop C. B. Galloway presiding. 
The Rev. T. L. Mellen appeared and reported the action taken 
by the Mississippi Conference. The following transcript from 
the N<ortJi Mississippi Conference Journal gives the response 
made by that body. 

"Resolved, I. That a college for the education of boys and young 
men should be established in the State of Mississippi under the au- 
spices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

"2. That a committee of three laymen and three ministers be ap- 
pointed to confer with a like committee already appointed by the Mis- 
sissippi Conference." 

The following committee was accordingly appointed: Rev. 
J. J. Wheat, Rev. S. M. Thames, Rev. T. J. Newell, Hon. G. D. 
Shands, Capt. D. L. Sweatman and Mr. J. B. Streater, 

To the action of these Conferences we may trace the direct 
origin of the College. 

The joint commission constituted by the action summarized 
above met in the city of Jackson in January, 1889. The Rev. 
Dr. J. J. Wheat was called to the chair. In stating the pur- 
pose of the meeting, he made a stirring appeal in behalf of 
the proposition to establish a Methodist College in Mississippi 
for the education of young men. In response to this earnest 
appeal Major R. W. Millsaps, a member of the commission, 
proposed to give $50,000 to endow the institution provided the 
Methodists of Mississippi would give a sum equal to this 
amount for said purpose. This proposition was enthusiasti- 
cally approved, and after a plan of procedure was adopted, 
Bishop Chas. B. Galloway was invited to conduct a campaign 
in the interest of the proposed endowment fund. 

Origin and Location Millsaps College. Murrah. 229 

Under the direction of this distinguished leader, the most 
gratifying progress was reported from time to time. The re- 
port submitted to the Conferences by the committee in Decem- 
ber, 1899, refers to the movement in the following language : 
"The canvass, on account of the numerous necessitated ab- 
sences of Bishop Galloway from the State, could not be contin- 
uously carried on, but even the partial canvass made, embrac- 
ing not more than one-fifth of our territory, resulted in the 
most gratifying and encouraging success. The interest awak- 
ened in the enterprise has extended beyond the limits of our 
own Church and is felt by every denomination of Christians, 
and by every section of the State. It is safe to say that no ef- 
fort of Methodism has ever kindled such enthusiasm in our 
State or evoked such liberal offerings to the Lord. The fact 
has been demonstrated that the Church is profoundly con- 
vinced that the College is an absolute necessity." The report 
continues : "So high is the appreciation of the value of the pro- 
posed institution, that numerous towns in the State have enter- 
ed into earnest competition to secure the location of the Col- 
lege within the limits of their respective borders, offering from 
$10,000 to $36,000, and from twenty to eighty acres of land." 
In December, 1889, the Rev. A. F. Watkins, a member of the 
Mississippi Conference, was appointed a special agent to coop- 
erate with Bishop Galloway in all matters pertaining to the en- 
dowment of the proposed College. As the work of raising the 
sum designated in the original proposition progressed and $25- 
ooo had been collected, Maj. Millsaps, in the year 1890, paid 
$25,000 into the College treasury. 

In December, 1892, the Rev. J. W. Chambers was appointed 
agent for the College and on December 3Oth, 1893, he reported 
that the full amount had been collected to meet the terms of 
Maj. Millsaps's proposition, and thereupon $25,000 were imme- 
diately paid by Maj. Millsaps to the Executive Committee, and 
the following resolution was adopted: 

"Resolved. That the Executive Committee return our most heartfelt 
thanks to Maj. R. W. Millsaps for his second gift of $25,000, this day 
turned over to us. For his princely liberality and unfaltering interest 
in the great enterprise so happily and successfully inaugurated Church 
and State owe him a large debt of gratitude." 

The Conferences having provided for a Board of Trustees, 
the joint commission dissolved in January, 1890. This Board, 

230 Mississippi Historical Society. 

to which was referred the matter of organizing the College, was 
composed of the following gentlemen: 

Bishop Chas. B. Galloway, President. 

Rev. J. J. Wheat, D. D. Rev. W. C. Black, D. D. 

" S. M. Thames. " T. L. Mellen. 

" L. J. Newell. " A. F. Watkins. 

" R. M. Standefer. " C. G. Andrews, D. D. 

Hon. G. D. Shands. Maj. R. W. Millsaps. 

Capt. D. L. Sweatman. Col. W. C. Nugent. 

Mr. J. B. Streater. Dr. Luther Sexton. 

" John Trice. Hon. M. M. Evans. 

After the Board organized under the charter the question of 
locating the College was considered with great care. The 
Board met repeatedly to consider the offers made by different 
towns, and finally, on May 2oth, 1891, while in session in Wino- 
na, Mississippi, decided to locate the College in Jackson, the 
capital of the State. The citizens of Jackson contributed $21,- 
ooo for ground and buildings, and to this sum Maj. Millsaps 
added $15,000. Plans for a commodious main building were 
immediately procured, grounds were purchased and in a com- 
paratively short time buildings were in process of erection. 

When it became evident that everything would soon be in 
readiness for formally opening the College for the reception 
of students, the Board of Trustees, at a meeting held in Jack- 
son, April 28th, 1892, began the work of organizing a faculty 
of instruction. 

The Rev. W. B. Murrah was elected president. Many appli- 
cations were considered for professorships and Mr. N. A. Pa- 
tilo was elected professor of Mathematics, and Mr. W. L. 
Weber was elected professor of the English Language and Lit- 
erature. At the time of his election, Prof. Patilo was doing 
post graduate work in the Johns Hopkins University of Balti- 
more. Prof. Weber was the acting professor of English at the 
Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, when he was by 
this action called to Millsaps College. 

At a subsequent meeting of the Board of Trustees held July 
I3th, 1892, Mr. G. C. Swearigen was elected professor of Latin 
and Greek and the Rev. M. M. Black was elected principal of 
the Preparatory Department. Both of these gentlemen had 

Origin and Location Millsaps College. Murrah. 231 

recently taken post graduate degrees at the Vanderbilt Uni- 
versity, Nashville, Tennessee. At the regular meeting of the 
Board of Trustees in June, 1893, Prof. A. M. Muckenfuss was 
elected professor of Chemistry. The necessary buildings hav- 
ing been erected, the first scholastic session began with appro- 
priate ceremonies September 29th, 1892. 


One of the most interesting characters connected with the 
early history of Mississippi was Lorenzo Dow, a Methodist 
evangelist, whose oddities of manner and mental and spiritual 
eccentricities were only equalled by his tireless industry and 
unselfish devotion to what he regarded his duty. He roamed 
the country from New England to Louisiana on horseback us- 
ually, but sometimes in wagons, occasionally on foot, and even 
made two evangelistic tours through England and Ireland. 
His striking features, peculiar dress, eccentric manners, mys- 
terious movements, genuine self-abnegation, powerful invec- 
tive, and undaunted courage, gave a sort of moral sorcery to 
his appearances, and attracted multitudes to his ministry. A 
kind of charmed wonder attended his strange wanderings. He 
announced that one year from a certain day, he would preach 
under that tree, and then vanish to be scarcely heard of again 
until the designated time of his return. But true to his ap- 
pointment he appeared and a mixed multitude was sure to be 

1 Bishop Charles Betts Galloway was born in Kosciusko, Miss. (Sept. 
I, 1849), and was reared in Canton, Miss. A few weeks after his grad- 
uation at the University of Mississippi (1868) he was licensed to preach 
and in December of the same year he joined the Mississippi Confer- 
ence. On his twentieth birthday he was married to Miss Hattie E. 
Willis, of Vicksburg, Miss. He rose very rapidly in the ministry and 
filled with ability some of the most responsible pastorates in his con- 
ference, while he was a young man. From 1882 to 1886 he was edi- 
tor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate. In 1882 the degree of 
D. D. was conferred upon him by the University of Mississippi, and 
in 1899 the degree of LL. D. by the North-Western University, Evans- 
ton, Illinois. In 1886 he was elected to the episcopacy, being the 
youngest man to be called to this responsible position in the history of 

Bishop Galloway has long been recognized as one of the most able 
champions of the prohibition cause. He was at one time editor of the 
Temperance Banner, which was the organ of the Mississippi temper- 
ance movement. For several years he was also chairman of the execu- 
tive committee of the State prohibition organization and has probably 
done more than any other one man to secure the passage of local 
option laws in Mississippi. 

In 1886 he was chosen fraternal messenger to the General Confer- 
ence of England. He was a member of the Ecumenical Methodist 
Conferences which met in Washington in 1891 and in London in 1901. 

234 Mississippi Historical Society. 

there to greet him. Six times he came into the Mississippi 
Territory, and for two years made this his home. He was the 
first Protestant minister to preach the gospel within the present 
State of Alabama, and the same honor is also due him in the re- 
ligious history of Louisiana. 

Lorenzo Dow was born October 16, 1777, in Coventry, Tol- 
lard Co., Conn. His parents, natives of the same place, were 
descended from English ancestors. He seems to have been a 
strange child, and at four years of age began to show those 
mental movements and peculiar religious susceptibilities for 
which he became celebrated. At about thirteen he went with 
the eager throngs to hear the famous Hope Hull preach and 
that day decided his future career. Shortly thereafter he con- 
nected himself with the Methodists at whose altars he had been 
happily converted, and at eighteen felt divinely called to the of- 
fice and work of the ministry. But so meagre were his educa- 
tional advantages and so eccentric his manners, that the church 
hesitated to give him authority to preach. At length, however, 
because of his earnest spirit and fervent zeal, and undoubted 
sincerity, and in response to his importunate pleadings, he was 
reluctantly allowed to test his gifts and graces as a junior sup- 
ply under a wise superintendent. 

He officially visited the missions of his church in Japan and China, 1894, 
in Brazil, 1897, and in South America, 1901. He is president of the 
Board of Education of the M. E. Church, South, a member of the 
Board of Trustees of the John F. Slater Fund and president of the 
Board of Trustees of Millsaps College. 

Although much of his time is occupied with the duties of the re- 
sponsible position which he fills in his church, he has devoted much 
time to literary pursuits. He has written: "Life of Bishop 
Linus Parker," "Handbook of Prohibition," "Open Letters on Prohi- 
bition" (a controversy with Jefferson Davis), "Methodism, a Child 
of Providence," "A Circuit of the Globe," "Modern Missions: Their 
Evidential Value," "Christianity and the American Commonwealth." 
Bishop Galloway is very much interested in the history of his native 
State, and is at present a member of the Mississippi Historical Com- 
mission. Among his most valuable contributions to Mississippi his- 
tory are: "The Methodist Episcopal Church South in Mississippi" 
(Goodspeed's Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. 
Ill, pp. 362-'8), "Elizabeth Female Academy the Mother of Female 
colleges" (Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. II., pp. 
168-178), "The Story of Blennerhassett" (American Illustrated Monthly 
Magazine for December, 1899). 

Detailed sketches of his life will be found in Goodspeed's Biographical 
and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. I., pp. 773-'s; Who's Who in 
America (1901-1902), p. 412; Cyclopedia of American Biographies, Vol. III., 
p. 225. EDITOR. 

, Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi. Galloway. 235 

But after a few months of trial he was sent home, with the 
following discouraging note of dismissal : 

"We have had Brother Lorenzo Dow, the bearer hereof, traveling 
on Warren circuit these three months last past. In several places he 
was liked by a great many 'people; at other places he was not liked so 
well, and at a few places, they were not willing he should preach at 
all. We have, therefore, thought it necessary to advise him to return 
home for a season until a further recommendation can be obtained 
from the society and preachers of that circuit. 




Rhode Island, July 3rd, 1796. 
To C. Spry and the Methodists of Coventry." 

That greatly distressed him. He said: "I could easier have 
met death than this discharge. My heart was broke. Two or 
three handkerchiefs were soon wet through with tears." 

Though cast down by this severe judgment of his brethren, 
he was not destroyed, and his settled conviction that God had 
called him to the ministry suffered no abatement. At the An- 
nual Conference in Wilbraham, which met shortly thereafter, 
he appeared and plead for admission. But he was rejected af- 
ter a heated discussion, the opposition to him being led by Jes- 
se Lee and Nicholas Snethen. Referring to his rejection by 
the Conference, Dr. Abel Stevens, the accomplished historian, 
makes this generous reference : "He was a right hearted, but 
wrong headed man, labored like a Hercules, did some good, 
and had an energy of character which with sounder faculties 
would have rendered him as eminent as he was noted." 

Though not admitted on trial permission was given for him 
to be employed as a supply. "So," said he, "I was given into 
the hands of S. Hutchinson, to employ me or send me home, 
as he should think fit." At the end of that year of successful, 
but not a little erratic labor, he won his way into the Confer- 
ence, and his license was signed by Francis Asbury himself. 
But he seemed never able to curb his restless spirit or be sub- 
missive to any rules or regulations, whether ecclesiastical or so- 
cial. Appointed to a circuit, he traveled awhile, and then 
crossed the Atlantic ocean "under a supposed divine impression 
to preach in Ireland." He erected a bush as a sail in a leaking 
canoe, and passing down the Missisque made his way to Mon- 
treal, whence he pursued his proposed voyage. 

But the purpose of this paper is not to follow everywhere the 

236 Mississippi Historical Society. 

wanderings of this eccentric cosmopolite over land and sea. 
Only his connection with the early history of Mississippi is to 
be considered. 

His first visit to what was then known as the "Natchez 
Country" was in the late spring and early summer of 1803. He 
came on horseback through the "wilderness" from Georgia. 
Armed only with a crude map and a pocket-compass, and as- 
sisted occasionally by a guide, he made his way safely through 
a dangerous and little traveled country. He stopped first at 
what he called a "thick settlement" on the west bank of the 
Tombigbee. Then he says there was a scattered one seventy 
miles in length, "through which I sent a chain of appointments, 
and afterwards fulfilled them, and the fruit I expect to see at 
a future day." 

From there, accompanied by three travellers bound for West 
Florida, he came through the Choctaw Nation to the Natchez 
Settlement. He thus refers to his reception by the master of 
the house, once a Methodist, where he first spent a night : 

"He happened to hear of my coming the week preceding, by some 
travellers, and received me and the three men kindly, and the next 
day got me a meeting, and good, I trust, was done. The nights after 
I held a meeting at the house of a Baptist; then rode on towards the 
town of Natchez." 

Reference is made in his Journal to the cordial greeting given 
him by Moses Floyd, a pioneer Methodist itinerant, and the 
friendly consideration shown by the Governor of the Territory 
to whom he had letters of introduction. He says further: "I 
held two or three meetings in the assembly room, with the per- 
mission of the mayor, though with difficulty obtained." 

During that visit he purchased the ground for a church in the 
village of Kingston the first spot of earth ever deeded in the 
Mississippi Territory for a Protestant house of worship. The 
building, however, was not erected until after the one a* old 
Washington. And the heroic, unselfish spirit of the eccentric 
evangelist is shown in the manner of this purchase. Having no 
money, yet oppressed with the sense of the country's great 
spiritual need, he sold his watch to secure the lot for a house of 
worship. This reference I find in his Journal: 

"I went to Kingston, and procured a spot of ground (by selling my 
watch) for a meeting-house; and then to the heights and Pinckney- 
ville, and held meetings. I stopped at a house on the edge of West 
Florida and sold my cloak. Thence I returned and visited several 
neighborhoods and God's power was felt in some of them." 

Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi. Galloway. 237 

The deed made by Lorenzo Dow to the church lot at King- 
ston was in June, 1803, and contains one curious provision the 
exclusion of himself from the pulpit of the same if he should ever 
so change his theological views as to become an opposer of the 
Methodist Church. The historic names of Floyd, Foster, 
Truley, Turner and Calendar appear as trustees and the lot was 
located in Square n, Claiborne Street. It is now not even a 
deserted village, only a few mounds and ruins left where man- 
sions of wealth once stood. The deed provided that it was to 
be the property of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but to be 
"occupied by accredited ministers of every denomination when 
not occupied by those of the Methodist Church," and "by the 
above mentioned Lorenzo Dow, unless he should become an op- 
poser of ye doctrine or discipline of said Church." This is doubt- 
less the only instance on record in which, deeding any of his 
property, a man provided against his own possible heterodox 
his own defection from the faith. 

After this he visited Pine Ridge, Washington, Selsentown, 
Calendar's, Wormsville, Bayou Reivre, Big Black and at the 
latter place "preached the funeral sermon of a niece of the Rev. 
Tobias Gibson." His horse had become lame and unfit for the 
long return journey through the Indian country, so he had to 
be remounted. Of that fortunate trade as will appear later 
he thus writes: 

"I left my horse with Brother Randall Gibson, and took a Spanish 
race-horse, which he was to be responsible for, and I was to remit him 
the money by post, when it should be due on my arrival in Georgia in 

On account of several personal altercations between white 
men and Indians, the latter had become very hostile and re- 
vengeful. It was dangerous for a man to travel alone. Mr. 
Dow had arranged to go with quite a company, but on reach- 
ing the Gibson home he learned that they had been gone twen- 
ty-four hours. So he mounted his fleet-footed Spanish racer 
and hurried on, hoping to overtake them somewhere in the 
wilderness. But that was a perilous venture and come near re- 
sulting in the brave prophet's early and tragic death. Of that 
thrilling experience he writes in his Journal as follows: 

"I set off alone and rode the best part of twenty miles, when I saw 
a party of Indians within a hundred feet of me. I was in hopes they 
would pass me, but in vain, for the first Indian seized my horse by 

238 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the bridle, and the others surrounded me. At first I thought it was a 
gone case with me; then I concluded to get off my horse and give up 
all in order to save my life. * * * But I observed that the Indians 
had ram-rods in the muzzles of their guns, as well as in their stocks, 
so it would take some time to pull out the ram-rods and get their guns 
cocked ready to shoot. At this moment my horse started and jumped 
sideways, which would have laid the Indian to the ground who held the 
bridle had it not slipped out of his hands. At the same time the In- 
dian on the other side jumped seemingly like a streak, to keep from 
under the horse's feet, so that there was a vacancy in the circle, when 
I gave my horse the switch, and leaned down on the saddle, so if they 
shot I would give them as narrow a chance as I could to hit me, as I 
supposed they would wish to spare and get my horse. I did not look 
behind me until I had got out of sight and hearing of the Indians. I 
was not long in going a dozen or fifteen miles; so I overtook the 
company that day, and told them what I had passed through." 

The courtship and marriage of this eccentric man and his no 
less peculiar "Peggy" must rank among the quaintest and most 
interesting affairs of the human heart. Romance there was in 
a large measure, but the sentiment ordinarily incident to the 
union of two young lives was conspicuously absent. There was 
no shy glances and modest blushes and cautious approaches to 
the tender subject. Frequent visits and much "small talk" 
were not according to the taste and thought of the serious and 
busy evangelist. Suddenly concluding that the fair young Peg- 
gy would make him a suitable wife, he made an unexpected 
and almost fierce assault upon the citadel of her affections, but 
with perfect success. The proposition was made in presence 
of her sister. With consenting silence she vanished from the 
room, but happy in the thought of sharing the heart and life of 
so good and to her so great a man. 

The young woman who gave her heart so readily and roman- 
tically to Lorenzo Dow was born in Massachussets, but her 
mother having died when the little daughter was quite young, 
she had lived with her sister, Mrs. Miller, in the State of New 

Mr. Dow's account of the affair is thus given in his Journal : 

"In reply to some question of mine, Mrs. Miller, her sister, ob- 
served that Peggy was resolved never to marry unless it was to a 
preacher, and one who would continue travelling. This resolution be- 
ing similar to my own, as she then stepped in the room, caused me to 
ask her if it were so. She answered in the affirmative, on the back 
of which I replied, 'Do you think you could accept of such an object 
as me?' She made no answer, but retired from the room; this was 
the first time of my speaking to her. I took dinner; asked her one 

more question and went to my neighboring meetings, which 

occupied some days; but having a cloak making of oiled cloth, it drew 
me back to get it. I stayed all night, and in the morning, when going 

Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi. Galloway. 239 

away, I observed to her and her sister, who brought her up as a 
mother, that I was going to the warm countries, where I had never 
spent a warm season, and it was probable that I should die, as the 
warm climate destroys mostly those who go from a cold country. 
'But,' said I, 'if I am preserved about a year and a half from now, 
I am in hopes of seeing this northern country again, and if during this 
time you live and remain single, and find no one that you like better 
than you do me, and would be willing to give me up twelve months 
out of thirteen, or three years out of four, to travel, and that in for- 
eign lands, and never say, do not go to your appointment, etc. for if 
you should stand in my way, I should pray to God to remove you, 
which, I believe, he would answer, and if I find no one that I like 
better than I do you, perhaps something further may be said on the 
subject;' and finding her character to stand fair, I took my departure." 
He was absent nearly two years preaching through Canada and the 
far South as far as the Natchez country. Returning to Mr. Miller's 
and finding Peggy "still single" and willing to cast in her lot with his, 
they were married at once on the evening of Sept. 3, 1804. "Only we 
five were present, including the officiating minister." 

Early the next morning, accompanied by his brother-in-law, 
Mr. Smith-Miller, Lorenzo Dow started on another tour to 
Mississippi, and did not see his bride again for nearly eight 
months. It was Mr. Miller's purpose, if he liked this new 
country, to remove here with his family. Lorenzo Dow, by 
correspondence, had given rather glowing accounts of its great 
and certain future. This reference I find in his Journal: "In 
my travels, I went to the Natchez Country where I found re- 
ligion low and had hard times, but thought this country one 
day would be the garden of America, and if this family would 
remove there it would prove an everlasting blessing." 

Along the entire journey of nearly two thousand miles, the 
route he came, the zealous evangelist was meeting appoint- 
ments for preaching which had been made months before. 
From Tennessee south he was accompanied by Learner Black- 
man and Barnes. 

Here are some interesting extracts from his Journal about 
events in the Mississippi Territory: 

"Nov. 4th. Crossed the ground where I had the providential escape 
from the Indians, and arrived at the settlement of Natchez. We were 
glad to see the white people once more. Stayed at the first house all 

"5th. Called on Moses Floyd, a preacher on Big Black. Here Bro. 
Barnes turned to begin his route. Blackman went with us to Colonel 
Barnet's, on Bayou Pierre. Next day we went to Randal Gibson's, 
on Clark's Creek, and got some washing done, and there Miller stayed. 
Blackman went with me to Squire Tooley's, father of the doctor, where 
Brother Harriman, a missionary, was at the point of death. 

"8th. I visited Washington and Natchez and some of the adjacent 
posts. Here I must observe the truth of the maxim, 'Give the devil 

240 Mississippi Historical Society. 


rope enough and he will hang himself.' A printer extracted a piece 
from a Lexington paper, as a burlesque on me, which, however, did me 
no harm, though it circulated in different parts of the Union. He had 
just got his types set up before I made application for the insertion of 
a notice, that I should hold a meeting in the town on Sunday. This, 
following the other, made impression on the people's minds, and ex- 
cited the curious to attend the meeting. When I was here before I 
found it almost impossible to get the people out to meeting any way, 
and had my scruples whether there were three Christians in the town, 
either white or black. But now I spoke three succeeding Sabbaths, and 
some on week-days. 

"i2th. Here by Washington we appointed a camp-meeting. There 
is ground laid off for a college, and Congress, beside a handsome do- 
nation, hath given twenty thousand acres of ground. This country is 
now dividing into townships and sections, and sold by government, as. 
in the State of Ohio; and though only a Territory now, yet will be in- 
corporated into a State when the inhabitants shall amount to sixty 
thousand. They now have a small legislature; the Governor is ap- 
pointed by the President. One representative goes to Congress. 

"Sunday, 25th. I spoke for the last time in Natchez. I visited Seltz- 
entown, Greenville and Gibson Port. This last place was a wilderness 
not two years ago, but now contains near thirty houses, with a court- 
house and jail." 

After this he crossed into Louisiana and spent a week or two 
in visiting the scattered settlements and holding religious meet- 
ings. Preparations were then made for the long return journey 
through the wilderness. How he secured tough steeds for the 
dangerous and weary travels of those early days makes a cur- 
ious story of itinerant and evangelical adventure. He says: 

"We got some things fixed to our minds, and procured three Spanish 
horses, which had been foaled wild in the woods, and had been caught 
out of a gang by climbing a tree and dropping a noose over the head, 
it being made fast to a bough. * * * Our horses being tamed and 
taught to eat corn, by forcing it into their mouths, and prepared with a 
tent and provisions, bade the settlement on the Mississippi River adieu, 
and betook to the woods for Tombigbee, having two others in com- 

In fording the Pearl, or "Half way river" as it was generally 
called, he only escaped drowning by what he fondly considered 
a clear case of providential deliverance. Here is reference in 
his Journal to a grotesque Indian custom of sufficient interest 
to be reproduced : 

"24. We rode about forty miles, through Six-Town, of the Choctaws, 
and whilst we were passing it, I observed where they scaffold the dead, 
and also the spot where the flesh was when the bone-picker had done 
his office. The friends of the deceased weep twice a day for a term, 
and if they cannot cry enough themselves, they hire some to help them. 
It was weeping time, and their cries made our horses caper well. I 
was informed of an ancient custom which at present is out of date 
among them. When one was sick, a council was held by the doctors; 
if their judgment was that he would die, they being supposed infallible, 

Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi. Galloway. 241 

humanity induced the neck-breaker to do his office. An European be- 
ing sick, and finding out his verdict, to save his neck, crept into the 
woods and recovered, which showed to the Indians the fallibility of 
the doctors and the evil of the practice. Therefore, to show that the 
custom must be totally abolished, they took the poor neck-breaker 
and broke his neck." 

At the camp-meeting near the village of Washington to 
which reference has been made the first ever held south-west 
of Tennessee Mr. Dow displayed some of the oddities for 
which he was so famous. In order to attract a congregation, 
he mounted the stand one afternoon and cried out at the top 
of his voice that he had heard the latest authentic news from 
hell and was going to publish it. When the excited throng 
had crowded about him, he announced the text: "And in hell 
he lifted up his eyes, being in torment," and preached an earn- 
est, solemn sermon. 

It was just such things that caused publications like the fol- 
lowing, which occurred in a New England paper : 

"By desire Lorenzo Dow, an eccentric genius,, whose pious and 
moral character cannot be censured with propriety, is to preach at the 
court-house, precisely at nine o'clock this morning." 

After a long absence of nearly eight months he returned to 
see his bride with whom he had spent only a few hours after 
their romantic marriage. On account of imperfect mail facil- 
ities and the uncertain wanderings of her eccentric husband, 
Peggy was not advised of the exact time he would arrive and 
was not at home to greet him. His Journal has this record: 

"22d. Arrived back in Wistern, after an absence of near eight 
months. Peggy was not at home. Our marriage was not known in 
general in this neighborhood, until within a few days past. It caused 
a great uproar among the people. 

"23d. Peggy felt it impressed on her mind that I was here, and so 
came home early in the morning, having enjoyed her health better, 
and her mind also, than for some time previous to my absence. In 
the afternoon S. Miller and his wife came home, well, and were pre- 
paring for their journey to the Mississippi Territory." 

The restless evangelist and his peculiar Peggy went to Eu- 
rope and remained a year or two, while Mr. Miller and wife 
came to Mississippi and settled four miles south of Port Gibson. 
But Mr. Miller did not succeed, made a bad trade, became in- 
volved in debt, and besides had domestic troubles which utterly 
destroyed his home. On Mr. Dow's return from England he 
hastened through the country on horseback to the Mississippi 

242 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Territory and found Miller's affairs in a distressful condition. 
He had, in connection with another man, erected a mill on land 
to which the title was insecure, and Mr. Dow was induced to 
assist in the purchase. This proved a great mistake, involving 
him in financial loss and almost endless trouble. His wife 
Peggy, in her "Journey of Life" thus refers to the transaction : 

"There was considerable less than one hundred acres, with a log 
cabin on it. * * The mill was not finished; there was a dam and 
mill-frame, but the dam had broke, and it was uncertain whether it 
could be made to stand. There was a man who thought he could make 
it stand. Lorenzo made an offer to him of the place; if he would take 
it out and make a mill upon it, he should have one-half of the mill. 
Accordingly he undertook and repaired the dam, so that it saved some 
that winter." 

His wife having deserted him, Miller went back to New York 
State, and Mr. Dow returned to New England for his Peggy. 
In a short while they started to Mississippi in a spring wagon, 
the zealous evangelist preaching every day according to ap- 
pointment. At Wheeling, Va., he engaged passage for his wife 
on a flat-boat, owned by friendly Quakers, "laden with flour 
and cider and various kinds of produce adapted for the 
Natchez" while he traveled on through the country filling his 
"chain of appointments." Of that trip Peggy thus writes : 

"After being confined on board a boat for six weeks we reached the 
mouth of Bayou Pierre, about twelve miles from Gibson Port, which 
was forty miles from Natchez. * * I had never been in that country 
before, but Lorenzo had several times; and hence I had some ground 
to expect I should find some friends, as many of them had manifested 
a desire that I should come to that country. But my sister had con- 
ducted herself in such a manner that it made my way very difficult. 
* * * I landed at night and Brother Valentine came in the morning, 
so that I was provided for. We left our things at this public house, 
and I rode the horse, while he and the young man walked about twelve 
miles through the mud. This was about the I2th of January. We 
stayed at Gibson Port that night, about four miles from the place 
where my sister had lived. We left Gibson Port and went to the 
neighborhood of the mill, to the house of Samuel Coburn." 

In a few days she was joined by her wandering husband who 
had come through the country, preaching in every village and 
settlement. Mr. Dow remained in Mississippi until October, 
and in the meantime built a little home not far from the mill. 
The following is his description of the modest home in which he 
lived : 

"As the last retreat, Cosmopolite, retired into a canebrake at the 
foot of a large hill, where was a beautiful spring, which he named 
'Chicomain spring,' by which he got a small cabin made of split poles, 

Lorenzo Dow in Mississippi. Galloway. 243 

where the bear, wolf, tiger, etc., with all kinds of serpents in North 
America, abound. This was an agreeable retreat from the pursuing 
foe, there to await and see what God the Lord would do." 

He preached as much in the country as his health would allow, 
and all the time sought relief from embarrassments occasioned 
by the conduct of Mr. Miller. 

Securing a home for Peggy with an agreeable family, as she 
could not live alone at the "Chicoman Spring," he went north 
on an evangelistic tour and was gone a year and seven days. 
His return was hailed with joy by his faithful young wife and 
cordially greeted by hosts of friends. But the climate did not 
agree with either of them. Both suffered with what he called 
"fits of the ague," and several times each came near to the 
grave. So after a continued residence on Peggy's part of two 
years in the Territory, they determined to again become home- 
less itinerants. So Mr. Dow deeded away his interests in the 
famous old mill, and discharging every obligation he had as- 
sumed to the last cent, he and his faithful Peggy turned their 
faces to the northward. A few years ago the ruins of his pos- 
sessions, a few miles south of Port Gibson, were yet to be seen 
and the place is still known as "Dow's Mill." 

He donated the ground at old Washington on which the first 
Methodist church in Mississippi was erected. It is within the 
present campus of Jefferson College, and the original deed 
signed by Lorenzo and Peggy Dow is in the library of the Col- 
lege. That became a historic structure. Some of the greatest 
men of the early days preached from its pulpit and the leaders 
of south-western thought sat in its old-fashioned pews. The 
Hon. J. F. H. Claiborne, the historian of Mississippi, in a let- 
ter written not long before his death, said he had heard Lo- 
renzo Dow, Bishop McKendru, Roberts and George, and other 
distinguished visitors preach in that pulpit. It was in that 
building the first Constitutional Convention met in 1817 that 
framed the organic law under which Mississippi was admitted 
to the Union. 

Again in 1816, Mr. Dow was in Mississippi. This time he 
came by boat down the river from Cincinnati, arriving in De- 
cember and remaining in the south-west until the following 
April. I find this characteristic entry in his Journal: "At 
length I landed at Natchez, obtained several letters and not 

244 Mississippi Historical Society. 

finding any friends, I embarked in another boat, and on the 
2Oth of December I arrived in New Orleans, having changed 
from one boat or canoe to another thirteen times." In that city 
he remained nearly a month, most of the time as the guest of 
Capt. William Ross, flour inspector of the port. 

This final quotation from his intensely interesting Journal 
ends his connection with the early history of Mississippi: 

"My books, through the delay of the binders, did not come in time 
for me; I only got a few took steamboat, ascended to Baton Rouge 
visited St. Francisville and several places in Florida; thence to Wood- 
ville, Liberty, Washington, Greenville, Gibson Port, Warrenton, Nat- 
chez and many country posts saw some of my old acquaintance 
bought me a horse and thought to return by land; sold him again, 
being unable to endure the ride; so I went down the river, visiting 
such places as God gave me access unto. On the island of Orleans, I 
find the influence of the clergy is going down-hill: many of the peo- 
ple came to some of my meetings." 

He remained there several weeks, preached a number of 
times in the court house, dined with Governor Claiborne and 
"observed how many of his colored people were religious, and 
the satisfaction he took in hearing them sing and pray," visited 
the battlefield where Jackson won his great victory, and on the 
I2th of April took passage on a ship for New York. Mr. Dow 
continued to itinerate and preach for many years but never came 
to Mississippi again. He died suddenly in Washington, D. C., 
on the 2d of February, 1834, and in the cemetery of that city 
his restless body was gently laid to rest in certain hope of the 
resurrection of the just. 

BY Z. T. 

Baptists do not assert that they preceded all other evangel- 
ical denominations in the early settlement of Mississippi. But 
they do maintain the position that they were the first of them to 
permanently establish themselves on the soil of our State. The 
existence of an early Congregational Church was of short dura- 
tion, just twelve years. Like a meteor, the church came and 
went before Baptists established themselves in organized and 
orderly form. The colony of Congregationalists reached Mis- 
sissippi in 1772, and Rev. Samuel Swayze, their faithful pastor, 
died in 1784. The existence of the church was dependent upon 
the bodily presence of one man, and when he was dead the 
church was dead. 

At what date do Baptists claim that the first Baptist church 
was established in Mississippi? This has been a troubling 
question. Rev. F. M. Bond, in his introduction to A Republi- 
cation of the Minutes of the Mississippi Baptist Association, says 
"From this period (1780) to 1793 or 1794, we know but little 
about the church, only that it existed and increased." Rev. 

1 Rev. Z. T. Leavell was born in Pontotoc county in 1847. He was 
educated at the University of Mississippi, graduating at that institu- 
tion in 1871. In October, 1870, he entered the ministry. After com- 
pleting his university course he entered upon a three years' theological 
course at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, then in Green- 
ville, S. C., but afterwards removed to Louisville, Ky. After serving 
as pastor of Baptist churches at Dalton, Ga., Murfreesborough, Tenn., 
and Columbus, Ky., he returned to Mississippi in March, 1877. He was 
then pastor at Oxford, Natchez, and Clinton. He was financial agent 
of Mississippi College for two years and for the same length of time 
in the faculty of that institution. From 1890 to 1895 he was President 
of Carrollton Female College. During a period of twelve years Dr. 
Leavell was a member of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Col- 
lege. He has been connected with the Baptist Mission Boards of 
Mississippi for twenty-four years. He is now Secretary and Treasurer 
of the Gulf Port Chatttauqua Association. In 1895 the degree of D. D. 
was conferred upon him by Mississippi College. 

He is author of Baptist Annals and the Existing Baptist Orphanages of 
the South. At present he is engaged in writing A Complete History of 
Mississippi Baptists. 

A more detailed sketch of his life will be found in Goodspeed's 
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. I., pp. mo-'i. 

246 Mississippi Historical Society. 

John G. Jones, in his Introduction of Protestantism in Mis- 
sissippi and the Southwest, says of the Baptists, "If they date 
the institution of their church from the time Baptists first estab- 
lished social worship in Mississippi, they may fix it as early as 
1781 * * * if they date it from the time William Hamber- 
lin, Stephen DeAlvo, and others, were admitted into their com- 
munion by immersion * * * They may fix it as early as 
1791 or 1792." Thank you. Jones was a good man, and, a 
clever historian, but some things did not fall under his obser- 
vation. Bond seems without chart or compass, and on an un- 
known sea. It may be well to say that oral tradition and con- 
jecture are not history. We are not left at the mercy of either 
in answering the question before us. 

By a strange providence, I have before me the minutes to 
1815 of the first Baptist church established in Mississippi. In 
1888, when I was pastor in Natchez, my lamented friend, Maj. 
Thomas Grafton, then editor of the Natchez Democrat, gave me 
these old musty records. I was told by him that a great many 
years before a good Baptist had given them to him in trust in- 
violable to be held until old age came on him and then to be 
given to some worthy person in like manner as he received 
them. He affirmed that he did not know why they were given 
to him, as he was a Presbyterian. I could tell why, if it were 
in place here. 

I shall give you, without mental reservation, excerpts from 
these minutes as they bear all the marks of correctness and of 
great age. The paper on which they are written is as brown 
as a bun, and the writer uses the ancient "f" for "s." The 
minutes begin thus : 

"October, 1791. The Baptists of the vicinity of Natchez met by re- 
quest of Rev. Richard Curtis and William Thomas, at the house of 
Sister Stampley, on Coles Creek, and formed into a body, receiving 
(or adopting) the following articles or rules, considering it necessary 
that such as have a mind to join the Church are only to be received 
by letter, or experience." 

Their place of meeting was on the South Fork Coles' Creek, 
which runs northward through the western part of Jefferson 
county. The old church house was near what is now known 
as Stampley Station on the Natchez and Jackson Railway, 
which is eighteen miles north of east of Natchez. There is no 
church there now, and the old church house is a thing of -the 

Early Beginnings of Baptists. Leavell. 247 

past. The old mother church is dead, and there is nothing now 
remaining to mark the spot made sacred as the meeting-place 
of the ancient worshipers. 

There were seven men and women who went into the organ- 
ization of the church, October, 1791. Given in the order in 
which they occur, they were : Richard Curtis, William Thomas, 
William Curtis, John Jones, Benjamin Curtis, Margaret Stamp- 
ley, and Ealiff Lanier. Richard Curtis is designated on their 
written record as their chosen pastor, and William Thomas as 
their recording clerk. A small number, indeed, but a Scriptur- 
al number. In the great waste of the wild west, with hostile 
Indians on one side, and a frowning state church on the other, 
seven men and women organized for happy homes and peace- 
ful citizenship, a cheerful now, and a blissful hereafter. What 
could they do within their menacing environments? But we 
must remember that Christ began the evangelization of the 
world with twelve men of limited education, while surrounded 
by a conservative, threatening religious population, and op- 
posed by demons incarnate. 

The articles on which this first Baptist church in Mississippi 
was constituted were few and simple. I will give them : 

"i. We agree to submit ourselves to God, and to each other, reprove, 
and bear reproof, bear each other's burdens, and to carry on the work 
of the Lord as well as we can. 

2. We agree, as touching things temporal, not to go to law one 
against another, as the Scriptures forbid that Brother should go to law 
against Brother. 

3. We believe the Lord's Day to be set apart for the worship of 
God, and, whereas, it has been much observed, now to pay particular 
attention to that day; and make the Scriptures of the Old and New 
Testament our rule and practice in life." 

This a good and simple creed, and one by which the church 
abided throughout its existence. Its members reproved, and 
bore reproof. Their discipline was strict, sometimes seemingly 
severe, and ever firm. Suspensions were not infrequent, and 
expulsion was administered with a steady hand. They settled 
their disputes as to temporal matters among themselves, and 
not at a legal tribunal, sometimes endangering the best inter- 
ests of the church by such a mode of proceeding. They were 
strict in the observance of the Sabbath, holding social worship 
in their homes on that day, when deprived of the privileges of 

248 Mississippi Historical Society. 

public worship. They were a people of one book, the Holy 
Bible, which was with them the first and last appeal. 

"The first church was called Salem, i. e., peace, and stood 
among the upper branches of South Fork of Coles Creek in Jef- 
ferson county, on what is still known as The Salem road.' " 
(Jones' Protestantism.') This statement is true in a sense. This 
first church was called Salem, but was not called Salem at first. 
It is the general opinion that it was, but the opinion is not cor- 
rect by much. It is called in the early church records, "The 
Church of Jesus Christ at Coles Creek," "The Baptist Church of 
Jesus Christ on Coles Creek," and "The Baptist Church on 
Coles Creek." It is spoken of as assembling in private homes, 
and, "according to appointment," until 1805, when it is said to 
meet "at Coles Creek Meeting House." The caption of the old 
minutes is, "The Records of Coles Creek Church." 

From the minutes of the old Ebenezer Church, Jan. 31, 1807, 
we get the statement, "The following brethren, viz: John 
Courtney, Rev. Ezra Courtney, and Mark Cole, were appointed 
to attend a conference at Coles Creek Church, to be held on 
Feb. 27, for the purpose of forming an association." This last 
quotation shows that it was called Coles Creek Church through 
January, 1807. The church was not, therefore, called Salem 
until between Jan. 31, 1807, and Sept. 26, 1807; the last date 
being the time of the first meeting of the Mississippi Baptist 
Association after its organization at Coles Creek Church. In 
the minutes of that meeting of the association it is called Salem 
Church for the first time. 

An important event in the existence of the old church was the 
return of Richard Curtis from South Carolina after his persecu- 
tion by the Spanish authorities. The usually accepted date of 
his return is strangely at variance with the written records of 
the Coles Creek Church. This variance is, most probably, due 
to the fact that the basis for the statement made by historians 
is the memory of old people, who lived near in time to the oc- 
currence of the noted event, and not upon any written record 
of facts made at the time. Jones says of Curtis, "On the 6th 
of April, 1795, he stood a prisoner before Governor Gayoso." 
He states that Curtis left his home Aug. 23, 1795. These facts 
are not contested. The old records of Coles Creek Church, 
(page 2) say he left Coles Creek in 1795. But this historian 

Early Beginnings of Baptists. Leavell. 249 

asserts that Curtis was away from Natchez District two and a 
half years. 

The above assertion has splendid backing. Goodspeed's 
Memoirs of Mississippi (p. 371 ; Vol. II.) contains this statement, 
"At the end of two years and a half Curtis returned." I am 
credibly informed that this was written by Dr. J. F. Christian. 
Added to this, Bond tells us Curtis "remained in South Caro- 
lina" until the treaty ceding Mississippi to the United States 
was effected." Strengthening these assertions, Dr. Charles H. 
Otkin, in his paper on "Richard Curtis in the County of 
Natchez," in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society 
(Vol. III., p. 152) says, "In 1798, when the flag of the American 
Republic waved over the city of Natchez, Mr. Curtis returned to 
the field of his peaceful labors." This seems sufficient to estab- 
lish the date of the return of Curtis, and I feel inclined to ac- 
cept their statements, but am chained to an opposing record of 
the fact. 

On page 4 of the old minutes of Coles Creek Church, near the 
bottom of the page, we find this statement, "However, although 
there was not a perfect reconciliation, nothing extraordinary 
broke forth, until the return of Brother Curtis, which was No- 
vember, 1796." This written statement, we must accept, as it 
is seventy (70) years older than any one of the four written 
statements to the contrary. 

Why should Curtis not have returned in November, 1796? 
Let us address ourselves to this question. Through the in- 
fluence of Mr. Pinkney of South Carolina, the treaty of Madrid 
was signed on the 27th of October, 1795, placing the southern 
boundary of the United States at the line of the 3ist degree of 
north latitude. This line is south of the county of Wilkinson, 
and was to be run within six months after the treaty was signed. 
It is admitted that news traveled slowly in those days. The 
battle of New Orleans was fought by Jackson after terms of 
peace had been agreed upon by England and the United States. 
But as Pinkney was an honored citizen of South Carolina, and 
Curtis then in South Carolina, it is very reasonable to suppose 
that Curtis heard of the treaty by or before the spring of 1796, 
which gave him full time to make all arrangements for his re- 
turn in November of that year. 

The news of the treatv of Madrid reached the authorities of 

250 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the United States in 1795, as in that year, to confirm the treaty, 
Andrew Ellicott was ordered to go to Natchez to ascertain the 
line of 31 degrees north latitude, and reached that city, Feb. 
24, 1797. Governor Gayoso knew all these things. He knew 
Ellicott was coming, and for what purpose, and was on his good 

Richard Curtis reached "the Natchez Country" only three 
months before Ellicott, which was seven (7) months after the 
limit of time had expired for running the boundary line. On 
the 3ist of March, 1797, Governor Gayoso politely wrote to 
Ellicott, "There is not a single patrol out in pursuit of anybody, 
nor do I find occasion for it." 

It is certain that some of the survivors of the eighteenth (18) 
century in their minds confused the pompous landing of Ellicott 
with the final occupation of the Natchez country by the United 
States in 1798. In Bond's introduction we find this language, 
"The American commissioners arrived * * * and raised 
the stars and stripes on the heights of Natchez. They then im- 
mediately erected a large brush arbor, and put temporary seats 
under it, and sent for Elder Bailey Chancy to come and preach 
under the American colors. * * * This last statement I have 
from the mouth of one of the hearers on the occasion (Eliza- 
beth Chancy)." Claiborne says, "On the 29th (Feb., 1797), he 
(Ellicott) pitched his tent on the bluff * * * and hoisted 
the national colors." Riley, in his School History of Mississippi, 
tells us that, "Ellicott soon became impatient of the delay * * 
* and began to arouse the people. He defiantly unfurled the 
Hag of the United States, secretly found out how the inhabitants 
felt about the treaty, and encouraged them to assert their attach- 
ment to his government." 

Ellicott was, no doubt, defiant in his attitude toward Gover- 
nor Gayoso. Claiborne informs us that, "the inordinate vanity 
of Ellicott got control of his judgment, and he assumed, from 
the outset, the air of a plenipotentiary." So we may well con- 
clude that the statement made by Bond, as to what took place 
"under the Stars and Stripes" is confused, and that the event 
was at an earlier date than was attributed to it ; and also that 
we must discount oral tradition when confronted by records 
written at or near the occurrence of an event of history. 

It is a matter of interest that there were four Baptist 

Early Beginnings of Baptists. Leavell. 251 

churches in Mississippi before the close of the i8th century. 
Baptists not only came to Mississippi to stay, but they knew the 
multiplication table. It does not occur anywhere in the written 
history of Mississippi Baptists, so far as I know, that there was 
a second Baptist church formed in the State as early as 1798. 
Jones cautiously informs us that about the year 1800 a second 
Baptist church, called New Hope, was organized on Second 
Creek in Adams county, and "about the same time another 
near Woodville, called Bethel." Bond says, "In 1800 a church 
was constituted four miles from Woodville, in Wilkinson coun- 
ty, by a part of the Ogden family and others. About the same 
time, one was constituted on Second Creek, and, we think, was 
called New Hope." They give us some facts, but not all of the 

The old records of the Coles Creek Church must again be 
heard. In the minutes of the meeting of the First Friday of 
August, 1798, we have as the second item of business, "The 
Bayou Piere brethren presented a petition requesting the con- 
stitution of a church on the Fork of Bayou Piere. The church 
thought it expedient and delegated Brethren Richard Curtis, 
William Thomson, John Stampley, Benjamin Curtis, Jacob 
Stampley, Joseph Perkins and William Thomas to attend at the 
house of brother Thomas Hubbard on Friday before the Third 
Sunday in August." This Bayou Piere Church did not go into 
the constitution of the Mississippi Baptist Association at Coles 
Creek, nor had messengers at the association in Sept., 1807. 
Thus it escaped the eye of the historian, but it was received into 
the association in 1808. It was represented by letter and mes- 
sengers in the association each consecutive year unto 1819, 
when, on petition to the association from eight churches north 
of the Homochitto river, it was dismissed, as one of the number, 
to join in the organization of the Union Association. The first 
session of the Union Association was held with the Bayou Piere 
church September, 1820. Five years later it still existed, and 
was represented in the Union Association by Levi Thompson 
and William Cox. 

In the first years of the i8th century churches were establish- 
ed in South Mississippi with marvelous rapidity. We will 
notice the organization of some churches in Amite county. 
The New Providence Church, east of Gloster, was organ- 

252 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ized July 27, 1805, with twelve members. The Ebenezer 
Church, southeast of Centerville, was constituted May 9, 
1806, with eleven (u) members. The East Fork Church, 
west of Magnolia, was organized on the third Sunday in Sep- 
tember, 1810, with twelve members. The Zion Hill Church, 
west of Summit, was constituted June u, 1811, with twelve 
members. The Mars Hill Church, south of west from Summit 
came into existence on the first Sunday in June, 1815, with nine 

In 1820, the old Mississippi Association was within the coun- 
ties of Wilkinson, Amite, and a part of Franklin; the Union 
Association within Adams, Claiborne, Copiah, Jefferson, and a 
part of Franklin; and the Pearl River Association in Lincorn, 
Pike and Marion, and Lawrence. These, and other associa- 
tions, soon covered the southeastern part of the State. 

The beginnings of Baptists in North Mississippi were distinct 
from their beginnings in South Mississippi. North Mississippi 
was peopled by a tidal wave of immigration from the east after 
the third cession made by the Choctaws and the cession made 
by the Chickasaw Indians. The Choctaws did not get out of 
the State before 1830, nor the Chickasaws before 1835. These 
tribes occupied most of our State north of a line from Prentiss 
on the Mississippi river to Shubuta on the M. & O. Ry. 

In this territory, the Chickasaw Association was formed in 
1838, embracing the territory now known as the counties of 
Marshall, Lafayette, Benton, Union, Pontotoe, Lee, Tippah, 
Alcon, Prentiss, Tishamingo, and Itawamba. The Zion Asso- 
ciation was founded in 1836, covering the counties of Calhoun, 
Chickasaw, Clay, and Webster. The Columbus Association was 
organized in 1838, embracing the counties of Monroe, Lowndes, 
Oktibbeha, and Noxubee. The Yalabusha Association came 
into existence in 1837, and was in the territory of Tallahatchie, 
Yalabusha, Grenada, and Carroll counties. The Yazoo Asso- 
ciation later extended southward, embracing Laflore, Holmes, 
and Yazoo counties, and was met on the south by the old Union 

The Baptists who came to our State in early times were, very 
largely, from the Carolinas and from Georgia. They came to 
Mississippi, they were not brought. They were a thrifty people, 
who came west because of what they had learned of the salubri- 

Early Beginnings of Baptists. Leavell. 253 

ous climate, and the fertile soil of our State. With sterling 
worth and masterful common sense they went to work to make 
their fortunes by pure, godly living and unremitting labor. 
They were patriotic and law-abiding. They have grown as the 
years have cbme and gone, as one would naturally expect, until 
now, there are 100,000 white Baptists in our grand old Com- 

BY PETER J. HAMii/roN. 1 

In the little library at Mobile of which I am so fond the first 
section embraces several subjects at which my visitors often 
wonder. On the top shelf are found books on early or primi- 
tive religions ; on the next, primitive culture and customs ; be- 
low, books on the American Indians and their remains ; and 
then others on fairy tales and Mother Goose, children's games, 
Arabian Nights, Boccaccio, and more modern stories ; while 
on the larger shelves below the dividing ledge come the reports 
of the Bureau of Ethnology, Antiquities of Tennessee, Nott 
and Gliddon's Types of Mankind and the like. A good many 
seem to think that this -must be the place for library odds and 
ends, a kind of last place. On the contrary, I entitle it "Be- 
ginnings," and it is the section which is growing fastest and is 
my favorite. A longer word for it would be Archaeology, 
which is appropriated to the present discussion. 

As I understand the subject, archaeology is the science cover- 

1 Peter Joseph Hamilton was born at Mobile, Ala., March 19, 1859. 
His father, Peter Hamilton, was one of the most eminent lawyers of 
the South. He graduated at Princeton in 1836. In 1848 he became a 
member of the Legislature of Alabama. Four years later he was ap- 
pointed United States district attorney. He was a member of the State 
Senate during the time of the dual legislature in 1872, when he was 
the leader of the Democratic side, and was appointed commissioner 
to Washington. William T. Hamilton, father of Peter, and himself 
the son of a Peter Hamilton, was of Scotch descent and came from 
England to Charleston shortly after the War of 1812. He married 
Charlotte Cartledge, who came from Leeds, England. After serving 
as pastor of the first Presbyterian Church of Newark, New Jersey, 
William T. removed to Mobile, where he built the Government Street 
Presbyterian Church. The mother of Peter J. Hamilton was Anna 
Martha Beers, daughter of Jonathan S. Beers, and Cornelia Walker, 
of Georgia. On the Walker side they were connected with Walton, 
signer of the Constitution of the U. S., with James Fenimore Cooper, 
Jonathan Edwards, and Edmund Burke. 

Peter J. Hamilton graduated at Princeton fifth in the large and fa- 
mous class of 1879 and took the Mental Science Fellowship, consid- 
ered the highest honor of all. The next year he was a student at 
Leipzig University. He afterwards attended the law schools at the 
University of Virginia and at the University of Alabama. He entered 
upon the practice of law in 1882, and was later partner of his father 
and his uncle, Thos. A. Hamilton, a lawyer of note. On November 

256 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ing the period of human development between Geology and 
History. History we all know, but when it commenced the 
human races had already accomplished much. History is 
necessarily based upon written records, and so far as it is sup- 
plemented by tradition and race studies it rests upon archae- 
ology, the science of beginnings of everything human. Who 
among us knows when and by whom the needle was first used? 
Who among us knows when and by whom the bow of a boat, 
that element which makes a boat as distinguished from a raft, 
was first invented ? Who among us knows the shape of the first 
house and who used it? And so I might go on and enumerate 
many things now so familiar that we have forgotten somebody 
must have been the first to use them. This field, the origin of 
customs, inventions and institutions, is that covered by archae- 
ology. I know that genefally the subject is restricted to the 
existing material remains of vanished races. But I do not 
think that this limitation is proper. The science certainly 
covers all human activity from the appearance of man down to 
the beginning of recorded history. It may concern itself first 
with material remains, but it will deduce from them everything 
which can properly be inferred as to human mind. A bare col- 
lection and classification of utensils, weapons, burial mounds, 

the first, 1896, his uncle retired from active practice and died in Feb- 
ruary, 1897, leaving Peter J. Hamilton the successor of the old firm 
of Hamiltons. 

Peter J. Hamilton was councilman of Mobile from the Eighth, the 
largest ward, from i89i-'4, when by the next board he was elected 
city attorney (1894). In 1899 he declined to run again, preferring to 
devote himself to his profession. 

He married June 30, 1891, Rachel W., daughter of Dr. J. Ralston Bur- 
gett, pastor of the Government Street Presbyterian church of Mobile, 
and originally of Mansfield, Ohio, and Sarah V., daughter of Daniel 
Wheeler, a highly esteemed ship agent and cotton merchant of Mo- 

Peter Hamilton, like William T. before him, had a fine private library 
and Peter J. from a child was a writer. He frequently contributed to 
newspapers, and in 1893, on his return from a second trip through Eu- 
rope, published through the Putnams, a book called Rambles in Historic 
Lands, which was well received. 

Mr. Hamilton has made a special study of the local history and in- 
stitutions of his part of the South and has written on it for different 
newspapers and magazines. His principal work is entitled Colonial 
Mobile. This was published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company in the 
fall of 1897, and is conceded to be a book of the first rank. He has 
for a year or more been assisting the Hon. Hannis Taylor in the pre- 
paration of a book on International Public Law, now in the press of Cal- 
laghan and Company of Chicago. EDITOR. 

The Importance of Archaeology. Hamilton. 25? 

cliff dwellings and the like will be a travesty upon the science. 
It is a restoration of the life of the people who made and used 
these things that makes the subject worth studying at all, and, 
on the generally accepted theory that all civilization is a de- 
velopment, we are only restoring our own past. Indeed there 
are some primitive mental activities that have survived even to 
our time and can be traced to their origins. Our own customs, 
songs, legends, games and religious observances contain primi- 
tive elements. They are just as legitimate subjects of study as 
tombs and arrowheads, and they yield if anything clearer re- 

One of the most interesting things about beginnings is that 
they lie around us, as Wordsworth says Heaven does in our 
infancy, and this just as much as do the latest developments, 
only we do not generally distinguish them. To how many does 
it occur that children's games point back to ancient times ? And 
yet those amusements in which we all joined as children, and 
which are still familiar to all except crabbed old maids and 
bachelors, themselves go back for centuries and still preserve 
customs of our ancestors. The game of thimble is a survival 
of the custom of becoming the man or vassel of a lord or 
military leader. The royal coronation is preserved in several 
games, and when played by pretty innocent children it is as 
pleasing a spectacle as ever was the original. And here let me 
say, what will prove true of many of the divisions of archaeology, 
that we can both study the science of ourselves and make real 
contributions to its advancement by a little observation of what 
goes on about us. Like some studies advertised in the papers, 
it can be done at home. The games of children will even show 
us from what part of the world the ancestors of our community 
came, and record and preservation of games anciently and now 
in use in Meridian, Vicksburg, Mobile and elsewhere will there- 
fore be of interest. And the same is true of songs and rhymes, 
as well as of all public customs, those of grown up people as 
well as children. We do not lightly change habits or invent new 
ones, individually or collectively. What we have is largely what 
our forefathers used, and, if they show changes due to the sur- 
roundings on a new continent, they are of so much more value 
as historical guide-posts. They began in the same way and tell 

258 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the same story. Such things make up what is called the study 
of folk-lore. 

When we think of archaeology in connection with white 
races, however, the field in America is comparatively limited. 
What we can trace back by means of Caucasian folk-lore can be 
done so much better in Europe, where our ancestors came from, 
that it would seem our attention could better be devoted to the 
other races about us. What can be done here as to our an- 
cestors is really more antiquarian than archaeological. There 
are battlefields of the French under Bienville, the Spaniards 
under DeSoto, as well as many sites connected with explora- 
tion, all important, to be sure, but coming rather under the 
head of historical research. And I might say parenthetically 
that there is one branch of this which should be worked up 
especially. The outrunners of French civilization among the 
Indians were the coureurs dc bois, of whom even the names have 
been lost. The pioneers of British civilization were the traders, 
like William Adair, who has left interesting works, and many 
others who have left no writings at all. Their influence upon 
the savages, their trade relations, their domestic life, where 
they came from, where they lived and where they died, are all 
unknown. Yet our plantations cover their sites and but for 
these men the history of our country would have been differ- 
ent from what it has been. It might have been better without 
them, or it might have been worse without them, but in any 
event it would have been far different, and in them we have an 
historical field which should be worked. And there is one way 
in which our French and Spanish forebears can aid us in archae- 
ology proper. The relations and letters of the discoverers and 
pioneers, such, for instance, as LaSalle, Bienville and Penicaut, 
of our part of the country, throw much light upon the aborigines 
as they found them. These aborigines were then in pure bar- 
barism, without mixture or contamination by white civilization, 
and the accounts of the early explorers are of the greater value 
on that account. 2 

But even disregarding archaelogical studies of the white man, 

2 Translations of many are in French's Hist. Colin. La. Penicaut in 
the original is in 4 Margry Decouvertes. The Jesuit Relations, recently 
re-published, are invaluable for the lake and western States, but con- 
tain little on the Southern country. 

The Importance of Archaeology. Hamilton. 259 

the situation of our European races on this continent offers two 
special fields of investigation. We are succeeding the vanish- 
ing red race, whose culture and antiquities will be discussed pre- 
sently ; and there is also another with whom we are even closer 
in contact, whose present and future present so many political 
problems that we have neglected another side of study. Of 
course I mean the black race and they afford a most interesting 
field of investigation. They like ourselves are new comers on 
this continent, but unlike ourselves they were brought here by 
force, and they are working out their salvation by adopting our 
civilization. There are those who deem them only veneered 
savages, and their crimes, which have made lynching and even 
auto da fe so common, are horrible enough to lend color to the 
accusation. But we know that most of them are docile and 
affectionate, and their greatest faults are laziness and want of 
thrift, which also may point back to savage conditions. The 
very difficulty of the existing problem should lend an interest 
and show the necessity of studying their origin. The way to 
educate a child or a race is to pick out the faculties which can 
best be developed and work on them. That is the way every 
one of us who succeeds at all comes to be a lawyer, minister, 
writer, doctor, college professor or a business man. Goethe 
tells us that he succeeds best who can make a play of his busi- 
ness, that is, who loves it so that it is both his work and recrea- 
tion together. So we can deal with our surroundings, and a 
study of the origin of the negro will throw much light on the 
way best to civilize him. Of course I am speaking only of them 
as a class and not of all individuals. I suppose that each one 
of us knows colored people for whom he has almost as high a 
regard as for many of his own race ; but these are exceptions. 3 
The religious exercises of the negroes, with their shouting, 
singing and dancing, but with little spirituality, certainly recall 
those of their Guinea ancestors. A careful study will disclose 

3 What is true of the black race as such may not be wholly true of 
those whom for reasons of caste we class with them, although they 
may have more white blood then black. I have often thought that the 
lot of mulattoes and of those with even more Caucasian blood, for 
whom our race is responsible, is pitiable. With more capability than 
the pure blacks, they are condemned to the position of the blacks. 
The preservation of the purity of the white race, perhaps, makes this 
inevitable; but to these very conditions it may be due that often the 
worst criminals are those of mixed blood. 

260 Mississippi Historical Society. 

similar points of resemblance in many of their games, customs, 
legends and words. The word "tote," the "patting juba," 
"buckra" and other familiar things are African, just as "chunk" 
is Indian. Some of the stories told us by our mammies come 
across the sea, and Brer Rabbit and that ilk must have an 
African ancestry. This is almost an unworked field and yet a 
rich one. We of the South have more opportunities and better 
knowledge for carrying on this line of investigation than any 
other people. It is a pity more has not been done among us. 
It is true all Africa has been ransacked for slaves in times past, 
but the bulk of our negroes came from the Guinea coast or the 
Niger and Congo interiors. So the field, though broad enough, 
is not too great to be mastered. The subject has attracted the 
attention of missionaries as well as others. John Leighton Wil- 
son, of North Carolina, was long on the Guinea coast and 
speaks of it. Samuel Lapsley, of Selma, Ala., died in the Congo 
basin, and Tom Shepherd, a negro educted at the Presbyterian 
theological school at Tuscaloosa, is now in the same region. 
Sierra Leone and Liberia are under British and American con- 
trol or influence. Work here and investigation there in co- 
operation could produce valuable results. But let us turn from 
the white and black races to the red and try and fit the Indian 
into his place in archaeology. In many respects he lends him- 
helf to the study best of all. He represents before our eyes a 
stage of development of our own ancestors. He is primitive 
history petrified, just as the stationary Chinese represent a 
later stage. 

The world over the culture epochs of man are divided into 
stone, bronze and iron ages. The study of the beginnings of 
the human race or stone age is divided into periods, first the 
rough stone, technically called palaeolithic, the second the 
polished stone period, called neolithic, in which, however, rough 
stone implements still in part survived. The first relates to 
man in his earliest traces, when he was contemporary with the 
mammoth and other long since extinct animals, in the drift of 
the glaciers, which in America extended on the line from Phila- 
delphia to St. Louis. The neolithic period relates to him after 
he had begun to make advance, when his instruments were 
numerous, compound, varied, and more neatly executed, and 
chipping had to some extent given way to grinding them. He 

The Importance of Archaeology. Hamilton. 261 

had begun to cultivate some grains and domesticate the dog and 
other animals. But in America this distinction is not import- 
ant. The indications of palaeolithic man outside of the Trenton 
gravels are few and do not concern us of the Southern States. 
Our own district was probably then still a part of the sea now 
known to us as the Gulf of Mexico. Our study of ancient man 
must be directed to the neolithic age, and is really confined to 
it, for, as there was no palaeolithic to precede, so there was 
nothing to succeed it as in Europe. Copper began to be used 
to some extent, but there was strictly speaking no bronze age, 
and of course no iron age before the coming of the white man. 
And in the study of the stone age we find differences in differ- 
ent parts of America. The Esquimaux region constitutes one 
culture area, as it is called ; the Pacific coast, including Mexico, 
another; while the region east of the Rocky Mountains is a 
very distinct one yet. This vast territory was inhabited by 
several different races, of which we may mention the Algon- 
quin, north of our present Tennessee, but extending east of the 
Allegheny Mountains, the Iroquois about the Great Lakes and 
the St. Lawrence, and the Muscogee family in what are now 
our Gulf States east of the Mississippi. West of that great 
river were the Sioux and other families on which we need not 
now dwell. At the same time some of the Iroquois stock could 
be found in the South, for the important Cherokees in the 
mountains between Tennessee and the Carolinas are said to 
have been of that family. Not far from them were the Cataw- 
bas, who are generally thought to be of the Sioux stock, and 
possibly other small offshoots of the Sioux family are also found 
in the Biloxi of Mississippi, and in Arkansas. Besides these 
great stocks there were such independent ones as the Caddoes 
in Texas and the Timuquians about St. Augustine, Florida. 
Some of these identifications are not yet fully established, but 
seem probable from the testimony of language roots and in 
some cases of tradition. Of course the stock in which we are 
more especially interested, however, is the Muscogee, embrac- 
ing the Chickasaws on one side and the Choctaws and Creeks on 
the other. Of these the two latter inhabited almost all of what 
is now Mississippi and afford ample scope for local investiga- 

No study of Indian archaeology, whether for the whole of the 

262 Mississippi Historical Society. 

United States or for any particular district, is possible without 
the construction of a map. Any student of the Mississippi 
tribes will have to make a map and on it locate the principal 
monuments, remains and tribes of his particular section. In 
this way you detect groups and affinities which otherwise are 
not suspected. It is true that when we come to actual archae- 
ological work the spade will supersede the pen, as Mr. Thomas 
has expressed it ; for most of what can now be got at of Indian 
culture is underground. Linguistics, folk-lore and legends of 
the Indians throw invaluable light upon our subject, but there 
are also many tangible objects which we meet and these may be 
conveniently placed in four different classes. 

1. Fixed monuments, such as mounds, shell heaps, stone and 
other graves, and Indian trails. Each of these can be sub- 
divided, but we will only mention that of the mounds some are 
for purposes of burial, some for defence against an attack, and 
others for safety in inundations. The last are more common 
along the rivers, the second along the frontier of tribes, but 
the first will be found all over this State and in fact throughout 
the Mississippi basin. It is interesting and curious to note that 
burial mounds are infrequent .in Texas and east of the Alle- 
ghenies. 4 

2. Human remains. These are necessarily found only in the 
mounds or stone graves. They were buried with no regard to 
ornamentation, and are either skeletons, or bones wrapped up 
together, from which the flesh had first been removed. Their 
importance is in the anatomical study of racial analogies. 

3. Relics, or industrial remains, including implements of stone 
or pottery. Of the stone the most common are arrow and 
spear heads, generally of flint, even though flint may not be 
native to the section where they are found. These bring up the 
question of commerce between different tribes and localities, 
involving to some extent the division of labor. Pottery is very 
common in our Gulf region and presents many curious and 
sometimes beautiful shapes and decoration. All of us have seen 
and handled fragments, and perfect bowls and other articles are 
often found. 5 The chief pottery district of the United States, 

4 A full study of the mounds by Cyrus Thomas is in the I2th Annual 
Report of the Bureau of Ethnology. Miss, and Ala. are on pp. 253, 283. 

5 Many fine specimens are given in the annual reports of the Bu- 
reau of Ethnology, as for instance in 1895-6. 

The Importance of Archaeology. Hamilton. 263 

however, is about the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi 
rivers and the neighboring country. Pipes often occur, but, 
curiously enough, are less common where pottery is most fre- 

4. Writings, whether carved on rocks or more perishable ma- 
terials. There are but few of these in our part of the country, 
and few anywhere in comparison with other Indian remains. 

In such investigations it is important that some system be 
adopted. There are thousands of specimens of arrow heads 
and other Indian relics in private or public museums which are 
utterly valueless because they have no authentic history. Every 
explorer and student should preserve a plan and description not 
only of the objects found but of the localities and other identi- 
fying marks. It must be remembered that archaeology is not 
play, its object is not simply to get together a lot of curiosi- 
ties, but to arrange and classify everything it finds so as to 
admit of better study and of deductions from them. 

Perhaps no better indication of the importance of American 
archaeology can be given than to refer to several of the ques- 
tions which it and it only can solve. Among them are these, 
1st. Who were the mound builders, especially of the Ohio re- 
gion and other places where great heaps of dirt and stone seem 
to be effigies and represent animals of different kinds, or, as at 
Seltzertown in Mississippi, are terraced with architectural skill? 
Were they the same as Indians of historic times, or were they a 
separate race? If the former, were they not of Choctaw and 
Cherokee origin, as Brinton concludes ? e 2nd. Whence came 
the red men of this continent? Were they a separate creation 
or did they immigrate from other continents? If they did, was 
the Pacific slope crossed from China and Polynesia, and was 
the great Mississippi basin settled from some eastern source, 
or were all the red men of one stock? Here geology must tell 
us as to the connection of the continents in tertiary times. 
3rd. There being evidently, as we have seen, a number of races 
on this continent, what were their inter-migrations? Did they 
come from North to South or East to West ? And what were 
the limits of these movements? On this the spread of agricul- 

8 Brinton's Essays of Americanist, pp. 71, 80. 

264 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ture, particularly of maize and tobacco, native only to Tehuant- 
epec, may throw great light, while strange to say the banana 
seems to come to America with the whites. This becomes a 
part of the interesting study of the distribution of plants on the 
earth. 4th. What were the limits and boundaries of the historic 
tribes? Language is teaching us something, but only by a 
systematic study of the districts inhabited by the respective 
tribes can we solve this with any satisfaction. 5th. What de- 
gree of civilization had been attained by these different tribes? 
What advance had Chickasaws made over the Choctaws or the 
Creeks over the Cherokees? How do all compare with those 
of Mexico and Yucatan? 6th. There is one matter of greater 
interest and greater value than all the others and yet it is sel- 
dom thought of. It is this, can we reconstruct the primeval 
speech of the inhabitants of America ? If we can, we shall con- 
tribute more than we imagine to the archaeology of the whole 
world. This was first pointed out by Wilhelm Von Humboldt 
and in our own times by D. G. Brinton. The reason is that the 
Indian languages seem to be based upon a different plan from 
those of any other continent. What was the speech of primeval 
man is a curious question but so far utterly insoluble. It is 
thought we can see on the earth's surface a few primary linguis- 
tic stocks. They are differentiated by their roots and methods 
of combination, the principal styles being known as (i) Isola- 
tive, which place words consecutively, without change, like the 
Chinese ; (2) Agglutinative, which simply annex one root to 
another, like the Esquimaux; (3) Incorporative, which breaks 
one word up by incorporating others in it, and this is the charac- 
ter of the American Indian languages, and (4) Inflectional, in- 
dicating changes of gender, time, number, etc., by prefixes and 
suffixes, such as the Latin, Greek and Aryan tongues. 7 It is 
the opinion of many good scholars that the Indians when first 
discovered by Europeans had preserved their ancient languages 
and language plan better than any other races on the globe. 
Even yet two hundred independent stocks are known. 8 If this 
is so, a study of their languages presents a unique field, one 
which will carry us further back into the archaeologic past than 
any other linguistic stock. This feature of American archae- 

7 Brinton, Essays of Americanist, p. 339. 

8 Ib., pp. 318, 327- 

The Importance of Archaeology. Hamilton. 265 

ology has not been sufficiently noticed. The harvest truly is 
plentiful, but the laborers are few. 7th. Finally therefore in 
studying Indian antiquities we are carrying ourselves further 
back into the past of the human race, getting closer to the primi- 
tive savage, than is possible in the study of any other tribes on 
the globe, and becoming better able to decipher the beginnings 
of all human civilization than is possible in any other way ! 

To the solution of such questions this society can make valu- 
able contributions. The State of Mississippi offers a peculiarly 
fine field for investigation of Indian remains. Many Indians 
still live in the limits of the State and work done among them 
already brings excellent results. Tradition can fix sites and 
language and custom even yet recalls much of the past. To the 
north was the seat of the warlike Chickasaws, a race probably 
never actually defeated by the white man. The central portion 
of the State was occupied by the Choctaws, possibly the larg- 
est of all the Southern tribes and certainly the one most friend- 
ly to our own race. The coast, including Mobile, also has its 
peculiar remains and was the home of tribes with whom the 
whites came first in contact. I do not know any State where 
so much unites to make the study interesting and profitable. 
The many towns and trails especially remain to be identified by 
such careful work as Mr. Halbert and others are doing, and 
every now and then new mounds and antiquities are discovered. 
Chief of all, however, is the great Nanih Waiya Mound, the 
fabled origin of the Choctaw race. I believe the State is doing 
something towards the education of the Indians. Can it not be 
induced to purchase and preserve Nanih Waiya and some of the 
Indian sites? The white man as a rule cares nothing for anti- 
quity, nothing for the antiquities of his own race. Every year 
something is blotted out by the plow or by vandals, and, as the 
State grows in wealth and prosperity, she will lose in marks of 
the past. Private enterprise can do little, and direct efforts of 
this society can do hardly more than secure descriptions. It is 
for the State, as the general trustee for the public good, to in- 
terest itself and preserve for future generations the remains of 
the past. This society could do nothing better than, by all the 
influence of its members and friends, press the adoption of such 

I think enough has been said to show the importance of the 

266 Mississippi Historical Society. 

study of archaeology. It touches or embraces the beginnings 
of everything that strikes down its roots into the time before 
history began. Archaeology digs in the ground for imple- 
ments, weapons, dress, ornaments, and even skeletons ; it finds 
the elements common to languages and infers the original 
speech; it traces games, customs, superstitions and legends 
back and restores primeval mind. It marks off the ages of 
human progress before the alphabet was invented or history 
born. It goes back even of race divisions, to the beginning 
when God created man, and discovers that purpose which runs 
increasing through the ages. I must confess that my mind 
turns with greater interest to the study of beginnings than to 
the study of the completer civilization around us. This is so 
familiar that every one can know something about it, he who 
runs may read. But we can as little fully understand even that 
without knowing its origin as we can comprehend the character 
of a man without knowing his ancestry and education. 9 
I am not an expert, but it may be that as in other branches 
of science one who is not engaged on the details can have the 
better general idea. A dweller on Mont Blanc will know more 
about the glaciers, fauna and the flora of that mountain, but it 
is one off at a distance who gets the best impression of its 
magnificent appearance as a whole. Let this be my excuse for 
preceding in this discussion investigators who are really my 

9 In the same way there is a later phase of history which is really 
anchaeological: I mean what we ordinarily call the middle ages, in- 
cluding also in a sense the later years of the Roman Empire. Old 
things were then going to pieces, it is true, but new things were spring- 
ing into life without anybody's knowing the one process or the other, 
and without there being written record of the change. The mediaeval 
period is therefore the ancestor of modern civilization. 



Nanih Waiya occupies a unique position in Choctaw folk- 
lore in its intimate connection with both the creation legend and 
the migration legend of the Choctaw people. The first descrip- 
tion on record of Nanih Waiya with the Choctaw belief that it 
was the mother of their race is to be found in Adair's American 
Indians, published in 1775, though the author has made a mis- 
take in the location of the mound. This statement of Adair's is 
positive evidence that this belief was current among the Choc- 
taws fully one hundred and fifty years ago. And prior to his 
day no one can tell for how many centuries it may have been an 
orthodox article of Choctaw faith. This belief is not yet ex- 
tinct. For even in this, the first year of the twentieth century, 
there are yet to be found, at several places in Mississippi, some 
old-fashioned Choctaws who are most implicit believers in 
Nanih Waiya's being the mother of their race. A certain old 
man, Solomon Lo-shu-mi-tubbee, of Conehatta, will even give 
vent to an outburst of wrath, if any Choctaw in his presence 
should express any incredulity in regard to this ancient ances- 
tral belief. During the various emigrations from Mississippi, 
between 1830 and 1840, many Choctaws in their opposition to 
emigration declared that they would never go West and aban- 
don their mother ; and that as long as Nanih Waiya stood, they 
would stay and live in the land of their birth. 

It is not obvious and perhaps cannot be known whether there 
is any connection between the creation legend and the migra- 
tion legend; whether one was developed from the other. It 
is doubtful whether there are any traces of historic truth in 
the migration legend. It can be safely assumed, almost demon- 
strated, that the disintegration of the primordial tribe and the 
consequent differentiation, by which the various branches of 
the Choctaw-Muscogee family were formed, took place some- 

1 A biographical sketch of the author of this article will be found 
in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. III., p. 353, 
footnote. EDITOR. 

268 Mississippi Historical Society. 

where within the bounds of the Gulf States. This event occur- 
red at least four thousand years ago ; for it would undoubtedly 
require that long period of time to bring about the present ex- 
isting divergencies in the several Choctaw-Muscogee dialects. 
If there was ever any migration from the West, or even from the 
North, it was by the parent tribe and in a very remote past, too 
remote for even the faintest tradition to have been handed down 
to modern times. It is not reasonable to suppose that the 
Choctaw-Muscogee tribes should have been formed by differen- 
tiation in some far off region and that these kindred tribes 
should have emigrated and made new homes adjacent to each 
other in the Gulf States. As the Choctaw dialect is of a more 
archaic type than the other dialects of the Choctaw-Muscogee 
family, it is possible that the Choctaw territory was the home of 
the primordial tribe. And it is possible, too, that the Nanih 
Waiya region itself was the very center of the habitat of the pa- 
rent stock. 

It is somewhat singular that while the migration legend is 
now utterly forgotten by the Mississippi Choctaws, the creation 
legend is still well known. Twenty years ago the writer had a 
long conversation with old Hopahkitubbee of Bogue Chitto, 
who remembered the migration legend, but since his death, all 
knowledge of this legend has disappeared. 

There are some versions of the creation legend that contain 
modern interpolations. The one given in this s paper is the old- 
est version unmixed with modern accretions that the writer has 
been able to discover among the Mississippi Choctaws. It was 
taken down, word for word, in his native tongue, from the lips 
of Isaac Pistonatubbee, who died recently in Newton county at 
the age of some eighty years. Pistonatubbee stated that in his 
boyhood he had often heard the legend, just as he gave it, from 
some of the old Choctaw mingoes. While perhaps not appar- 
ent in the text, Pistonatubbee stated that the creation of the dif- 
ferent tribes all occurred in the same day. 

Apart from the Choctaw belief that the first parents of the red 
people were born of Nanih Waiya, their mother, it is possible 
that the legend is a dim, confused tradition of the segregation 
from the primordial stock of various colonies that ultimately 
became differentiated into the several tribes of the Choctaw- 
Muscogee family; the Choctaws alone, according to the le- 

The Choctaw Creation Legend. Halbert. 269 

gend, remaining in the primitive seats. If this interpretation 
is admissible, the insertion in the legend of the Cherokees, an 
allophylic people, must be considered a comparatively modern 

Pistonatubbee's version in his native language runs as fol- 
lows : x 

Hopahki fehna kash hattak vt atoba vmmona kvt Nvnih 
Waiya yo atobat akohcha tok oke. Mvskoki yosh tikba Nvnih 
Waiya akohcha mvt Nvnih Waiya yakni banaiya yo illaiohofka 
mvt shilvt taha mvt hvshi akohchaka ilhkoli tok oke. Atuk 
osh Itombikbi ola ho afoha mvt hakchuma shunka mvt luak 
bohli tok oke. 

Mihma Chelaki yosh atuklant Nvnih Waiya akohcha tok oke. 
Mihmvt yakni banaiya ya illaiohofka mvt shilvt taha mvt akni vt 
atia tok a iakaiyvt ilhkoli tok oke. Mvskoki vt afohvt hakchu- 
ma ashunka cha ia tok o, luak vt itonla tok o, kowi vt lua tok o 
Chelaki vt Mvskoki vt atia tok a ik ithano mvt yoshoba cha 
filami cha falvmmi imma ko ilhkoli tok osh falvmmi imma ko 
ont aioklachi tok oke. 

Mihma Chikasha yosh atuchinat Nvnih Waiya akocha tok 
oke. Mihmvt yakni banaiya ya illaiohofka mvt shilvt taha mvt 
Chelaki vt atia tok a iakaiyvt ilhkoli tok osh Chelaki vt ayosh- 
oba tok a ona mvt filami mvt Chelaki vt atia tok akinli ho iakai- 
yvt ilhkoli tok oke. Atuk osh Chikasha vt Chelaki vt ont aiok- 
lachi tok a ona mvt Chelaki bilinka aioklachi tok oke. 

Mihma Chahtah yosh ont aiushta ma Nvnih Waiya yvmma 
ishtaiopi akohcha tok oke. Mihmvt yakni banaiya ya illaiohof- 
ka mvt shilvt taha mvt kanima ik aiyo hosh yakni ilap akinli ho 
abinohli tok osh Chahta vt aiasha hoke. 


A very long time ago the first creation of men was in Nanih 
Waiya; and there they were made and there they came forth. 
The Muscogees first came out of Nanih Waiya, and they then 
sunned themselves on Nanih Waiya's earthen rampart, and 
when they got dry they went to the east. On this side of the 

1 In the pronunciation of Choctaw the vowels have the continental 
sound; "o" invariably has the sound of "o" in note. The twenty-second 
letter of the Choctaw alphabet "v," has the sound of "a" in vial; to some 
ears, however, the same as "u" in tub. The Choctaw nasal vowels, from 
the want of type, are represented by italic vowels. 

270 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Tombigbee, there they rested and as they were smoking tobac- 
co they dropped some fire. 

The Cherokees next came out of Nanih Waiya. And they 
sunned themselves on the earthen rampart, and when they got 
dry they went and followed the trail of the elder tribe. And 
at the place where the Muscogees had stopped and rested, and 
where they had smoked tobacco, there was fire and the woods 
were burnt, and the Cherokees could not find the Muscogees' 
trail, so they got lost and turned aside and went towards the 
north and there towards the north they settled and made a peo- 

And the Chickasaws third came out of Nanih Waiya. And 
then they sunned themselves on the earthen rampart, and 
when they got dry they went and followed the Cherokees' trail ; 
and when they got to where the Cherokees had got lost, they 
turned aside and went on and followed the Cherokees' trail. 
And when they got to where the Cherokees had settled and 
made a people, they settled and made a people close to the 

And the Choctaws fourth and last came out of Nanih Waiya. 
And they then sunned themselves on the earthen rampart and 
when they got dry, they did not go anywhere but settled down 
in this very land and it is the Choctaws' home. 

BY H. S. 

In 1830 Captain Chishahoma, or Red Postoak, was the lead- 
ing chief of the Okla hannali or the Six Towns Indians, who 
lived in Newton, Jasper and Smith counties, but principally in 
Jasper. This chief was present for a number of days at the 
treaty of Dancing Rabbit. When the question of a treaty or 
no treaty was submitted to the Choctaws and the majority there 
present voted against it, Chishahoma considered this action as 
final and that no treaty would be made. He accordingly left 
the treaty ground and started home. While on his return jour- 
ney he was overtaken by an Indian who told him that after his 
departure a treaty had been made. Acting upon this informa- 
tion, the day after his arrival home, Red Postoak called together 
a council of the Six Towns people. Upon convening and the 
purpose of the council being made known, it was ascertained 
that all of the Six Towns Indians were opposed to the treaty 
and declared that they would not go west. Chishahoma him- 
self was opposed to emigration and made several speeches 
against it. The council having thus unanimously declared 
against emigration then adjourned. 

In the spring of 1831, "about the coming of grass," word 
came to Chishahoma that there was a provision in the treaty 
by which all the Choctaws who wished to remain in Mississipp. 
and hold their land could do so by making application to Col- 
onel William Ward, the Choctaw agent, within six months and 
having their names registered; otherwise they could not hold 
their lands. This was the well known I4th article of the treaty, 
which reads as follows: 

"Each Choctaw head of a family being desirous to remain and be- 
come a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so, by signifying 
his intention to the agent within six months from the ratification of 
this treaty, and he pr she shall be entitled to a reservation of one sec- 
tion of six hundred and forty acres of land, to be bounded by sectional 
lines of survey; in like manner shall be entitled to one-half that quan- 
tity for each unmarried child which is living with him over ten years 
of age; and a quarter section to such child as may be under ten years of 
age, to adjoin the location of the parent. If they reside upon said lands 
intending to become citizens of the States for five years after the 

272 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ratification of this treaty, in that case a grant in fee-simple shall issue; 
said reservation shall include the present improvement of the head of 
the family or a portion of it. Persons who claim under this article 
shall not lose the privilege of a Choctaw citizen, but if they ever re- 
move are not to be entitled to any portion of the Choctaw annuity." 

Upon receiving the information in regard to this provision 
of the treaty, Red Postoak dispatched runners to the Six 
Towns people to notify them to assemble in council "in four 
sleeps" so as to ascertain who wished to stay in Mississippi, 
hold their lands and become citizens. The council convened 
at the house of Spana Mingo, situated near the present village 
of Garlandsville, in Jasper county. The session lasted one day 
and a night. Nearly all the Six Towns people were present. 
The matter was discussed in open council and every talk made 
was in opposition to emigration. When the question was put 
to vote the entire council to a man voted to stay and hold their 
lands under the treaty. This matter being settled, the next 
question was how or in what manner must they make their ap- 
plications and get their names registered. After full discussion 
the council appointed Chishahoma and Toboka as delegates 
to visit Colonel Ward and apply to him to register the names 
of all the Six Towns heads of families that wished to stay and 
secure property rights in Mississippi. This determination of 
the council being expressed, a way was then devised to make 
an enrollment of all the heads of the families that wished to re- 
main in the State. This was done by means of small sticks, 
the usual Choctaw method of official or tribal enumeration. 
The sticks were generally of split cane ; but on this occasion 
they were made of prairie weeds. A stick about six or eight 
inches long represented the head of a family and was called the 
family stick. A smaller stick was made for each male child 
over ten years of age at the date of the treaty and these small 
sticks were tied to the family stick. For each female child over 
ten years of age at the date of the treaty a notch was cut on the 
middle of the family stick ; and for every child, male or female, 
under ten years of age at the date of the treaty a notch was cut 
on the family stick near its end. Adopted children in this ab- 
original enrollment were put on the same footing as real child- 
ren and designated in the same manner. A leading man or 
chief was appointed from each town to superintend the prepa- 
ration of these sticks and see that they corresponded with the 

Indian Council on Noxubee. Halbert. 273 

numbers and ages of the children. These persons were as fol- 
lows: Chishahoma for. Chinakbi Town; Mahubbee for Okata- 
laia Town; Elatubbee for Inkillis Tamaha; Toka Hadjo for 
Tala Town; Malachubbee for Nashwaiya; and Shikopanowa 
for Bishkun. 

The sticks when finished, were tied up in six bundles for the 
six towns, each bundle containing the sticks of the people of 
its respective town. The six bundles were then tied up into 
one large bundle, about ten inches in diameter, and handed 
over to Chishahoma, who with his brother delegate, either the 
next morning or the morning after, started off up to the Choc- 
taw Agency. 

The Choctaw Agency was situated on the north side of the 
Robinson road in Oktibbeha county, about one and a half miles 
east of Noxubee river. The agent's house, which fronted the 
road, consisted of two large rooms, made of hewn logs, with a 
passage between and porch in front. Underneath was a cellar, 
or perhaps better described, a kind of basement made of brick, 
which was used by Colonel Ward as a dungeon for the confine- 
ment of arrested fugitive slaves. This dungeon was well fur- 
nished with stocks. On the premises were the usual outbuild- 
ings, among these, on the north side of the road, was the store 
house, which stood east of the agent's house, and the black- 
smith shop, which stood west. On the south side of the road, 
some fifty yards to the southwest, were the stables. 

As a digression, it may be stated that many of the well to do 
Choctaws were slave owners and were, of course, firm believers 
in the enforcement of the fugitive slave laws of the adjoining 
States. It occasionally happened that negroes in Mississippi 
and Alabama would run away from their masters and flee to the 
Choctaw Nation, where they vainly hoped to find an asylum, 
but found to their sorrow that they were promptly arrested by 
the Choctaws and delivered to Colonel Ward who at once con- 
fined them in stocks in his dungeon, where they remained until 
they were reclaimed by their owners. 

The Choctaw Agency was abandoned in 1832. After its 
abandonment, the agent's house was occupied as a dwelling 
house, for many years, by several different families. At some 
time in the late '4o's, the buildings were all torn down and re- 
moved. The present residence of Mr. Charles Evans, situated 

274 Mississippi Historical Society. 

on the south side of the Robinson road, stands exactly opposite 
the site of the agent's house. 

Upon their arrival at the Agency, Chishahoma and Toboka 
found Colonel Ward at home engaged in writing. Red Postoak 
made known to the Colonel the object of their visit, saying that 
he understood that all who wished to stay in the country five 
years could have land under the treaty, and that he had come to 
register himself and his people, so that they might secure the 
benefits of that provision of the treaty. Ward in reply told his 
visitors that such were the terms of the treaty and that they 
could be registered. The Indians seated themselves, Ward took 
down his book and the business began. Middleton McKey, 
the Government interpreter, was present and assisted in the 
business. Chishahoma would draw a stick from the bundle, 
give the name of the head of the family and the numbers and 
ages of the children, all of which Ward would register in his 
book. After registering some fifty names, Ward arose, pushed 
the book aside and took a drink of liquor. When Ward 
turned around after drinking, Chishahoma told him through 
McKey that he had not given him all the names that he wished 
to have registered. Ward replied that he was very busy and 
had a great deal to do and that Chishahoma must go home and 
come back after awhile and that then he would put down all 
the remaining names that he wished to have registered. Chi- 
shahoma insisted upon the completion of the registration. 
But Ward was obstinate ; telling him that that would do ; that 
he could leave the sticks with him and return again after awhile 
and see that all was right. Finally, through the representations 
of the interpreter, Red Postoak became satisfied. He consid- 
ered that his own name was registered as well as those that he 
had given in, and that their homes were secured, and that the 
remaining names would surely be registered in due time. 
Leaving the remainder of the sticks with Colonel Ward, he and 
his companion started for home with the intention of return- 
ing in a few weeks and finishing their business. Red Postoak 
reported the matter to his people, stating that Ward said that 
they must come again. This report seems to have given satis- 
faction, and every one supposed that Ward would act justly 
and be as good as his word. 

About the middle of May, Colonel Ward instructed Middle- 

Indian Council on Noxubee. Halbert. 275 

ton McKey to visit the towns of the nation and invite the Choc- 
taws to attend a council on Noxubee river, to be held on the 
I3th day of June. The object of this council was to ascertain 
what Indians desired to remain in the country, and, having their 
names registered, secure the benefits of the five years' stay. It 
afterwards appeared that from some cause McKey did not visit 
all the parts of the nation. 

About the time "when blackberries were getting ripe," Red 
Postoak and Toboka returned to the agency to see about their 
unfinished business. It appears that they had not been notified 
of the council that was to convene on Noxubee river. On their 
way to the agency they met an Indian who told them that the 
agent's book containing the names of the Six Towns Indians 
who had been registered for the five years' stay was destroyed ; 
but that there was to be a council of the Choctaws that was to 
take place in two or three sleeps on Noxubee river ; and at this 
place all the Choctaws that wished to stay in the country could 
register their names. This was the council appointed by Col- 
onel Ward. Upon receiving this news Chishahoma and To- 
boka concluded it best to make out new sticks, which they did 
accordingly. It was mainly the work of Toboka, who was a 
very smart man and possessed of a very great memory in call- 
ing to mind the names of their people who desired their names 
to be registered. To those familiar with the habits of life and 
the mental acquisitions of the Choctaws living under the old 
regime, this feat of Toboka's memory will excite no surprise or 
incredulity. Unlike man in a civilized condition, the old time 
Choctaw, who had a world of leisure, had comparatively but 
few objects or ideas to impress upon his memory. Living un- 
der such conditions, it was not unusual to find an Indian who 
was thoroughly familiar with the name, age, and sex of every 
member of his clan or tribe. 

When Chishahoma and Toboka reached the agency, they 
found Colonel Ward absent at the council, to which they went 
without delay. 

The Choctaw council house was situated on a poplar bluff or 
knoll, in an open forest, on the east bank of Noxubee river, 
about two and a half miles southeast of the agency, and about 
four hundred yards above the Noxubee county line. The place 
is now locally known as Council Bluff. The council house was 

276 Mississippi Historical Society. 

made of split poplar logs and about twenty by thirty feet in di- 
mensions. The gable ends were east and west, with door on 
the north. The house was doubtless built at the time of the 
establishment of the agency on the Robinson road. A few 
years ago, some of the ruins of the council house could still be 
seen, but have since been destroyed by forest fires. 

The Indians assembled on the council ground on Sunday, 
June 1 2th. There were nearly a thousand present, of all ages 
and both sexes. Many were there from the headwaters of 
Pearl river, Leaf river, and Sukenatcha. That day, whether 
at the agency or the council ground is uncertain, Ward told the 
Indians that this was the last notice he would give them on the 
subject of registration ; that they must come and register their 
names the next day ; that if they did not do so, they would have 
no other chance as this was the last appointment he would 

The next morning, June I3th, Colonel Ward met the In- 
dians at the council ground. A rude table or platform had 
been made outside of the council house which Ward made use 
of as a kind of writing desk. When the business of the day 
opened, Ward instructed Middleton McKey to tell the Indians 
who did not wish to emigrate that they had the right under the 
treaty to stay in the country and hold their lands, and that he 
was ready to receive their names and register them in his book. 
McKey faithfully interpreted this to the Indians and the work 
of registration began. After the business of the day had con- 
siderably advanced, Chishahoma and Toboka came forward and 
presented themselves to the agent. A number of Indians from 
Pearl, Leaf and Sukenatcha were with them. It seems that in 
addition to his own people Chishahoma was acting as spokes- 
man for these parties so as to help them in registering their 
names. He had his bundle of sticks in his hands. He told 
McKey to inform the agent that these sticks represented those 
of his people who were unwilling to emigrate, and who wished 
to remain in the country, become citizens and hold their lands ; 
and that he and Toboka would give in the name of each head 
of family and the ages and numbers of their children. Ward at 
this time looked up at Red Postoak and asked McKey who he 
was, where he lived and what Indians he wished to register. 
McKey replied that it was Red Postoak, that he lived in Six 

Indian Council on Noxubee. Halbert. 277 

Towns and it was the Six Towns Indians that he wished to have 
registered. Ward was now much under the influence of strong 
drink. He remarked that there were too many registered al- 
ready and told McKey to tell Red Postoak that they must go 
west of the Mississippi river, where there was plenty of land 
for them ; that if they wanted land they must go there and get 
it; that they could get none here. Red Postoak, in reply to 
Ward, said that he was their agent, and that he thought that 
he was the proper person to apply to ; that when he was at the 
agency before, he told him he could stay, and he wished to 
know why it was that he now said that they could not stay. 
Ward replied that there were too many of them; then taking 
and untying the bundle of sticks he threw them away. Red 
Postoak now turned away in great anger. Anotner chief, 
Atonamastubbee, who also had a large bundle of sticks repre- 
senting some Sukenatcha Indians, was at the same time treated 
by Ward in exactly the same manner as he treated Chishahoma. 
Ward evidently took advantage of these Indians, knowing that 
they came from isolated localities, were ignorant and had no ac- 
tive and well informed leaders to stand up for them and their 

This action of Colonel Ward created considerable excitement 
among all present, both whites and Choctaws, as it was a plain 
and palpable violation of the treaty. The Indians retired from 
Ward's presence greatly distressed. They talked much about 
it, saying that this was not what was promised to them in the 
treaty, nor what was promised to them by Major Eaton in his 
last talk at Dancing Rabbit. They said they would go home 
and live five years on their lands, as they felt confident that the 
Government would not turn them off, since they were promised 
by the Commissioners at Dancing Rabbit, and it was so put 
down in the treaty that those wishing to do so might stay and 
have their lands and not be forced over the Mississippi. Many 
of them said that they would die before they would go west. 
The white people present endeavored to encourage the Indians, 
advising them to go home and stay on their lands and that the 
Government would treat them honestly. McKey, the interpre- 
ter, also protested strongly against this action of Colonel 
Ward's, saying that it was a violation of the treaty, for the 
agent had made him in the morning tell the Indians that all had 

278 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the right to register and stay here and hold their lands if they 
did not choose to move; and now to turn them off that way 
looked too bad, and the Indians might say that he did not in- 
terpret right. 

Such was Colonel Ward's action at the council ground. His 
register shows only the names of thirteen heads of families reg- 
istered on that day. These, with the exception of two white 
men that had Indian wives, were all intelligent and prominent 
half-breeds, whose names Ward would doubtless have found 
it dangerous to refuse to register. He possibly may have reg- 
istered the names of some others, which afterwards, without in- 
curring any personal risk, he erased, in accordance with sim- 
ilar fraudulent transactions on his part, as can be proved by 
the records of the Government. 

To digress somewhat, the last talk made by Major Eaton 
at Dancing Rabbit, referred to above by the Indian claimants, 
was long remembered by the Choctaws of Mississippi. It was 
made on the 28th of September, just after signing the supple- 
ment to the treaty. Not even an abstract of this talk has come 
down to us, but from the deposition of Hiahka, made before 
the Commissioners, Graves and Claiborne, at Hopahka in 
1843, it is evident that the talk was simply a full explanation of 
the I4th and I9th articles of the treaty. This talk caused 
many of the Choctaws to become reconciled to the treaty. 

Colonel Ward remained at the council ground all day, tra- 
dition says, in a more or less intoxicated condition. Soon after 
the rejection of the claims of Chishahoma and Atonamastubbee, 
a council was convened by the Choctaws in the poplar grove 
near the council house. In this council the question of regis- 
tration was discussed at great length. Many speeches were 
made on both sides, some in favor of emigration, others in fa- 
vor of registration. Mingo Moshulitubbee and David Folsom 
were present, both of whom were opposed to their people reg- 
istering and they made most impassioned speeches against this 
policy. It is a matter of regret that history has failed to pre- 
serve any of the Indian speeches delivered on this occasion. 
But judging from the recorded Choctaw utterances current 
at that day and time, which are the same as those handed down 
by tradition, it is a most reasonable supposition that the orators 
opposed to emigration laid much stress upon the fact that the 

Indian Council on Noxubee. Halbert. 279 

majority of the Choctaw people were opposed to the treaty of 
Dancing Rabbit ; that their chiefs had exceeded their authority 
in making this treaty. But to give satisfaction to the Choctaws 
the I4th article was inserted. And now it was their resolve 
not to emigrate but to stay and hold their lands under this ar- 
ticle. On the other hand, without doubt, the most potent ar- 
gument brought forward by the orators of the emigration party 
against the policy of remaining in the country was the difficulty 
of living under the white man's laws. The Choctaws could not 
speak English; they were ignorant and could not understand 
the white man's ways ; they could not live happily under the 
hard laws of Mississippi ; and so it would be best for them not 
to register to remain here, but all to go west. After a long and 
stormy discussion, in which the opposing parties could come to 
no agreement, late in the afternoon, the council broke up in 
confusion. None were registered after the close of the council. 
No doubt, parties so disposed would have found it useless to 
apply after Colonel Ward's unjust treatment of Chishahoma 
and Atonamastubbee. Early the next morning, the Choctaws 
packed up their baggage and all returned to their homes. And 
a sore task it must have been to Chishahoma, Atonamastubbee, 
and others to bear the tidings of disappointment to their expec- 
tant people, who so passionately desired to live and die in the 
land of their nativity. 

Many of the registration party that attended this council, 
became very much discouraged at the prospect of losing their 
lands, and they eventually emigrated west. Atonamastubbee 
emigrated west with all his people in 1836. Chishahoma lived 
and died in Mississippi. Many of his people emigrated, some 
before and others after his death. A large number, however, 
remained, whose descendants still live in Mississippi. 

Colonel Ward died a few years after this council, but this and 
numerous similar unrighteous actions of his, all of which can 
be verified by the records of the Government, have fastened a 
lasting stigma upon his name. For near a score of years 
these actions were not only destined to entail sorrow and suf- 
fering upon the Indians of Mississippi, but were a continual 
source of perplexity to the State and National governments. 
The deleterious effects of Colonel Ward's actions are visible in 

280 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Mississippi even at the present day. Verily, the evil that men 
do lives after them. 

Such is the story of the last Indian council on Noxubee river, 
a story that stands out only as a single episode in that long 
"century of dishonor" of the dealings of the National Govern- 
ment or its representatives with our aboriginal people, the 
memory of which will ever remain on the pages of history as 
a shame and a reproach to the American people. 

Notes. This account of the last Indian council on Noxubee River is, 
in a great measure, collated and compiled from the case of the Choctaw 
Nation vs. the United States, No. 12, 742, U. S. Court of Claims, pp. 54- 
60, 181-183, 260-262, 809-828, 866-884, 888, 895-898, and 1121. Some 
minor facts in the narrative are corroborated by the late Mr. Hay- 
wood Lincecum, of Noxubee County, who, as a boy, accompanied his 
father, Grabel Lincecum, to the council. 

The description of the Agency and the council house is derived from 
old citizens who had seen them. 

As stated, the council house was about two miles and a half from 
the Agency. In some of the Choctaw depositions the distance is given 
as one or two miles. The deponents evidently had in mind the Choc- 
taw mile, which is longer than the English mile. Three Choctaw 
miles, for instance, are equivalent to about four and a half or five Eng- 
lish miles. 

The exact date of the council is fixed from the deposition of Adam 
James, in connection with Ward's Register. James in his deposition 
states that he registered at this council on Noxubee, and Ward's book 
gives the date of his registration as June I3th, 1831. 



(A communication addressed to the Secretary of the Mississippi 
Historical Society by the Rev. Edward Everett Hale. 1 ) 

ROXBURY, MASS., April 17, 1901. 

MY DEAR SIR : I promised you in reply to your favor of De- 
cember /th, 1899, that I would try to bring together some notes 
on Philip Nolan for the Mississippi Historical Society. 

I have never forgotten that promise, and I have many times 
addressed myself to the enterprise of fulfilling it. But I have 
bad the same difficulty which you have, my notes are so frag- 
mentary that I cannot make out any connected narrative. 

I take the liberty, however, to enclose to you a parcel of 

1 Rev. Edward Everett Hale was born in Boston, Mass., in 1822. He 
was graduated at Harvard with the degree of A. B. in 1839. Three 
years later he received his A. M. degree from the same institution. 
In 1842 he was licensed to preach by the Boston Association of Unitar- 
ian Congregational ministers. Four years later he accepted a per- 
manent charge at Worcester, Mass., where he remained for ten years. 
In 1856 he became pastor of the South Congregational church, Bos- 
ton, Mass., which position he filled until 1899, when he resigned and 
became pastor emeritus. 

He originated the charitable organization known as the "Hany 
Wardsworth Club," which had at one time a membership of over 50,- 
ooo. He also assisted in the organization of the "Look-up Legion" in 
the Sunday schools. He was chosen a counsellor of the Chautauqua 
circle, with which work he has been intimately associated for several 
years. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society, and an honorary member of the Geo- 
graphical Society of the Republic of Mexico. 

Although Dr. Hale has devoted much of his time and attention to 
Christian and humanitarian work, his writings have won for him a last- 
ing place in the literary history of the United States. He has edited 
from time to time a large number of periodicals of high grade and 
has written many interesting books. In his story entitled A Man 
Without a Country (1863) he accidentally hit upon the name of Philip 
Nolan for one of his characters. Very much to his surprise he after- 
wards found that Philip Nolan was a real character in Southern history. 
Feeling that he had done an injustice to Nolan in his former story, he 
wrote another story entitled "Philip Nolan's Friend; or, "Show Your 
Passports," which was published in Scribner's Monthly in 1876. In the 
communication here published he has given to the public for the first 
time numerous bits of information he has collected on the real Nolan, 
through the many years of an active literary life. 

More detailed sketches of Dr. Hale's life will be found in the Cyclo- 
pedia of American Biographies, Vol. III.; Who's Who in America; and 
the Review of Reviews for May, 1901. EDITOR. 

282 Mississippi Historical Society. 

memoranda which you can submit to the Society in any form 
you like. You know better than I do probably, that in the ar- 
chives of your State, preserved I think at Jackson, at the pres- 
ent moment, there are the records of the territorial govern- 
ment, and that in these records there are references, at least to 
Nolan's last expedition into Texas, and possibly to earlier ones. 
When the Federal army occupied the city of Jackson, before 
the capture of Vicksburg, one of our officers visited the State 
House. He told me that he found, I think on the floor of the 
Secretary of State's room, a part of the inquiry which was 
made about Nolan in the autumn of 1800, when he had been de- 
tained at Natchez by the United States marshal on the suspi- 
cion that he was attempting an invasion of Spanish territory. 

The examination which followed showed that he had the 
pass of the Spanish governor of Orleans, and Nolan and his 
party were permitted to go forward. 

You will remember that Nolan had at that time married 
Fanny Lintot, who was connected I don't know how with 
the Miner family, whose residence was on the west side of the 
Mississippi. It is the same house, "Concordia," which has just 
been destroyed. As her son and Nolan's was born after Nolan 
left, the boy never saw his own father. But he died young, 
and I think he was also called Philip Nolan. I take it for 
granted that you know more about these records in the capital 
of Mississippi than I do. I should be greatly indebted to you 
if you can send me any memoranda with regard to them. My 
principal source of information with regard to Nolan himself, 
was the Honorable John Mason Brown, who died in Louisville 
a few years ago. He was the son of John Mason Brown who 
died in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1867. 

In his correspondence Mr. Brown told me that Philip 
Nolan was born in Frankfort in a house which I think he re- 
membered himself. I think you may be interested in seeing two 
of his early letters to me, and I therefore enclose them to you, 
begging you to return them to me as soon as you can. I do 
not find any date given for Nolan's birth, nor did I find any af- 

You are undoubtedly familiar with the references to him in. 
Wilkinson's Memoirs. As you know, I believe, it was to the 
mere accident that Wilkinson made this reference that I took 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 283 

Nolan's name for the name of my hero. In Wilkinson's Me- 
moirs, he refers to Nolan once and again when it is convenient 
to him. I thought it was Stephen Nolan, and I called my man 
Philip Nolan, but as it proved, I took the real name. 

We now know that Wilkinson was in the pay of the Spanish 
government through all the latter years of the Eighteenth cen- 
tury, and probably through the beginning of the Nineteenth. 
This was suspected here, but he succeeded in covering his 
tracks so fully that he was never convicted of it in his life time. 
It was not until Mr. Gayarre went to Spain that he found the 
full detail of this treachery in the Spanish records. But I do 
not know how far Philip Nolan had to do with these transac- 
tions. I have myself an autograph of Nolan's, which has an 
endorsement of a letter from Wilkinson. The whole note may 
be of interest to you. It bears the date, as you see, of Septem- 
ber 22, 1796, and it begins with Wilkinson's own handwriting. 


For the 12,000 acres of Land sold to your self, & messrs. Ralph & 
Jonas Phillips, as per indenture dated the isth inst, please to pay Mr. 
Philip Nolan or order two thousand Dollars worth of Merchantdize, 
& his receipt shall be your discharge for so much. 


Sept. 22nd, 1796. 
Mr. Abijah Hunt. 

Then comes Hunt's acceptance, "Accepted by A. Hunt." 
And then in Nolan's rather fine handwriting: 

"Received Two thousand Dollars worth of Merchandize on Account 
of the above order, Cincinnati 28th Sept. 1796. 


I do not think that I have any memorandum of Nolan's life 
earlier than this, but this seems to show that he and Wilkinson 
were quite closely allied as early as that time. 

Of what followed I have given in my story of Philip Nolan's 
Friends as good an account as it was then in my power to give, 
and I do not think of anything which I have learned since I 
wrote that book which has induced me to change a word in the 
statement of the book itself or in the preface. In April, 1876, 
I spent a half a day in looking through Wilkinson's papers. At 
that time they were in a large chest in the possession of Wilkin- 
son's grandson, in the city of Louisville, where I was visiting. 
An introduction from Colonel Brown was sufficient to persuade 

284 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the proprietor to show me the whole collection. It was evident 
enough to me that Wilkinson had gone over them with the ut- 
most care, eliminating from them every statement of his own 
treason. This was a matter of course. I do not think that I 
found any correspondence with Nolan. If I had, I certainly 
should have copied it, and I find no such entry on my memo- 
randa. So soon as I returned to Boston I addressed General 
Belknap, who was at that time head of the War Department, 
to urge upon him the importance of the purchase of this extra- 
ordinary collection of papers. In this collection I saw the orig- 
inal letter from Burgoyne to Gates, proposing the surrender 
at Saratoga. It is the same letter which is facsimiled in Wil- 
kinson's Letters and Memoirs, and it bore the marks of impres- 
sion taken by the engraver for that facsimile. I was so sure 
that the Government would buy this collection that I did not 
concern myself so much, as I should have done, about copying 
from it. In it, however, was the whole history of the proposal 
of John Adams, when he was President, to move an army 
from Cincinnati down the river and take New Orleans. This 
army was to be under the care of General Hamilton. 

Unfortunately, just after my letter to General Belknap was 
received at Washington, there turned up the whole misery of 
his exposure in some fraudulent transactions, and the whole 
business, as I suppose, went to the wall on that account. I 
ought to have followed it up, but I did not, and I had the morti- 
fication, a year ago, of learning that the crazy grandson of Wil- 
kinson had taken this whole box of papers out into a public 
field in Louisville, and burned it by way of expressing his indig- 
nation with the Government which never chose to purchase the 
papers of an arrant traitor. So far as I know, therefore, my 
notes taken on an April afternoon, as I sat on the top of that 
box, are the only memorials of its curious contents. But as I 
say, I do not think there was any statement regarding Nolan 

I have under my hand, as I write, the Spanish report of the 
trial of the correspondents of Nolan who were taken prisoners 
before Nolan was killed. These came to me through Mr. Quin- 
tero, who, by good fortune, happened to be at Monterey when 
our army took that city. There he possessed himself of the 
original documents, whether rightly or wrongly I have never 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 285 

inquired. What I know is that I have the original documents 
of which the title page is as follows : 

Provincia de Texas ano de 1801 
Numerco 168 L. V. 


Contra el Americano Santiago Cook 
Antonio Leal, la Muger Gertrudis 
delos santos y el Frances Pedro Gere 
mias Longueville inviados de co- 
rrespondiencias secretas con Don Feli- 
pe Nolan. 

Tues Fiscabel Sors D n Juan Bant a , Elguezabiel 
Fen e Coray Gov or de la Prov a de ros Texas. 


D n Andres Ben to Coubiere. 
N. 54- 

1 have intrusted this document to a competent Spanish 
scholar and have a translation of it; and if the Mississippi 
Historical Society are willing to print that translation I will 
gladly send it to them for that purpose. 2 But if you think that 
they do not want to print it, I shall be pleased to know 
at once. It will make twenty thousand words, more or less. 
It refers to one or two of the unfortunate prisoners whom 
Pike afterwards saw at the mines in New Mexico. I suppose 
you are familiar with his narrative of his interviews with those 
people. It is contained in his Journal which has been reprinted 
within a few years. What I could wish is that some person as 
well informed in the matter as yourself would prepare for publi- 
cation a life of Philip Nolan, I mean of the real Philip Nolan. 
I have from time to time tried to urge the Texan senators to 
insist upon it that a statue of Philip Nolan shall be one of the 
Texan statues in the Statuary Hall at Washington. I believe 
that this murder of Nolan in 1801 was the beginning of that 
hatred of the Spanish and Spain which characterises the whole 
of the Southwest up to the present moment. I have ventured 
to say this in the preface to my own story which was reprinted 
by Little & Brown in the year of the Spanish war. I send you 
under another cover the edition of 1897 in which I have stated 

2 See Appendix to this contribution. EDITOR. 

286 Mississippi Historical Society. 

this impression. If you will look on page 18 you will find the 
reference which I made to it there. I enclose a copy of what I 
am going to say in a book of my own called Memories and 
Memoirs of the Nineteenth Century. 3 

I believe the place where Nolan was murdered to be Waco. 

3 * * * * p or jj 0t a fay p asses to-day but we are reminded 
of the bitter hatred with which the rank and file of the Mississippi val- 
ley hated Spain and her officers for the century which we are studying. 
On the 26th of March, long before anybody in the Mississippi valley 
knew whether John Adams or Aaron Burr or Thomas Jefferson was 
President of the United States, Philip Nolan, a well known Ken- 
tuckian, at the head of a party of western men, was killed, murdered, 
I might write, by the officers of the King of Spain. His companions 
were all taken prisoners and made to work in the Spanish mines. 
From time to time, rumors or messages would come back from them. 
On the nth of November, 1807, Ephraim Blackburn, one of their num- 
ber, was hanged. Observe, they had all been acquitted by the court 
which tried them. They were to be decimated. But there were but 
nine of them left, from the twenty companions of Nolan. A drum, a 
glass tumbler, and two dice were brought. The prisoners knelt and 
were blindfolded. Ephraim took the glass first and threw the dice. 
He threw three and one. This was the lowest throw and so he was 
hanged. How came these men in Texas and why did the Spaniards 
kill them? 

"This Captain Philip Nolan was a Kentuckian, as I said, from 
Frankfort, Kentucky. As early as 1797, he called General Wilkinson 
his patron. Wilkinson was that consummate traitor and rascal who at 
that time commanded what was called the "legion of the west." He 
was for many years in the pay of the King of Spain and the govern- 
ment of the United States. Since my own memory his receipts from 
his annual bribe from Spain have been found in the Spanish treasury 
by our historian, Mr. Gayarre. He is the same Wilkinson who was at 
Saratoga with Burgoyne and was so slow in carrying the news of the 
great surrender to Congress. Congress voted him s a sword as a com- 
pliment, but old Dr. Witherspoon said, "We had better vote the laddie 
a pair of spurs." 

"Ninety-nine years after that surrender of Burgoyne and that slow 
ride from Saratoga to Philadelphia, I overhauled Wilkinson's papers 
at Louisville, in Kentucky. With these hands I held, with these eyes I 
read Burgoyne's proposal for the interview which led to the surrender 
and another note of his which Wilkinson had preserved. 

"As early as 1797, Philip Nolan spoke of Wilkinson in these words: 
"I look forward to the conquest of Mexico by the United States and 
I expect my friend and patron the General will, in such event, give 
me a conspicuous command." He expected the command in the ex- 
pedition which John Adams and Hamilton were preparing at Cincin- 
nati in the "new army," as it was called. This army was to be com- 
manded by Hamilton and a considerable part of it gathered at Cin- 
cinnati, which they called Fort Washington.* * * * * 

"To this murder of Nolan and capture of his companions, I have to 
this moment of writing never been able to trace any memorandum in 
our official documents of the day. But Jefferson knew there was such 
a man as Nolan. He had addressed a letter to him about the wild 
horses of Texas, when he was Secretary of State, and Nolan had an- 
swered him." 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 287 

I have written once and again to the President of a well equip- 
ped college they have there, but I cannot find that they know or 
care anything about the fact that then and there Texan inde- 
pendence was born. 

In this helter-skelter way my dear sir, I have given you the 
key to all that I really know about Philip Nolan. I have a 
copy of his portrait, a miniature on ivory, a copy which my 
daughter made in New Orleans in 1876. At that time I visit- 
ed Mr. Miner of whose family was Fanny Lintot who is spoken 
of in my novel. I saw at that time an old negro who saw Philip 
Nolan when he was going out on the expedition which closed 
his life. Mr. William H. Reed, a friend of mine who was in 
the sanitary service of our Government at the end of the Civil 
War, says that he saw among the graves of the soldiers of a 
Louisiana regiment at City Point in Virginia, the grave of 
"Philip Nolan," a negro who was serving in the service of the 
nation against the Confederacy. This is the last memorial 
which I have of your hero and mine. 

Accept these, my dear sir, as a late apology for my failure in 
preparing for the Historical Society the more elaborate paper 
which I hoped to send you. I cannot help hoping that you or 
some other gentleman may prepare that paper. 
With great respect, 

I have the honour to be, 
Your obedient servant, 


DR. FRANKLIN L. RILEY, University, Miss. 

288 Mississippi Historical Society. 


Province of Texas, A. D. 1801. 

Number 168. 


Against the American Jesse Cook, Anthony Leal, 
his wife, St. Gertrude, and Francis Peter Jeremiah 
Lpngueville, suspected of corresponding secretly 
with Mr. Philip Nolan. 

Master, Fiscal Judge, Mr. John the Baptist of El- 
quezable, Lieut. Col. and Governor of the Province 
of Texas. 


Andrew Benito Courbiere. 
No. 54- 

1st Declaration of the i n the town of San Fernando and Garrison of 

American Jesse Cook. gan Antonio of Bexar; on the twenty-third day of 

January, 1801, I, Mr. John the Baptist of Elque- 
zabal, Lieut. Colonel of Cavalry and Provisional 
Governor of this Province of Texas, proceeded to 
the house Royal of said town (accompanied from 
the first by Lieut. Francisco Amangual and Ensign 
Joseph of Silva, both of the company of my office, 
as witnesses in the present procedure) where I 
found the prisoner, Jesse Cook, suspected of corre- 
sponding with the American, Mr. Philip Nolan, 
and having been commanded to appear in my pres- 
ence and in that of the said witnesses, before them 
was put to him by me the following interroga- 

Question. What he is called, and of what country 
he is a native, and what religion he professed? 
Answered, that he is called Jesse Cook, that he is 
a native of Philadelphia, and" that he is a Roman 

Ques. If he is sufficiently acquainted with the Span- 
ish language, or if he needs an interpreter to ex- 
plain his declaration? Answered that he under- 
stood the Spanish language and that if he doubted 
any question he would call for the advice of the 

Ques. If he would promise by our Lord God and the 
sign of the cross to speak the truth concerning 
these interrogatories? Answered that he would 
promise and swear to speak the truth in answer to 
the questions. 

Ques. In what he had been engaged for the past six 
years? Said that the first two years he was a 
provision dealer in the Black Islands, Province 
of Louisiana, trading with the inhabitants, the 
three following years he had been employed by 
Mr. Philip Nolan as a servant with a salary of 
twelve dollars per month, and from the month of 
January, 1800, in this place, Natches, and Nacog- 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 289 

doches, until the month of April, and from that 
time until the present serving St. Gertrude with 
the pay of two horses delivered to him each month 
as appears from the declaration he presents. 

Ques. If he knew where Philip Nolan was to b& 
found, where he resided, and what time he was in 
this part, and with what persons he had traded? 
Said that he did not know the whereabouts of 
Nolan, that during the time declarant was in his 
service he went to the Black Islands, New Or- 
leans, Natches, Rapido, Nacogdoches and San 
Antonio of Bexar, from there he returned in the 
same way to the Trinity River, where the declar- 
ant remained, Nolan having gone to Natches, and 
in January, 1800, the declarant went to said place, 
where he settled his accounts with Nolan and was 
dismissed from his service. That he did not know 
Nolan had trade with any other person than Mr. 
Clark, an inhabitant of New Orleans, from where 
he exported the goods for his business. He 
would add that when Nolan came from the Black 
Islands he brought goods from there. 

Ques. What motive he had in coming with Nolan 
in the year 1797, what agreement he had with him 
as to occupation during the incursion that it was 
shown Nolan made in this Province? Said the 
reason he came with Nolan was to accommodate 
him for the salary he had stated. That he applied 
himself to the care of the ranch and horses that 
Nolan kept on the banks of the River of the Me- 
dina, that he went out in Nolan's company to care 
for the graziers to a place named Deep Gulch, 
and besides in the race Nolan was not skillful and 
the declarant went with him. And that for the 
safety of the horses he went and gathered them 
together in a pasture ground and a hut that he 
had found in a corner on the margin of said river. 

Ques. What commission had Nolan given him last 
year 1800 that he came to gather the horses that 
were left with some of the inhabitants of this town, 
not being still in his service. Where these were 
carried, and what destination they had? Said that 
in regard to Nolan having left authority to St. 
Gertrude, the wife of Anthony Leal, in whose ser- 
vice he had found the declarant, she commanded 
him to come to gather the horses, of which they 
exported from her ten tame horses and twenty 
belonging to the graziers between colts and 
mares, and having branded them on the way, he 
delivered to said St. Gertrude seventeen of both 
classes, that she still keeps in her possession. 

Ques. How many letters he received in Nacpgdoches 
from Nolan, who conveyed them to him, what 
matters they contained and from where? Said 
that only three, that the first was delivered by 
Luciano, an inhabitant of Nacogdoches, in De- 
cember, 1799, the contents of which he did not 
know very well at present, and that Luciano was 
connected with Nolan. That the second was de- 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

livered to him by a servant of Anthony Leal, 
named Peter Harbo, whom Leal dispatched from 
the Rapido coming from Natches, in that Nolan 
charged him to solicit burros and he would pay 
$50, the last was conveyed by Mr. Pierre, who 
sent it by an Englishman that was in Nacog- 
doches. in that iNolan offered the goods that 
were necessary and that these letters he found in 
possession of the Commander of Nacogdoches. 
In respect to that the chief commander opened the 
trunk in which they were and the sack that was 

Ques. If he had secret correspondence with Nolan? 
Said he had not. 

Ques. If he had not why had he written Nolan a let- 
ter directing him to burn it as soon as he had read 
it? Said that Nolan pretended there was another 
letter favoring him in his ideas, but the declarant 
never had a secret letter nor agreement over that 
misreport notwithstanding the charges he had 

Ques. Why indeed should he be found innocent for 
he was suddenly absent with the horses of Nolan 
and without a passport from the Commander of 
Nacogdoches, where he went, how long he re- 
mained without business in that place, and why did 
St. Joseph go and come from Natches to his 
house? Said that St. Gertrude obtained a pass- 
port from the Commander to go with three men 
to conduct the horses, that he was included in the 
three, that they went to the Rapido for which place 
the said Commander, Mr. Michael Francis Mia- 
guard, granted the license, and that he remained 
permanently in Nacogdoches, living on the ranch 
of Anthony Leal as his servant. That St. Joseph 
went to Natches anxious to be there married to an 
American woman, named .Maria Hooper by the 
Fathers of Nacogdoches, but he did not believe 
he had contracted matrimony, and he came to the 
house of St. Gertrude for he was her brother. 

Ques. If he knew the destination that Nolan gave to 
the horses and mules gathered in this Province, to 
whom they were sold, with what subjects of the 
United States he had maintained a correspondence, 
his employes, and the places where they lived? 
Said that Nolan had conveyed the horses and 
mules to Natches where he sold a part of them in 
that vicinity, that said Nolan had intimate friend- 
ship with the American General Wilkinson, for 
he had been his servant, and served him six years. 
That Nolan shoed to the declarant that this Gen- 
eral had written that he would keep one hundred 
animals for the troops, but when they went out of 
Natches he does not yet know, and that he does 
not know another thing concerning this point. 

Ques. What correspondence St. Gertrude had main- 
tained with Nolan, for what motives, what favors 
she had received from Nolan, at what times they 
came, and how many times he had seen her with 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 291 

him and in what places? Said that St. Gertrude 
and Nolan had maintained correspondence but 
the declarant did not know what about for he is 
ignorant of Spanish writing, that Mr. Nolan's man 
brought the letters and gave them to her by day, 
and that he had never seen St. Gertrude with No- 
lan anywhere. 

Ques. Why he was arrested in the Rapido, what de- 
claration he had taken, upon what points he had 
given answers, and if he knew the reason he was 
conducted here? Said that he was taken in the 
Rapido by inducement of the Commander of Na- 
cogdoches, that there (in the Rapido) he had not 
given any declaration, that he only gave two per- 
sonal bonds, and that he did not know why he was 
brought to San Antonio for no one had told him. 

Ques. If he understood geography, and if he knew 
that Nolan had instructed correspondents in this 
art, and that he had formed some plans of this 
Province, and what became of them? Said that 
he did not understand geography, but indeed No- 
lan did. That he formed a map of this Province, 
and that he presented it to Sir Peter of Caron- 
dolet, and that he knew this for Nolan had said so 
in New Orleans before the declarant came in his 

Ques. If he had anything to add or take from (this 
deposition having been read to him). Said that 
he had only to add that the map of this Province 
was made in presence of the declarant, being al- 
ready in his company, and not as expressed in the 
foregoing question, and that the abstract from 
which Nolan made the map was carried from here 
before he knew the declarant. That in all the rest 
has nothing to add or take from it, and that what 
he has said is the truth under the obligation of 
the oath which he has taken, which he affirms 
and certifies and says he is thirty years old, and 
he subscribes with me and the witnesses over the 
citation that I certify. 

Jesse Cook. 

John the Baptist of Elquezabal. 
Witness Witness 

Francis Amanqual. Joseph Gervas Silva. 

Declaration of Peter Immediately I, the said Governor, commanded 

to appear before me and the two witnesses, Fran- 
cis Pierre, whom I found a prisoner in the care of 
the guard, and being present I put to him the fol- 
lowing interrogatories. 

Ques. What religion he professed. Said, the Ro- 
man Catholic. 

Ques. If he would swear by our God and the sign 
of the cross that he would speak the truth in re- 
gard to what he should be interrogated? Said 
that he would swear and promise. 

Ques. What he is called and of where he is a_ native? 
Said he is called Peter Gerbas Longueville, and 

292 Mississippi Historical Society. 

that he is a native of the capital town of Bordeaux 
in France. 

Ques. In what he had been engaged for the past six 
years? Said that for fifteen years he had been a 
resident of the Province of Texas. The first ten 
in Nacogdoches, dealing in various small matters 
that he conveyed to that town to sell there, and 
the remaining five years in going and returning 
from there to San Antonio of Bexar. 

Ques. If he knew of what place Mr. Philip Nolan was 
a native, with what motive he came here to run 
the pasture lands, what time he accompanied him, 
what agreement he had with him, and in what ca- 
pacity he served him? Said that he was ac- 
quainted with Nolan, that he had heard him say 
he was an Irishman, but he did not know for cer- 
tain, that he was ignorant of the motive with 
which he came to run the pasture lands. That he 
served him for seven years as Steward having the 
care of his things. 

Ques. If Nolan gathered a number of horses in this 
town, what destination he gave them, if he sold 
any, and to what persons, what employment the 
declarant had, and in what places he had been 
with Nolan? Said it appeared that Nolan bought 
horses in this town to take them to Natches, that 
he sold them to the Americans but declarant did 
not know to what individuals, and that the places 
he had been with Nolan are Natches, Rapido, Na- 
cogdoches, and San Antonio of Bexar. 

Ques. If he had an agreement of business with No- 
lan, intimate or secret conversation and upon what 
subjects? Said that he had never had any business 
agreement with Nolan, that he had various fa- 
miliar conversations with him, but he did not now 
know upon what subjects, except the last time the 
declarant was in Natches, six months ago, where 
he saw Nolan who was expecting to get a pass- 
port to New Orleans to go to run the pasture 
lands to the north. That for this operation he 
carried (for fear that the Guarzas Indian would 
oppose him) twenty armed men, of these he aban- 
doned two as deserters and delinquents. That 
the declarant met in Natches the Spaniards St. 
Joseph, and one Francis, husband of a woman 
Antonia (alias the unfolder) that these were anx- 
ious to come with him (having been in the service 
of Nolan when he exported the horses) and the 
declarant brought them, for which reason Nolan 
was angry. That he left five other Spaniards in his 
company, viz: Reyneros a brother-in-law of An- 
thony Leal, Luciano, an inhabitant of Nacog- 
doches, In lano Lara, a soldier licensed by the 
Bahiad, I. Hinoposa, that he did not know where 
he was from, and a young man named Joseph 
Franche, a native of the Bay. And that he does 
not know another thing concerning this point. 

Ques. If Nolan had directly or indirectly maintained 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 293 

a correspondence with Mr. Cook? Said that he 
did not know. 

Ques. If he had conveyed any letter from Nolan for 
Cook? Said he conveyed one that Nolan said 
was for St. Gertrude in which he said he sent the 
animals that were fatter than those in her posses- 
sion, that he did not know whether the letter was 
for the woman or for Cook for it was written in 
English which language the declarant did not un- 

Ques. If he knew that Nolan had had a secret corre- 
spondence with St. Gertrude or Anthony Leal her 
husband? Said he did not know if Nolan had cor- 
responded with St. Gertrude, that Anthony Leal 
had been with Nolan in Natches the past year, he 
did not know whether he had returned any other 

Ques. If he knew that Nolan had maintained illicit 
intercourse with "St. Gertrude, if she went out to 
some place on business for Nolan and if the de- 
clarant accompanied her? Said that the appear- 
ance of the evil friendship of Nolan with St. Ger- 
trude was notorious, that she, and in her company, 
the declarant, went to buy horses in Laredo, Re- 
villa and the Point, and that Nolan went out after- 
wards and followed in the way of Revilla to La- 
redo, from where they went together to the last 
place from whence they returned by Laredo to 
San Antonio of Bexar, conducting one hundred 
and fifty tame animals horses and mules. 

Ques. With what end he came finally to Bexar, and if 
he knew why he was a prisoner? Said that he 
came to Bexar to be at the place that would ac- 
commodate him the best of any place he had seen, 
and for the affection he had for the Spanish. That 
he did not know why he was a prisoner, neither 
had any one told him. 

Ques. If he had anything to add or to take from? 
Said that he had nothing to add nor take from, 
and that he had declared the truth under the oath 
he had taken, and having read this deposition he 
confirms and ratifies it, and says he is forty years 
old, and signs with me and the witnesses. 

Peter Gervas Longueville. 
John the Baptist of Elquezabal. 
Witness Witness 

Francis Amanqual. Joseph Gervas of Silva. 

Decree for the suspen- i n the said town of San Fernando, on the twenty 

MOD of the business. f(?urth day of j anuary A D 1&)I> j the said p ro . 

visional Governor having concluded this business 
order it to be suspended until the coming of An- 
thony Leal and St. Gertrude, at which time I will 
proceed to the close. Which by decree I direct 
and sign with the two witnesses. 


of authority of authority 

Francis Amanqual. Joseph Gervas of Silva. 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

Decree to proceed 
with the business. 

Appointment of Scriv- 

2nd Declaration of the 
American Jesse Cook. 

In the town of San Fernando and Garrison of 
San Antonio of Bexar, on April 2ist, 1801, I, John 
the Baptist of Elquezabal, Provisional Governor 
of the Province of Texas, in attention that on the 
fifteenth day of this month was present in said 
town Anthony Leal and his wife St. Gertrude, 
whom the Commander of Nacogdoches had sent 
under the guard of a chief and eight soldiers of 
this company, I commanded to proceed to put in 
form the correspondent preliminary inquiry of the 
conduct observed by said individuals relating to 
the points contained in the foregoing declarations 
recently taken by the American Jesse Cook, which 
by this decree I command and confirm on this 
day, month and year. 

John the Baptist of Elquezabal. 

Sir John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. Col. 
of Cavalry of these Camps, Adjutant and Inspec- 
tor for His Majesty of the Interior Provinces of 
N. E. and Provisional Governor of the Province of 
Texas. Having to appoint a Scrivener, according 
to the provisions in the Royal ordinances for that 
decree in the process that I go to form against 
the American Jesse Cook, Anthony Leal and his 
wife St. Gertrude, appoint Mr. Andrew Benito 
Courbiere, a distinguished soldier of the Com- 
pany of the Bay, that he shall exercise the office 
of Scrivener, and notified him of the appointment 
which he accepted and swore and promised that he 
would keep the secrets and be faithful in the duties 
of the office. And for that appears his signature 
with me in Bexar this twenty-first day of April 
John the Baptist of Elquezabal. 

Andrew Benito Corbiere. 

In the town of San Fernando the twenty-first 
day of April A. D. 1801 lord John the Baptist of 
Elquezabal, Provisional Governor of the Province 
of Texas went with my Scrivener to the Royal 
houses of this town where I found imprisoned 

Jesse Cook, whom I caused to raise his right hand 

Ques. If he would swear by God and the sign of the 
cross that he would speak the truth concerning 
what I should ask him? Said he would swear. 

Ques. What business relations he had during the time 
he was with Philip Nolan, with what persons he 
had correspondence and upon what subjects? Said 
that before he was a servant of Nolan he bought 
goods in Kentucky and brought them to the Black 
Islands where he traded. That on the second oc- 
casion he returned to Ky. and bought a lighter 
(in the fruit season at Joseph) and returned with 
them to the Black Islands. That the third time I 
bought in Ky. a flat boat which I loaded with corn 
and brandy, a part of which I expended in New 
Madrid and the remainder in the town or fort of 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 295 

San Fernando in Mississippi. That after he had 
left the service of Nolan, John Murdock wrote 
the declarant a letter which he received in June 
or July of last year in which he said he had sent 
a trunk of goods of the value of $500, a little 
more or less. That this trunk did not come into 
the hands of the declarant because Murdock was in 
the Point Coupee, it was removed from the bat- 
teaux in which Murdock had embarked without 
knowing his reason for it in regard to which Mur- 
dock had not then written but that afterwards he 
was made to know that Murdock was informed 
that the declarant had gone to San Antonio be- 
cause of which he had detained the goods. That 
during the time he was in Nolan's service declarant 
had no business on his own account. That the 
goods were brought to Nacogdoches by Nolan 
who traded them, that he left the declarant sick, 
because of which he did not follow Nolan to San 
Antonio, where he came with the goods, as it 
appears, in the year 1797. That in two months the 
declarant came by order of Nolan. 

Ques. What amount of goods he had received in Na- 
cogdoches, by whom were they sent, where were 
they concealed; what was their destination, if 
when he came to San Antonio he brought any- 
thing, what he bought with them, and what he did 
with what he bought? Said that when he came 
from Natches to Nacogdoches, he brought goods, 
that he kept them in the house of St. Gertrude, 
that he there sold them to the inhabitants for 
horses that when he came to San Antonio he con- 
ducted some of them that he also sold to various 
inhabitants that he did not know, that he delivered 
tame horses and graziers to the number of 22 or 
23 that were brought to Nacogdoches to join with 
30 more that he received belong to Nolan, of those 
he delivered only 17 to said St. Gertrude, for he 
had lost the rest on the way because of a stam- 
pede, that the 20 and more he had kept in his pos- 
session and conducted them to the Rapido, where 
they were detained by the troops of Nacodoges 
and returned to this Port, with the exception of 
one-half that were very weak and tired and left on 
the way. 

Ques. What instructions he brought to San Antonio 
when he last came, with what persons he had com- 
missions, if he succeeded in his pretensions and 
what these persons were? Said that before he 
came Murdock had written the letter in which ap- 
peared the trunk had arrived at the rendezvous 
and that he said he had sent in it a little parcel 
that he wished delivered to Mr. Gabriel Gutierrez, 
but as he did not receive the trunk consequently 
he did not receive the parcel. That he did not 
know what it contained, that he did not bring any- 
thing of value to any person, and only one letter 
that the Commander of Nacogdoches, Lieut. Mi- 
chael del Moral, sent open by the declarant to Mr. 

296 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Gabriel Gonfiales, but he did not know its con- 
tents, for he was unable to read Spanish, neither 
was it in possession of any person that he should 
speak to the Governor. That he did not remem- 
ber if Murdock provided in his letter anything of 
this for the time he made the receipt. 

Ques. What letters he had received from merchants 
of Louisiana or Natchez, and what they contained? 
Said that he had received four that he knew of, 
one from Natchez written by Dublas, in which he 
offered goods if necessary; another from the same 
place from Murdock, in which he said the $500 of 
goods were to buy mules and horses, the other two 
were from said Murdock, in one of which he said 
he had sent a trunk with the goods and a little 
parcel already, referred to, with another for St. 
Gertrude charged with the memorandum, and in 
the last that he had brought, or removed, the 
trunk, for he knew the declarant had come to San 
Antonio. That as declarant did not receive the 
trunk he was not able to buy the mules that he 
requested, so it was useless. 

Ques. Who is John Murdock, where does he live, 
why did he send goods to Nacogdoches, and what 
he sent in payment for them? Said that he is a 
native of Penna., one of the United States, and 
lives in Louisiana in a place named the Bayou 
Auxecon. That he never sent goods nor the de- 
clarant to him anything for this motive. That 
Murdock was in company with Nolan when de- 
clarant entered this Province, and that being in it 
when they separated. 

Ques. Why did not Nolan return to San Antonio, 
what secret matters there was between the two, 
for what did Nolan commission him to go to Ra- 
pidio with Luziano, what present he made to the 
Commander, who this was, ,and what Nolan sent 
to St. Gertrude by Luziano? Said that Nolan sent 
the writing by Luziano, that he did not return to 
this Province because of a letter the Governor of 
Louisiana, Mr. Manuel Gayoso, of Lemas, wrote 
against him to the Governor of Texas, that he 
never had any secret matter with him, and that 
though Nolan said in the letter to carry his horses 
quickly, it did not prove that he carried them from 
the motive exposed in the letter from the Gover- 
nor of Louisiana. That these horses, though in 
charge of declarant, he found in possession of St. 
Gertrude, that Nolan commissioned him to go to 
Rapido to carry the horses with Luziano. That 
also Nolan sent a bundle and a letter to the Com- 
mander of Nacogdoches. Mr. Joseph Miguel del 
Moral, to whom the declarant delivered them, and 
that said official having read the letter did not wish 
to receive the bundle, for which reason the declar- 
ant delivered it to St. Gertrude, but that having re- 
flected afterwards, he had Nolan charge its value 
that was $100 to said St. Gertrude, saying to her 
that he had no authority to leave the bundle in her 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 297 

possession because Nolan had not given such or- 
der, and that he would leave it if said Commander 
would give an order receiving it on her account. 
That it was certainly returned to the Commander 
to whom it was made a present, and that then the 
said official said to the declarant that in respect 
to it that St. Gertrude owed a sum of money that 
she had borrowed with which to buy a negro, and 
he would receive the bundle on her account and 
not as belonging to Nolan, on which terms he gave 
the receipt. That Nolan sent to St. Gertrude by 
Luciano a trunk of floor flags and another of goods 
with which to pay the young men who had the care 
of the horses and did not wish to settle with him 
until they came to Natches. 

Ques. Why had he a commission to go to Nacogdo- 
ches immediately? Said he did not know the rea- 
son Nolan had in sending him with such prompt- 

Ques. What correspondence had Nolan maintained 
with St. Gertrude, and upon what subjects? Said 
he did not know what kind of correspondence nor 
upon what subjects, presumably relating to the 
horses and paying the men, for which purpose 
Nolan had sent the goods and also for her charges. 

Ques. What trusts Nolan had conferred upon said St. 
Gertrude and what persons Nolan had ordered the 
declarant to consult, and if he was to show the cor- 
respondence? Said that in the first letter that Lu- 
ciano brought to the declarant when the two 
trunks before mentioned were sent it was ex- 
pressed that if St. Gertrude was not able by reason 
of illness or other accident to perform the duty he 
was to show the letters to Father Vallejo (the 
Clergyman), for him to read, that he had no au- 
thority to consult with him and never had con- 
sulted with him nor shown any letter to him or 
any one but St. Gertrude, for he did not find her 

Ques. What other trusts Nolan made concerning St. 
Gertrude when the said Clergyman should come 
to San Antonio? Said he did not know anything 
upon that point. 

Ques. What destination Nolan gave to the Burros in 
his charge, of whom they were bought, with whom 
they were sent and where? Said that though No- 
lan trusted them to him he did not buy them nor 
know the value of them, other than as he had said. 

Ques. What business secrets he had had with Nolan, 
and upon what matters, what confidential business 
he had maintained with St. Gertrude? Said he had 
not had secrets with any one, and that the corre- 
spondence was confined to matters of his business 
particulars of interest, and that neither had he had 
secrets pertaining to her. That he had nothing 
more to add, and that what he had said is the 
truth under the obligation of the oath he had taken 
which he affirmed and ratified this deposition was 
read to him. He said he is thirty years old and 

298 Mississippi Historical Society. 

he signs this with the said Governor and in the 
presence of the scrivner and between the mar- 
gins with Luciano farewell. 

Jesse Cook, 
before me, 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbieres. 

Deposition of St. Ger- i n the before mentioned town, said day, month, 

and year, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Pro- 
visional Governor of the Province of Texas, caused 
to appear before him St. Gertrude, who received 
from said Governor the oath by our Lord God, 
and a sign in form of the cross that she would 
speak the truth, concerning those things that 
should be asked her. 

Ques. Her name, residence and state? Said that she 
was called St. Gertrude, that they found and ar- 
rested her in the town of Nacogdoches, that she 
was married with Anthony Leal. 

Ques. When she knew Nolan and with what object? 
Said that she knew him in San Antonio, with the 
motive of a letter of recommendation, that with it 
Nolan sent to her husband, Anthony Leal one, in 
which he said if they had no house where they 
could lodge they could come to his and live. 

Ques. What kind of connection had she had with No- 
lan? Said she had maintained with him illicit inter- 
course as a frail woman. 

Ques. By what agreement had she done this with 
Nolan? Said that for doing this he had promised 
her $4,000.00 and two hundred animals. 

Ques. With what view she went to Nacogdoches, 
what did she or her husband receive from Nolan? 
Said she went to Nacogdoches following her hus- 
band, that neither of them received a thing from 
Nolan except thirty animals between colts and 
mares, some tame, and a herd of twenty-five colts 

Ques. What goods did Nolan send from Louisiana 
and Natches, and what was their destination, and 
for what purpose were they sent? Said Nolan did 
not send any goods from La., and that from Nat- 
ches he sent some of the value of more than 
$300.00, with which to pay what he owed to the 
men servants, for which said goods were not suf- 
ficient, and though she had received from him a 
trunk of the value of $300.00 or more, she sent it 
to her husband, who had been to Natches with two 
hundred horses of his own anxious to sell them, as 
was shown according to what he said, for the 
money with which he bought said goods and a 

Ques. What correspondence had she maintained with 
Nolan, how many letters she had written and upon 
what subjects? Said she had had no correspon- 
dence with him, neither had she written him let- 
ters with the exception of one in which she said 
she did not want him to forget what he had prom- 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 299 

ised, and if by chance there had been other letters, 
they had not come from her hands. 

Ques. With whom had she maintained correspon- 
dence besides Nolan, what letters had she written, 
to whom, wherefrom, what did the letters contain, 
who carried them, what courtesies she had re- 
ceive, to whom or with what design? Said she had 
not corresponded with anybody, neither received 
letters from any person, nor attentions. 

Ques. To what persons she had made a gift in Nacog- 
doches, what directions or commands she had from 
them, and who were they? Said she had made a 
gift to nobody by order of another, that though 
she had given some trifles to various persons that 
she did not now know, yet they had been her own. 

Ques. What confidential matters she had treated with 
Nolan, what instructions he had given her, what 
she understood in this, and by what means the let- 
ters came and went? Said she never had confiden- 
tial matters with Nolan, nor received secret letters. 
That it appeared that Luciano delivered one, but 
she did not now know anything of its contents. 

Ques. What trifles had she received from other in- 
dividuals, besides Nolan, from what persons and 
what objects? Said she had not received a thing 
for herself nor for others. 

Ques. How many servants she kept in Nacogdoches, 
their names, the salary they had and in what they 
were employed? Said that during the time she 
lived in said town she had in her service the In- 
dian, Peter, with a salary of $10.00, Louis Maldo- 
nado, of the house, with $3.00, and the gunpowder, 
and Jesse Cook, with the agreement of a mare and 
two horses to be delivered each month he was em- 
ployed in constructing her house, and labor and 
care of the herds she had. 

Ques. How she knew Cook, with what motive he 
lived in her house, how long he lived with her? 
Said that she lived with him in San Antonio as the 
servant of Nolan, that nobody had recommended 
him to her, but he asked to serve her, and she had 
him three months. 

Ques. What correspondence by letter Cook had main- 
tained with Nolan, how many letters he had writ- 
ten and upon what subjects? Said she did not 
know a thing upon this point, not having observed 
that he had written. 

Ques. What motive she had in Cook coming to San 
Antonio on the last occasion, when he had charge 
of transporting the animals, who these animals 
were for, and where she sent them? Said with the 
object of giving the animals up to Nolan that 
were left here for others she had given in Nacog- 
doches and she sent Cook to take them back. That 
they fell short twenty that did not arrive. These 
were for her ranch and they had no other destina- 
tion, nor did she give Cook other instruction. 

Ques. To whom belonged the two female slaves and 
the negro slave that had come with her, with what 

300 Mississippi Historical Society. 

were they bought, to whom sold or given, for 
what prices, and where she acquired the means to 
buy them? Said they belonged to her husband, 
who bought them in Natches, one of the ne- 
gresses for $400.00, the other was bought for the 
declarant in Nacogdoches of Mr. Francis Chabu, 
for $600.00, of which she gave one-half from the 
trunk of goods her husband sent and that she 
paid the rest in silver when she came from Nat- 
ches, that the negro was not yet paid to the house 
of the deceased from which her husband acquired 
him in the Rapido, and that the value of all they 
acquired in Natches with the horses they brought. 

Ques. On how many occasions had her husband been 
to Natches, for what purpose, and who gave the 
passports? Said he had been only once in the 
company of Nolan to sell said horses and she did 
not know if he carried a passport. 

Ques. Why did he come to San Antonio the last time, 
what did he buy, for what price, how many ani- 
mals did he export, of what kinds, and where they 
were? Said he had come to sell his house, as he 
had said, that he carried $300.00 in Reales, that he 
did not sell the house, but bought horses that were 
for the ranch, which were left on the river Trini- 
dad in a pasture ground called Nolan's, becaus_e 
they were very weak, and she does not know their 

Ques. How many burros he bought, where, and what 
was their destination? Said she was ignorant of 
the particulars of the question and only knew that 
in Nacogdoches she sold to her husband two bur- 
ros and that he did not wish to buy. 

Ques. What intentions had Nolan in bringing armed 
people into this Province, what information he 
gave her, to relate what she knew on the subject? 
Said she did not know anything upon that subject, 
nor had Nolan ever communicated any informa- 
tion nor circumstances concerning his intentions. 

Ques. Why did she always live on the ranch and not 
in Nacogdoches, if she had a house there or ex- 
pected to make one, what she had to build with, 
and who would assist in the cost? Said she lived 
on the ranch for the purpose of taking care of her 
property, she had no house in Nacogdoches, that 
Jesse Cook constructed one by virtue of the agree- 
ment that the declarant had stated, and though it 
tis true that Nolan offered to build a house, it was 
under the condition that I should go with him to 
Natches and there he would do all he had offered 
verbally and not in writing. 

Ques. If on any occasion she had concealed on her 
ranch any goods in "tercios" or other kinds for 
protection, to whom they belonged and what was 
their destination? Said she had not had in her 
possession other goods than those mentioned sent 
by Nolan for the payment of the men in the trunk 
he sent by her husband, with two other trunks 
with floor flags, water pots and blankets. 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 30* If she had anything to add or to take from this 
deposition that had been read to her. Said she 
had nothing to add except in the letter Nolan had 
written and sent with the trunk of goods he 
charged her to treat the men with kindness and to 
give them the goods at a cheap price, and she 
asserts that what she has said is the truth under 
the obligation of the oath she had taken, which she 
affirms and ratifies. Says she is about fifty years 
old, that she does not know how to write, she will 
make the sign of the cross and thus attest what 
she has said with said Governor and the scrivener, 
between the margins, with the horsemen that car- 
ried her farewell John the Baptist of 


before me, 
Elquezabel. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Deposition of Anthony In the town of San Fernando, fortress of San 

Lea1 ' Antonio of Bexar, the twenty-second day of April, 

1801, sir John the Baptist of Elquezabel, Pro- 
visional Governor of the Province of Texas, went 
with my scrivener to the powder warehouse of this 
town where I found the prisoner, Anthony Leal, 
whom I caused to raise his right hand and swear 
by our Lord God and the sign of the cross that he 
would speak the truth in what he should be inter- 

Ques. His name, surname, place of residence, rank 
and occupation? Said he is called Anthony Leal 
that in the present state of things he lives here, 
before that he lived in Nacogdoches, that he is 
married to St. Gertrude, and that he is a laborer. 

Ques. If he knew the reason of his imprisonment? 
Said he did not know why, the Governor of the 
Province having passed the official letter to the 
Commander of Nacogdoches that he should be 
removed to this capital with his family, which was 
done under the escort of a leader, seven soldiers 
and a citizen, and immediately the command of said 
Governor having been presented he was conducted 
a prisoner to the Powder Warehouse. 

Ques. How long had he known Mr. Nolan? Said 
from the time when Lieut. Christopher de Cor- 
dova commanded in Nacogdoches about the year 

Ques. With what motive he had friendship with No- 
lan, how long he had cultivated it, in what he had 
served him, or for what reason he had lived in his 
house? Said that from the year 1791 he had 
known him in Nacogdoches, that he had cultivated 
his friendship from that time until the first of May, 
1800, and that Nolan having said in 1795 that he 
was coming to San Antonio, he offered his house 
if he would serve him, that then, notwithstanding 
the request was verbal the declarant sent to his 
wife for the goods, but did not lodge there, but 
with another neighbor, but that the second voyage 
as shown, in the year 1797 he stayed in the house 

302 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of said Nolan by virtue of the friendship that both 
had and except from that motive the declarant 
gave no recommendation neither in writing nor 

Ques. For what did his wife serve Nolan, what salary 
he gave, what things she had done to favor Nolan, 
and in what places: ? Said that she served him for 
the friendship that Nolan had with the declarant, 
that he gave her no salary and that his wife was 
occupied in personal assistance and also in the care 
of her things according to the appearance, and he 
did not know what other things his wife had prac- 
ticed for Nolan's benefit nor in what places, for he 
had been absent trading with the Tancahues In- 
dians, which he had by appointment from the de- 
ceased Governor. 

Ques. Why did he remove to Nacogdoches with his 
family, on what did he live and in what was he en- 
gaged? Said that he removed to Nacogdoches 
with his men and a hundred and more animals to 
restore his trade, in which he was engaged, that 
he did not give orders to his wife to go there 
that she did it of her own will without leave from 
the declarant, that he lived on the trade he had 
with the Indians, and afterwards he went to Nat- 
ches alone with his horses, from where he returned 
to his house in Nacogdoches without bringing 
goods for the Indians, for he had there learned 
that there had been a new trader appointed on pe- 
tition of the Indians. 

Ques. From what place he assigned the ranch and the 
goods he had there, how did he obtain the one and 
the other, to whom he sold them, with what was 
he paid, in what kind, and from where he had 
them? Said that the ranch was hired from the 
Lieut. Gov. Sir Joseph Miguel del Moral, and the 
goods were his own, bought^in this capital with 
money that was obtained from the Paymaster in 
payment of various lots of deer skins that he had 
delivered for the use of the troops. 
Ques. What voyages he made during his residence in 
Nacogdoches, where he went, what he carried, to 
whom he delivered it, for what he sold it, what he 
brought and of what persons he received it? Said 
that during the time he had the traffic with the 
Indians he went to New Orleans and dressed deer 
skins, venison, tallow, tongues, and other things of 
that nature, with which he would supply the needs 
of the Indians. That afterwards he went to Nat- 
ches with one hundred and fifteen animals horses, 
that he had sold to Nolan, and he went to deliver 
them with his servants only. That the Steward 
of Nolan received them on the farm, that after he 
had delivered them he remained there twenty and 
more days expecting to see Nolan, who did not 
come. In his anxiety it was necessary that the 
declarant and the Steward should go to Natches 
that Nolan joined the two at the place where the 
horses were and requested that the declarant with 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 33 

his men would gather them, which he accordingly 
did and took the receipt of the Steward, and went 
to the other side of the river. When this work 
was finished the declarant went to Natches with 
the design of collecting the value of one hundred 
animals that Nolan had, that having sold fifteen 
the rest he had at his residence, that he delivered 
him for all $1,980, $700, and more in goods and 
the rest in money, that of this he sent to his wife 
$600, in a trunk by Jesse Cook, and the rest the 
declarant carried. He would add that the motive 
in sending the goods by Cook was that his wife 
had sent to ask for them, and that he gave orders 
to Cook (who went to Natches), to receive there 
the said amount, which was delivered in goods, for 
he did not have the money. That he did not know 
what his wife did with them, that the goods he had 
spoken of that he carried he kept for his subsist- 
ence, and the use of his house, and that it was 
all delivered to him in Natches by Ferguson on 
Nolan's account. 

Ques. Why did he ultimately come to San Antonio, 
what did he send, of whom did he have it, what did 
he buy, to whom sell, and for what things? Said 
he came with the design of buying burros for his 
ranch, that nobody sent anything, that he came of 
his own will, that he brought no goods, but certain 
silver, that he did not buy the burros, as they were 
not in that place, that he sent to his brother 
Gregory Leal for him to buy them in Laredo, but 
he was not able to do this for the river was greatly 
swollen, and he returned with sixteen tame horses 
that he delivered declarent, that he bought twenty- 
two other horses, that he had spoken of, in this 
capital, with which thirty-eight animals he went to 
Nacogdoches, being detained by reason of weak- 
ness in the pasture lands, called Nolan's, on the 
river Trinity, and from there, as soon as he was 
stronger, he conducted them to Nacogdoches, to 
whose Commander he was presented and went 
with them -to his ranch, where he kept some of 
them, with the others he paid various debts he had 

Ques. How many slaves had he, of whom he bought 
them, and with what? Said he had three, two wo- 
men and a man negro, that he bought one of them 
in Natches of an American, whose name he did 
not remember, for $400, the other was bought by 
his wife in Nacogdoches of Mr. Chaba for $600, 
which his wife finished paying from the trunk of 
goods that declarant sent by Cook, so that when 
he came home it was paid. And the negro he 
bought on the Rapido at an auction for $270, that 
is not yet paid. 

Ques. What correspondence had he and his wife 
maintained with Nolan, who carried the letters, 
by what persons had he answered, and upon what 
subjects they treated? Said he did not know any- 
thing in these questions that he had done. 

304 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Ques. If he gave any letter of Nolan for his wife, and 
to whom he delivered it to be carried? Said that 
he had not delivered any letter to any person in 
Natches or any other place, for Nolan had not 
given him any. 

Ques. What trusts Nolan had made and for whom? 
Said he had not charged him with any. 

Ques. If Cook had brought on to his ranch any 
trunks of goods, or had any other person in his 
name? Said that he knew nothing in this particu- 

Ques. What servants had he in Nacogdoches, with 
what salary and in what were they occupied? Said 
he had Lorenzo Inojosa at $6 per month, Francis 
del Torro at $8, Manuel de Acosta at $10, Joseph 
de Losa (now deceased), at $7, and John de Torres 
at $5, these are the only ones he has had during 
the residence of his wife in Nacogdoches. He 
would remark that Manuel de Acosta and John de 
Torres are those who had served him as long as 
his wife resided there, the others were in his ser- 
vice when he carried on the traffic with the na- 
tions. That the first was occupied in conducting 
the goods that he sold and bought to the Indians, 
and the last two in taking care of the animals, and 
that he did not know any other that he had given 
a salary. 

Ques. What gifts had he or his wife received from 
other persons than Nolan, and from what motive? 
Said that he had not. received any gifts, he did not 
know if any had been made to his wife from civil- 

Ques. What did he know of the entrance of Nolan to 
this Province with armed people, to relate what he 
knew on the subject? Said that he did not know 
neither had he heard him say a thing upon this 
point until he returned to this capital from Nacog- 
doches, which was in October" of last year, he was 
met there with the news that Nolan had entered 
this Province with armed people. That he had 
nothing to add, that what he had said was the truth 
by virtue of his oath which he affirmed and ratified, 
having had this disposition read to him says he is 
fifty-nine years old, and that he does not know 
how to write, will make the sign of the cross, and 
the said Governor signs it, with the scrivener=:be- 
tween the margins=farewell=for four hundred 
dollars=farewelh=correct:=:how many farewell 

John the Baptist, before me, 

of Elquerabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Decree to suspend the i n the before mentioned Garrison, said day, 

N'eS 10118 month and year, the said John the Baptist, of El- 

quezabal, Provisional Governor of this Province 
of Texas, with the information I had that the two 
negresses and the negro lacked all knowledge on 
the subjects contained in this business and 
language necessary to give explanation, command 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 35 

to suspend their respective declarations, as also 
those of the servants mentioned in the foregoing, 
and only receive that of the man John de Torres 
that I found imprisoned in the main guard. And 
for that appears the signature of said official, to* 
which I, the undersigned scrivener, give faith. 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere.. 

Declaration of John Qn said day, month and year, the said Governor 

de Torres. made to appear before him John de Torres, that 

he found imprisoned in the main guard, who re- 
ceived the oath by God and a sign in form of the 
cross that he would speak the truth in regard to 
what he should be interrogated. 

Ques. What he is called, what is his condition, and 
what his occupation? Said he is called John de 
Torres, that he is a bachelor, and is a laborer. 

Ques. Whom has he served and how long, and in 
what was he engaged? Said he had served various 
masters previously, and from August last year un- 
til now Anthony Leal by whom he was employed 
for $5 per month, and his living, that he was em- 
ployed in the care of the horses on the ranch that 
his master had in Nacogdoches. 

Ques. If he knew that Anthony Leal or his wife had 
received any letters, from whence they came, who 
had brought them, and at what hours? Said that 
he did not know a thing, for he had been the most 
of the time, on the Trinity river guarding the 
horses that his master had in the pasture lands of 
Nolan and the rest of the time in the vicinity of the 
ranch in the same employment. 

Ques. What Cook did on the ranch? Said when 
Cook left Nacogdoches for this capital he was un- 
der guard of some soldiers, he found the declar- 
ant still on the Trinity river. 

Ques. If he saw goods taken on to the ranch and 
from where they were brought? Said he had not 
seen brought to the ranch more goods than those 
bought to exchange for horses to the time of the 
coming of a Frenchman from the Appelousas. 

Ques. If he found, or on the way had heard said to 
his master in conversation or otherwise anything 
concerning Nolan, what was said, how much did 
he know in this particular? Said he had not heard 
anything nor had his master spoken of Nolan in 
his presence. That he had nothing more to add 
what he had said is the truth under the oath he 
had taken which he affirmed and ratified, this de- 
claration being read to him, said he was twenty- 
five years old, that he did not know how to write, 
made the sign of the cross, and the said Governor 
signs it with the scrivener. 

John the Baptist, before me, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 



Mississippi Historical Society. 

Notice to complete 
the procedure. 

Citation to finish with 
Miguel del Moral. 

Immediately, the same day, month, and year sir 
John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Provisional Gov- 
ernor of the Province of Texas in view of the fore- 
going declarations of Jesse Cook and Anthony 
Leal, from them it appearing that the first person- 
ally carried a letter and bundle sent by Nolan to 
Lieut. Joseph Miguel del Moral, being Commander 
of Nacogdoches, that he did not wish to receive 
the bundle but that he examined it and gave Cook 
a receipt for it on the account of St. Gertrude in 
the second instance. And also that said Official 
Steward of the real jurisdiction leased the ranch 
that Anthony Leal possessed and likewise that he 
commisioned his brother Gregory to buy burros 
in Laredo from whence he brought sixteen tame 
horses. I command the completion of these mat- 
ters. And that the judicial formalities may appear, 
I, the said official, sign this. Of which I, the un- 
dersigned scrivener, give faith. 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Corbiere. 

Immediately appeared before the said Governor, 
and the present scrivener, Lieut. Miguel del Moral, 
one of those quoted by Jesse Cook and Anthony 
Leal in their declarations from page* 18, 28, 14, 
hand upon the handle of his sword and 
who the said Governor made to place his right 
Ques. If under his word of honor he would promise 
to speak the truth in what he should be asked? 
Said he would promise, and having read the quota- 
tion that Jesse Cook had made where he affirmed 
that he had carried a letter and a bundle from 
Nolan, and asked their contents, said that Nolan, 
having written concerning $100, that he owed the 
royal tax for exporting horses which he was not 
ready to pay but in a short time Cook presented 
him with said letter and bundle, which he did not 
wish to receive from Nolan. Afterwards Cook 
returned making him the present which he received 
on the account of St. Gertrude for the $100, that 
was wanting of the bond then to be executed with 
suitable security. 

Having read the statement that Anthony Leal 
made in his deposition in which he affirmed that he 
had hired the land of his ranch of the declarant 
Said that without prejudice of the tax collector 
he commanded the agent to give possession of 
said land to Anthon} r Leal without proceeding to 
put it in formal writing. That this was what 
passed, which he affirms and ratifies under the 
word of honor he has given, and he signs this 
with said official and the scrivener. 
John the Baptist, Joseph Miguel del Moral. 

of Elquezabal. before me. 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

*Leaf 8, 12. 6 of original. 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 307 

Citation to finish with pn said day, month, and year, appeared before 

Gregory Leal. sa ^ Governor and the present scrivener Gregory 

Leal, quoted by his brother, Anthony Leal, is his 
deposition, page *28 to 34, whom I caused to raise 
his right hand and receive the oath that he would 
declare by God and a sign in the form of the cross, 
that he would speak the truth in what he should 
be inquired of, and having had read to him said 
quotation in which Anthony Leal affirmed that he 
had commissioned him to buy burros in Laredo, 
from where he brought sixteen horses without 
having brought the burros. Said it was certain 
that his brother sent him with $150, for which 
he was to solicit burros. That he arrived at La- 
redo on that occasion, he found the river greatly 
swollen, so that he was unable to cross to the 
other side, by reason of which he bought in that 
place sixteen tame horses, which he took to his 
brother. He says this is the truth under the oath 
he has taken which he affirms and ratifies. Said 
he is forty years old, that he does not know how 
to write, but will make the sign of the cross, and 
the said Governor signs with the scrivener. 

John the Baptist, before me, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Procedure to send the J n the mentioned garrison the day, month and 

doches i0nS t( NaC g " y ar > J hn the Baptist of Elquezabal, Provisional 
Governor of the Province of Texas, by virtue of 
the foregoing declarations of Jesse Cook and St. 
Gertrude, by which it appears that Luciano, an in- 
habitant of Nacogdoches, delivered to Cook a let- 
ter from Nolan, that Peter Harbo delivered an- 
other by command of Anthony Leal. That Lieut. 
Miguel Musquiz granted to St. Gertrude a pass- 
port to go with three men (one of whom was 
Cook) to the Rapido for the horses that St. Jos- 
eph came to Natches anxious to be there married 
to Maria Hooper, an American. That the said 
Luciano conveyed a letter to Cook from Nolan, 
and two trunks of goods for St. Gertrude, to whom 
he delivered another letter from Nolan. I com- 
mand to copy said quotations and that they be 
sent to Ensign Joseph Maria Guidinana, Commis- 
sioner in Nacogdoches, for matters relating to that 
which gives motive to this process, that he would 
proceed to complete them. I suspend that relating 
to John Murdock mindful that notwithstanding 
said Jesse Cook resides on the Bayou aus ecors, 
a place in the Province of Louisiana, he is a sub- 
ject of the United States, and has no fixed domi- 
cil, but employs himself in roving traffic. And for 
that appears the business signature of said official, 
to which I, the undersigned scrivener, give faith. 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

*Leaf ii to 13 of original. 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

Procedure to liberate 
John de Torres and 
suspend bis cause. 

Decree for collecting 
the citations arrived 
from Nacogdoches. 

Decree to finish the 
citation of Father 

Immediately said Fiscal Judge by virtue of the 
non success of the charge against the man John 
de 'iorres who by oraer has remained imprisoned 
from the day when he arrived with Anthony Leal, 
I command that he be set at liberty, and that the 
present cause be suspended meanwhile until there 
shall be received from Nacogdoches the completion 
of the before mentioned citations, and likewise the 
process that concerns this subject shall be put in 
form there by said official, Joseph Maria Guadi- 
ana. And for that appears the business signa- 
ture of said Governor, to which I, the undersigned 
scrivener, give faith. 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

The town of San Fernando and royal Garrison 
of San Antonio of Bexar, on July 27th, 1801, John 
the Baptist of Elquezabal, Fiscal Judge of this 
cause in view of having received the completion 
in five leaves that were ordered sent by said Judge 
Commissioner in Nacogdoches, I order that they 
be collected to this cause, and in regard to that 
of Rev. Father Joseph Manuel Guitan (embraced 
in one of them) for having been found absent from 
that destination and directed toward this capital, 
not satisfied with the result, said official has de- 
termined to suspend the rest of the business until 
his arrival, at which time he will proceed to the 
rest that belongs to it; and for that appears for 
business his signature of which I, the present 
Scrivener, give faith=not satisfied=:correct=fare- 
John the Baptist, before me, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

In the town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 
rison of San Antonio of Bexar, on August 6th, 
1801, Sir John the Baptist" of Elquezabal, Lieut. 
Col. of Cavalry, and Provisional Governor of the 
Province of Texas, in view of these decrees and 
declaration of Luciano Garcia that he conveyed 
a letter and double-barrelled gun that he delivered 
by order of Philip Nolan to the Reverend Father 
Joseph Manuel Gaetan and likewise was constant 
in the declaration that Peter Harbo had placed in 
possession of said Father another letter from said 
Nolan, command (having obtained permission of 
his prelate) that he be liberated from his ministry 
there and that he, the Reverend Father Joseph 
Manuel Gaetan, be a resident in the mission of 
St. Joseph of Aguayo for the continuation of the 
said quotations. 

Mr. Andrew Benito Corbiere, a distinguished 
soldier of the Company of the Garrison of the 
Bay of the Holy Spirit, and authorized by the 
Royal ordinances of His Majesty to perform the 
duties of Scrivener in the following cause against 
Jesse Cook, Anthony Leal, and his wife St. Ger- 
trude, and likewise of Peter Geiemias Longue- 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hate. 309 

ville, suspected of corresponding secretly with 
Philip Nolan, and in traffic in goods in contra- 
vention of law. 

I certify and give faith that in a declaration that 
extends from page i unto the 8th, inclusive, given 
by Jesse Cook, is found a quotation of the follow- 
ing tenor,=<2w.s. How many letters he had re- 
ceived in Nacogdoches from Philip Nolan, who 
conveyed them, what matters they contained and 
from where? Said=that only three had come, the 
first was delivered by Luciano, an inhabitant of 
Nacogdoches in, December 1799, the contents of 
which he did not know very well now, and that 
said Luciana was connected with Nolan. That the 
second was delivered by a servant of Anthony 
Leal named Peter Harbo, whom Leal sent from 
the Rapidp coming from Natches, in that Nolan 
charged him to get burros and that he would pay 
him $50. 

In the same deposition Cook said that the Lieut. 
Commander Michael Mazquiz granted a passport to 
St. Gertrude to go with three men and the horses 
to Rapido, that among the three Cook was in- 
cluded,=that St. Joseph made a trip to Natches 
anxious to be there married to an American wo- 
man named Maria Hooper by the Fathers of Na- 
cogdoches, but he did not believe he was married. 

In the second deposition of Cook at page 18 it 
appears that Luciano carried another letter of 
Nolan for the declarant, and two trunks, one of 
floor flags and the other of goods for St. Gertrude. 
In the other deposition, given by St. Gertrude, it 
appears on page 23* that said Luciano delivered 
her a letter from Nolan. And that it may appear 
where it may be closed, I give the present order 
and charge from Lord John the Baptist of Elque- 
zabal, Fiscal Judge of this cause, on a leaf sub- 
scribed by me, which, likewise, is signed by said 
Fiscal Judge in the town of San Fernando and 
Garrison of San Antonio of Bexar, the twenty- 
third day of April A. D. 1801. 
John the Baptist, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Corbiere. 

Mr. Joseph Maria Guadiana, first Ensign of the 
company of Mondova and actually employed in 
this town of Nacogdoches, having received the or- 
der of the Governor of the Province of Texas, 
Lieut. Col. John the Baptist of Elquezabal, to 
complete the citations as appears in the foregoing 
certificate authorized by said Governor and the 
Scrivener, Mr. Benito Corbiere, and having read 
it with the rule which His Majesty presents in 
His Royal Ordenances to name a Scrivener to act 
in said matter, I confirm a soldier of the Bay of 
the Holy Spirit, Joseph Manuel Delgado, to per- 
form the duties of Scrivener. And having noti- 

*Leaf 10 of original. 

3io Mississippi Historical Society. 

fied him of the obligation he accepted it, swore and 
promised that he would be secret and faithful. 
And for that appears his signature with mine, in 
Nacogdoches, this, May i6th, 1801. 
Joseph Maria Guadiana. 

Joseph Manuel Delgado. 

In said town of Nacogdoches, said day, month 
and year, Ensign Joseph Maria Guadiana, caused 
tj> appear before him, for the purpose of complet- 
ing the foregoing citations, Luciana Garcia, who, 
before me the present scrivener, received the oath 
by God and a sign in form of the cross that he 
would speak the truth in all that should be asked 
him. Said he would. 

Ques. His name, country, and religion? Said he was 
called Luciano Garcia, that he is a native of the 
Real de Charcas, and a Roman Catholic. 

Ques. What letters of Nolan he had conveyed to 
this town of Nacogdoches from Natches, or from 
any town of Louisiana, for what persons of this 
town, or without, their names and the times he 
had been. Said that from the month of August 
1799, when he went out of this town for Natches 
he conducted horses for Nolan in whose service he 
was, in November of the same year he returned 
to this town of Nacogdoches with a Frenchman 
who accompanied him called Peter whom he had 
known for a long time. That the declarant was 
sent by his master, Nolan, to convey a load of 
trunks, one of them filled with white floor flags 
and the other he does not know what it contained 
for he did not accommodate himself to see, and 
some canteens that were filled but he is ignorant 
of what they carried, and he was directed by his 
master, Nolan, to convey those things to the ranch 
of the Aises in Nacogdoches and deliver them to 
St. Gertrude. And Nolan also gave him a letter 
and a double-barrelled gun both of which he was 
to deliver to the Rev. Father, Friar Manuel Gay- 
ton, and that he returned with Jesse Cook to Nat- 
ches conducting the animals that by reason of 
weakness had been left by Nolan on the Trinity 
river, in the care of said Cook. 

Ques. When did he come to this town, and if he 
delivered the load, letter and gun that he had 
spoken of, and if he had conveyed other letters 
that he had delivered to his master? Said in the 
month of November 1799 according as he said he 
went out of Natches, or below Natches, that is 
from the pasture where the horses of his master 
were, that in the same month he came to this town, 
and delivered to St. Gertrude the load of trunks 
and canteens, and to Father Gaetan the double- 
barrelled gun, and letter he had spoken of, and 
that he had not conveyed any other letter that he 
had given to Nolan or any other person. That in 
December of the same vear he returned to Natches 
with Cook, who left the declarant on the ranch 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 311 

of the Aises one hundred animals of his mistress, 
that were of the horses that he had charge of on. 
the Trinity river, and because they were very weak 
they were unable to convey them to Natches and 
he commended them to St. Gertrude. Attending 
to that which his master had said that the animals 
were very weak he had branded them and left 
them to St. Gertrude apart from twenty-five mares 
of the better ones and a stallion which missed the 
brand. St. Gertrude appreciated what the declar- 
ant had done, they having been chosen among 
all the hundred animals that were cared for by 
Cook and a man of Bexar, called by some Vibas 
and by others Ribas Cacho, and also the said Ger- 
trude missed of the weakest horses some animals. 

Ques. State what number of horses St. Gertrude 
missed of the animals of Nolan apart from the 
twenty-five and a stallion that she received as her 
own by virtue of the order of said Nolan? Said 
he did not remember. 

Ques. How could he say he had conveyed no other 
letter of Nolan than that he delivered Father Gae- 
tan with the double-barrel gun when it appears 
that he delivered to Cook two letters of Nolan? 
Said that apart from the letter of Father Gaetan 
that he had spoken of he carried another letter 
that his master, Nolan, gave him or St. Gertrude 
which he delivered at the same time he delivered 
the two trunks and the canteens he had referred 
to, and that he had conveyed no letter to Cook, 
nor did he know that Nolan had written him. 

Ques. Having read this, if it was his explanation, if 
it was the same he had given, if he had anything to 
add or to take from it, or if he would affirm and 
ratify it under the oath he had taken, and what is 
his age? Said, that all that had been read to him 
is the same that he had declared, that he had noth- 
ing to add or take from it, and he would affirm and 
raitfy it all under the obligation of the oath he had 
taken, and that he is thirty-five years old, he can- 
not sign it for he does not know how to write, but 
he will make the sign of the cross, signed the said 
Ensign and the present Scrivener. 

Joseph Maria Guadiane. before me, 

Joseph Manuel Delgado. 

In the town of Nacogdoches, this May i8th, 1801, 
Ensign Joseph Maria Guadiana caused to appear 
before him Peter Harbo, who before me the pres- 
ent Scrivener, received the oath by God and a sign 
in form of the cross that he would speak the 
truth in what he should be asked, and asked his 
name, country and religion? Said he was called 
Peter Harbo, that he is a native of this town of 
Nacogdoches, and that he is a Roman Catholic. 
Ques. What letters had he conveyed to this town of 
Nacogdoches or any place, who gave them to him, 
to what persons he delivered them and at what 

312 Mississippi Historical Society. 

time? Said that when Philip Nolan retired from 
Nacogdoches the last time for Matches the declar- 
ant went as his servant for $12 per month and his 
living, and that he had the care of the horses until 
last May, when his master proposed that he should 
make a voyage with him on shares to conduct the 
horses that he had guarded in Natches, the declar- 
ant did not comply, his master was impatient and 
discharged him from his service without well pay- 
ing his salary to the time when he found Anthony 
Leal in the house of Nolan in Natches, who united 
the declarant with him to return to Leal's house 
in Nacogdoches. They made the voyage in a small 
vessel from Natches, the declarant, Leal, his ne- 
gress slave, and his servant that was a man from 
New Orleans whose name he does not know, to 
the part of the Rapido, where Leal offered the 
declarant, if he would come to Nacogdoches, a 
horse he had lent the Commander of said Rapido. 
The declarant having accepted the offere proceed- 
ed to execute it. When he went out Leal sent 
two letters in a paper and this paper in a small 
handkerchief, and he gave the declarant express 
directions to give them to his wife St. Gertrude, 
then there was a letter for Cook and another for 
Father Friar Manuel Gaetan and that he would 
give the word he had sent to his wife St. Gertrude, 
and he offered seven animals, four with pack- 
saddles to carry the four large trunks, one small 
one and some water pots with other trifles, all of 
which the declarant saw go out of Nolan's house. 
The declarant having arrived at his house on the 
ranch of Amoladeras in Nacogdoches, met there 
a servant of Leal named Pacheco to whom he de- 
livered the bundle of the two letters for him to 
give to St. Gertrude, whom he commanded to 
speak the word he had from, his master in regard 
to the letters and also of the horses that he had 
asked and the next day the declarant saw said 
St. Gertrude, on said ranch, she having received 
the things Pacheco had carried and also the mes- 
sage in relation to the horses that Leal had asked 
and that Cook had not found in Nacogdoches 
and for which he had gone to San Antonio of 

Ques. If this declaration which was read to him is 
the same that he had made, if he had anything to 
add or to take from it, if he would affirm and 
ratify it, and what is his age? Said that what was 
read to him was what he had declared, that he had 
nothing to add nor to take from it, and he would 
affirm and ratify it under the oath he had taken, 
and that he is twenty years old, and he would make 
a sign of the cross in place of signing, and said 
Ensign signs, and the present Scrivener. 

Joseph Maria Guadiane. before me, 

Joseph Manuel Delgado. 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 3 J 3 

Deposition of Lt. M. i n the town of Nacogdoches this May iQth, 1801, 

U8< l uez - Ensign Joseph Maria Guadiana caused to appear 

before him Lt. Michael Musquez, whom, before 

me, the undersigned Scrivener, he made to place 

his right hand upon the hilt of his sword and 

Ques. If under his word of honor he would speak 
the truth in what he should be interrogated? Said 
he would promise. 

Ques. His name and employment? Said he was 
called Michael Musquez, that he is second Lieu- 
tenant of the company of Mondova and present 
Commander in this town of Nacogdoches. 

Ques. If he granted a passport to St. Gertrude to go 
out with three men and horses to the place of the 
Rapido, and if in the number three was included 
the name Jesse Cook? Said that in the year past, 
in the month of November he gave a passport to 
St. Gertrude to convey to the place of the Rapido 
the horses that they had been able to collect on 
her ranch that Philip Nolan had passed to this 
town and that were still on the summer pasture 
grounds of said ranch, and as it was explained he 
had just cause to help in the departure of said 
horses he put it in execution by means of the sol- 
dier John Maria de la Zenda, that he found de- 
tached in the passage of the Sabine river, royal 
road to Louisiana, and said Zenda gave seven days 
on his part to following them on a place named the 
Gloria. Joseph Guarcas, with Peter Harbo and 
Pacheco, who had the care of thirty-seven horses 
and St. Gertrude having given that her daughter 
and Jesse Cook had anticipated the coming to the 
ranch of Til had made a supnly of provisions and 
continued their journey that Peter Harbo was 
made to know the order that was carried him to 
return that horse, which having been read to him 
Harbo at once obeyed it and with John Maria re- 
turned thirty horses having left seven to Guacas 
for they were in his passport and in the service of 
Guacas that Pacheco had given, and they returned 
with said thirty horses Zenda and Pacheco fol- 
lowed over the march. St. Gertrude and her 
daughter, guided by Pacheco, who very soon had 
returned to unite with Guacas. That Cook, ac- 
cording to St. Gertrude, had continued his march 
to Rapido. And that having been in the flood 
one animal died and five were lost, Zenda deliv- 
ered twenty-four horses on the ranch of St. Ger- 
trude to Manuel de Acosta, to whom he made a 
present of the lost animals, and that three of these 
animals had strayed very near the ranch, he would 
also declare that the day he went out to the Sa- 
bine river in pursuit or the horses he met six of 
the animals that Nolan had for the ranch of which 
he also informed Acosta. That he has nothing to 
take from or to add to this, and that what he had 
said is the truth under the obligation of the word 
of honor he had given which he would affirm and 
ratify, he read this his explanation and said he was 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

fifty-five years old, and he signed with said Ensign 
and the present Scrivener=between the margins= 
with Peter Harbo and Pacheco^farewell. 
Joseph Maria Gaudiane. 

Michael Fernando Musquis. 

In the town of Nacogdoches this May apth, 1801, 
The Ensign Joseph Maria Guadiana, Said, that he 
had completed on five leaves the foregoing cita- 
tions, which he certifies to Lieut. Col. John the 
Baptist of Elquezabal at San Antonio of Bexar, 
and for his loyalty he signs this with the present 
Joseph Maria Guadiane. before me, 

Joseph Manuel Delgado. 

Delivered for explanation that the matter may 
be made certain for whose constancy I sign with 
my said Scrivener:=correct,=all=farewell. 
John the Baptist, before me, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Memorandum of hav- i tne undersigned Scrivener, give faith that this 

S&TS Rev M! Au S ust 6th > I8oi > I went to the Mission of St. 

Gaetan. Joseph of Aguaio, and delivered the said official 

letter to the Rev. Father Manuel Gaetan, and for 

which I put my business signature. 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Memorandum of hav- j } the undersigned Scrivener, give faith that this 

lefted eC thI ans W ers C of August 7th, i8oi, he received the answers from the 

the Father. Rev. Father, Friar Joseph Manuel Gaetan to the 

official letter, which answers bear date of the 

sixth day of said month, which he passed to John 

the Baptist of Elquezabal, Provisional Governor 

of the Province of Texas, which he inserted as a 

continuation of the originals,, and for which I put 

my official signature. 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

In a declaration that was given in Nacogdoches 
by Rev. Luciano Garcia, by order of this govern- 
ment in the following cause, it appears that in 
the month of November, 1799, he entered said 
place proceeding from Natches, and conveyed a 
letter and a double-barreled gun that were deliv- 
ered to him by his master, Philip Nolan, to put 
in the hands of your Reverence. 

In another declaration of said Luciano Garcia 
the fourth answer of which shows that he delivered 
to your Reverence the said letter and double-bar- 
reled gun. 

By virtue of which, it being necessary to com- 
plete those quotations, it is expected that your 
Reverence will state if he received said letter and 
double-barreled gun from the hand of the declar- 
ant or another person, what the letter contained, 
what appeared concerning the motive Nolan had 

The Real Philip Nolan.. 

in sending the gun to your Reverence, and the 
rest that you know concerning the matter. 
God give to your Reverence many years. 
San Antonia of Bexar, August 6th, 1801. 

John the Baptist of 

Rev. Father Friar Jo- For the completion of the quotation that your 

seph Manuel Gaetan. Worship claims in his foregoing official decree, 
that it is true that he received from the declarant 
the letter and double-barreled gun that Philip 
Nolan sent me by the same. The contents of the 
letter were nothing other than the sending of the 
gun and the motive in sending it was nothing 
more, than he had been the Commissioner in one 
of the environs and had given Nolan a passport, 
free, to this Province, with this it appears to me 
I have satisfied the questions you put to me, and 
in his loyalty gives this, which he signs in the 
Mission of Holy St. Joseph, August 7th, 1801. 
Fr. Joseph Manuel Gaetan. 

Most Rev. Fr. Friar The inhabitant of Nacogdoches, Peter Harbo, 

in a declaration that was received in said place, 
said that having left the service of Philip Nolan 
in which he had been, he determined to return to 
his house. That at the time shown Anthony Leal 
delivered to him two letters and told him to give 
them to his wife, St. Gertrude, that one of them 
was for Jesse Cook and the other for your Rever- 

In order that said matter may be completed it is 
necessary to ask your Reverence if said letter 
came to his hands, who delivered it to your Rev- 
erence, who was it from, and what did it contain? 

God give your Reverence many years. 

San Antonio of Bexar, August 6, 1801. 

John the Baptist of 

In answer to the foregoing official letter I have 
to say to your Worship that having been in the 
town of Nacogdoches at the time when Philip 
Nolan made his entrance, free, to this Province, 
I acquired with him friendly intercourse, and fa- 
miliar communication as did the others that knew 
him, from which it resulted that in his absence he 
sent me one, and another letter in which he sa- 
luted me according to the custom, and sometimes 
because of a few loads of necessaries for the house 
that he had made, between these was the one of 
which you ask me, which was certainly brought by 
said Peter Harbo, but I do not remember if it 
was delivered to me by him or by another. And 
this is what I know concerning what you have 
asked me. For whose constancy I give this, which 
is signed in the Mission of the Holy St. Joseph 
this August 7th, 1801. 

Fr. Joseph Manuel Gaetan. 

316 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Decree to proceed with i n t h e town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 

goods oYSony Leal "son of San Antonio of Bexar, August 8th, 1801, 
and his wife. John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. Col. of Cav- 

alry of the Royal Army, and Governor Provis- 
ional of the Province of Texas, in consideration 
that there is deposited in the Abilitacion of this 
Company the effects and movable goods belong- 
ing to Anthony Leal and his wife St. Gertrude, 1 
command thkt notice be given to Mr. Anthony 
Rodriguez Vaca, that they are committed to his 
custody, maintained in his possession and like- 
wise that he may execute the corresponding re- 
ceipt, and for this appears the business signature 
of said official to which give faith. 
John the Baptist, 
of Elquezabal. 

Inventory. Immediately, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, 

Lieut. Col. of Cavalry of the Royal Army and 
Provisional Governor of the Province of Texas 
went to the house of this company, accompanied 
by my Scrivener, where appeared Mr. Anthony 
Rodriguez Vaca, and commanded that he should 
proceed to make a formal Inventory of all the 
goods belonging to the inhabitant, Anthony Leal 
and St. Gertrude, his wife, which he verified in 
the manner following: 

Wearing Apparel. 

ii pair of skirts, made. 

i short cloak of scarlet cloth for a woman, with 
gold lace. 

5 nose handkerchiefs, 
a linen fringe for bed. 
3 chemises. 

7 shirts for man, second hand & new. 
i pillow case. 

some second hand table cloths. 
i pair men's cotton stockings. 
5 black silk handkerchiefs, 
i waistcoat, 
some trousers. 

1 jacket, 

2 cotton coverlets. 
i linen sheet. 

i large, silk embroidered handkerchief, 
some cotton & wool breeches, cut with lining. 

1 pair deer skin boots. 

3 French blankets. 


7 pewter spoons. 

4 steel forks. 

4 prs. paper scissors. 

5 doz & ii gilt buttons. 

2 plates. 

2 chests in which were the clothes. 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 3*7 

10 earthen ware plates. 

3 " cups. 

i tureen, 

I glass 

I mirror. 

I Holy Christ. 

i paper image of our Lady of the Rosary. 

7 " " other saints 

5 iron weter pots, i broken, with lid. 

i " pan 

i " " flat 

i pewter plate, 

1 curry comb 

2 iron hoes 
2 " shovels 

i " half moon 

i spade 

i pewter mould for making candles 

7 old saddles 

12 bottles 

1 gun 

2 razors in their cases 

2 powder horns with powder 

2 " "without " 

2 pouches with 124 bullets 

5 moulds for bullets 

i table knife 

i bridle with headstall and reins 

i pr. old cushions 

i old pack saddle. 

i tent of coarse brown linen. 

Landed Property, 

1 small adobe house with 2 old huts contiguous 

Living Property. 

2 negresses, one with a baby, 
i old negro. 

ii horses. 

And being all the goods that he found belong- 
ing to Anthony Leal and St. Gertrude, his wife, 
of which the undersigned Scrivener certifies and 
gives faith, the said Governor commands that for 
the greater security of said property it shall be 
solemnly deposited with Mr. Anthony Rodriguez 
Baca with the obligation of having the disposition 
of the same, in conformity to which all the goods 
enumerated in the foregoing inventory are deliv- 
ered to him, taking them under the obligation and 
agreement and in the manner that has been said. 
And for this appears his signature with that of 
said Governor, of which I give faith. 
John the Baptist, 

of Elquezabal. Antonio Rodriguez Baca. 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

Reason Jesse Cook 
and Peter Longueville 
not having goods. 

Decree to continue 
the business until con- 

Procedure to collate 
letter found in posses- 
sion of St. Gertrude. 

Nolan's letter. 

Immediately, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, 
Lieut. Col. of Cav., and Provisional Governor of 
the Province of Texas, In consideration that the 
American Jesse Cook and Francis Peter Longue- 
ville, possess no goods of any kind, command they 
should be placed for business of which I, the un- 
dersigned Scrivener, give faith. 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

In the town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 
rison of San Antonio of Bexar, September loth, 
1801, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. Col. 
of Cavalry of the Royal Army, and Provisional 
Governor of the Province of Texas, In view of the 
information that has passed Ensign Joseph Maria 
Guadiana, the Judge commissioned in Nacog- 
cloches, in which is shown no new results charged 
to these prisoners in this cause, and that notwith- 
standing having afterward prepared to make In- 
quiry on the subject, he has not received it until 
now, commands the continuance of this preliminary 
proceeding until the proof is received, thereby 
avoiding the considerable delay that would be ex- 
perienced in waiting for said business. And for 
that appears the signature of said Governor to 
which I, the undersigend Scrivener, give faith. 
John the Baptist, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Immediately the said Governor commanded to 
colate and attach to this case the original letter 
of Mr. Philip Nolan to St. Gertrude that was 
found in Nacogdoches, in a house in which she 
kept her papers. And for that appears the business 
signature of said official; to which I, the under- 
signed Scrivener, give faith. 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

My very esteemed and beloved Gertrudis: I 
owe to Davenport $20, which do me the favor to 
pay and ask him for some papers of my arbitra- 
tion with Murdoch. If by chance, alas, you are 
embarrassed by the going of the horses do not 
pay the debt, keep the money for your own use. 

That little girl Shabus wrote me. 

Arocha has come from St. Antonio and alas 
there is much trouble. It appears to me it will 
be necessary to freight a house to Nacogdoches 
for the time until I send the carpenter to make 
one. In all the months between I will send more 
goods and money if able to get them. 

Have no anxiety, when I have a dollar I will 
give the half to thee. 

The little Negress can expect the flowered silk. 

In thee I have much confidence and thou mayst 
send to me with all liberty. I hope in the course 
of the year to come by sea to Natches on return 
from the colonies. 

By the coming year I shall have a house and 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 319 

shall have the greatest pleasure in seeing thee. 1 
am enough embarrassed now in paying my debts 
and hope that the horses that will be brought from 
the colony the coming year will help me. 

If thou dost command me or if thou desirest I 
will go to Nacogdoches to see thee in these colds 
though this composition is the cause of not having 
gone now. 

Write me all thou thinkest and desirest and be- 
lieve me with all my heart thine. 

Many memories to the little girl. When thou 
goest lead the horse sent the little girl by me to 

Farewell my dear Gertrudis. Write me all and 
send to Nacogdoches, and write my scrivener also. 
Thy most constant, 

If thou dost not, alas, trust to write of secret 
things thou canst say them to Mr. Cook. 


Confession of Jesse i n the town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 

rison of San Antonio of Bexar, this September 
nth, 1801. John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. 
Col. of Cavalry of the Royal Army and Provis- 
ional Governor of the Province of Texas, went 
with the assistance of my scrivener to one of the 
dungeons of the chief guard of this Garrison where 
I found the prisoner, Jesse Cook, suspected of 
having secret correspondence with the American 
Philip Nolan, to effect the making of charges that 
result from the letters of information sent by the 
Commander by agreement and likewise of that 
which was found in possession of St. Gertrude. 
And for this appears the business signature of said 
official, of which I, the undersigned Scrivener, give 
faith. before me, 

Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Immediately said Governor made Jesse Cook to 
put the sign of the cross, and 

Ques. If he would swear by God and the sign of the 
cross that he would speak the truth in that which 
should be asked him? Said, yes, certainly. 

Ques. What secret correspondence he had maintained 
with Philip Nolan? Said none. To the charge 
how could he deny having maintained secret cor- 
respondence with Philip Nolan when it appears 
from the proceedings and document that said No- 
lan had confided in him? Said that he had never 
had anything secret with said Philip Nolan, neither 
had he communicated a thing of importance, that 
though they had the subject of one letter that is 
the only way they could infer or suspect that No- 
lan had written with the second design for it did 
not come to the hands of the declarant but was 
intercepted by the Spanish Governor and in this 
way better concealed their ideas. 
To return to the charge of why he denied having 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

Procedure to receive 
the confession of St. 

Confession of St. Ger- 

received other letters nor having understood some 
secrets of Nolan's when various of these appear, 
and also of declarations of not being possible that 
Nolan confessed to him in all his friendship, de- 
siring to expose him to suffering without other 
purpose than to conceal the intentions with which 
he introduced him to this Country? Said that ab- 
solutely he had not received any letter in which 
Nolan had declared secrets nor neither informa- 
tion of his voyage. That the letter quoted above 
notwithstanding it was written by Nolan accord- 
ing to said declarant, the Commander of the Ra- 
pido (who showed a copy of it) never received it, 
because this official had cleared St. Joseph of the 
charge that he conveyed it; and if there are other 
letters they are false, made to do harm. 

Ques. How many letters had Nolan written from 
Nacogdoches by means of St. Joseph when he 
went to Natches, where he found Nolan? Said 
only one relative to matters of business, a copy of 
which he had in his trunk when the papers were 

Ques. If he had anything to add or to take from? 
Said he would only offer to add for proof that he 
had not had mutual secrets with Nolan, that when 
he knew that the Commander of the Rapido had 
obtained of St. Joseph the letter that has been 
cited the declarant presented himself and solicited 
said official to instruct him, that if he was culpable 
he might absent himself immediately, since he had 
the time for it, without that nobody could injure 
him, but he did not have confidence in his inno- 
cence. That what he has said is the truth which 
he affirms and ratifies. This being read that it is 
his confession and signs with said official, and I, 
the present Scrivener. 

John the Baptist, Jesse Cook, 

of Elquezabal. before me, 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Immediately said Governor passed with the as- 
sistance of my Scrivener, to another dungeon of 
the same guard, where was kept St. Gertrude, for 
making suitable charges, in view of the contradic- 
tions observed in her declaration and quotations 
that were made by Jesse Cook in regard to it and 
likewise by her husband, Anthony Leal, whom I 
found in the Powder Warehouse, and for this ap- 
pears the business signature of said official, to 
which I, the undersigned Scrivener, give faith. 
Elquezabal. before me, 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Immediately the said Governor caused St. Ger- 
trude to make the sign of the cross and asked if 
she would swear to God and the sign of the cross 
that she would speak the truth in that which I am 
going to ask her. Said she would swear. 
Ques. How many letters she had received from Phil- 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 321 

ip Nolan and what matters they contained? Said 
she did not know how many letters she had re- 
ceived from Nolan, and they treated of the pay- 
ment of the men and that she should show them 
kindness in the price of the goods, adding that 
on his return from Natches he would pay to the 
declarant that which he had promised. 

Ques. What secret matters she had maintained with 
Nolan and upon what subjects? Said that she had 
never maintained secret correspondence with No- 
lan only what is expressed in the foregoing ques- 

To the charge how she could deny the secret 
correspondence she had with Nolan when it ap- 
pears by the proceedings and documents that she 
had confided things reserved? Said that she never 
had any particulars confidential with Nolan, 
neither received any letter that treated of this, and 
if any had appeared they were false, and had not 
come to her hands. 

To return to the charge how she could deny 
having received a letter from Nolan that was se- 
cret when one was found in her trunk that showed 
various secrets prepared for, and that she could 
confide the rest to another person. Said that she 
had no idea of one, nor had she received a letter 
that contradicted a thing she had said. 

Ques. Who made her house in Nacogdoches? Said 
that by virtue of an agreement celebrated with 
Jesse Cook, he had made it for the pay of three 
selected horses for each month that he labored. 

To the charge how she could say that Cook had 
made her house when it appears in his own letter 
that Nolan would dispatch a carpenter to construct 
it? Said that this promise Nolan made on the 
first voyage when he went from Nacogdoches to 
Natches but that he had not effected it, nor did she 
know if it appeared in his said letter. 

Ques. What goods she had kept in her house that 
were not her's nor her husband's, and what had 
become of them? Said she had not had goods 
within her house beside her own or her husband's. 
To the charge, how could she deny having with- 
in her house goods of other individuals when it 
appears by the declaration of Jesse Cook that when 
he came from Natches he brought goods and kept 
them in her house, and that there they were sold 
for horses? Said that was null, that Cook never 
conveyed goods into her house. 

Immediately the said Governor, to complete 
this citation, made Jesse Cook to appear, who re- 
ceived the oath and asked concerning the tenor of 
the foregoing question, said that it is certain that 
he conveyed the goods in the house of the de- 
clarant, but that he did not deliver them to her, 
and that he did not allege that she knew they 
.were there, for Cook lived in another dwelling 
separate from that where she lived. 

Ques. With what motive the Commander Michael del 

322 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Moral received a bundle that Nolan sent to this 
official? Said that when Cook came from Nat- 
ches he brought a piece of French linen for Mr. 
Michael del Moral in payment of a horse he had 
sold, that he did not wish to receive it for it was 
ordinary, and he was promised fine, that Cook 
gave it to declarant and that she returned it to 
Cook who received it on her account and deliv- 
ered it to Moral among other goods to restore 
$50 that the declarant owed for the Royal tax for 
exportations, and that said goods were distributed 
to the troops by the said Commander for they 
were made into clothing. 

Ques. How many horses had she on her ranch be- 
longing to Nolan when she went finally to care 
for the "mestenas," and if some one was there m 
charge who took them to the place where they 
were? Said that on her ranch she had various 
horses of Nolan but they were colts, that none 
were tame, and that she did not know who con- 
ducted them to the place where they were found. 

Ques. If she had anything to add or to take from 
this? Said she had nothing to add nor to take 
from, that what she had said is the truth under 
the obligation of the oath she had taken in which 
she affirmed and ratified it, which being read to 
her, that it was her confession, she could not sign 
it for she did not know how, the said Governor 
signed with me the present Scrivener=to have= 
testate tithes=why=testate tithes not farewell. 
John the Baptist, X 

Elquezabal. before me, 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Confession of Anthony Immediately the said Governor with my under- 

signed Scrivener, went to the Powder Magazine, 
in which was the prisoner Anthony Leal, whom 
said official caused to make^ the sign of the cross 

Ques. If he would swear by God and the sign of the 
cross that he would speak the truth in what should 
be asked him? Said he would swear. 

Ques. If when Nolan came on the second voyage to 
San Antonio he wrote a letter to his wife St. Ger- 
trude that he could remain in her house? Said 
he did not write a letter for he did not know how 
to write, neither did he send to any one what 
they might do, that he was persuaded to ask No- 
lan in his house because of the offer he had made 
the declarant. 

To the charge how he could deny having sent 
a letter by Nolan that he could remain in his 
house when it appears in the proceedings that he 
had directed his wife to this end. Said he had 
sent no letter only a verbal message in accord- 
ance with what he had expressed. 

Ques. How many animals he had taken when he went 
to Natches and what he did with them? Said he 
took one hundred and fifteen horses, the one hun- 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 323 

dred belonged to Nolan to whom he had sold them 
and the fifteen remaining of his account. 

To the charge how he could say he had taken 
only one hundred and fifteen and of these only 
fifteen were his, when it appears by these pro- 
ceedings that he had taken two hundred, all his 
own. Said he had not taken more than one hun- 
dred and fifteen in the form he had explained, and 
though there were various others they were not 
under his superintendence, but of Joseph Capuran, 
who sold them to Nolan on account of what he 

Ques. What amount of goods he had sent to his 
wife in a trunk? Said $600, the same that Nolan 
delivered him on account of what he had. 

To the charge how he could say that he sent 
$600 when it appears by the declarations that there 
was only $300. Said there were the $600 that he 
had said, for Nolan charged him for that amount. 

Ques. With what end he came ultimately to San An- 
tonio? Said to sell his house and to buy some 

To the charge how he came to buy burros when 
it appears that in Nacogdoches he did not want 
two that he sold. Said that he did not wish in re- 
spect to those he asked $25 for each in money. 

Ques. Who bought the negress they had of Chabus, 
how much, and who delivered the value? Said that 
his wife bought her for $600, which she delivered 
before the declarant returned from his voyage. 

To the charge how he could say his wife had 
paid the $600 when it appears in declaration that 
she gave him only $300 and that the declarant at 
his return delivered the other $300. Said that he 
is uncertain and that he has nothing more on the 
subject than he has expressed. 

Ques. If he had anything to add or to take from. 
Said he had nothing to add nor take from, that 
which he had said is the truth under the obliga- 
tion of the oath he had taken, which he affirmed 
and ratified, this being read said it was his con- 
fession, that he did not know how to write, made 
the sign of the cross, said Governor signed with 
the present Scrivener,=appears=between the mar- 
gins=farewell. X 

John the Baptist, before me, 

Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Procedure for con- i n t he town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 

inTsf Gertrude. rison of San Antonio of Bexar, on September 

nth, 1801, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. 
Col. of Cavalry of the Royal Army, and Provision- 
al Governor of the Province of Texas; command 
that Anthony Leal and his wife, St. Gertrude, be 
brought face to face respecting the disagreement 
that has been seen in their declarations, and for 
this appears the business signature of said official 
with mine the present Scrivener of which I give 
faith. Andrew Benito Coubiere. 



Mississippi Historical Society. 

Confrontation. On said day, month and year, at 5 p. m. the said 

John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. Col. of 
Cavalry of the Royal Army, and Provisional Gov- 
ernor of the Province of Texas, passed with the 
assistance of my scrivener to the Guard of this 
Garrison and commanded that there be brought 
into his presence the accused Anthony Leal to 
put in execution the confrontation, and having 
been caused to make the sign of the cross 

Ques. If he would swear by God and the sign of the 
cross that he would speak the truth on those 
points that I should interrogate him? Said he 
would swear, and having made him to enter into 
the dungeon where he found his wife, St. Ger- 
trude, whom said official likewise caused to make 
the sign of the cross, and 

Ques. If she would swear by God and the sign of 
the cross that she would speak the truth in what 1 
should interrogate her? Said she would swear. 

Ques. To Anthony Leal, if he knew the accused 
that was present? Said he knew she was called 
St. Gertrude, and that she was his wife, and hav- 
ing read to him in this statement the points of 
the declaration of the said St. Gertrude, and asked 
if he agreed with them. Said he did not agree 
with that declaration of his wife in regard to the 
letter that he had sent and $300 that she said she 
paid on his return or the value of the negress, 
that he did not send a letter only a verbal mes- 
sage, and that the $300 were not paid by his hand, 
that his wife showed him on his return from 
Natches it was already restored, that it was de- 
livered when the goods were thus brought, in 
money with which it was regularly satisfied. 

Ques. To St. Gertrude, if she knew him who was 
present? Said that she knew her husband, An- 
thony Leal, was present, that she is certain of 
what she said in her declafation in which she ac- 
cordingly continues, that she does not know how 
to but makes the sign of the cross, and the said 
official signs and the present Scrivener. 
John the Baptist, X X 

Elquezabal. before me, 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

In the town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 
rison of San Antonio of Bexar, on said day, 
month and year, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, 
In view of the stay to conclude the confessions I 
command that there be made known to Jesse Cook 
that I employ proof in security of his conduct of 
which I the undersigned Scrivener, notify him 
And for _ this appears the business signature of 
said official. To which I give faith. 
Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Decree to gather tfie J n the town of San Fernando and Royal Gar- 

ndUCt rison of San Antonio of Bexar, on September 

I2th, 1801, John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 3 2 5 

Col. of Cavalry of the Royal Army, and Provision- 
al Governor of the Province of Texas, Having re- 
ceived the proofs of the American Jesse Cook has 
exhibited for the qualification of his conduct, Com- 
mand that the original be gathered in four leaves, 
useful to this business, and for which appears the 
signature of said official, of which I the under- 
signed Scrivener give faith. 
John the Baptist, before me, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Information instructing the town Judge Mr. 
Manuel Barrera, to the verbal petition of the 
Englishman Jesse Cook. 

A. D. 1801. 
one real, 
Seal of the Collector, Royal, A. D. 1796 & 97. 

San Antonio of Bexar, Sept. 1801. 

The verbal petition of the Englishman Jesse 
Cook has come to examine five witnesses, worthy 
of credit by the tenor of the following interroga- 

First when he became acquainted with him, and 
if he had observed or known any malicious spirit, 
restless, or given any sign of treason to the King. 
Int. If the first time he was in this Capital in the 
company of Mr. Philip Nolan, he knew in what 
agreement or with what end he accompanied him, 
and the same the second time when he was alone 
in this Province if he noticed, saw or knew that 
he brought anything contraband or the object he 
had in coming. Int. If he knew that after this 
he accompanied Nolan, or had correspondence 
with him who was accredited unfaithful, and on 
the contrary if he had known that such a man was 
very improper, turbulent and rebellious. 

And to finish what may be the examination of 
the witnesses he delivers the original Information 
for the purpose that it may be closed, the which 
I thus command to be verified interrogating the 
witnesses that the party cited. I, Manuel Bar- 
rera, town Judge of the second precinct of this 
town of San Fernando, capital of the Province of 
Texas. Thus I have decreed, commanded and 
signed with the witnesses of my authority, with 
which decree from the delegate Judge I lack a 
scrivener, who is not in these legal bounds be- 
tween the margins=it is=farewell. 
Manuel Barrera. of authority, 

of authority, John Mn. D. Beramendi. 

Joseph Amo. Ma. Gancedo. 

Witness 1st, Anthony i n consequence of the command in the forego- 

ing decree he presented for a witness of this In- 
formation Mr. Anthony Baca, chosen actually of 
the body of magistrates of this town and informed 
of the 

Inter, that this is the first office under his word of 
honor if he would speak the truth in all that he 

326 Mississippi Historical Society. 

should be asked, and was asked previous to the 
oath if he was ready, in consequence of which he 
Said that he had known Jesse Cook three years, 
in which time he had not observed or known him 
to manifest treason to the Sovereign. That the 
first time he knew him he was in the company of 
Philip Nolan, in the capacity of a salaried servant 
he entered this Province, that he knew certainly 
that it was for this motive and with no other end 
that he accompanied the said Nolan at that time, 
that the second time the said Cook returned to this 
capital by himself alone he did not know if he 
introduced any goods, and that if he secured any 
that his coming was not with harmful intention 
for that he did not give the most trifling reason 
to suspect him. That he did not know neither 
had he heard it said that after that time he re- 
turned to the company of Nolan, and much less 
that he had had correspondence with him. That 
he knew, and it is public the honorable and cred- 
itable conduct of said Cook, that he had given 
proof sufficient on the occasions when he had been 
in this state. That is all that he knows concern- 
ing the points on which he has been interrogated, 
and is the truth under the obligation of the oath 
which he affirms and ratifies, read it, that it was 
his declaration, said he had nothing to add nor re- 
move from it, that he was fifty-six years old, that 
he is competent to be a witness, not having been 
advised, instigated or deceived in this declaration. 
In testimony of all which he signs with me the 
present Judge, and witnesses of authority, with 
whose decree as this I give faith=between the 
margins:=not given=farewell. 
Manuel Barrera. Anthony Baca. 

of Authority, 
Joseph Am. Ma. Gancedo. of authority, 

John Mn. D. Beramendi. 

Witness 2nd, Alex. Consecutively he presented for a witness for 

this Information the chosen Constable Mayor of 
this town Mr. Alexander Gortary and having full 
knowledge of what is required of him by his sum- 
mons in this, offers by his word of honor, by vir- 
tue of the^religion of the oath that he would speak 
the truth on what he should be able and was asked 
and reading the first interrogatory Said, he had 
known the Englishman Jesse Cook for three 
years, during which time he had not known nor 
had he noticed the least uneasiness of spirit that 
was unworthy, malicious or treasonable. That 
the first time said Cook was in this capital when 
he knew him he was in the company of Philip 
Nolan, to whom he was a servant in the work of 
a tailor, that, he presumed with reason, this was 
the motive he had in accompanying him, and no 
other, but he did not know this. That the second 
time said Cook returned to this Province, if by 
himself alone he did not know, neither had he 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale.. 


Witness 3rd, Thos. 

heard that he brought any goods, neither that his 
coming was for a malicious purpose. That he did 
not know if afterwards he returned to associate 
himself with Nolan, or had correspondence with 
him on any subject. That the said Cook had been 
known and taken for a good man, of creditable 
conduct, and honest proceeding, a stranger to all 
suspicion. That all he has introduced is the truth 
by the oath he has taken, without suggestion, or 
deceit, which he affirms and ratifies, and having 
(Seal.) read this, his declaration, says he is thirty-three 

years old, and is competent to be a witness under 
the law, and for this appears his signature with 
mine the present Judge, and the witnesses of au- 
thority, with whose decree as referred to is given 
Manuel Barrera. Alexander de Gortary. 

of authority, 
Joseph Am. Ma. Gancedo. of authority, 

John Mn. D. Beramendi. 

de Immediately for the perfecting of this proceed- 

ing he presented for a witness Mr. Thomas de 
Arocha of this vicinity, and a patriot and by de- 
cree the witnesses of my authority, received the 
oath that was made in form by God and the 
sign of the Holy Cross by which obligation he 
would speak the truth in all that should be put to 
him, and was asked, and the order of Interroga- 
tories being put to him, to the first, Said, that 
when Philip Nolan was in this capital the second 
time he had in his company the Englishman Jesse 
Cook in the capacity of a salaried servant, and 
from that time he had known him, but he did not 
know nor had he heard it said that for other mo- 

(Seal.) tive, or with other end Nolan had brought Cook 

in his company, And that during this time he had 
in no way shown any appearance of malice. That 
the second time when he last returned by himself 
alone to this capital, he did not know whether 
he had brought any goods, nor that his coming 
indicated malice, that he did not know if after- 
wards he returned to the company of Cook, or 
had correspondence with him. That he knows the 
honesty of said Cook and that is public. That 
what he had related is the truth by the path he 
had taken, in which he affirms and ratifies it, read- 
ing it, says this is his declaration, and that he has 
given it without compulsion or deceit. Says he is 
forty-five years old, and is competent to be a wit- 
ness under the law, and signs with said Judge and 

(Seal.) witnesses, with whose decree as referred to is given 

faith=between the margins=the cross=farewell. 
Manuel Barrerra. Thomas de Arocha. 

of authority, 
Joseph Am. Ma. Gancedo. of authority, 

John Mn. D. Beramendi. 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

Witness 4th, Franco. 

Witness 5th, 


Immediately for the course of this Information, 
he presented for a witness Mr. Francisco Rodri- 
gues of this vicinity, and a patriot, and by my be- 
fore mentioned authority he received the oath 
which was in that form, that by our God and the 
sign of the Holy Cross, by which obligation he 
would speak the truth, in what should be put to 
him, and being examined in the same order as the 
rest, Said that it was two years that he had had 
practical knowledge of the Englishman Jesse 
Cook, in which he had not known, nor had he 
heard it said that he had shown any malice or de- 
ceit that indicated treason, that he knew for cer- 
tain that the first time that he was in this capital 
he was in the company of Philip Nolan, was a sal- 
aried servant, not for another motive, and the 
second time said Cook returned by himself alone, 
he does not know, neither has he heard it said 
that he introduced anything contraband, and much 
less that his coming was for any pernicious pur- 
pose. That he does not know whether after this 
he returned to the company of Nolan or had any 
correspondence with him. That he certainly 
knows that Cook on the occasions when he was 
here had shown himself to be a man of honesty 
and correct conduct. That what he has related is 
the truth, and that which he knows concerning 
that which he was asked, without having been 
suggested, coerced, or deceived. In that he af- 
firms and ratifies. Says he is forty-four years old, 
and competent to be a witness under the law. 
And for his constancy he signs with me the said 
Judge and witnesses, with whose decree as of this 
is given faith. 
Manuel Barrera. Franc. Rodrigue. 

of authority, 
Joseph Am. Ma. Gancedo. of authority, 

John Mn. D. Beramendi. 

In conclusion of this Information, was presented 
for a witness of that Mr. Michael Gortary, an in- 
habitant of this town, to whom I give faith. I 
know and before the witnesses of my authority 
with whose decree, as Judge's Secretary, for lack 
of any Scrivener in this legal boundary, he re- 
ceived his oath, made in form by our God and the 
sign of the Holy Cross, by which obligation he 
promised to speak the truth in what should be 
put to him and he should be asked, and being 
asked for the tenor of the first interrogatory, Said, 
he had known Jesse Cook from the time he en- 
tered this capital in company of Philip Nolan, that 
he had never observed a restless spirit, nor other 
maliciousness. That he knew certain that he 
came with said Philip Nolan as a salaried servant, 
and that on the second time when he was alone by 
himself in this Province he did not introduce 
anything contraband, nor was his coming able to 
cast suspicion for he had not observed any rest- 

The Real Philip Nolan. Hale. 329 

lessness. That neither did he know if afterwards 
he returned to the company of, or had corre- 
spondence with Nolan over any subject that would 
condemn him. That he knew and it was public 
that said Cook on the occasions when he was here 
had shown his honesty and creditable conduct, 
and had given no reason why he should be trifled 
with. That this is all he knows on the points that 
he has been interrogated, and is the truth under 
the obligation of the oath, in which he affirms and 
ratines it, being read said it was his declaration. 
Said this was the same that he had given without 
suggestion or deceit, that he is competent to be a 
witness under the law, that he is thirty-seven 
years old, and for his constancy he signs with me 
the said Judge and witnesses of which decree this 
is given faith. 
Manuel Barrera. Michael Gortary. 

of authority, 
Joseph Am. Ma. Gancedo. of authority, 

John Mn. D. Beramendi. 

San Antonio of Bexar, August nth, 1801. 

Having already examined the five witnesses cited 
by the party for the Information as solicited, de- 
liver the original according to request for the pur- 
poses to which they belong. 

I, Manuel Barrera, Town Judge of the town of 
San Fernando and Garrison of San Antonio of 
Bexar, thus decree, command and sign with the 
witnesses of my authority, with which decree by 
the power of the delegate Judge, for lack of any 
Scrivener within the legal bounds, I give faith. 
Manuel Barrera. 
(witness) of authority, 
Joseph Amo. Ma. Gancedo. of authority, 

John Mn. D. Beramendi. 

Decree remitting to I n the said Garrison this September I3th, 1801. 

John the Baptist of Elquezabal, Lieut. Col. of 
Cavalry of the Royal Army, and Provisional Gov- 
ernor of the Province of Texas. In view of find- 
ing the conclusion of the present preparatory 
proceedings, command that the original thirty-nine 
leaves, useful, be directed to the Lord Commander 
General, Marshal of the Country, Sir Peter de 
Nava, that they may serve him in determining 
that which shall be to him agreeable. And for that 
I sign with my present Scrivener. 
John the Baptist, 

of Elquezabal. Andrew Benito Courbiere. 

Return of having sent ^ the undersigned Scrivener, certify that on this 

thirteenth day of September, A. D. 1801, he sent 
the Lord Commander General this preparatory 
proceeding on the thirty-nine useful leaves that 
contain it, and for which appears this return which 
I sign. 

Andrew Benito Courbiere. 



Washington City, 

March 9, 1834. 
My Dear Sir : 

I received some time since a short letter from you respecting 
your account at the Genl. P. Office. 

Having no personal communication with the Head of that 
Department, or any other Dept. of the Government, I could 
only address a note expressing your wishes upon the subject, 
to which as yet I have received no reply. 

I will endeavor to bring the matter to a close before the ad- 
journment of Congress. Your last favour of the 5th ultimo 
was reced a few days past, for which I tender you my thanks. 
I had heard before of the distress in the money market at 
Natchez, but your letter gives me a more gloomy picture of 
the actual state of things than I had anticipated. 

The prospect before us is in the highest degree appalling and 

The remedy is in the hands of the people, and until they apply 
it, by the suffrages at the popular elections, they may look in 
vain for any redress from the Government. To sum up in a 
few words, all that I can tell you of this subject, you may set 
down the following postulata as certain, ist. The Deposits 
will not be restored to the Bank of the U. S. 2nd. The Bank 
will not be rechartered, or substituted by another chartered 
Bank, during the existence of this Administration. 3rd. The 
State Banks will receive a distributive share of the public 
revenue, in such proportions, and under such selections as may 
best contribute to the election of Martin Van Buren, as the 
successor to the Presidential Chair. 4th. If the plan is success- 
ful the same policy will in future be preserved; combining the 
purse and the sword in the same hand, with the patronage of 
Office, and the Veto Power ; the whole Government will at once 
be concentrated and wielded by the Executive will, which if sub- 
mitted to, by the people, must result in the overthrow of the 

1 This letter was presented to the Mississippi Historical Society by 
the Rev. T. L. Mellen, of Forest, Miss. EDITOR. 

33 2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Checks and Balances provided for in the Constitution : and thus 
the Office of President will, from time to time, descend on any 
favourite who may be designated by the Incumbent. 

The Question now fairly submitted to the American People 
is an issue between Power and Liberty. The People must de- 
cide it for themselves, and if they do not interpose to save them- 
selves, usurpation will move on with giant strides to the climax 
of Ambition, Avarice, and Despotism. 

At a very early period, after I took my seat in the Senate, I 
saw indications, which were satisfactory to my mind of the ad- 
vances to Arbitrary Power ; I resisted them, at the hazard of 
incurring the displeasure of my Constituents, who were blinded 
by their enthusiastic devotion to Genl. Jackson. I have faith- 
fully warned them by written communications and personal ex- 
planations of the dangers, which were seen in prospective and in 
actual operation on their rights, their Honors, and their Best 

I have been led to believe that these warnings have had but 
little effect upon the public mind in Mississippi. 

I have been condemned for sacrificing my own personal ad- 
vancement in political life to my duty as an individual Senator, 
in defending the best interests of those whom I represented; 
I have nevertheless persevered in what I believed to be an hon- 
est course, and now that ruin must be the inevitable result of the 
recent measures of the Executive on the great planting and 
commercial interests of Mississippi, I indulge the hope that their 
eyes will at length be opened, and that my course will be proper- 
ly appreciated. 

You will perceive by the public print that I have entered only 
incidentally into the discussions growing out of the despotic 

One of my short speeches which touches this question has been 
deemed worthy to be printed and distributed in pamphlet form. 
I have enclosed you a copy, altho' I have no doubt you had be- 
fore seen it in the Nat. Intelligencer. I am somewhat surprised 
that my speeches do not find a place in the newspapers of 
Mississippi, as they are the only medium through which the 
people can be informed generally of my opinions on public mat- 
ters, and the reasons on which they are founded. I seek no 
popular favour having nearly already exhausted myself in the 
public service, but I think it is due to justice and candor that 

Letter from George Poindexter. 333 

my conduct here should be understood by the people whom I 
represent. It is not my intention to deliver a speech at large 
on the Deposit Question. The public has already been over- 
stocked with speeches of this description, but I shall seize an 
opportunity at no distant day of delivering my sentiments at 
large on the State of the Nation, tracing distinctly the gradual 
encroachments of executive power on popular rights, and the 
prostration of all the other Departments of the Government. 

My duties here occupy so large a portion of my time that I 
have scarcely a moment to devote to private correspondence. 
I therefore crave the indulgence of my friends for an apparent 
neglect in this respect. 

The opposition in the Senate is composed of mixed mate- 
rials ; they unite very well in resisting the late movement of the 
Executive, but I am apprehensive that when the discussion is 
ended, others will arise, which will cut up that majority into 
fragments, if they do not tend, which I fear they will, to 
strengthen the party which is united in solid phalanx in favour 
of the election of Van Buren as the successor of Genl. Jackson, 
for myself I have but one duty to perform, and but one object 
in view, which is exclusively directed to the preservation of the 
Constitution and the Union, as identified with the glory and 
prosperity of my country. I am decidedly in favour of Mr. Clay 
as the next President, altho' I may differ with him on some 
points of National Policy. 

But there are some ambitious Statesmen in the South who 
cannot be brought to his support, and in our Divisions it is ap- 
parent the enemy will be strengthened and we may in all prob- 
ability be defeated. 

If all the points of opposition could be united, it would be 
strong enough to overturn the mad schemes of the mad Ad- 
ministration, but this is doubtful. I should be glad to know 
how Jacksonism stands in Mississippi. 

I shall send you in a few days some of my speeches on the 
Public Land Bill, which I beg you to distribute as you may 
judge best. 

With my best wishes for your happiness and prosperity, I re- 

Your friend and most obt svt 

George Poindexter. 
Felix Huston, Esq. 


On a crisp October day in the year 1820, when the sun was 
only a few hours high, silently there began to gather in the 
Council Square at Doaks Stand, the Chiefs, Mingo or Head 
Men, of the Choctaw tribe. Grave of aspect, their dignified de- 
meanor proclaimed that they had gathered together for an oc- 
casion of serious moment. 

They had traveled through the scarcely unbroken forest of 
brown and yellow for days ; so intent were they upon the great 
question bringing them together that the deer, bear and 
smaller game, which came across their path, were allowed to 
flee unmolested. To them the forest was full of gloom, their 
ears were deaf to the music of the birds, their hearts were 
filled with only one thought, which crowded out all else, that 
they were about to sign away their heritage given them of God. 

Now gathered in their Council Square they awaited with un- 
moved faces the coming of the white man. Not long did they 
have to wait. Their sensitive ears soon caught the sound of 
horses hoofs on the carpet of brown and crimson leaves, their 
penetrating eyes detected the gleam of the sun on polished steel 
as from the depths of the virgin forest rode the Plenipotentiar- 
ies of the United States and the State of Mississippi, General 
Andrew Jackson and General Thomas Hinds, arrayed in all 
the military glory of generals of the United States army. Af- 
ter them came a goodly company of men who had long been in- 
terested in having this land annexed to the State of Mississippi. 
This meeting, under the blue dome of heaven, which meant so 

1 Mrs. Helen D. Bell was born in Madison county, and grew from girl- 
hood to woman-hood within the State. She was educated entirely 
within the State, and her great pride is that she is "purely a Mississippi 
product." In 1896 she was elected State Librarian, and held the office 
for four years. She is an active member of the United Daughters of 
the Confederacy, being Historian for the W. D. Holder Chapter. She 
was the second woman to join the State Historical Society and work 
for its advancement. She has written much for the press, and is ever 
ready to give her pen and time for the good of the State she loves so 
well. EDITOR. 

336 Mississippi Historical Society. 

much to the early settlers of our State, and alas ! how much 
more to the red man, who was soon to wrap his blanket around 
him and move to far unknown lands, was, in a large measure, 
due to the zeal and patriotic endeavor of Governor Poindex- 
ter, who had been inaugurated the January before, and whose 
tireless brain, ever awake to the needs of his people, recognized 
that the country must grow, and used all his matchless skill to 
induce the government to call this meeting. 

The two men authorized by the government to speak for 
them on this important occasion had been wisely chosen ; both 
crowned with glorious military achievements, fresh from con- 
quest, with faith in themselves and belief in the glorious destiny 
of their country. Wise in dealing with the Indians, and accus- 
tomed to their manners, they came with a knowledge beyond 
their countrymen, to smoke the pipe of treaty with the South- 
ern Indian who is characterized by Claiborne as "a born poli- 
tician and diplomatist." 

As General Jackson quietly dismounted his face wore the 
same determination that caused him to overcome all obstacles, 
that determination to conquer, which had made the famous 
Tom Marshall, of Kentucky, exclaim in one of his stump 
speeches "We have Jackson to fight, gentlemen, and he is a host 
of himself. He has whipped every adversary; he whipped the 
Indians ; he whipped the Spaniards at Pensacola ; he whipped 
the British at New Orleans ; he whipped Clay and Adams, and 
Calhoun ; he whipped King Biddle and the bank, and now he 
has turned Presbyterian and will whip the devil." 

The work accomplished on that October day eighty-one 
years ago, is found in Hutchinson's Code: 

"James Monroe, President of the United States of America, by An- 
drew Jackson, of the State of Tennessee, Major-General in the Army 
of the United States, and General Thomas Hinds, of the State of Mis- 
sissippi, Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the United States on the one 
part, and the Mingoes, Head men and warriors of the Choctaw nation 
in full council assembled, on the other part, have freely and voluntarily 
entered into the following article, viz: ****** ce de to the United 
States of America, all the land lying and being within the boundaries 
following, to wit: Beginning on the Choctaw boundary, East of Pearl 
River, at a point due south of the white oak spring, on the old Indian 
path; thence north to said spring; thence northwardly to a black oak, 
standing on the Natchez road, about 40 poles eastwardly from Doak's 
fence, marked A. J. and blazed, with two large pines and black oak 
standing near thereto, and marked as pointers; thence a straight line to 
the head of Black Creek, or Bogue Loosa; thence down Black Creek 

The History of a County. Bell. 337 

or Bogue Loosa to a small Lake; thence a direct course so as to strike 
the Mississippi River one mile below the mouth of Arkansas river; 
thence down the Mississippi River to our boundary." 

This treaty was received with so much favor and enthusiasm 
that the legislature on February Qth, 1821, passed the following 
public resolution of thanks: 

"Resolved: by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State" 
of Mississippi, in general assembly convened, That the thanks of the 
general assembly, of this State, be presented to Major General 
Andrew Jackson, and our distinguished fellow citizen, Major General 
Thomas Hinds, Commissioners Plenipotentiary, on the part of the 
United States to treat with the Chpctaw tribe of Indians, for their 
patriotic and indefatigable exertions in effecting a treaty with the said 
tribe of Indians, whereby their claim has been extinguished to a large 
portion of land within this State." 

On February I2th, 1821, the Legislature of the State of Mis- 
sissippi passed an act declaring that "all that tract of land ceded 
to the United States by the Choctaw nation of Indians on the 
i8th day of October, 1820, and bounded (as above stated) 
shall be and is hereby directed and established into a new 
county, which shall be called and known by the name of Hinds 
County." We also find in Section 2 of the said Act of 1821, 
that the "said county shall be attached to the first judicial dis- 
trict." Thus Hinds county came into existence its heritage a 
goodly country of wide prairies, fertile valleys, and wooded 
hills. But it had no life, no voice in the affairs of state until on 
February I2th, 1821, Governor Poindexter approved the fol- 
lowing Act : 

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
State of Mississippi, in general assembly convened, That the Governor 
of the State, be, and he is hereby authorized to issue his proclamation, 
ordering and directing the election of a Sheriff and Coroner, for the 
county of Hinds, and that he direct the same to such person as he may 
think proper, to hold and conduct said election, at such time as he shall 
designate in said proclamation; anything in the act establishing the 
said county of Hinds to the contrary notwithstanding." 

In the year 1821 Hinds County sprang into prominence from 
an Act passed by the legislature to locate the seat of govern- 
ment within its borders. The Commissioners appointed for this 
purpose selected Le Fluer's Bluff, and it was ordered to be 
named "Jackson" in honor of General Andrew Jackson, a just 
and appropriate tribute to him who had successfully treated 
with the Indians. 

In 1826 the Hempstead Academy was incorporated, and lo- 

33 8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

cated at Mount Salus, but it did not come into active existence 
until 1827, with F. G. Hopkins as President. In an Act ap- 
proved February 5th, 1827, we find that "the name of the Acad- 
emy in the county of Hinds, called Hempstead Academy, shall 
be called and known by the name of 'Mississippi Academy.' " 
Sections 2 and 3 of said Act read as follows : 

"That the said President and Trustees, for the time being, may, and 
they are hereby authorized to raise, by lottery or lotteries, on such 
scheme or schemes as they may adopt, any sum of money not exceed- 
ing twenty-five thousand dollars, for the use and benefit of said academy. 

"And be it further enacted, that it shall and may be lawful for the 
proprietors of the town of Clinton, in Hinds County, to dispose of such 
lots in said town of Clinton, as they may see cause, by lottery or lot- 
teries, under such scheme or schemes as they may adopt." 

What a radical change of sentiment has taken place since 
that Act of 1827! Then, lotteries were looked upon as a good 
and legitimate method to raise money for the support of "Mis- 
sissippi Academy ;" to-day that College is maintained and sup- 
ported by a Christian denomination, whose adherents would 
bring all the weight of their influence to crush a lottery, if pro- 
posed in connection with it. "Verily the times make the men." 

This Hinds County College was one of the first to be estab- 
lished within the State, and flourished for a while but became 
involved in debt and was in consequence thereof ordered to be 
sold. In 1841, it was offered to the Mississippi Methodist Con- 
ference, and was declined by one vote. In 1842, it was placed 
under the control of the Clinton Presbytery, which gave it up 
in 1850. It was then transferred to the Mississippi Baptist 
State Convention, and became the college of which to-day, not 
only Hinds County, but the whole State is proud. 

In this village of Mount Salus was located the United States 
Land Office. It was the home of many men prominent in the 
history of our State. 

The county grew rapidly in population, so much so that it 
was deemed wise to take from it some of its power and terri- 
tory; and on January 2ist, 1823, an Act was passed by the leg- 
islature taking out of Hinds county "All that tract of country 
within the following boundaries * * * shall constitute a 
county to be called and known as Yazoo." 

And Section 7 of said Act says, "All that tract of country 

* * * shall form a new county, to be called and known by 
the name of Copiah." 

The History of a County. Bell. 339 

Five years later, on February 4th, 1828, an Act was passed 
providing that "All that portion of Hinds county lying and be- 
ing east of Pearl river, shall form and constitute the county of 
Rankin, in memory of the late Honorable Christopher Rankin." 

And on February 5th, 1829, Hinds county gave out of her 
broad acres "the fractional township seven, in Ranges two and 
three * * * to be attached to Madison county." 

According to this record Hinds county has a just and proper 
claim to the title, "Mother of Counties ;" for out of these desir- 
able children, who do her reverence, were born other counties, 
her grand-children, as it were, jewels of worth in her crown of 
motherhood. "A happy issue, and a glorious fate." 

It was in 1822 that the county first sent men to represent her 
interest in the affairs of State, selecting as their representatives 
in the General Assembly, which convened at Columbia, Hon. 
Samuel Calvit as Senator and Hon. Benjamin F. Smith as Rep- 

Clinton was for a short time the county seat. It also pos- 
sessed several banks. We read in the published proceedings 
of the Constitutional Convention of 1832, that J. W. Sumner 
was accorded a seat in that body to report the debates for his 
paper, the Constitutional Flag, which was issued at Clinton. 
This Constitutional Convention of 1832 was the first in which 
Hinds county had a vote. Her delegates, David Dickson, 
James Scott and Vernor Hicks were all men of note. Ten 
years before this (1822) Mr. Dickson had served as Lieutenant- 
Governor and President of the Senate. In the Constitutional 
Convention of 1890 fifty-eight years later a Hinds county 
citizen, Hon. S. S. Calhoon, was President. 

On February 4th, 1828, the legislature ordered the election 
for five commissioners to locate a site for the court house. 
They were required by said Act to put it in Clinton or within 
two miles of the center of the county; this center was found 
about two miles from what is now the town of Raymond, and 
was marked by a large stone, which is said to be still one of the 
landmarks of that section. In 1829 Raymond, by an Act of the 
legislature, became the county seat, but the first court house 
was not erected until 1858. 

"Courage is a high quality courage, perfect, multiform and 
unquenchable, one of the highest and rarest." These pioneer 

34 Mississippi Historical Society. 

settlers of Hinds county possessed this trait. They fought and 
conquered all the difficulties and dangers that confront the in- 
habitants of a wild, new country; and just as they were enter- 
ing upon the peace which cometh after labor well done, the 
call came in 1846 for men to re-enforce General Taylor's army 
on the Rio Grande. Hinds county organized two companies 
which became a part of the famous First Mississippi Regiment, 
with Jefferson Davis in command and Alexander McClung as 
Lieutenant-Colonel, and A. B. Bradford as Major. John L. 
McManus was captain of Company E, and James H. Hughes 
and Crawford Fletcher lieutenants. Company G was officered 
by Captain Reuben N. Downing and lieutenants William H. 
Hampton and S. A. D. Greaves. 

The records of the Mexican war tell us that these two com- 
panies did gallant service and won glory on the fields of Buena 
Vista and Monterey. After a year's absence they returned to 
be welcomed with great rejoicing. 

The first newspaper issued in the county was published at 
Raymond in the year 1830, with Samuel T. King as editor, and 
was called the Public Echo. In 1838 the first railway traversed 
the county, the Vicksburg and Meridian Railroad, which is still 
in existence. 

Many of the towns and villages that flourished in the pioneer 
days of the county are now defunct. It was a common saying, 
in discussing the progress of the new county, to say, "Raymond 
is the seat of justice, Clinton of learning, and Amsterdam of 
commerce." There is to-day no vestage of the last of these, 
which was once a thriving town on Black river. 

The population of the county in 1830, according to the first 
report made by Hon. John A. Grimball, Secretary of State, Sep- 
tember 2Oth, 1832, was 5,340 souls. I notice in the recent cen- 
sus report sent out by the United States government that 
Hinds county had in 1900, 52,577, an increase of 13,298 since the 
census of 1890. 

The county grew apace, and within its borders were enacted 
many scenes and many events that effected the whole State. It 
was in the old capitol, on the banks of the Pearl, that the his- 
toric body of men known as the "Secession Convention" met, 
and on the evening of January 9th passed amidst breathless si- 
lence the ordinance "to dissolve the union between the State of 

The History of a County. Bell. 34* 

Mississippi and other States united with her under the compact 
entitled 'The Constitution of the United States of America.' " 
And it was on this occasion, in Hinds county, that the "Bonnie 
Blue Flag" was first waved, and the night after the song which 
has that title was sung for the first time within the walls of a 
Jackson theatre. And it was in Hinds county that the now fa- 
mous Australian ballot system, which has brought peace within 
the borders of the State, was enacted into law. 

But of all the dear memories that linger around the old 
county of Hinds the most sacred are those that hover about her 
battlefields. On Champion Hill, and near Baker's Creek, 
many gallant men dyed her green hills and fields with their life- 
blood. To-day the men of Hinds county tell of many heroic 
deeds that thrill the heart and make the eye glow, of last words 
spoken on her "everlasting hills," words and deeds that will 
never die, a heritage not only to the county but to the whole 
State. Among the many deeds of daring and valor still related 
around the firesides of the citizens of this county is one which 
tells how the intrepid Captain Add Harvey, of the famous 
Harvey Scouts, with a small band of his faithful followers, 
dashed into the city of Jackson, then occupied by a large force 
of Federals, and removing from the State Capitol the Stars and 
Stripes substituted therefore the Confederate flag. 

And what of this "Mother of Counties" to-day? With a net 
work of railroads she is the natural distributing point of the 
State. Her towns and villages are on every slope, her colleges 
on every hill, her churches at every cross road. In progress- 
iveness, intelligence and thrift she is the peer of any in the 
State. Into her keeping is intrusted many of your State insti- 
tutions. Many gifts have you given her all of which she appre- 
ciates and guards with sacred trust, and the last proof of the 
brotherhood of counties is your million dollar State House, 
which she accepts with grateful honor hoping to prove worthy 
of the trust bestowed. 

Each county must be true to its individual liberty, together 
with its equally significant counterpart, individual responsibil- 
ity. Let the citizen understand that his guarantees of the 
equal blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are 
active living powers, and he will give to his family, to the com- 
munity, county, State and nation solid character. But let him 

342 Mississippi Historical Society. 

once become convinced that these assurances are deceptive 
frauds, that in fact he has no individual liberty, no personal po- 
litical responsibility, he is cowed, his manhood lost, his ambi- 
tion destroyed, his patriotism is crushed and he is an anarchist. 
The first material manifestation of the good results of the indi- 
vidual independence of the citizen is found in the public gov- 
ernment of counties, and it radiates through the State and na- 
tion like the waves of the ocean from the dropping of the peb- 
ble. So the character and political power and influence of the 
county is shaped according to the character of its inhabitants 
and has its correspondent effect upon the character of the en- 
tire State. 

What constitutes a county? 

"Men, high minded men, 

Men who their duties know, 

But know their rights, and knowing dare maintain." 



In February, 1834, my father, George Welsh, Sr., brought his 
family from St. Stephens, Ala., to what was then called the 
"Choctaw Nation." The previous year he had sent by his 
brother Victor Welsh two hands and mules that he might get 
a preemption and withal make some provision for our arrival. 
We came by boat on the Tombigbee to Gainesville, Ala., then 
a small river town with many promising indications of the rapid 
growth which it afterwards had. The trip to our destination, 
exactly where the ruins of old Wahalak now are, in wagons, 
on horseback and on foot (eighteen miles by actual measure- 
ment, but then twenty or more), was made in a day ; but it was 
no picnic. The road through the woods followed the newly 
made blazes, forded Bodka creek and crossed a section of Wild 
Horse prairie, leading in a northwesterly direction. It was 
"grubby, stumpy, muddy and sloshy." The weather was 
cloudy, damp and cold, with a slight breeze. It was what the 

1 Miss Mary J. Welsh was born at St. Stephens, Ala., Nov. 9, 1823. 
Her father, Capt. George Welsh (son of William Welsh and Jane 
Thompson), was of Irish descent, and removed from Pennsylvania to 
Buncombe county, N. C. He took part in the War of 1812, being 
mustered out of service at Fort Claiborne, Ala., and settling at St. 
Stephens in the same State. Her mother, Sally Gordy (daughter of 
Elijah Gordy and Tabitha Melson), was of French descent, and re- 
moved from Delaware to Clinton Jones County, Ga., about 1806. In 1833 
Miss Welsh's family removed to what afterwards became Kemper coun- 
ty, Miss. After the War between the States they settled at Shuqualak, 
Miss., where Miss Welsh now resides. The accompanying contribution 
gives other facts in her early life. After teaching for several years she 
was connected with the Baptist Orphans' Home at Landerdale, Miss., 
where she edited The Orphans' Home Banner. After spending several 
years (i87.v'7) in the employment of the Baptist Publishing House of 
Memphis. Tenn., she entered the office of The Baptist Reflector and the 
Happy Home, at Nashville, Tenn. She is the author of "The Model 
Family" (1858), "Aunt Abbie" (1859), and the "Baptist Denomination" 
(1860). She has also prepared three Sunday school books, two of which 
were published, but the manuscript of the third and largest was de- 
stroyed in the burning of the Baptist Publishing House in Philadelphia, 
Pa., a few years ago. Her "Reminiscences of Old Saint Stephens" was 
published in the Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society, Vol. III., 
pp. 2o8-'26. EDITOR. 

344 Mississippi Historical Society. 

old people called "a raw day." The trip I made on horseback, 
behind my mother, with no rest except a few minutes for lunch. 
This was my introduction to pioneer life, which I afterwards 
enjoyed to the full measure of a child's capacity. I was then 
just ten years of age. 


In the history of any section the settlers claim the first atten- 
tion. Not many had preceded us, but several came about the 
same time or soon after. Of those who were strictly farmers, 
I recall the names of Warren Johnson, David Lisle, Wm. Mc- 
Clurg, Victor and George Welsh, Wm. Felts, Shadrick Rowe, 
Griffin Steele, Pringle Baskins, Sam. Boughton, the Wilsons, 
Gates and Andersons. Others who combined other occupa- 
tions with farming were, Wm. Jones and Rev. James Carothers. 
Others whom I cannot certainly locate within the period from 
'34"'36 were John Malone, the Moseleys, Ruperts, Barneses, 
Sanders, McCalebb, John Kerr and Geo. Bannerman. They 
were all farmers and had a share in developing the country. 

The earliest settlers were of various degrees of wealth, but 
all men of strictly moral and religious sentiment, which gave a 
healthy tone to the whole community infinitely more valuable 
than any amount of material wealth without it. No word can 
express more plainly what manner of men these were, than the 
fact that as soon as they provided rude sheltejr for their families 
they built a school house and churches and procured the ser- 
vices of a teacher and pastors respectively. 


The first requisite in a new country is shelter for man and 
stock. With all these settlers these needs had to be supplied in 
haste, for the land had to be cleared and fences made in time 
to start a crop. But the material was at hand and plentiful; 
labor was controllable and neighbors cheerfully assisted each 
other at house raising and log-rolling, each bringing two or 
more hands with him. These occasions were always enjoyable, 
the work being lightened by jest and laughter and by the an- 
ticipation of a good dinner and a hearty welcome into the 
home at noon. Suppose we call them "social functions" in the 
woods. I presume the buildings did not differ from those in 

Recollections of Pioneer Life. Welsh. 345 

all new countries. The cabins were roughly built of logs, with 
stick and mud chimneys and clapboard roof. The cracks of 
dwelling houses were lined with boards and daubed with mud, 
or merely chinked and daubed, according to circumstances. 
The door shutter was a huge batton frame, covered with clap- 
boards. The windows, if there were any, were openings about 
two feet square, closed by a curtain, or at best by a shutter, like 
the door. Often a crack by the fireplace was enlarged to give 
the mother a little more light on her sewing. The floor, if by 
good fortune it was of plank, was more costly than all the rest 
of the building. The only mill within reach was on Running 
Water creek about twenty miles away, more or less, according 
to the season and the state of the roads. Sawed lumber was 
costly and could be used only in building the family room. It 
was put down loosely and when well shrunken was driven up 
tight and nailed. The only planing it received was the fre- 
quent application of the scrub broom. A few people, at a cost 
of much labor hewed out "puncheons" for floors; others built 
their cabins flat on the ground and there lived comfortably and 
contentedly with their families, waiting for better times. One 
man who had only enough plank to cover three-fourths of his 
floor left the other fourth open. As he had no slaves the one 
room served for kitchen, dining room, and living room. The 
good woman was a model of neatness and kept her house and 
all within it as clean and bright "as a paper of new pins." A few 
of these dwellings had two cabins with what we called a "pas- 
sage" between them ; others had a shed room, the frame of 
which was made of skinned poles, weatherboarded with clap- 
boards. Most of the farmers were content however with one 
room for the first year. I remember one cabin was built with a 
view to having another put opposite to it, hence the roof was ex- 
tended over the prospective "passage," and the sills protruded 
on both sides. The housewife placed a high-posted bedstead 
under this roof and hung thick homespun curtains around and 
over it, and thus made a private and pleasant sleeping place for 
two of her boys. This was the bedroom of the late Hon. Israel 
V. Welsh and his younger brother, Geo. L. Welsh, during the 
spring and summer of 1834. The next year they had a room 
across the "passage," but it had a dirt floor. In this same floor- 
less room I took my first lesson in Natural History by watching 

346 Mississippi Historical Society. 

a toad catching flies. The length of his tongue, the rapidity of 
its flash, the precision with which he struck the fly every time, 
was a marvel to me, and I sat entranced until he finished his 
meal and hopped away. Of course, there was abundant ven- 
tilation in all these houses and it was pure and healthful air 
from the woods. Fireplaces were large and wood plentiful, and 
it was heaped on without stint. Notwithstanding the stick and 
mud chimneys and "logheap" fires there were then no "house- 
burnings" in that section, and insurance was unknown. As 
nails and hinges were too costly for general use the roofs of 
kitchens, negro cabins, &c., &c., were held down by "weight- 
poles," and the "door shutters" and gates were hung on wooden 
hinges. Yards as well as lots and fields were inclosed by rail 
fences, but they were substantial ones, ten rails high, "staked 
and a rider/'stock proof. There was then no disagreement be- 
tween neighbors on account of defective fences. These descrip- 
tions apply particularly to the very early settlers, from about 
1833 ^0 '36. As years passed and facilities increased, many im- 
provements were introduced. Large frame houses, elegantly 
furnished, dotted the country here and there, but down to the 
War between the States many of the people were content to 
dwell in log houses with modern improvements and furnish- 


The furniture of these early cabins was scant. The long 
journeys in wagons from the older states prevented the bringing 
of anything but the bare necessities. These provident house- 
wives all brought their, feather beds and bed clothing, a bed- 
stead or two, a few chairs, a little table furniture, a few things 
for the kitchen, and the indispensable wheel and cards. The 
few empty barrels and goods boxes they possessed were utilized 
as furniture. Holes were bored into the logs, strong pegs driven 
into them and boards laid across to make shelves both within 
and without dwelling houses and kitchens. A series of shelves 
with a curtain hung before them made a convenient cupboard or 
wardrobe, as occasion demanded. In this connection, my 
mother's first cradle in Mississippi deserves mention ; for I 
doubt if its counterpart was ever known in the civilized world. 
In those days sealskin trunks (made of wooden frames with 

Recollections of Pioneer Life. Welsh. 347 

rounded tops, covered with sealskins) were common. The 
hinges of one of these being broken in moving, my father, with 
hatchet and drawing knife, made a pair of rockers, which he 
nailed on top of the lid, turned it up and thus made a cradle for 
the baby. As most of the cradles were rudely constructed of 
clapboards this one was greatly admired by the mothers of the 
community. One mother had a cradle made out of a section 
of a hollow log, across which boards were nailed. The want of 
bedsteads was easily supplied. A rude corner post was pro- 
vided with two holes mortised into it near the top. Into each 
of these holes the end of a skinned pole was stuck. The other 
end of these poles rested in a crack of the wall. A platform of 
boards, a mattress of shucks with a good feather bed on it made 
a more comfortable sleeping place than one who has never tried 
it can imagine. With an earthen floor the work was simplified ; 
for a forked stick driven into the ground served for a corner 
post. These bedsteads were necessarily hard and rather nar- 
row, but reasonably comfortable for contented people. In 
truth, contentment, which was the prevailing grace of this com- 
munity, smoothed the rough places and rounded the sharp cor- 
ners of life for these hardy pioneers and helped to convert their 
rude log cabins into palaces. They fully realized that "a man's 
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he pos- 


The. nearest mill to our settlement was on Running Water. 
As the trip consumed two days in good weather, nearly every 
pioneer owned a steel handmill, and the daily supply of meal 
was ground by a strong negro boy or two, who left the field 
early every afternoon for that purpose. Most of the land in 
our immediate section was heavily timbered with a dense un- 
dergrowth. As the "clearing," fencing and preparing for a crop 
had to be accomplished by manual labor, one stroke at a time, 
it was slow and heavy work. But the soil was fertile and 
amply repaid the laborers in the yield of corn, cotton, potatoes 
and peas, the crops generally raised. In later years wheat was 
grown, but never extensively. The early cotton crops were so 
heavy that the larger boys were stopped from school every fall 
to help pick it out. New land was cleared every year for many 

348 Mississippi Historical Society. 

years, the useless timber and brush being burned. At night 
these burning logheaps and piles of brush, which were dotted 
thickly here and there over the ridges, gave to the natural 
scenery an added beauty peculiar to a new country. The ap- 
proach to a hilly city as Vicksburg or Meridian after night- 
fall comes nearer reproducing the scene than anything else I 
ever saw. 


In the pioneer days all the clothing was cut and made at 
home, much of it from cloth that was spun thread ; all the soap 
and candles were home made, the latter being moulded or dip- 
ped from tallow prepared on the place. All this was done by 
the women in addition to the usual housework on a farm ; and 
as in all ages "woman's work is never done" much of it was 
done at night by the light of a brush fire and a tallow candle. 
These candles gave a soft light, pleasant to the eyes. 


The scarcity of water was the most serious difficulty the 
pioneers had to encounter. The only water courses within 
available distance were Noxubee and Wahalak creeks. Many 
wells were sunk, but only a few outlasted the wet season. Stock 
was driven to one of the creeks every few days in summer. 
Every week or two the family washing was carried there. 
Rainwater was caught and treasured. Not a drop of clean 
water was ever thrown on the ground. Water was never plen- 
tiful, not even sufficient until the settlers began to dig cisterns 
in the late '3o's. I often wonder now how we managed to get 
along with so little water. 


Gainsville was our nearest market, or rather it was the me- 
dium of trade between that section and Mobile. Cotton was 
hauled to Gainesville and shipped. Sometimes several farmers 
united and shipped their cotton down the Noxubee on a raft, 
necessarily a slow voyage but safe. Country merchants and 
farmers bought their supplies in Mobile, shipped them to 
Gainesville and hauled them out. This state of things con- 
tinued until the Mobile and Ohio railroad was built. For a 
few years there was much hard work and many privations, but 

Recollections of Pioneer Life. Welsh. 349 

these early settlers were equal to every emergency, and as fruit- 
ful in resources as if they had always lived in the woods. Al- 
though contented in the present they had high aspirations for 
the future and worked steadily and hopefully for the fulfillment 
of those aspirations. But let no one suppose there was no en- 
joyment. The novelty of the whole situation gave to it a zest 
which made discomforts a mere joke. The happiness of our 
pioneers had its spring in the heart and they could afford to 
laugh at untoward circumstances. 


Social enjoyments, the legal holidays, Christmas and the 
fourth of July were duly and extravagantly observed. The 
ladies visited in the old time way, "took their knitting and spent 
the day" or gathered together at "quiltings," combining work 
with pleasure. They also carried an assortment of children, 
and to us these were never-to-be-forgotten days. No restraints 
were laid on our sports, except the injunction to "keep out of 
mischief." Our dress was no hindrance and we had a royal 
time, with "all out of doors" for a playground. 

Deer, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, opossums, partridges, black- 
birds, &c., &c., were abundant. The hunting and trapping of 
these gave healthful recreation to the men and boys, and amply 
supplied the table with the delicacies of the forest. A ride on 
horseback through the deep, green woods or the tall grass of 
the prairie was delirious pleasure to both girls and boys. To 
this day the sound of the hunter's horn, the deep baying of his 
dogs and their regular yelps on the trail, stirs my blood more 
quickly than a brass band ; and the musical rhythm of the cross- 
cut saw, the hum of the spinning wheel, the regular click, clack 
of the loom, are all remembered music to me yet. Not that I 
would turn the wheel of progress one revolution backward, or 
that I fail to appreciate the vast progress since then, but these 
old memories will sing to my heart of the days of happy child- 
hood, and the more persistently as the years pass by. 


Wild fruits, as grapes, plums, strawberries,, blackberries, 
haws, both black and red, hickory nuts and walnuts could be 
had for the gathering, and they gave tis a standing excuse for a 

35 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ramble in the woods. In one place, bordering on a "wet 
weather branch," we found what we called "white blackberries." 
The berry was exactly like the common blackberry except it 
was white with a slightly bluish tinge. The foliage of the bush 
was perhaps a little more delicate than that of the black species. 
It was certainly indigenous for no one but the Indians, had pre- 
ceded us. The stream was soon "cleared up" and these berries 
were lost. The first orchard in our section was planted by Mr. 
Sam. Boughton, who came from Conecah county, Ala., in 1836. 
He shipped trees and vines a year in advance and brought a 
large assortment with him. It proved to be a good fruit coun- 


Just here I will say that dotted about over this section were 
spaces of open land, an acre or less in extent, on each of which 
was to be found what appeared to. be the remains of a burnt 
cabin. As the Indians had been so recently removed, the set- 
tlers naturally supposed these places to be the remains of Indian 
settlements. The negroes heard this talked about, and having 
got an inkling of the fact that the Indians left the country 
rather unwillingly, their superstitious nature was aroused. 
They often came from work with wonderful reports of the dis- 
tressing sounds they heard proceeding from those places either 
in the field or near by. It was "de goses of dem Injuns moun- 
in fur dey homes." It is safe to say, if labor had been free then, 
those fields would never have been cultivated by the negroes. 
Although the Indians were not citizens they constituted an ele- 
ment in our pioneer life that cannot be ignored with strict jus- 
tice. It is a well known fact that a remnant of the Choctaws 
refused to go West. They retired from that immediate section, 
however, and went, I think, into Neshoba county. They came 
into the settlement every fall, camped, and picked cotton for 
the farmers. At other seasons they brought venison, baskets, 
bows and arrows, blow-guns and arrows for sale. They were 
so harmless that we lost all fears of their race and welcomed 
each return as a pleasurable excitement. 


But we were kept in a state of constant dread of the snakes 
that thronged the woods. They had preempted this whole sec- 

Recollections of Pioneer Life. Welsh. 351 

tion long in advance of the white settlers, and it was necessary 
to keep a sharp lookout for them at all times and in all places ; 
for, as an old darkey put it, "dem snakes is jes as sly as In- 
juns ; dat time yo ain studin' 'bout um dey pop yo' shore." 
Doubtless it was owing to this constant vigilance that so few 
people were bitten. 


I pass over the land sales which came on during this early 
period, not only because it is a matter of recorded history, but 
because I remember but little about it, except that it was a time 
of great excitement and anxiety to all, old and young. 


The farmers in our immediate neighborhood were Presbyte- 
rians in faith, and they built a house in accordance with the 
times and circumstances. A log cabin open to the roof, dirt 
floor, benches of split logs, pulpit of clapboards, perched half- 
way up the end wall, stick and dirt chimney, two doors with 
board shutters, and for windows, cracks between the logs. But 
the gospel was preached there by Rev. James Carothers to an 
attentive audience of grown people, and a Sunday school was 
taught. For literature we used the Question Books issued at 
that time by the Presbyterian Publishing House. To our un- 
developed minds the lessons were as hard to master as grubbing 
roots would have been to our physical strength. Hence it goes 
without saying that we acquired very little "book knowledge," 
but from the constant attendance at a place of worship, and the 
association with those who gathered there, we imbibed much 
that was good, a deep seated reverence for God, an earnest 
respect for all the appointments of worship, a love for the day 
set apart for that worship, and for complete rest and all this 
was a saving ballast in the storms of subsequent life. What 
an inestimable blessing to any community is a Sunday school ! 
What a healthful tonic to its moral life ! 

In the adjoining neighborhood the Baptists prevailed, and 
they built a house near Wahalak creek, the exact counterpart 
of the Presbyterian house except it had a floor. Their first 
pastor was Rev. Wm. Galloway. Of sermons I was no judge, 
but I know that both of these pastors were highly esteemed by 

35 2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

their respective congregations. One incident that occurred at 
this Baptist church in the summer of 1834 is worth recording. 
It was a beautiful day; a large congregation, both white and 
black had assembled. An eclipse of the sun was due, and in the 
middle of the services it began to grow dark. The preacher sat 
down to wait until the eclipse was over. Several persons went 
to the creek to observe it in the water. I had no permission to 
move, but as I sat near a large crack I gave my attention to 
what was going on among the negroes. The scene was inde- 
scribable. The negroes were in every conceivable posture of 
supplication, wringing their hands and clothing, weeping, pray- 
ing, confessing their sins, and wailing in the most piteous ac- 
cents. One old "Auntie," however, was going to and fro, 
laughing and jeering at the rest. I was bewildered. The next 
day I interviewed her to know what it all meant. "Wy dem 
foolish niggers scared it was de judgment, and dey drap down 
an' 'gun to 'fess an' pray jes lak de Lawd ain been knowin' um 
all de time. Well, dey need to fess, but it's too late when judg- 
ment 'gin to cum." Why so? "Wy, doan de Book say dat 
time gwine to cum swif es lightnin' ?" I didn't know. "Well, 
I been hear um read it dat 'er way, anyhow, an' doan you know 
it's too late to dodge wen de litenen' come ?" I didn't know thai 
either, so I always dodged lightning. "Well yo' ne'enter, kase 
'fore you kin dodge de litenin' dun dun all it's gwine ter. An' wen 
judgment come it too late to 'fess an pray ef you aint dun it 
afore. I tel dem niggers dat but dey doan listen to me." 
Years afterwards when Millerism 1 was rife and many people 
were almost crazed with fear, she couldn't be moved. "Sho ! 
wha I gwine be skeered fur? Ain' I been hear um read outen 
de Book of dat day an' dat hour know no man"? Hoccum dat 
man know it? He shoreley mus' not read de Book; ef he do 
he don' sese it." 

This is a good deal to say about one old auntie, but she was 
truly a pioneer and did good pioneer work. 


The first school in 1834 was taught by Wm. Jones, a young 
farmer from Alabama. The school house was one of the rud- 

1 William Miller taught that "the end of the world and the second 
coming of Christ was at hand." EDITOR. 

Recollections of Pioneer Life. Welsh. 353 

est of rude cabins ; dirt floor with not even all the "grubs" taken 
up, split log, backless benches, open to the roof. Across one 
side and one end holes were bored into the logs, long pegs 
driven into them, and planks laid across for a writing desk. The 
crack above it was widened to give us light. We used the text 
books of the times, Murray's Grammar, The Federal Calculator, 
&c., &c. Our progress was necessarily slow, but the little we 
acquired was thorough and it was a lifetime possession. Our 
teacher was faithful, patient and not overexacting. The noon 
recess two full hours we called "playtime" and we filled it 
with hearty, healthy play. The nearest settler to this school 
was Mr. Madden, the only blacksmith in the community. He 
chanced to have a well and he generously permitted us to get 
water there when the branch dried up. As I now look back to 
those days and consider the circumstances, this seems to me 
the kindest of all kind deeds with which I was conversant in 
that neighborhood. The well was merely a deep hole in the 
ground, no curbing, closed by rails across the mouth laid on the 
ground ; no windlass, just a tin bucket with a rope tied to the 
bail. To get the water, a few rails must be put aside, the buck- 
et sent down with a plunge, then pulled up by main strength 
hand over hand. The girls not one of us over twelve years 
were not expected to go near the well ; but we did, and I some- 
times shudder now as I think of the danger we were in of fol- 
lowing the bucket. These people were Irish and we lit- 
tle girls were very much amused at their brogue, but we didn't 
dare to show it in Mrs. Madden's presence. We wanted her 
water, and we wanted her "tan kattle" as she pronounced it to 
draw with, and we were afraid of her dog. "Watch" was an 
ever present menace, and he seemed to be just waiting for his 
mistress' "sick" to take hold of us, so however rude we were 
elsewhere, in Mrs. Madden's presence we were as polite as a 
book agent. 

The next school was taught about 1835 or '6 by Rev. Jas. Car- 
others. The Presbyterians had moved their church nearer to 
his residence and put a floor in it and there he preached and 
taught. There was very little change in school furniture, text 
books, or methods of teaching. In his school and in his home 
life he was uniformly courteous and pleasant. He was a Chris- 
tian gentleman in the widest acceptation of the term. During 

354 Mississippi Historical Society. 

one session I was a "week boarder" in his home, and his gentle 
kindness to me, then a very frail little girl, has been a pleasant 
memory through all subsequent life. These two men were the 
only strictly pioneer teachers; they laid a good foundation in 
the rudiments of knowledge despite their meager equipments. 


There was only one store in all that neighborhood. The 
proprietors, EH and Edgar Loomis, were from the North. As- 
sociated with them was Alfred Everett either as clerk or as 
partner. The only physician in '34 was Dr. Jake Brown, who 
had his office in that store. About 1835 Dr. John Mclntosh 
came into the neighborhood on a farm. In 1836 came Dr. 
James Baird, a young physician from North Carolina. Both of 
these practiced there many years, but Dr. Brown soon went 
into the lower part of Kemper. 


The only house of entertainment was kept by Victor Welsh, 
who settled there in the latter part of 1832 or January, 1833. 
The constant travelling of "land hunters" made this a profit- 
able business. It was also the only boarding house for the 
merchants nearby. For many years men bringing large droves 
of mules and hogs came every fall from Kentucky and Tennes- 
see and put up at this house until they had sold out. The wa- 
gons that came with these droves brought quantities of dried 
fruit, spun thread and jeans, which found a ready sale. These 
droves and the wagons were annually expected and largely de- 
pended upon for many years. 


The country soon began, however, to change its pioneer as- 
pect. Many people of culture and refinement, some of them 
very wealthy, had settled in this section of Kemper. In 1837 
Victor Welsh laid out into town lots a few acres of land around 
his own house and the Loomis Brothers' store. These sold 
readily. It was a hilly locality, beautiful for situation, pleas- 
ant and healthful. The town grew rapidly in all that goes to 
make up a desirable place. It was named Wahalak. The 
Loomis Brothers soon moved to Brooklyn on the Noxubee. 
The Presbyterians and Baptists moved their churches into Wa- 
halak and built commodious houses. The first school within 

Recollections of Pioneer Life. Welsh. 355 

its limits was a mixed school taught by Lewis R. Barnes, from 
Georgia. He admirably sustained the reputation which he 
brought with him of being a thorough teacher and a good dis- 
ciplinarian. Unruly boys were sent to him from all parts of the 
country to be tamed, and he never failed to get them well in 
hand. He was kind in disposition, courteous in manner, a 
manly man in his intercourse with others, and untiring in his 
work. He was assisted at different times by Revs. Sterling, 
Jenkins, Wm. Farrar, and Mr. Chivers. 

About this time there was much discussion as to the feasibil- 
ity of navigating the Noxubee. Finally a steamboat, the 
"Little Jim" was sent up to Macon on a trial trip. The neigh- 
borhood was notified of its expected arrival at Wahalak land- 
ing and there was a large turnout to meet it. Mr. Barnes 
closed school for an hour or more and led the procession to the 
landing. It was an insignificant looking stern wheeler with a 
keen, shrill whistle. The visit might have passed out of our re- 
membrance but for this whistle. When it sounded the crowd 
of sightseers, old and young, white and black, turned and ran 
until we were stopped by the loud derisive laughter of the boat 
crew. Mr. Barnes led us back to school in disgust. When we 
compared notes, nobody was afraid, but everybody ran because 
everybody else did. That was the last attempt to navigate the 
Noxubee ; until after the War another unsucessful attempt was 

In 1838 the citizens deeming it advisable to establish a female 
school, built a suitable house and elected trustees, who employ- 
ed Miss Ann Hazard, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take charge of 
the school. The result proved the wisdom of their action. 
She came among us as a stranger, but soon won the confidence 
of her patrons. She was an earnest Christian woman, and 
proved to be a valuable social acquisition. This school and the 
male school lived through the most flourishing period of the 
town, and from experience I can say that the teachers of both 
deserved the high reputation they gained, and they still live in 
the hearts and lives of their pupils scattered over many of the 
Southern states. 

There were three churches in the town, a Baptist, two Pres- 
byterian, an old and a new school respectively. 

Two physicians, Dr. John Mclntosh and Dr. James M. Baird, 

356 Mississippi Historical Society. 

represented, very ably, the medical fraternity for many years. 
Later Dr. Harris came in as Dr. Mclntosh moved away. 

Of the several merchants, I recall now the names of Barnes 
and Sanders, John T. and Wm. Mosely. John Malone was 
perhaps associated with one of these firms. James McCalebb 
had a store and a blacksmith and wood shop. There were oth- 
ers, but their names do not occur to me now. 

At one time the old town had a bank, incorporated under 
the name of "The Real Estate and Banking Company." Judge 
John Hardeman was president and Mr. John T. Moseley cash- 
ier. It was in operation but a short time. I have recently had 
the pleasure of meeting one of my old schoolmates of the 
Barnes school, Mr. Wm. Boughton, now of Jasper county, Mis- 
sissippi. In recalling many reminiscenses of old Wahalak, I 
chanced to remark upon the short life of the bank. "Yes," he 
replied, "but it did not fail nor break, but closed up business 
with a perfectly honorable record. The stockholders fully met 
every claim, if they lost anything it was never known." 

To the credit of the citizens, be it known that there never was 
a grogshop in Wahalak. The "abomination of desolation" that 
is now sapping our national life never camped within the limits 
of the town, neither nearby. The healthy moral sentiment of 
the community forbade it. 

The town early became a great educational center ; the seat 
of a Christian culture and refinement unsurpassed by any com- 
munity in the State or any other State. The high standard of 
moral rectitude, the reverential respect for Christianity, the 
neighborly kindness, the open handed hospitality, the public 
spirit that characterized the pioneers were also prominent 
traits of their successors in the town and surrounding country. 
This natural refinement enhanced by a liberal culture made the 
social life of Wahalak all that was desirable. 

It is hard to say what caused the death of the old town. It 
declined steadily after Mr. Barnes and Miss Hazard, two of its 
most prominent teachers left; but perhaps the pupils of edu- 
cable age in the community caused them to leave. The building 
of the Mobile and Ohio railroad had a perceptible effect upon 
it. It lived on, however, through the war between the States. 
It is now dead except in the memories of its former citizens. Its 
name has been given to a station a few miles west of it on the 
Mobile and Ohio railroad. 



The story of the fame and eloquence of the orators of Mis- 
sissippi rests largely on ephemeral tradition kept alive by word 
of mouth from father to son. If the oratory of the State can be 
rescued from the condition of oblivion into which it has fallen, 
if a record can be made of the feelings, thoughts and deeds of 
the men who should have a place in a temple dedicated to Mis- 
sissippi orators and oratory, then indeed shall we be able to re- 
move the impression that we are failing to transmit to succeed- 
ing generations a knowledge of the greatness of our common- 
wealth. There are incidents in the lives of all great men that 
should be remembered, their words should be treasured, the 
part they played in the state life of their time should be pre- 
served on lasting parchment to animate the hearts of those who 
come after, with love and admiration for great deeds done, for 
living words spoken, for lofty thoughts struck from strong 
minds. There is a state pride that always elevates the greatness 
of favorite sons. It is desirable to carefully weigh the exag- 
gerations of tradition and the partiality of friends in order that 
true estimates may be made of Mississippi orators, that they 
may occupy the place which impartial history would assign 

/. George Poindexter. 

The first Misissippian to attract the attention of the nation 
by his ability and power as an orator was George Poindexter. 
He was the most versatile man of his day, and his talents were 
displayed in all the departments of the public service. As Gov- 
ernor, Justice of the Supreme Court, Congressman and Sena- 

1 A biographical sketch of the author of this monograph will be found 
in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. III., p. 85, foot- 
note. EDITOR. 

35 8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tor he gave evidence of rare executive ability, deep learning 
and brilliant oratory. 

In order that a proper estimate may be made of the powers 
of an orator a careful study of the physical properties, disposi- 
tion, and mental and physical temperament should be made. 
What is his fund of knowledge? Are his methods of thinking 
close and accurate? Has he grace of person and delivery? Is 
he earnest and enthusiastic? Has he magnetism and drawing 
power? Is his voice strong and melodious? Is he confident 
and faithful in his principles? If all those great qualities are 
combined in him then indeed is he a great orator, if he has only 
a few of them he may still be great in special lines of oratory. 

A study of Senator Poindexter, of his traits, appearances, 
ideas and methods of oratory will reveal something of the 
manly, sturdy pioneer state-makers and nation-builders of the 
early history of Mississippi. 

There is a proneness on the part of the people of an old 
country and of the centers of population to look with mild tol- 
eration on the citizens of a new country as inferior in culture 
and intelligence to themselves. The feeling grows out of a 
provincialism that is as old as recorded history. The ancient 
Jews looked upon the Gentile with pity, if not contempt. The 
classic Greeks disdained all other peoples as barbarous. The 
Romans held that not to be a Roman was to be a dog. The 
people of New England for years regarded Mississippi as a 
State made up of communities of rough, ignorant, uncultured 
ruralists. Rural communities are the gardens for the cultiva- 
tion of all forms of greatness. Such great leaders of armies as 
Washington, Lee and Jackson, such statesmen as Jefferson, 
Madison and Lincoln, such judges as Marshall and Taney were 
brought up on the farms of the South. Mississippi is the most 
intensely agricultural state in the Union, and it has been a fer- 
tile field for the growth of eloquence. 

Senator Poindexter has been pictured by a Mississippi histor- 
ian as the meanest man who was prominent in the early history 
of the State; there is no doubt that he was the intellectual if 
not the moral leader of that time. He lived during a period 
when bitter partisan, political feeling was indifferent alike to 
the rules of courtesy and fair dealing, and much of the slander 
and infamy heaped upon him was the work of his personal ami 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 359 

political enemies. It is not safe to rely upon estimates and 
opinions that are guided by prejudice and prompted by malice. 
The mantle of charity is thrown over his faults. Time has 
tempered the harshness of the judgment upon him. He was a 
great Senator and orator at a time when greatness was the 
rule and not the exception in the Senate of the United States. 
We are looking at him only from an oratorical point of view. 

The speeches of Senator Poindexter cannot be read without 
feeling that they were made by a master. The order is perfect, 
and the logical sequence of the parts are only excelled by the 
lofty tone and unity of the whole. Enlarged statesmanlike 
views are thrown out in language that is terse, chaste and 
majestic. His words are never overdrawn or too subtle for 
plain, practical men. He was endowed with an intellect pellucid 
and brilliant, with mental vigor and intellectual grasp. There 
are certain proprieties of elocution that every public speaker 
must observe, such as manner, voice, cadence and outward 

Carlyle's celebrated description of Webster may be aptly ap- 
plied to Senator Poindexter: "The tanned complexion, the 
amorphous crag-like face ; the dull black eyes under their prec- 
ipice of brows, like dull anthracite furnaces needing only to be 
blown, the mastiff mouth accurately closed." There was a 
dignity and distinction in his bearing that made him a marked 
man wherever he went. 

A speech must have in it something more than eloquent sen- 
tences, it must have vital truth and principles running like a 
thread through it. 

There are two schools of opinion as to how eloquence is 
acquired. One contends that the powers of the orator are 
acquired by art, and should be methodical and persuasive. The 
other that oratory is a natural gift and moves the passions of 
men by storm without particular rules. Natural powers culti- 
vated and developed by study, preparation and practice com- 
bine to make the great orator. 

The father of Senator Poindexter was an eloquent Baptist 
minister of Virginia and the oratorical powers of the father 
were inherited by the son. To that rich inheritance he added 
all the arts and graces of oratory that may be gained by learn- 

360 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ing, discipline and culture. Great faculties can only be de- 
veloped by being put into practice. Senator Poindexter was a 
deep student of polemics, politics, history, literature and poetry. 
"Learning waited upon him like a handmaiden, presenting to 
his choice all that antiquity had culled or invented." He was 
a great parliamentary orator. He was at his best before the 
Senate. Before such an audience he brought to bear on every 
subject he touched his great knowledge, his profound reason, 
his splendid style. 

The development of Senator Poindexter in Mississippi was 
phenomenal. It resembled somewhat the radian*- rise of Sher- 
idan, the brilliant Irishman who quit play writing for a seat in 
the House of Commons and, according to the verdict of Fox 
and Burke, delivered the greatest speech in the English lan- 

Failing to find in Virginia that immediate success that his 
restless and impatient ambition demanded he turned his steps 
to the new territory of Mississippi, and was made its attorney 
general during the first year of his residence. As the prosecu- 
tor of Aaron Burr he gained the attention and applause of the 
triumphant Democracy of Jefferson, and his opinion in the case 
afterwards guided the great Chief Justice Marshall in the cele- 
brated trial of Burr at Richmond. 

He entered Congress in 1807 as territorial delegate from 
Mississippi, and at once became prominent, by his reply to the 
disunion speech of Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts. In that 
speech appears an intense devotion to the Union, and a remark- 
able foresight into its future destiny. The great questions of 
Federal powers and States' rights were discussed with rare 
knowledge and ability. The member from Massachusetts 
advocated disunion, the member from Mississippi pleaded for 
the preservation of the Union. 

The greatest effort made by Mr. Poindexter in the House 
was his famous speech in defense of General Jackson's conduct 
during the Seminole War. The defense was so able and so 
conclusive that it resulted in the complete vindication of "Old 
Hickory," and gave the speaker a position as one of the leading 
orators of the country. The reputation made in the lower 
House advanced him to the Senate. When he took his seat he 
found such men as Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Cass, King and 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 361 

Berrien among the leaders of the nation, men of power, knowl- 
edge and eloquence. 

There are few men who had such natural advantages com- 
bined with so many other qualities necessary for genuine elo- 
quence as Senator Poindexter. His bearing was manly and 
dignified, his face open, broad and strong, his voice clear, me- 
lodious and penetrating, his entire makeup might be termed or- 
atorical. He had the rare combination of judgment and im- 
agination, each dominated his mind, neither was allowed to gain 
the mastery to the complete exclusion of the other. 

The speeches of Senator Poindexter show that his diction 
was full of force, purity, power and elegance. There is little 
of wit or light fancy in them, but that lightness that sometimes 
serves for ornament is more than compensated for by the bril- 
liant blaze of logic and declamation. His premises are always 
broad and fairly laid down, his deductions are without fault, 
his conclusions are irresistible. As a close logical reasoner 
Senator Poindexter has few superiors in the annals of Amer- 
ican eloquence. 

II. Sargeant S. Prentiss. 

In his delightful sketches of Flush Times in Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi, Baldwin says that Prentiss was to Mississippi in her 
youth what Jenny Lind was to the musical world, or what 
Charles Fox, whom he resembled in many ways, was to the 
Whig party in his day. The brilliant young man from far off 
Maine was the idol of the young manhood of his adopted State. 

To succeed the orator must inspire confidence by the exercise 
of truth, judgment and justice. To excite in other minds a be- 
lief in what he asserts, his own faith must be perfect. To excite 
passions and emotions, he must feel them stir his own bosom. 
It is then and only then that he can lift ordinary natures out of 
themselves, infusing new life, kindling new hopes, and awaken- 
ing passions unfelt before. When we look into the face of a 
Prentiss, lit up and bright as was that of Moses on Mt. Sinai, 
inspired by a torrent of great ideas, and borne away by resist- 
less passions, and witness the influence of such a man upon a 
vast audience we can but feel that there is a brain-wave, an 
electric current in the moral as in the physical world, proceed- 

362 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ing from heaven's battery through the medium of the orator 
for the conducting of virtue, truth and justice from the skies. 

There now lies before us the picture of Mr. Prentiss as 
painted by the words of a friend now living who knew him as he 
was at the height of his fame and power. He was low of stat- 
ure, and had a slight impediment in his walk from a deformed 
leg. The upper part of his body was strong and beautifully 
proportioned. His head was large and well formed, his eyes 
were dark with the dreamy melancholy fire of poetry and pas- 
sion, his mouth smiling but firm, his brow massive and thought- 
ful, his smooth shaven face was like a cameo in its clear cut, 
strong lines. His personal appearance increased the fervor and 
brilliance of his eloquence. He flashed across the field of oratory 
like a fiery meteor, yet the light he gave forth was as sure and 
steady as that of the sun. It was said on all sides that the 
young man from the frozen North had introduced a new style 
of oratory, that it was difficult to tell in what his power con- 
sisted. The true secret of the success of his oratory was its 
originality. His was an originality that could only be directed 
by genius. He had the superb confidence that enthusiasm 
always gives. 

He was mighty in his enthusiasms, one of the elements nec- 
essary to leadership. He had a magnificent courage that com- 
manded the admiration of the people. With his courage, en- 
thusiasm and magnetism was combined a beautiful poetic na- 
ture not exceeded by any great orator of the world. There 
was beauty and poetry to him in every phase of nature. He 
was familiar with every trait of the human heart. To speak in 
beautiful pictures was as natural to him as it is for the birds to 
welcome the coming of the sun with song. His voice was 
sweet, mellow and rich in its tones, there was melody and mu- 
sic in it that responded to each varying emotion, at times it was 
like the soft music of the mocking bird, again it was like the 
shrill, triumphant cry of the eagle. In his speeches every noble 
feeling, every sympathy was appealed to and aroused at will. 
Enthusiasm, laughter and tears came at his bidding. 

The diction of Mr. Prentiss was marvelous. His imagination 
was as gorgeous and luxuriant as the famous hanging gardens 
of Babylon. He spoke not only with lips and tongue, but his 
eyes, hands and every feature of his body was eloquent. Some- 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 363 

times his speech was as sweet as the harp of Orpheus, again it 
was as terrible as the mighty thunders of Jove. His brain and 
soul gave forth perfect music. He had all the elements that go 
to make up the popular hero, orator and idol. His superb so- 
cial qualities could be adapted to any circle at will. He was 
equally at ease with prince or peasant. Add to his social qual- 
ities generosity, bravery, chivalry, prodigality, and a wonder- 
ful flow of humor and animal spirits and it can be readily seen 
why he has been called the Prince Hal of his time. 

The training and preparation of Mr. Prentiss was varied and 
profound. He was a close student of the ancient and modern 
classics, and of the inspired writings. The eulogy on Lafayette 
that we so often hear nowadays spoken from University ros- 
trums was the first oratorical effort made by Mr. Prentiss in 
Mississippi. He was then a poor Yankee boy. Even then that 
speech, taken as a whole, has the qualities that are common to 
all his efforts. 

Mr. Prentiss was gifted with a remarkable memory, he had a 
faculty for gathering information of all kinds and retaining it. 
He could repeat pages of Shakespeare, and give from memory 
beautiful descriptive portions of Scott's novels. Tradition has 
given remarkable instances of the power and influence of the 
oratory of Mr. Prentiss. He was equally able before a jury, 
in the Supreme Court, on the hustlings or in legislative halls. 
One of his most celebrated speeches was made in the case of 
the State vs. Bird, in which Mr. Prentiss prosecuted and Henry 
S. Foote defended. He represented the prosecution in the case 
of the State vs. Phelps. The defendant was a notorious high- 
wayman and murderer. It is said that the invective of Mr. 
Prentiss was so terrible that the hardened criminal broke down 
before its soul-searching power and confessed his guilt while 
the speech was in progress. The defense of Wilkinson by Mr. 
Prentiss at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, marks the zenith of his 
fame, his effort in that case is one of the greatest speeches ever 
made before a jury in this country. 

The great speech upon which the fame of Mr. Prentiss as a 
parliamentary orator of the first rank rests is his eloquent ap- 
peal made to the national House of Representatives in the con- 
tested election case of Claiborne and Gholson vs. Prentiss and 
Word. That effort won the enthusiastic praise of such masters 

364 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of oratory as Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and John C. Cal- 
houn, and gave Mr. Prentiss a national reputation. Although 
that speech has been spoken by school boys from high school 
rostrums for fifty years it has retained its freshness and vigor, 
and its inspiring words never fail to stir the soul, and awaken 
the best impulses of the heart. 

Mr. Prentiss was greatest as a popular orator, the poetry, 
passion and enthusiasm of his nature made him a master of 
human emotions, his personal magnetism made the people love 
him, and his noblest efforts were made to great assemblies of 
the people under the forest trees of Mississippi. 

The last effort of the expiring genius of Mr. Prentiss was 
made in defense of Lopez, who was charged with undertaking 
a warlike expedition against Cuba. A remarkable feature of his 
oratory was that it never wearied the hearer. From a careful 
study of his speeches there comes the irresistible conclusion 
that few orators have surpassed him in fluency of speech, in 
earnestness of manner, in grace of delivery and range of 

It is not too great praise to say that he was one of the really 
great orators of this country. The speeches of Mr. Prentiss 
cover a wide range of subjects legal, political, parliamentary, 
educational and other. One of his greatest powers was his im- 
pressive demeanor, it was simple and unaffected, free from the 
pose that is so common where mediocrity seeks to hide itself 
behind pompous affectation. Every thing 'that he said bore 
the mark of earnestness. His style in the delivery of his 
speeches was impressively deliberate, but he would often in- 
dulge in passionate outbursts in which his words flowed from 
him like some mighty torrent. Behind mere form, gesture, 
tone and look there was knowledge. Beauty and strength 
were harmoniously combined. Law, history, poetry, literature 
and science alike contributed their stores to his ready mind. 

An exquisite voice tradition says was one of the great ora- 
torical qualifications of Mr. Prentiss. He had such a voice as 
Julian McCarthy attributes to Mr. Gladstone, "one that would 
make commonplace seem interesting and lend fascination to 
dullness." It is wonderful how words may be reinforced by 
energy of action, and flash of eye, how the sweet melody of a 
tone can charm even a dull platitude into something moving 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 365 

and beautiful. No man had a more vehement love for the good 
and the true, for the grand and the beautiful than S. S. Prentiss. 
Under the stains of blemishes that appeared in the fine grain of 
his character was that noble sympathy for high and pure things 
combined with a true heart. 

///. Robert J. Walker. 

The fame of Robert J. Walker has perhaps been covered with 
unjust reproach by those who regarded him as an ungrateful 
deserter of his people in their hour of need. It is the province 
of impartial criticism to temper the harshness of such a judg- 
ment, and to clear away the bitterness of the past. I^owever 
much opinions may differ about the character of Robert J. 
Walker, there is but one opinion as to his genius and ability. It 
is conceded that he was a leader of men at a time when great- 
ness was the common characteristic of American statesmen. 
He came to Mississippi when it was a garden for the cultivation 
of talent, and brilliant young men from the older States became 
its citizens and seekers for honor, fame and wealth. 

When Robert J. Walker came to Mississippi he was twenty- 
five years old, poor, friendless and unknown. Before the ex- 
piration of ten years time he sat by the side of Clay, Calhoun 
and Webster as United States Senator from Mississippi. He 
became a senator at thirty-five, and in order to attain that 
somewhat remarkable distinction at such an age, it was neces- 
sary to wreck the political fortunes of Senator Poindexter. It 
was one of the political marvels of the time, that such a man 
should be forever retired to the walks of private life at the very 
time when his superb abilities were at their best by a young, 
untried man who was burdened by all the ill-will that sectional 
prejudice and party calumny and animosity could bring forth. 

At the time when Senator Walker took his seat in the senate, 
Martin Van Buren, the most adroit and skillful politician of his 
time was President ; the Democratic party was at the height of 
its power and prestige, and was dominated and controlled by its 
Southern leaders. John C. Calhoun was the autocrat of the 
Senate, Henry A. Wise was the leader of the House. It was a 
time of intense sectional rivalry between the free and slave 
States, every public question was viewed with distrust by one 
side or the other as only a move to obtain some sectional ad- 
vantage. Every Southern Senator and Congressman was filled 

366 Mississippi Historical Society. 

with an intense partisan loyalty to his section and that feeling 
prompted every public act and controlled every contest. 

The defeat of Senator Poindexter by Senator Walker had at- 
tracted the attention of Senators before he reached the capital, 
and added much to the prestige of the new member from Mis- 
sissippi. Early in his senatorial career he antagonized John C. 
Calhoun in his views on States-rights, and as a result incurred 
the displeasure of the great leader of the Southern wing of the 
Democratic party. Senator Walker soon gained quite a reputa- 
tion as a powerful parliamentary debater, practical politician 
and party organizer among his associates in the Senate. In the 
discharge of his senatorial duties he was tactful, industrious and 
persevering. His knowledge of the political affairs of govern- 
ment was intimate and profound. His speeches on all public 
questions were clear, forcible and convincing. 

During the administration of President Van Buren the an- 
nexation of Texas came to the front for the first time as a 
political issue. The annexation policy had the support of the 
united South without regard to party, but the Northern Demo- 
crats were inclined to oppose it, and the President, though 
always a trimmer, was also in opposition. Mr. Van Buren was 
defeated for a second term by William H. Harrison. The death 
of the President soon after his inauguration prevented the 
Whigs from gaining any political advantage from their hard- 
earned victory. John Tyler, the Vice-President, was a Virginian 
and a Democrat. Senator Walker was now recognized as the 
most resourceful leader of the party politics in the country. 
He was the acknowledged parliamentary leader of the Demo- 
cratic party in the Senate in the contest for the annexation of 
Texas. His speeches on that subject show full knowledge of 
the great benefits to arise from annexation and are models of 
sound reasoning and convincing logic. 

The Democratic convention of 1844 met in the city of Balti- 
more for the purpose of nominating candidates for President 
and Vice-President. Martin Van Buren, Lewis Cass and John 
Tyler were the leading candidates for President. It was be- 
lieved that Mr. Van Buren had the support of a majority of the 
delegates, but he was very unpopular in the South, and his 
leadership was feared by Southern men. 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 367 

The annexation of Texas was the great issue upon which the 
campaign was to be fought, and Van Buren was known to be 
hostile to annexation. Senator Walker had been the leader in 
the battle for annexation in the Senate. James K. Polk as 
Speaker of the House had been its leading champion in that 
body. In order to defeat the nomination of Mr. Van Buren on 
the first ballot, it was necessary to secure a change in the 
method of making nominations. This was done, at the instance 
of Senator Walker, by the national executive committee report- 
ing a rule to the convention requiring a two-thirds majority to 
nominate. The Van Buren men would not turn down the ac- 
tion of the committee and the defeat of their candidate was the 
result. After a long drawn out contest the nomination was 
given to James K. Polk, of Tennessee, and Senator Walker was 
found on the winning side in the end. In fact he was credited 
with having secured the nomination of Mr. Polk. 

Henry Clay, the idol of the Whig party, in the face of over- 
whelming defeat, was again the candidate of his party for the 
Presidency, and as had been anticipated, the leading issue of 
the campaign was the annexation of Texas with the Whigs in 
opposition and the Democrats favoring it. The campaign was 
one of the most remarkable political contests that ever took 
place between rival political parties. Henry Clay took the 
stump and fired the popular heart by his matchless magnetism 
and oratory. The election resulted in the complete triumph of 
the Democratic party. 

At the time of President Folk's inauguration Senator Walker 
was serving his second term in the Senate, having been re- 
elected by the Legislature in 1841. The new President ap- 
pointed the ablest leaders of his party members of his cabinet. 
James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, was made Secretary of 
State; Robert J. Walker, of Mississippi, Secretary of the Treas- 
ury; William L. Marcy, of New York, Secretary of War; 
George Bancroft, of Massachusetts, Secretary of the Navy; 
John Y. Mason, of Virginia, Attorney General, and Cave John- 
son, of Tennessee, Postmaster General. 

Senator Walker had no physical advantage to add to and aid 
the effect of his oratory. He was small and unattractive in per- 
sonal appearance, but he had many of the external signs of 

368 Mississippi Historical Society. 

greatness. He was weak in those qualities that enhance the 
immediate effect of a speech, he was strong in those powers 
that give it permanent value. His chief power as an orator and 
debater was in refutation and exposition. He was deficient in 
poetic, passionate and imaginative elements. Goldsmith says 
that Burke would wind into a subject like a serpent. The 
methods of Senator Walker were similar. There is in the 
greatest of his speeches something of the mathematical close- 
ness and deep argumentation of Hobbs,the philosophic serenity 
of Locke combined with the deep earnestness and fervor of 
Bunyan. He was a deep thinker rather than a rhetorician, his 
manner was argumentative rather than oratorical. The even 
flow of his logic was convincing to the mind, and as irresistible 
as the charge of a Roman legion. 

IV. Guion, Holt, Plummer. 

The early days of the State produced other popular orators 
who never entered public life, some of them preferred to devote 
their talents entirely to the law, others were members of the 
minority party. 

John I. Guion was a famous lawyer in his day, he was as 
versatile as Crichton, and as courteous as Chesterfield. He met 
Prentiss and Foote at the bar and was their equal. Judge 
Guion was a scholarly man of great natural powers that had 
been disciplined and polished by study, observation and medita- 

Joseph Holt was another great lawyer and orator who made 
himself famous in Mississippi for eloquence. He was deeply 
versed in the best classic models, and was a master of strong, 
simple, polished English. 

Franklin E. Plummer was a queer combination of orator, 
mountebank, and political quack. He was thrown to the sur- 
face by the financial distress of the 3o's, and with his cry of 
"Plummer for the people and the people for Plummer" gained 
a brief popularity. He was a masterly mixer, hand shaker and 
back slapper and for a time was the most popular public man 
in the State. 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 369 
V. Henry S. Foote. 

The great gladiator of popular oratory in Mississippi in the 
4o's and early 50*5 was Henry S. Foote. He was a Virginian 
and a university man deeply acquainted with law, literature, 
history, poetry and philosophy, he was a master of almost uni- 
versal erudition. He was gifted with that grand energy of heart 
that makes up the enthusiast and leader of men. Taine the 
great Frenchman who gave to England the best work on her 
literature writes of William Pitt as follows: 

"When the elder Pitt first filled the House with his vibrating voice, 
he already possessed his indomitable audacity. A proud haughtiness, 
only surpassed by that of his son, an arrogance which reduced his 
companions to the rank of subalterns, an ambition which brought into 
parliament the vehemence and declamation of the stage, the brilliancy 
of fitful inspiration, the boldness of poetic imagery. Such were the 
sources of his power." 

A study of the career of Senator Foote reveals many like 
traits and methods. His oratorical powers drew him into po- 
litical discussions long before his entry into public life. In the 
Clay-Polk Presidential campaign of 1844 he made a brilliant 
canvass of the State as Democratic elector for the State at 
large. Jefferson Davis was district elector, and the close joint 
canvass of Foote and Davis carried the State for Polk. 

Henry S. Foote, Alexander G. McNutt and William M. Gwin 
were candidates for United States Senator in 1847. McNutt at 
the time was the mighty Ajax of stump oratory and challenged 
Foote to meet him in a joint canvass. The challenge was ac- 
cepted. In physical makeup Senator Foote was below the mid- 
dle size, but his figure was vigorous and durable, his head was 
large and well formed, his eyes were bright and piercing, his 
manner was all his own, it was aggressive, earnest and cour- 
teous. Governor McNutt was a man of superb physical de- 
velopment, like Torquil of the Oak he towered above his fel- 
lows, he was picturesque with his long flowing hair, his eyes- 
blazed, his voice thundered. 

This story is told of an incident in the canvass, and illustrates 
the methods of the two men. Foote could smile while his op- 
ponent was boiling with rage and passion. The incident re- 

37 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ferred to is said to have occurred at Livingston in Madison 
county. Senator Foote made the opening speech and was per- 
sonally severe in his criticisms of his opponent, who was a very 
impetous brave man. In his reply Governor McNutt lost con- 
trol of himself and proclaimed aloud that he could whip the 
honorable gentleman then and there. Senator Foote smilingly 
told the people in his rejoinder that his father once owned a bull 
that could whip any other bull in the county, but, said he, "my 
father's bull could not legislate." Senator Foote defeated his 
opponents, and was elected to the Senate by the Legislature. 

When he took his seat Thorns H. Benton was one of the 
parliamentary leaders of the Democratic party. Once in the 
heat of debate Senator Benton indulged in some wit at the 
expense of Senator Foote for which he was never forgiven. 
One day during a dull session of the Senate, Senator Foote and 
several of his colleagues were in the cloak room indulging in 
personal gossip about various members. Foote stated to his 
friends that it was his intention to write a very small sensational 
book in which Senator Benton would figure very largely. 
Benton was told of Foote's remark and said "tell Foote that I 
shall write a very large book in which he shall not figure at all." 
He kept his promise and his Thirty Years in the Senate does not 
mention Foote's name. 

Maucaulay is credited with saying that wine was to Addison 
the influence which broke the spell under which his fine intellect 
seemed otherwise to lie imprisoned. The battlefield of joint de- 
bate before the people brought out all the brilliant features of 
Senator Foote's oratory. It seemed to furnish the crucible for 
that fusion of reason and passion that go to make up true elo- 

Jefferson Davis and Henry S. Foote represented Mississippi 
in the Senate of 1850. They differed on the great question of 
nationality or State's rights. Their personal relations became 
embittered over their conflicting positions on public questions. 
Senator Davis was an advocate of State's rights to the point of 
secession. Senator Foote stood for the preservation of the 
Union above all things. Both were Democrats and the ac- 
knowledged leaders of the party. Democrats and Whigs di- 
vided on the great issue, the followers of Senator Davis were 
known as States Rights Democrats, those of Senator Foote 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 371 

Union Democrats. The Davis wing of the party nominated 
John A. Ouitman for governor, Senator Foote was given the 
nomination by his section of the party. 

The legislature had provided for the election of delegates to 
a State convention selected for the purpose of placing the State 
on record on the question at issue. The campaign for governor 
and delegates was carried on at the same time, the selection of 
the latter was to be made in September. That election resulted 
in a victory for the Union wing of the party by a majority of 
over seven thousand votes. A joint canvass of the State by the 
candidates for governor was arranged. The first meeting was 
held at Jackson. Senator Foote was very aggressive and 
charged Governor Quitman with being a disunionist, he gave 
forth a fiery torrent of fierce eloquence and invective combined 
with brilliant declamation. From the beginning the canvass was 
charged with bitterness and fierce excitement. The personal 
relations of the candidates became unfriendly and dangerous, 
and the joint canvass was abandoned. Senator Foote con- 
tinued his speeches in every county in the State, immense 
crowds came to hear him and went wild with enthusiasm over 
his eloquence. After the September election Governor Quit- 
man withdrew from the race and Jefferson Davis was substi- 
tuted to carry a defeated and dispirited party to victory. At 
the November election the majority of seven thousand in Sep- 
tember was reduced to less than one thousand. 

Senator Foote was master of a pitiless sarcasm which was 
freely and mercilessly inflicted upon his opponents. He fought 
with the sword of the Goth rather than the blade of the Moor. 
In his methods he had something of the declamatory pomp of 
Webster, the ponderous periods of Brougham, the terrible light- 
ning like strokes of Mirabeau, and the light fancy of Sheridan. 
Force, imagination and passion were the prominent character- 
istics of his oratory. Some of his flights of eloquence are as 
sublime as the noble prayer of Ajax in the Iliad. He did not 
follow the Eastern school of oratory which placed form and 
action above thought, he was a disciple of the Attic school which 
subordinated manner to matter. His sentences were generally 
short, intelligible, clear and harmonious. He was master of a 
style forcible, simple and pure. He had intense dramatic 
power, and combined strength with simplicity. He had cour- 
age and dramatic power as rare as they were effective. He was 

372 Mississippi Historical Society. 

greatest before the people, he needed the inspiring influence of 
large crowds. His face was full of fire. On the stage he would 
have made a great Brutus or Hamlet. The play of his counte- 
nance was wonderful. Senator Foote was a student of the best 
forms of ancient and modern oratory, and conformed to classic 
models. He could move, thrill and enthuse vast multitudes of 
people as could no other orator of his day. His campaign of 
1850 for what he believed to be the preservation of the Union 
was marked by unsurpassed courage, force and brilliancy. 

VI. Jefferson Davis. 

The 2oth of January, 1861, was a memorable day in the nation- 
al Senate. An expectant and eager assembly packed the Senate 
chamber. Every seat on the floor was occupied, every foot of 
standing room held a man, the galleries were overflowing. The 
people had come to see the most dramatic event tha,t has ever 
occurred in the halls of the American Congress. Let us 
imagine that from a seat in the gallery we are looking down 
upon the Senate in session. John C. Breckenridge the classic 
young Kentuckian presides. A tall, scholarly, melancholy, 
ascetic-looking Senator rises from his seat. There is a look 
of determination on his pallid face, there is also evidence of deep 
emotion, there is something in the poise of his head, the dignity 
of his bearing, and the deep earnestness of his tones that tells 
of a spirit that is ready for the painful duty that lies before him. 
That man is Jefferson Davis, Senator from Mississippi, a mem- 
ber of the foremost rank, a soldier whose superb courage was 
shown at Buena Vista, a statesman, an orator and logician who 
is about to deliver a speech that is a personal farewell to the 
Senate, and the valedictory of the Southern States. Mississippi 
had withdrawn from the Union. The impending dissolution of 
a great nation was at hand. As Senator Davis begins to speak 
that death-like silence that falls like an oppressive pall over 
a crowd of people when expectation is added to intense interest 
was felt in the Senate. With majestic calmness and dignity 
unaffected by the suppressed excitement and intense feeling 
around him, he begins in low, deliberate tones to say farewell to 
his associates. With fixed and breathless attention he was fol- 
lowed as he proceeded to plead the cause that he believed to be, 
and which was, right. As the speaker continued the pathos 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 373 

of the situation made strong men weep, for there was a feeling 
in the very air that the speech being made was the official an- 
nouncement of the dissolution of the Union. That farewell 
speech of Jefferson Davis is full of courage, moderation, dignity 
and pathos, it is famous in the annals of American oratory as 
one of the great epoch-making speeches of the century. 

Fifteen years before John Quincy Adams, after hearing the 
first speech made by Mr. Davis in the lower House, said, "That 
young man, gentlemen, is no ordinary man. He will make his 
mark yet mind you." 

In Grattan's eulogy of Chatham he says that the great Eng- 
lishman was born "to strike a blow in the world that should re- 
sound through its history." How well does that phrase fit the 
career of Jefferson Davis. 

The Democratic State Convention of 1844 was the scene 
of the entrance of Mr. Davis into the State politics of Mis- 
sissippi. He was at that time leading the simple, dig- 
nified life of a planter, and was a delegate to the con- 
vention from Warren county. A speech made on that occasion 
caused his selection as a Presidential Elector on the Polk and 
Dallas ticket. His first speech in Mississippi was doubtless 
made in the now famous discussion had with Mr. Prentiss in 
1843 a t Vicksburg. The incidents and terms of that debate 
were somewhat novel and serve well to show the love of the 
people for popular discussions. The debate was held on 
election day and was arranged so that each speaker would oc- 
cupy the stand for fifteen minutes alternately throughout the 
day, so that the voters could hear both sides of the questions 
under discussion in a short time. Mr. Davis met the brilliant 
and fascinating oratory of Mr. Prentiss successfully in a calm, 
cautious, and argumentative way that won the admiration and 
praise of his opponent. 

Mississippi had cast her electoral vote in 1840 for Har- 
rison and Tyler, and it was felt that a strong effort was 
necessary to carry the State for the Democratic ticket 
in 1844. Jefferson Davis and Henry S. Foote were sent forth 
to arouse the enthusiasm of the disheartened Democrats. Great 
political meetings were held in every county. It was a day of 
hero-worship of party leaders, and of intense political loyalty. 
All assemblies of a political nature were made the occasions 

374 Mississippi Historical Society. 

for social pleasure and enjoyment. They were frequently held 
near some flowing spring in the forest. The feast of oratory 
began in the morning, and was allowed to be interrupted only 
by a feast of barbecued beef, mutton and game prepared on the 

To those who never saw a Southern barbecue the cook- 
ing of the meats is novel and picturesque. The cooking 
begins the night before the speaking. Every neighboring plan- 
tation furnishes cooks famous for their barbecued meats. The 
work is done by the light of bonfires made of pineknots. The 
broiling is done over long, narrow pits or trenches dug about 
two feet deep. Hot fires of hickory bark are built in the 
trenches, green poles cut from the trees are placed across them, 
and the primitive broiler of our fathers is ready. The meats are 
placed over the glowing coals, the cooks are provided with a 
mixture of apple vinegar, pepper and salt, and long poles to 
which are attached cloth mops, these are dipped into the mix- 
ture and applied to the meats, and the process continues until 
the meats are done. No new methods of cooking can impart 
the delightful flavor of the old Southern way. 

Old men and matrons, young men and maidens, black mam- 
mies and pickaninnies, all classes, turned out to hear the 
speeches of the great party leaders, everybody was a partisan, 
men, women and children were politicians by nature. Amid 
such scenes and surroundings Davis and Foote made the great 
canvass of 1844. Old men still speak of it with enthusiasm. 
That canvass caused the election of Mr. Davis to Congress in 
the following year. The Mexican War soon followed. He was 
elected colonel of a Mississippi regiment, his resignation as a 
member of Congress was placed in the hands of the Governor. 
He immediately went to the front and saved the battle at Buena 
Vista. His famous command of "Steady, Mississippians, 
steady ; let those fleeing men pass through your ranks, steady," 
inspired his men with such courage and steadfastness as was 
brought forth by Leonidas at this historic pass by the sea. 

On the return of Col. Davis from the Mexican War he. was 
appointed United States Senator from Mississippi. To aid him 
in the discharge of his new duties he brought to the Senate 
deep learning and ripe scholarship, varied and accurate infor- 
mation, readiness in debate, and other elements that go to 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 375 

make up true oratory. Prescott, the historian, says that Jeffer- 
son Davis was the most accomplished member of the Senate of 
1850. In the Senate of that day was heard the seductive eloqu- 
ence of Clay, the convincing logic of Calhoun, the wondrous 
oratory of Webster, the sledge hammer blows of Benton, the 
classic periods of Berrien, and the slogan of the Douglas. 
Cicero pleading the cause of Sicily against Verres, or Tacitus 
thundering against Africa could not equal the eloquence of 
such orators. The effect of Senator Davis' power as an orator 
was aided greatly by his external appearance. His frame was 
tall, graceful, commanding, and compactly made. His face was 
most striking and always attracted attention. A deep serious- 
ness was the expression most common to it, which was no 
doubt made more striking by the pallor of his features called 
the "pale cast of thought." There was an undoubted tinge of 
melancholy in the face of Senator Davis, as if the shadow of his 
country's sorrow was cast upon it. His manner in the delivery 
of his speeches was not dramatic or oratorical, it had in it more 
of vigor and earnestness and belief rather than declamation. 
His oratory was in perfect harmony with the best Senatorial 

In Alfriend's Life of Davis is given this estimate of him as 
an orator : 

"He was as intrepid and defiant as Chatham; but as scholarly as 
Brougham; as eloquent and perspicuous as Canning, and often as pro- 
found and philosophical in his comprehension of general principles as 
Burke; when aroused by a sense of injury or by the force of his earn- 
est conviction as much the incarnation of fervor and zeal as Grattan, but 
like Fox, subtle, ready, and always armed cap-a-pie for the quick en- 
counters of debate." 

On the death of John C. Calhoun, Senator Davis became 
the acknowledged leader of the Southern Democracy in 
the Senate. Stephen A. Douglas, the "Little Giant" of 
Illinois, was the leader of the Northern wing of the party and 
was ambitious for the Presidency. Douglas represented expe- 
diency, Davis principle. One wanted success for his pa.-ty as a 
means of personal power, the other wanted it because it stood 
for* correct principles. There was an open rupture between the 
two leaders during the session of 1860 over the "squatter sov- 
ereignty" theory of Douglas which led to and culminated in 

376 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the division of the Democratic party at the Charleston conven- 
tion. The Senatorial bearing of Senator Davis is thus describ- 
ed by a writer of the time : 

"Always the Senator in the sense of the ideal of dignity, and cour- 
tesy which is suggested by that title, he was always the gentleman on 
all occasions; never condescending to flatter or sooth the mob, or to 
court popular favor, he lost none of that polished and distinguished 
manner in the presense of a 'fierce Democracy,' which made him the 
ornament of the highest school of oratory and statesmanship of his 

The parliamentary speeches of Senator Davis are models of 
good form, there is knowledge, belief, earnestness and elo- 
quence in all his speeches delivered in the Senate. He was 
most effective as a parliamentary orator, although he was 
gifted with many of the attributes of popular eloquence. He 
appealed more to the understanding than to the feelings. He 
never sought to stir the people to violent and passionate emo- 
tion. There are many of his speeches delivered during the war 
to the people and to the armies in the field that are perfect 
types of lofty, convincing, and impassioned eloquence. 

Above mere form, matter and delivery there is something in 
the speeches of Senator Davis that permeates every sentence, 
that tells of the noble sentiments of the soul that lie behind his 
words. His speeches are not mere carefully prepared essays 
that smell of the lamps, not lifeless words that have been care- 
fully selected in the seclusion of the study, but live, burning, 
convincing words sent forth from a brain and" soul that is on fire 
with great ideas. At times his eloquence was like the music of 
some grand organ mighty with melody, then again it would 
soar aloft on the wings of some resistless passion and subside 
into the gentle soothing music of a mother's lullaby. 

VII. Alexander K. McClung. 

Of all the names that tradition has handed down, that of 
Alexander K. McClung stands out prominently as the eccentric 
genius of Mississippi history. His eccentricity, picturesqueness 
and brilliancy attracted eager curiosity through his life, and 
made him the subject of much unreliable, sensational stuff 
written after his death. That he possessed brilliant talents as 
an orator of the Attic school is evident, whether that opinion is 
formed from tradition or from study of his speeches. While 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 377 

tradition cannot be relied on in every instance it is safe to de- 
pend upon it to place the name of McClung among Missisbippi 
orators. He was a brilliant speaker by inheritance, an accom- 
plished scholar by mental discipline. The blood of the Breck- 
enridges of Kentucky and the Marshalls of Virginia flowed in 
his veins. A love for oratory, poetry and music was a part of 
his nature, and eloquence came to him by the same power that 
gives sentiment to the poet, a taste for the beautiful to the ar- 
tist and song to the birds. In the early 3o's, when Col. Mc- 
Clung came to Mississippi it was a period of "flush times," 
there was talent everywhere, there was a rich harvest of fame 
and fortune to be reaped and brilliant young men from the 
older States were attracted by it. Kentucky sent Jefferson Da- 
vis and Alexander K. McClung. 

The people of the State loved oratory, politics and state craft. 
The love of oratory that existed among them was the spray that 
crystalized under the wand of genius into immortal gems of elo- 
quence. It is the gem of immortality, the latent spark of divin- 
ity that the orator warms into life, kindles into a flame, clothes 
with plumage, fits with wings and teaches to fly over the un- 
limited fields of space and time to revel upon the expansive 
glories of a beautiful universe. 

The orator strips nature of her dull leaden veil and robes her 
in a sheen of golden light, penetrates the soul with hope, 
awakens imagination, and fosters every generous and noble 
emotion. To live among liberty-loving, passionate, imagina- 
tive people is in itself an inspiration to beautiful thoughts, elo- 
quent words and sublime deeds. Col. McClung was educated 
for the navy, the instinct of race made him a lawyer. 

Physical and moral courage are necessary elements to the 
orator. He was as brave as Leonidas or Savonorola, and was 
one of the heroes of the Mexican War. 

As Lieutenant Colonel of Jefferson Davis' regiment he dis- 
played his superb courage on every hard fought field from Palo 
Alto to Mexico. At the storming of Monterey he led the as- 
sault and was the first man to scale its cannon guarded de- 

In personal appearance Col. McClung was noble, command- 
ing and impressive, his form was that of an athlete, tali and 
graceful, his head was large, his face handsome and winning. 

37 8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

His manner was stately and courteous, he was kind and gener- 
ous by nature. It is the purpose here to tell of his powers as 
an orator, not to bring out the sins, sorrows, lost ambitions and 
ruined hopes of this brilliant, erring son of genius. If his cour- 
age sometimes degenerated into the bragadocio of the bully, if 
his eloquent tongue was frequently silenced by intemperance, if 
his great mind was almost wrecked by the breakers of sorrow 
and disappointment, we can still admire what was, what might 
have been. Col. McClung was a partisan Whig of the most in- 
tense type, and was in the habit of declaring that the devil was 
the first Democrat. He was the leader of the Whig forces In 
the Presidential campaign of 1840, when hard cider was the 
popular beverage, and "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" the rallying 
cry of all good Whigs. During the campaign he edited and 
published "The Crisis," a newspaper devoted to Whig interests. 
Harrison and Tyler carried the State and Col. McClung was 
appointed United States Marshal by the new administration. 
All traces of the political speeches and campaigns of Col Mc- 
Clung are lost, and we have tradition only to rely upon in mak- 
ing up an opinion. Soon after the Mexican War he became 
the Whig candidate for Congress in the Columbus district in 
opposition to W. S. Featherstone, the Democratic nominee. A 
joint canvass was arranged between them, and many of its in- 
cidents and details are matters of current tradition and 
country-store talk to-day. 

Featherstone was a superb specimen of physical proportion, 
brave, earnest and determined. He had the advantage of being 
the candidate of the Democratic party. Col. McClung had just 
returned from the Mexican War with a well earned fame for 
glorious deeds, his wounds were eloquent of his courage at 
Buena Vista and Monterey. He appeared on the stump sup- 
ported by crutches. Eloquent, dramatic and earnest, he fought 
an unequal battle, even the halo of his matchless war record 
could not wipe out a Democratic majority. The fame of Col. 
McClung as a polished classic orator rests upon his superb eu- 
logy of Henry Clay, delivered before the Mississippi legislature 
by special request. That speech was preserved in pamphlet 
form and has been perpetuated in Lowry and McCardle's His- 
tory of Mississippi. It is a great tribute to a great man. Henry 
Clay was his leader and political idol, his words were inspired 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 379 

by an earnest devotion that sent them forth burning with feel- 
ing and affection. He was at times as classic and polished as 
Burke, sound and logical as Calhoun, deep and profound as 
Webster, all mingled with the fire and passion of Patrick Henry. 

VIII. Albert G. Brown. 

The public career of Albert G. Brown has no counterpart in 
Mississippi history, and it illustrates the opportunities for the 
rapid rise of young men of ability in a new State. No other 
man has been so uniformly successful. He entered public life 
at twenty-one as a member of the legislature from Copiah 
county, and after a service of two years was elected speaker, 
he was made member of Congress at twenty-six, Circuit Judge 
at twenty-eight, Governor at thirty and United States Senator 
at forty. Such a series of honors extending over a period of 
twenty years won without a defeat is the remarkable record 
of the man who was doubtless in closer touch with the people 
of Mississippi than any of the great men of the State preceding 
the War. To have attained such distinctions and deserved such 
honors Albert G. Brown must have possessed great and good 
qualities of mind and heart. 

The reign of demagogues may last for a time, the people may 
be imposed on for a brief period, only genuine merit can gain 
and retain their confidence and approval through long years of 
public service. 

One of the sources of Governor Brown's power was his con- 
trol of human minds, wills and passions by his eloquence. 
Southern oratory like that of Ireland has been said by some 
critics to contain too much of figurative decoration, too much 
classicism, but the really great orators of the South placed 
knowledge above mere rhetorical glitter and empty declama- 

The period covered by the public career of Governor Brown 
was a time of great political activity and intense party rivalry. 
Under ordinary conditions Mississippi could be relied on to give 
Democratic majorities. While the Whigs were in the minority 
the party was made up of much of the intelligence and culture of 
the State. The party leaders were able, aggressive and alert. 
Prentiss, Poindexter, Sharkey, Guion, McClung, the Yergers, 
Alcorn, Lynch, Turner and Bradford were Whig leaders and 

380 Mississippi Historical Society. 

waged valiant war through years of disastrous defeat. The 
ability of many of them was so great that they were elected to 
high positions of honor and trust when the State was Demo- 
cratic by large majorities. Governor Brown was an intense 
Democrat of the Southern type, he took his political opinions 
from Jefferson and Calhoun. Andrew Jackson gave him his 
principles of party discipline and success. He had great ca- 
pacity for party organization and tactics, and at the same time 
was a leader in all the great intellectual movements of his State. 

In his first message to the legislature during his second term 
as Governor he urged the establishment of a complete system 
of public schools supported by the State. The State Univers- 
ity at Oxford began its great career of usefulness during the 
administration of Governor Brown. 

In 1839 Albert G. Brown and Jacob Thompson were the 
Democratic candidates for Congress and made a joint canvass 
of the State. It was the first campaign since the famous Prentiss 
canvass when the Whigs, inspired by the matchless eloquence 
and courageous leadership of their candidate, had swept the 
State. The campaign resulted in the election of Brown and 
Thompson. Although only twenty-six years old the young Con- 
gressman sustained himself against all comers, and gained a 
reputation for ability, courage and fidelity that was never lost. 
His first speech in Congress was in defense of the policy of the 
Van Buren Administration. It was soon observed that the new 
member from Mississippi had confidence in himself, and the at- 
tention of the House was won. In one of his speeches delivered 
in Congress there is a splendid eulogy of Mr. Calhoun. He 
made a canvass of the State in 1843 as the Democratic candidate 
for Governor. The great question at issue was the payment of 
the Union Bank Bonds. The position of the Democratic party 
was against payment, the Whigs and some independent bond- 
paying Democrats favored payment. Clayton was the candidate 
of the Whigs. Col. Williams, an ex-United States Senator from 
Mississippi, was the candidate of the bond-paying Democrats. 
Governor Brown was elected by a good majority over both. 
After a service of four years as Governor, he was returned to 
Congress in 1849. He at once took part in the great debates 
growing out of the Mexican War and the admission of Cali- 
fornia as a State. 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 381 

The year 1851 was disastrous to the Democracy of Mississip- 
pi. The Democratic-Union-Whig combination under the bril- 
liant leadership of Henry S. Foote had carried the State. Gov- 
ernor Brown was one of the Democratic candidates for Con- 
gress in that remarkable campaign, and his great personal pop- 
ularity saved his party from complete defeat. He was the only 
States' rights Democrat who was returned to Congress. In 
1854 Governor Brown took his seat as United States Senator 
from Mississippi, and soon became a leader in the discussion 
of those great sectional issues that brought so much ruin and 
sorrow in after years. 

His earnestness, force, knowledge and high character made 
him very effective as a parliamentary orator. His speech on 
the Kansas and Nebraska Bill, made in 1854, was one of the 
most conservative and effective efforts delivered in that great 

His speech on the slavery question, made in the Senate in 
1856, was a masterly argument for the Southern position. The 
fate of the Union, its perpetuation or dissolution was the 
great question that occupied the Senate during Governor 
Brown's term. He grappled with and mastered the great prin- 
ciples and ideas of Southern statesmen and stood as an equal 
in the Senate of Davis, Toombs, Hunter, Benjamin, and Bell. 

Governor Brown was one of those well beloved characters of 
placid harmonious temperament who have the happy faculty of 
adjusting themselves to all conditions of men, he was a man of 
the people without being a demagogue, his convictions were 
strong yet he never became disagreeable in pressing them, he 
was full of kindness for all men and his nature was singularly 
sweet and gentle. 

While Judah P. Benjamin was hurling defiance at his 
political enemies in his farewell address to the Senate 
after Louisiana had withdrawn from the Union, Albert G. 
Brown shed tears over the sorrows that he saw clouding the 
future. He had intended to make a public farewell to the Sen- 
ate, but after the great speech of his colleague, Senator Davis, 
he felt that nothing could be added in justification of the right 
of a State to secede from the Union. 

Governor Brown was a handsome man of large and com- 
manding form, he belonged to the Roman type, his eyes were 

382 Mississippi Historical Society. 

fine, and his large head was covered with dark, curly hair. His 
rnanner was natural and plain, graceful and pleasing. By a 
careful reading of McCluskey's Speeches, Messages and Other 
Writings of Governor Brown it will be found that his place is in 
the first rank of Mississippi orators. 

IX. McNutt, Thompson, Featherst&ne. 

Some reference has been previously made of Alexander G. 
McNutt, "The Great Repudiator," as he liked to style himself. 
He was an all powerful factor in Mississippi politics during the 
3o's. There was something in his commanding presence, her- 
culean form and imposing delivery that made him one of the 
most successful popular orators of his day. He had many of 
the graces and accomplishments of scholarship combined with 
the rough and ready methods of an experienced campaigner. 
He delighted in political controversy, and his public career was 
a constant warfare. 

Jacob Thompson had a genius for practical politics and was 
successful to an unusual degree. He represented Mississippi 
in the lower House of Congress for ten years, and was Secre- 
tary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President Buchanan. His 
ability as a close, accurate speaker and debater was great, and 
he possessed many of the attributes of the orator. 

W. S. Featherstone was a member of Congress in the 4o's. 
His celebrated canvass with McClung made him famous. He 
found his profession more congenial than politics and soon re- 
tired from Congress. In after years he did noble service for his 
State, and his name and fame should go down to posterity with 
the love of the people clustering around them. 

X. L. Q. C. Lamar. 

L. Q. C. Lamar was one of the most versatile men of his day, 
his intelligence was of a most restless character, in him the or- 
atorical, poetic, literary and philosophical temperaments were 
remarkably blended. Think of the varied mental activities of 
his life. He had the knowledge necessary to make him a teach- 
er of history, literature and belles-letters. He was a professor 
of ethics, mental philosophy and law at the University of Mis- 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 383 

sissippi, an essayist, a critic, a Shakesperian scholar, a political 
economist, an orator and a member of the greatest judicial tri- 
bunal in the world. He was versatile without being shallow or 
superficial. As an orator he sounded the first trumpet call of 
brotherly love and reconciliation after the War, he touched the 
great heart of the Nation, and made the South see the glories 
of the future through the dark clouds of adversity that over- 
shadowed a people. James G. Elaine in his Twenty Years in 
Congress writes of Senator Lamar : 

"He is a remarkable man, full of reflection and imagination, seem- 
ingly careless, yet always closely observant, apparently dreamy, yet 
thoroughly practical in everything." 

Senator Lamar and Senator Blaine served together both in 
the House and Senate and the estimate of the author of Twenty 
Years in Congress may be relied upon, for no other American 
statesman was a more accurate judge of men 

Senator Lamar came to Mississippi from Georgia in the first 
flush of an aspiring manhood. He made Oxford his home. His 
father was an eminent jurist of Georgia, and gave his son a 
classical training. Some men indicate during their student 
days the talents of more mature years. Webster's speeches 
as a college boy were embryo forms of his famous reply to 
Hayne. John C. Calhoun was a profound logician and skillfull 
debater at eighteen. L. Q. C. Lamar was the prize orator of 
the student body while in college. The first political speech 
made by Mr. Lamar in Mississippi was delivered at Oxford in 
a joint discussion with Henry S. Foote. It was during the 
great campaign of 1851. Senator Foote had driven John A. 
Quitman from the canvass, and was flushed with many forensic 
victories. Mr. Lamar was twenty-six years old when he made 
his reply to Foote. He was waited upon by a committee rep- 
resenting the States' rights Democrats and requested to reply 
to Senator Foote when he came to Oxford. In writing of the 
debate Mr. Mayes in his admirable Life of Lamar says : 

"He had had no practice in polemical discussions and was without 
experience in practical politics." 

Of Senator Foote the same author says : 

"His antagonist was an experienced and trained politician of the 
highest official position, who had been driven to bay and was now 
exulting in victory, whose adroitness and pugnacity were unmatched in 
the State, whose hot temper and personal courage were proverbial, 
and whose tongue was untiring and vitriolic." 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

Mr. Lamar was a member of the faculty of the University of 
Mississippi at the time of the debate, the students were his de- 
voted partisan admirers and gave him the encouragement of 
their presence and support. 

On the appointed day Oxford was packed with noisy and ex- 
ultant Union-Democrats and Whigs; State's Rights Demo- 
crats were there in equal numbers; their manner was more 
subdued and apprehensive. It was proclaimed aloud that Sen- 
ator Foote, the great gladiator of campaign oratory, would 
overwhelm the young orator from Georgia with his eloquence, 
humor, wit and satire. At the appointed hour thousands of 
admiring partisans of each side were assembled to cheer their 
champions on to victory. The debate was opened by Senator 
Foote. His speech was grandly eloquent as he dwelt with pa- 
triotic fervor on the glories of the Union. Mr. Lamar arose to 
reply. As he stood before the cheering people there was some- 
thing in his presence that inspired his friends with confidence 
in his ability to meet the situation, to prove equal to the obliga- 
tions of the hour. His bearing was confident, modest, graceful 
and dignified. He was a man of medium size with a thought- 
ful, scholarly face, noble brow, dark, abundant hair, and large 
gray eyes. The speech that he made was logical, eloquent, 
scholarly and graceful. His manner toward Senator Foote 
was as courteous as that of Raleigh, his statement of great 
principles as powerful and forcible as Burke at his best. 

The enthusiasm at the close of the debate" was so great that 
the students of the University, to show their admiration for their 
champion, took him upon their shoulders and carried him in 
triumph from the scene of the debate amid the wild cheers of 
the people. The impressions made by that speech marked the 
beginning of Mr. L/amar's political advancement. He was 
nominated for Congress by the Democratic party in 1857. His 
opponent was James L. Alcorn, the candidate of the Whigs. As 
was the custom of that day a joint canvass was arranged. One 
of the appointments was at Oxford. This graphic description 
of the discussion is given by Judge J. M. Arnold, who was a stu- 
dent at the University at the time : 

"While at the University I witnessed a joint political discussion be- 
tween Col. Lamar and Gov. James L. Alcorn, who was then the strong 
and aggressive leader of the Whig party in Mississippi, in the first 
race made by Judge Lamar for Congress, and in which he was elected 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 385 

over Gov. Alcorn. There were thousands of enthusiastic partisans of 
each side present, and music and beauty and generous rivalry and pa- 
triotic ardor lent their attractions to the swelling scene. It was a 
contest between giants conducted with the utmost courtesy and de- 
corum, over great principles and policies. The older and more ex- 
perienced Whig leader, who had but few equals in his State as a politi- 
cal speaker, spoke grandly, and conducted his lines of assault and de- 
fense with consummate skill and ability, but it was generally conceded 
that he had found his match in the young Harry Percy, of Democracy, 
from Georgia. I have never before or since witnessed such a discus- 
sion. It was an inspiration to everybody, instructive to the young, re- 
freshing to the old, and elevating in all its aspects." 

It was in this canvass that Governor Alcorn introduced the 
turkey joke that has since done such frequent and valiant serv- 
ice in political speeches. At Coffeeville Mr. Lamar had the 
opening and made a speech of unusual eloquence, he soared 
aloft on the light wings of fancy and painted his word picture 
with a brush dipped in the golden colors of the stars. In his re- 
ply Governor Alcorn generously complimented his opponent 
on his superb effort, and humorously warned him that before 
the canvass was over he would be compelled like the turkey 
who had his wings clipped to "roost lower." 

The election resulted in the selection of Mr. Lamar by a large 
majority. When he took his seat it was a time of great polit- 
ical excitement and sectional passion. His first speech was 
made on January I3th, 1858, on Kansas affairs. Mr. Lamar 
was the first Democrat elected to Congress after the War, and 
took his seat in 1873. 

In 1874 he delivered his great eulogy on Charles Sumner. 
That speech was perhaps the greatest ever made by Mr. Lamar 
in Congress. It had the greatest immediate influence on those 
who heard him, which has been called by some authorities the 
greatest evidence of oratorical success. 

This feeling and beautiful description of the effect of the 
Sumner speech is taken from a memorial address delivered by 
Judge John L. T. Sneed before the Memphis bar. 

"The occasion was a sublime and auspicious one. The audience and 
the auditorium were the most magnificent on earth. He thought of his 
own people; and above all things else, he wanted peace. This was the 
opportunity of a lifetime to set an example of lofty generosity and for- 
giveness, to lift up the standard of peace and justice in the sight of the 
people. The supreme hour had come, demanding the forecast of a 
statesman, the chivalry of a hero, the moral courage of an archangel, 
the heaven-born inspiration of a Chevalier Bayard, but Lamar pos- 
sessed them all. He arose in his place. 'The fiery tribune from Mis- 
sissippi has taken the floor.' 'What for?' everyone asked his neigh- 


386 Mississippi Historical Society. 

bor. 'To bury Caesar not to praise him,' was the mental reply of 
each. All eyes were fixed upon him, all voices hushed; and such a flow 
of eloquence in praise of the dead statesman, and in extenuation of the 
bitter persecution of which the South complained, was never before 
heard in that hall. The speech was heralded all over the world, and pro- 
duced in all tongues of the world. Old men bowed their heads and 
wept. Young men gathered around him and gazed upon that familiar 
figure, now transfigured before them into the very genius of peace, 
pathos and eloquence. The fiery Southerner looked upon the intreped 
orator with unspeakable wonder at the temerity of his utterances. The 
women in the gallery clapped their hands and waved their handker- 
chiefs in a frenzy of admiration for the only man who had dedicated his 
head and heart and soul to the Southern cause, who had the courage 
to speak a word of kindly eulogy over the bier of the dead Senator from 
Massachusetts. The orator ceased. For a time the chamber was as 
silent as a mausoleum. A holy influence as of 'incense from an unseen 
censer' suffused itself over the vast assembly, and for the first time in 
twenty years the peace of God which passeth all understanding, seemed 
to pronounce its blessed benison over the Congress of the United 

In 1877 Mr. Lamar was elected United States Senator from 
Mississippi. His first great speech in the Senate was made in 
opposition to the Matthews resolution declaring United States 
bonds payable in silver at the option of the government. His 
speech explaining why he disobeyed the instructions of his 
State legislature to vote for the Bland Bill reaches the highest 
point of convincing logic and brilliant patriotic oratory. 

When Senator Lamar entered the upper House of Congress 
he found a grand galaxy of Democratic leaders and statesmen. 
Bayard, Vorhies, Thurman and McDonald were there like grand . 
sentinels of justice for a brave people and the South will never 
forget or cease to honor them. Gordon, Hill, Harris, Beck, 
Garland and Vance were there as mighty defenders of Southern 
honor. Blaine, Edmunds, Conkling, Sherman, Hoar and Al- 
lison were Republican leaders. The reputation of Senator La- 
mar as a brilliant orator was national when he took his seat, 
so that there was no delay in his development of leadership. 
He at once became the mouthpiece of Southern aspirations, 
with an olive branch always in his hand he was the great apos- 
tle of sectional reconciliation. There was widespread discon- 
tent in Mississippi over the refusal of Senator Lamar to vote 
for the Bland Bill. The canvass that he made in defense of his 
refusal to obey the instructions of the legislature was the most 
brilliant and effective effort of his life. He spoke at Oxford, 
Coffeeville, Jackson, Vicksburg, Meridian and other places, and 
every speech was a personal triumph. 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 387 

Mr. Mayes in writing of his brilliant canvass says: 

"The speeches of this year, as a group, were the most elaborate, the 
most impassioned, and perhaps the best he ever made. The subjects 
to be discussed were so numerous, varied, interesting and important 
important both to people and to himself but he exerted himself to the 
utmost. For three and a half hours he would hold his audience en- 
chanted. It was commonly remarked that he swept all opposition be- 
fore him. Men who were so hostile that they could hardly be per- 
suaded to hear him at all, would mount upon the benches and tables 
swinging their hats and huzzaing until hoarse." 

The speeches he made at that time are lost, and we have 
tradition only to rely upon. Inquiry has been made of aged 
men who have heard all the great orators of Mississippi and the 
opinion of all is that the speeches made by Senator Lamar in 
defense of the right of a Senator to disobey the instructions of 
his legislature when he believes them to be wrong are the 
greatest ever made before the people of Mississippi. His 
greatest efforts were made before great assemblies of the 
people. The wonderful effect of his efforts as a popular orator 
can be best described in the words of General Catchings : 

"While his orations in the Senate chamber were models of eloquent 
diction, ornate rhetoric, and resistless logic, yet it was on the hustlings 
before the people that he was most powerful and superb. I doubt if any 
man ever lived who exceeded him in the power to touch the hearts, 
stir the emotions, and sway the judgment of such an audience. I have 
seen assembled thousands hang breathless upon his words, laughing, 
crying, elated or serious by turns, as with the hand of a master he 
played with their emotions and subdued their judgments. It was not 
so much by beauty of speech or logical sequence of statement that he 
did this, for in those respects many perhaps have equaled him; but 
there was peculiar to him a passion, an intensity, a charm that spoke 
less from his tongue than from his soul-lighted and changeful counte- 
nance, as he himself was dominated by his masterful emotions." 

There is always discussion as to the amount of preparation 
orators give their speeches. On account of the beauty, smooth- 
ness, harmonious flow and logical order of Senator Lamar's 
language it has been supposed that all his great speeches were 
carefully written out in thoughtful seclusion. His mental prep- 
aration was great, his paper preparation was small. Senator 
Lamar was not only a great popular and parliamentary orator, 
he was the most effective, ready, and resourceful debater in the 
Senate. His famous tilt with Conkling was a great master- 
stroke of Senatorial debate. His words cut like a Damascus 

When asked for an explanation of a charge of falsehood 

388 Mississippi Historical Society. 

against Senator Conkling, Senator Lamar looking straight into 
the eyes of the Senator from New York said : 

"Mr. President: I have only to say that the Senator from New York 
understood me correctly. I did mean to say just precisely the words, 
and all that they imported. I beg pardon of the Senate for the un- 
parliamentary language. It was very harsh; it was very severe; it was 
such as no good man would deserve, and no brave man would wear." 

Senator Lamar's last great speech was made April 26th, 1887, 
at Charleston, South Carolina, on the occasion of the unveiling 
of a monument to John C. Calhoun. 

It has been said that true eloquence cannot exist in the ab- 
sence of great moral qualities. Throughout every speech that 
Senator Lamar ever made there was a vein of genuine, 
sublime sentiment, there is something of the devotional, 
organ-like tones of Milton, the oceanic melody of Shakes- 
peare, the spiritual elevation of Hooker, the wisdom of 
Bacon and the polished periods of Everett. He possessed in a 
remarkable degree all the great qualities necessary to make up 
the orator, the brain, the logical force and clearness, imagina- 
tion, courage and moral power. Senator Lamar's great eulogy 
of Sumner is as inspiring as Burke's picture of the devastation 
of the Carnatic by Hyder Ali; it gives the reader the same 
pleasure as the first enraptured vision of the Madonna at 
Dresden, or the figures of Night and Dawn, and the Penseroso 
at Florence gives the artist. 

XL Edward C. Walthall. 

It is fitting that the name of Edward C. Walthall should be 
associated with that of Lamar. There existed between the two 
men a beautiful friendship that was as pure and unselfish as that 
of David and Jonathan. They were thrown together as part- 
ners in the practice of law at Coffeeville, just after the close of 
the war when a feeling of unrest and uncertainty was common 
everywhere. Senator Lamar was in the habit of saying that 
General Walthall was the greatest man he knew. Morley says 
of Charles Fox: 

"No man was more deeply imbued with the generous impulses of 
great statesmanship, with chivalrous courage, with the magnificent spir- 
it of devotion to high inspiring causes." 

If asked what great Mississippian those words best described 
I would say Edward C. Walthall. With one hand he covered 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 389 

the grave of sectional hate with unfading flowers of forgiveness, 
with the other he defended his State against the unjust assaults 
of unthinking malice. There are certain features of character 
that rarely fail to make leaders of the men who possess them. 
They were harmoniously combined in General Walthall. He 
was independent, prudent and courageous, he had earnest and 
intelligent convictions combined with intense devotion to prin- 
ciples, he was frank, generous, courteous and kind. He was 
the possessor of a rare combination of great qualities. The 
courage, dash and superb leadership of Marshal Ney was his, he 
was the idol of the boys in gray, he was as unerring and wise 
in his legal opinions as Marshall, as great an advocate as Ran- 
dolph, as honest and incorruptible as Cato, and as logical and 
eloquent as Wirt ; then, too, he was a practical man of affairs, 
and a statesman of rare foresight and prudence. He was the 
best balanced man of all Mississippi's public men. 

General Walthall located at Coffeeville in his early manhood 
for the practice of law. All his inclinations and ambitions 
turned on professional rather than political success, but young 
men of ability are frequently forced into politics by the de- 
mands of party against their inclinations. After a few years of 
practice he was elected district attorney as the candidate of the 
Democratic party. The young prosecutor for the State had to 
contend with the greatest lawyers of the Mississippi bar, Reu- 
bin Davis, Roger Barton, J. Z. George, A. K. Blythe, D. L. 
Herron, and W. S. Featherstone were in active practice in his 

He entered the Confederate Army as lieutenant, when the end 
came he was a major general. John B. Gordon, Nathan 
Bedford Forrest, and Edward Gary Walthall were the great 
civilian soldiers of the Confederacy. General Walthall was 
one of those men who could not appear in public, open his 
lips or move his eyes without at once attracting the attention 
and captivating the interest of every man around him. There 
was something magnetic about him that was so controlling that 
his very presence inspired confidence and admiration. A shake 
of his hand, a look into his eye made you his friend for life. 
His power as an orator was greatly aided by his pleasing man- 
ner and attractive appearance, he had great natural gifts of 
form, face and voice. His physical presence was superb, he was 

39 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tall, dignified and graceful, his face was noble and true, his head 
was large and classic in its outlines, and was covered with dark 
waving hair worn long. There was sweetness and mellowness 
about his voice that was like the sound of some musical instru- 
ment touched by master hand, in conversation it was low and 
harmonious, it was full and ringing and rich in speaking. His 
mouth was the most remarkable feature of his face and contain- 
ed a rare combination of oratorical qualities. It was character- 
istic of force, firmness, courage, it was smiling, affable and 
commanding, proud and kind, tender and impassioned, accur- 
ate and vehement, and was capable of the softness of a woman 
or the sternness of an awful judge. 

For twenty years after the War General Walthall led the 
contented life of a country lawyer of large practice. He de- 
lighted in the quiet simplicity of life in a small town. It was 
his custom during each day to leave his office for an hour and 
sit out in front of the stores of the public square on a conven- 
ient goods box and chat with the local gossips and with the 
farmers who came to the station for mail and small purchases. 
In this way he came in close touch with the honest farmer and 
man of the soil, he found out how the people felt on public 
questions for they were always discussed. The amiable weak- 
ness of the Mississippi farmer is a passion for talking politics. 
He likes it, and while industrial development and kindred sub- 
jects might be more helpful to him they do not give him the 
same satisfaction. 

General Walthall was frequently called upon for counsel and 
advice during the dark days of reconstruction. He felt the bit- 
ter humiliation of negro rule and together with Lamar, George, 
Barksdale, Harris, Percy and Featherstone led the revolution 
of 1875 which resulted in its overthrow. 

Mr. Lamar was the senior United States Senator from Mis- 
sissippi in 1885. After the inauguration of President Cleveland 
in March he was made a member of the Cabinet as Secretary of 
the Interior. Governor Lowry appointed General Walthall to 
fill the vacancy. He was appointed to the Senate not as a re- 
ward for party service or partisan loyalty, but for his ability, 
purity of character, lofty sense of honor, and above all the peo- 
ple called for the appointment. He had never sought the hon- 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 391 

ors of a successful partisan and party worker, he knew nothing 
of political tactics and was a part of no political machine. 

His Senatorial career covered a period of twelve years and 
among the great men with whom he associated during that time 
there were none who excelled him in native ability, stainless 
character, accurate information and true oratory. He was not 
a frequent speaker, and was never prompted by a desire to im- 
press the Senate and the country with his power as an orator. 
His personal influence over men extended to all circles and con- 
ditions, the farmer at home came to him for advice, the Senator 
at Washington sought his judgment upon great questions of 

The intellectual accuracy of* General Walthall was very great. 
As an illustration of that talent the following incident was told 
the writer by one of the chancellors of the State who knew him 
in close intimacy of friendship for years. The General was 
engaged in the laborious preparation of an important law suit 
involving large interests and embracing many intricate prin- 
ciples. The authorities on the question upon which the result 
depended were meagre and only one case had been found after 
painstaking investigation over the entire field of American case 
law. The chancellor was then a young man with an office 
across the hall from General Walthall's and frequently visited 
him. The General mentioned his difficulty and amiably appeal- 
ed to his young friend for help. The investigations were con- 
tinued without results. Finally a new law book was published 
and came into the hands of the young lawyer, and in the course 
of his reading he found the very principle that had been the 
subject of search, and it was stated in the text that only one 
case dealing with the question under investigation had been 
decided in the United States. General Walthall had found that 
case. It was done long before the late day aids and helps. 

In his Senatorial career he had little capacity or taste for par- 
tisan plays for political position. When he took his seat in the 
Senate the Democratic party was in power for the first time in 
twenty-five years. It was the desire of the party leaders to 
make a good record and gain the confidence of the country. 
There was yet lingering some of the old bitterness growing 
out of the War. The best and most thoughtful Senators were 
anxious to blot out a sectional feeling that had been fostered 

39 2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and kept alive on both sides for political purposes. Senator 
Lamar had been the great leader of reconciliation, and his 
great mission was continued by General Walthall. He soon 
gained the admiration and confidence of Northern Senators by 
his broadness, liberality, courtesy and tact. No Southern Sen- 
ator had greater influence with the generous, fair-minded Sen- 
ators from the North. 

General Walthall's Senatorial speeches cover a wide range 
of subjects tariff, taxation, finance, public improvements, 
Southern conditions and others occupied his careful study. 

When the beautiful Confederate monument that stands 
in the old capitol grounds at Jackson was unveiled Gen- 
eral Walthall delivered the dedication oration. He was at 
his best on that great occasion, and the speech that he made is 
yet ringing in the ears and swelling the hearts of the men who 
stood in the trenches. It was a monument to the men who 
wore the tattered gray and stood behind the guns. The speech 
was a tribute of one of their leaders who always led the way 
and who loved the private soldier with an Eastern devotion. 

There are two tributes to the peerless veterans of the Confed- 
eracy that should live forever. One was delivered by Senator 
John W. Daniel before the Virginia legislature at the Jefferson 
Davis memorial meeting, the other fell from the lips of General 
Walthall at Jackson. Charles James Fox says that a great 
speech never reads well, that it is lacking in those elements of a 
carefully prepared essay which bear the close scrutiny of the 
study. Many of the great speeches of the world have been pol- 
ished and arranged by the men who made them after delivery. 
Take out of a speech the thrill of enthusiastic people, the sweet 
tones, the passion, the flash of eye and play of features of the 
speaker and much of its beauty and power are gone. Much of 
General Walthall's power as an orator was personal. He had a 
marvelous harmony of manner and matter, of delivery and 
feeling. He had all the intensity of the enthusiast combined 
with the true judgment of the philosopher. His style was clear, 
simple and convincing, his manner earnest, intense and pol- 
ished. He combined the simplicity and naturalness of a 
country gentleman with all the graces and accomplishments of 
a savant and scholar. 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 393 

XII. James Z. George. 

When the Mississippi school boy is asked who is called the 
"Great Commoner" of public life in his State he will unhesitat- 
ingly answer James Z. George. A student of greater maturity 
will tell you Lamar, Walthall and George are called the "Mis- 
sissippi Triumvirate." For thirty years they filled the public 
mind, and moulded public sentiment. Lamar was the Great Pa- 
cificator, Walthall the Great Defender, George the Great Law- 
giver. While the greatness of Senator George does not depend 
on his powers as an orator, yet it cannot be denied that he was 
the greatest logician of his day. He did not affect the graces 
of the Attic school of oratory, yet as a profound thinker and 
close reasoner he had no superior. He was a rugged, honest, 
able, thoughtful man from the humble walks of life who had 
carved out a brilliant career from a beginning of poverty and 

His methods of oratory were somewhat different from 
those of his contemporaries. Strong, cogent reasoning, plain 
but deep sense were the leading characteristics of his elo- 
quence. Earnest feeling an imagery are only introduced into 
his speeches to press the argument or to illustrate it. He im- 
pressed the hearer as a man who was speaking for a purpose 
and not for display. He paid little attention to the mere exter- 
nals of oratory, his use of gestures was limited to a few that 
were graceful and unstudied. The flow of his oratory was in 
perfect keeping with the rugged simplicity of his character. His 
neglect of the ornamental had something stern and imposing 
about it, he seemed to stand like the top of some majestic 
mountain that scorned to be beautified and adorned by the wild 
flowers and vines at its base. When reading one of his 
speeches you feel that you are in the presence of a powerful 
mind that depends alone upon itself for persuasive power. He 
was trained in the legal school of oratory, his purpose was to 
persuade not to entertain, to instruct not to please. His style 
was that of the close, accurate writer of legal opinions. Before 
his election to the Senate he had made few political or parlia- 
mentary speeches. 

The movement to disfranchise the negro by legal means 
began in Mississippi under the leadership of Senator 

394 Mississippi Historical Society. 

George. He was the leader of the convention and the defender 
of the new Constitution in the Senate. The new suffrage de- 
parture of Mississippi was the subject of much discussion at 
Washington in political and legal circles during the winter of 
i89O-'9i. It was made the subject of violent partisan attacks 
in the Senate. Senators Hoar, Hawley, Spooner and Edmunds 
denounced it as being in conflict with the Amendments to the 
Federal Constitution clothing the negro with the right of suf- 
frage. Senators Hoar and Edmunds were generally regarded 
as autocrats on questions of constitutional law, and they 
brought all the resources at their command in their attacks 
upon the new organic law of Mississippi. Senator George was 
in his seat as the defender and champion of the new charter 
of white supremacy. He was equipped for the forensic battle,, 
he was ready for the truth, he was armed with confidence and 
courage to meet all comers. 

He began his now famous speech in defense of the Missis- 
sippi Constitution on December 3ist, 1890. He had been a 
member of the Senate for nine years and was known to be an 
authority on questions of constitutional law. While his ability 
was recognized the reserve force of the man was unknown to 
his associates in the Senate. There was a very great responsi- 
bility resting upon him. He had pledged his word that the new 
constitution would stand against all attacks. He was the 
chosen champion of the Southern crusade against ignorance 
at the ballot box. He had been the chief artisan in the con- 
struction of the law that lifted the fatal shirt of Nessus from the 
shoulders of the people. If he failed the people he loved would 
suffer. If he gained the victory future generations would rise 
up and call him blessed. His defense was grandly conclusive, 
it was overwhelming, convincing. The great Senator showed 
a more accurate and intimate knowledge of the constitutions 
of Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut than the Senators 
who represented those States. His defense was one of the 
great constitutional law speeches of the Senate, and will take 
rank in the future with Hayne's superb speech in reply to Web- 
ster. All the contentions of Senator George were afterwards 
crystalized into law by the Supreme Court of the United States 
in the case of Williams vs. Mississippi. 

Senator George had a genius for intellectual labor. Like all 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 395 

self-educated men he viewed all knowledge from the standpoint 
of utility. He was plain and simple in manner, its very sim- 
plicity was impressive. 

He carried his rural plainness to the Senate chamber and 
could not be induced to change the comfort of his store clothes 
for the agony of high collars and evening dress. The Judiciary 
Committee of the Senate is the greatest law committee of the 
world, to be assigned to it is an honor of the highest order. 
For a long period of his Senatorial career Senator George was 
one of its ablest members. He was at his best when dealing 
with great questions of constitutional law. It has been said 
that he was as near the rank of a great orator as a deficient im- 
agination would allow him to go. His style was clear and 
strong, full of reason, argument and illustrations taken from 
practical experience. 

The oratory of Senator George was the product of pure 
reason. He used the methods of the logician, and laid aside 
the arts of the rhetorician. His style of delivery was deliberate, 
plain and earnest. The accuracy of his knowledge was an im- 
pressive feature of his oratory. While Senator George was 
most effective before deliberative bodies some of his greatest 
speeches were made before the people of Mississippi. In his 
great canvass with Barksdale in opposition to the Sub-Treas- 
ury Bill he reached the highest point of persuasive popular or- 
atory. Major Barksdale was a candidate to succeed Senator 
George at the expiration of his second term, and his aspirations 
had the endorsement of the Farmers' Alliance. The people 
were suffering from the ills of financial and industrial depres- 
sion and readily grasped at the Sub-Treasury Bill as a means 
of relief. 

Senator George had condemned the bill in an open letter to 
the Alliance of his home county, his opponent had endorsed it 
and the issue between them was made up. Major Barksdale 
was an experienced public speaker of varied and extensive in- 
formation, as a debater he was adroit and resourceful. He had 
been a leader in Mississippi politics for thirty years. The Al- 
liance was organized in every county and was a recognized po- 
litical power. Senator George had the support of the organiz- 
ed Democracy. Great questions of taxation and finance and 
domestic economy were involved in the discussion of the Sub- 

396 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Treasury Bill. Few of the people understood the practical ef- 
fect of such a measure. Senator George entered upon a great 
campaign of education, he believed that the people would aban- 
don the scheme if its defects were exposed. He published a 
list of appointments and invited Major Barksdale to a joint dis- 
cussion of the questions at issue. In his first speech he as- 
sumed the aggressive and fearlessly condemned the pet meas- 
ure of the all powerful Farmers' Alliance in all its details. Can- 
didates for the legislature everywhere were known as Sub- 
Treasury and anti-Sub-Treasury men. As the joint canvass 
progressed it soon became evident that the irresistible logic of 
Senator George had convinced the people that the policy of the 
Sub-Treasury Bill was wrong in theory and ruinous if put into 
practice. A majority of the members of the legislature were 
instructed by the people to vote for the return of Senator 

If eloquence is to be judged by its immediate effect, then the 
speeches of the "Great Commoner" made during the Sub- 
Treasury canvass should rank with those of Lamar made in 
defense of the right of a Senator to disobey the instructions 
of his State legislature. A hostile majority were transformed 
into enthusiastic supporters. The last great speech of Senator 
George was made at Winona in favor of the re-monetization of 
silver in 1895. All his speeches are valuable contributions to 
the political literature of the country. They abound in vital 
truth and sound principles. The logical arrangement is perfect 
and complete. The sentences flash with reason and blaze with 

XIII. James L. Alcorn. 

If it had been even suggested thirty years ago that James L. 
Alcorn was great in any department of human effort there 
would have been a vigorous if not universal protest from the 
people of Mississippi. It would then have been their honest 
opinion that there was nothing in Governor Alcorn to respect 
or admire. That opinion was made up when strife and partisan 
bitterness held sway over the minds of the people. Public opin- 
ion has reached every extreme as to the place to which he is 
entitled among the eminent men of Mississippi. On one side 
he has been extolled as the only statesman of his day who un- 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 397 

derstood the duties of the hour during the terrible days of re- 
construction. On the other he has been hated and detested 
as a determined, ambitious man who sought to rise over the 
downfall of his State, who deserted her in the darkest hour of 
her peril. The last estimate is entirely wrong ; there is some- 
thing of truth in the first. In the flash light of thirty years an 
unbiased opinion can now be formed. The following estimate 
of Governor Alcorn was written by J. F. H. Claiborne and may 
be found in Goodspeed's Memoirs of Mississippi: 

"It is no holiday task to review the career of James L. Alcorn. No 
man has been more prominently indentified with the State in critical 
times; no man has brought more ability, energy, and self-sacrifice into 
its service; no man has been more misunderstood. The passions, 
prejudices and suspicions he encountered to some extent yet survive, 
but are gradually dissolving in the current of events, and he is now 
generally appreciated as a man of unquailing courage and indomitable 
enterprise; a patriot without stain, a statesman of extraordinary sa- 
gacity, called at the helm at the most trying period, to confront a 
disorganized and morbid public sentiment, to crush out old creeds, ideas 
and predilictions: to guide by persuasion or by force a proud intelli- 
gent yet distrustful people into new grooves of thought and action, to 
conduct them from unsuccessful revolution, from the desolation of war, 
from the wreck of private fortunes, the overthrow of established insti- 
tutions, and the iron rule of Congress, to peaceful industry, social 
order, and organized constitutional government." 

The last remnant of bitterness against Governor Alcorn 
was buried during the consideration and construction of the 
State Constitution of 1890. He was so broad and liberal 
and patriotic as a member of the constitutional convention that 
the eyes of the people were opened to the true greatness of his 

The great orator must be a good man, true emotions must 
fill his own heart if he would arouse them in the minds and 
hearts of others. Before the War Governor Alcorn was one of 
the most aggressive and brilliant Whig leaders and orators in 
the State. He belonged to that coterie of public men of whom 
William L. Sharkey was the leader. He fought many brilliant 
political battles with Democratic leaders at a time when his 
party was in a hopeless minority. The Whig leaders of Mis- 
sissippi opposed the withdrawal of the State from the Union. 
After the War William L. Sharkey and James L. Alcorn were 
selected by a reorganized State government to represent Mis- 
sissippi in the United States Senate. The Senate refused to 
recognize the provisional government that President Johnson 

398 Mississippi Historical Society. 

gave the State and the two Senators-elect were refused their 
seats. During the reconstruction period when public plunder 
seemed to be the sole object of public officials, Governor Al- 
corn stood between the people and the corrupt public servants. 
He forsaw the dreadful consequences of negro enfranchisement 
and regarded it as a stupendous blunder. He knew that the 
experiment of negro suffrage must be made to satisfy the radi- 
cals of the North. The negro by reason of the entire absence of 
self-reliance, want of experience, and because of his failure to 
appreciate his changed condition was helpless. If he could be 
properly directed and controlled many of the evils of his en- 
franchisement might be averted. Such direction and control 
was the policy of Governor Alcorn. The carpet-baggers came, 
gained the confidence of the negro and the dreaded reign of 
ruin began. 

Thinking and impartial men at the North are inclined to be- 
lieve that Southern men overdraw the darkness of the night of 
reconstruction. At this time, twenty-five years after, in the 
light of the facts of history the student of that period whose 
opinions are not embittered by the trials of the time stands in as- 
tonishment and marvels at the patience and long suffering of 
a brave and chivalrous people. Governor Alcorn was never 
in sympathy with the carpet-bagger element of the Republican 
party. As Governor he opposed all their plans for public 
plunder. He was elected United States Senator in 1871. 

With these facts in mind attention can now be called to the 
immediate purpose of this sketch the rank and fame of Gov- 
ernor Alcorn as a public speaker and orator. Macauley says 
in his essay on the Athenian orators that oratory is to be esti- 
mated on principles different from those which are applied to 
other productions. He says : 

"A speaker who exhausts the whole philosophy of a question, who 
displays every grace of style, yet produces no effect on his audience, 
may be a great essayist, a great statesman, a great master of composi- 
tion, but he is not an orator." 

There was little of the abstract philosophy of the political es- 
sayist and theorist in the oratorical methods of Governor Al- 
corn. He was intensely practical in his speeches and had that 
"terrible earnestness" that Carlyle attributes to one of his he- 
roes. His style of oratory was of a popular character and was 

Political and Parliamentary Orators. Rowland. 399 

best suited to the hustings. His large commanding figure, dig- 
nified manner, determined face, black hair and brilliant dark 
eyes made his bearing intensely eloquent. Such physical gifts 
combined with courage, energy, force, brain and determination 
made him an orator of the most intense type. His knowledge 
was extensive and accurate, his convictions deep and earnest. 
Reference has been made to his joint canvass with Col. Lamar 
in 1857 as the candidate of the Whig party for Congress. That 
campaign has long been famous in tradition as a battle of the 
giants, and old men refer to it and regret the decadence of such 
eloquence. Governor Alcorn was not only an eloquent orator 
of great power, but was skillful in the strategy of debate. He 
had the fiery impetuosity of Mirabeau combined with the defen- 
sive skill of Benjamin, he fought with the two handed sword of 
the Swiss, having little use for the curved scimetar of the Turk. 
He was a deep and original thinker of intense convictions; 
there was little of the sparkle of the mere rhetorician about his 
speeches. The matchless courage of Governor Alcorn com- 
manded the respect and admiration of his enemies. His mental 
preparation was extensive and varied, he was a profound stu- 
dent of the political history of his country. 

In the Senate Governor Alcorn maintained his well earned 
reputation as a forceful speaker and ready debater. A distin- 
guishing feature of his character was his high moral courage, 
Iris absolute disregard of public opinion when he believed he 
was right gave him the power to face the frowns of the public 
with dignity and composure. After his retirement from the 
Senate he lived the placid dignified life of a country gentleman 
at Eagle's Nest, his plantation in "Sweet Coahoma." He lived 
to an honored old age, and after years of patient waiting saw 
all the misunderstandings of the past melt away before the light 
of truth and justice. 

XIV. Chalmers, Manning, Barksdale. 

The Chalmers family has long been famous in Mississippi. 
Joseph W. Chalmers was a United States Senator. His two 
sons were honored and distinguished men. H. H. Chalmers 
was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. James R. Chalmers 
was a brigadier general of the Confederacy, a member of Con- 
gress, a learned lawyer and brilliant orator. He was one of the 

400 Mississippi Historical Society. 

men who fired the popular heart in 1875 and rescued the State 
from the blight of negro rule. 

In 1877 Mississippi had a solid Democratic delegation in the 
lower House of Congress. Van H. Manning represented the 
Second District. The joint canvass of Col . Manning and 
Thomas H. Walton in the summer and autumn of 1876 will 
long be remembered for its brilliancy and intensity of feeling. 
Manning was a remarkable stump speaker, he was as fiery as 
Foote, and mingled scholarly grace and polish with passion and 

Ethelbert Barksdale was a polished writer and eloquent 
speaker. His knowledge of political history was profound. He 
measured lances with such orators as Hooker and George and 
sustained himself. The name of Barksdale will always be re- 
membered with gratitude and pride by the people of Mississippi. 
The name was made immortal on the bloody heights of Gettys- 
burg where General William Barksdale gave his life for his 
country. Ethelbert Barksdale through the editorial columns 
of the Clarion gave the first impulse to the revolution of 1875. 



"His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him, that Nature 
might stand up and say to all the world: 'This was a man.' " 

In birth and breeding, in the environments and associations 
of a lifetime, and in the time allotted to him to perform his task 
in life, nature conspired in favor of that one of her sons who 
has been felicitously styled the "Chevalier Bayard of Mississip- 
pi," Edward Gary Walthall. Every inch of the man's person- 
ality proclaimed him the patrician that he was, and no togated 
Roman Senator, born to the purple, ever bore his honors more 
easily or with loftier grace. No descendant of a hundred belt- 
ed earls, looking down upon posterity from the pictured can- 
vass of Van Dyke, ever manifested more unimpaired confidence 
in the nobility of his race than did this unostentatious Missis- 
sippi gentleman, scholar, lawyer, soldier; scion of an old and 
honorable family, cradled amid the picturesque scenes of the 
capital of the Old Dominion, Richmond on the James. 

Yet, with all his inherited pride of race and blood, a pride as 
much a part of his time and section as the air he breathed, with 
all the traditions and predilections bequeathed him by genera- 
tions of highborn ancestors, he bore himself so sweetly, so 
gently, with so much of the "tender grace of a day that is 
dead" that none ever connected with a thought of him, that 
vulgar pride of place, that ignoble caste-spirit, which has done 
so much to throw disrepute upon honest and honorable pride 
of birth. 

From the courtly English progenitors who had always borne 
well their part in attempting to wring from tyrants the liberty 
guaranteed by the Magna Charta, from a nearer Anglo-Amer- 
ican ancestry, whose blood ever refused to run in slavish chan- 
nels, young Walthall received, not alone his manly beauty and 
dignity of person, his courtly bearing and innate deference to 

1 A biographical sketch of Miss Duval will be found in the Publica- 
tions of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. III., p. 155. EDITOR. 

402 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the good and true, encountered in whatsoever guise, but a 
spirit of freedom, an undying loyalty to self-government and 
a passionate love of his native Southland, which became as 
much a part of himself as the spirit that palpitated in his- manly 

Edward C. Walthall was a true American, a true Virginian, 
a true Mississippian in his deep but quiet convictions of duty, 
his love of home and family, intense devotion to womanly mod- 
esty and jealous regard for the securities of individual freedom 
and local self-government. No commercial or mercenary con- 
siderations could induce him to depart from any of his early- 
adopted, deep-seated convictions of right, nor worldly interest 
chill the ardor of his zeal in pursuing the path of honor and in- 
tegrity. No worshiper of Mammon was he, abounding in pru- 
dential virtue, but deficient in the principles which impel one to 
self-abandon in the cause of justice. This will explain why, at 
a time when contemporary statesmen, on both sides of Mason 
and Dixon's line were heaping up wealth and achieving the rep- 
utation of multi-millionaires, Walthall, serene, self-poised, pur- 
suing with unfaltering tread the path dictated by his own lofty 
ideals, remained, with the vast majority of the Southern people, 
comparatively poor in this world's goods. 

It is easy to see how, reared in the principles of an earnest 
Christianity, his character, to the end, being dominated there- 
by a reverence for the Bible and fine English literature, for a 
religious type of womanhood, for a sacred regard for the prin- 
ciples of government, he became, above all others, that type of 
man most loved and admired by the people of the South. 

From boyhood, such traits as those distinguished him, and as 
he grew into man's estate he became unalterably fixed in his 
adherence to those principles instilled into his receptive mind 
and soul amid the quiet of his early Virginia home. 

While young Walthall was still a boy, his father removed to 
Holly Springs, Mississippi, then and for years afterwards, the 
center of wealth and culture for a large portion of the State. 
At old St. Thomas Hall, then, and long afterwards, so justly cel- 
ebrated for its superior educational advantages, we first learn 
to connect him with the busy, happy life of a leading Mississippi 

And what a life it must have been ! No other portion of the 

The Chevalier Bayard of Mississippi. Duval. 403 

State's history presents such fascination to the student of our 
social customs as that quarter of a century immediately pre- 
ceeding the Civil War. 

Through the kindness of Major William M. Strickland, a 
leading lawyer and well known citizen of Holly Springs, the 
writer has become familiar, with a portion at least, of the life 
of Edward C. Walthall while a boy, and, still later, an ambitious 
and successful practitioner. 

The highly-graded and classical school of "St. Thomas Hall" 
was established by Dr. Francis S. Hawks, an Episcopal clergy- 
man of great learning, who a short while before the entrance 
of young Walthall into the school had removed to New York 
city, becoming the rector there of a large Episcopal parish. 
Professor Henry Whitehead, an English gentleman of pro- 
found scholarship, and eminently successful as an educator had 
succeeded Dr. Hawks as principal of St. Thomas. Edward 
Walthall was then in the sixteenth year of his age and with 
twenty or more companions, young men mostly the sons of 
wealthy residents of North Mississippi, composed the student 
body of St. Thomas Hall. They were, for the most part, bright, 
brainy, ambitious youths, more than one of whom has written 
his name high in the annals of our State. Amid these congen- 
ial spirits the young Virginian, gentle as a woman, knightly as 
a Crusader, took his place ; his good qualities soon becoming 
apparent to all, the commendation of his teacher and the plaud- 
its of his companions only incited him to more earnest effort. 
The spirit of fun and prank, so characteristic of the leisure class 
of the "Old South" in its palmiest days, was by no means in- 
consistent with the spirit of achievement and we find that the 
laddies of old St. Thomas Hall, at that period, were typical 
Southern boys. At night they gathered under one or another 
of the hospitable roofs of the fine old mansions for which Holly 
Springs was noted, discussing with perfect freedom and frank- 
ness the general topics of interest from the latest "happenings" 
on the campus to the highest matters of state every Missis- 
sippi boy in the very nature of things being an embryo politi- 
cian. Little recked they, or their teachers of a time, fast ap- 
proaching, when their mettle would be tested in the council 
halls and on the bloody battlefields of their loved Mississippi. 
At times the St. Thomas boys would gather at the law office of 

404 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Major Strickland, a prime favorite with them all, making merry 
over the knotty questions involved in science and the classics, 
reviewing the incidents of the class-room, the various points 
raised, expositions given and decisions made by "Old Whitey," 
as they affectionately styled Professor Whitehead. Many were 
the discussions of which Major Strickland became the arbiter, 
the Gordian knots he was compelled to untie or cut asunder. 
As was natural under the circumstances, some lasting friend- 
ships were formed between the boys of St. Thomas and their 
youthful Mentor, William M. Strickland. Especially was this 
true in the case of young Walthall, he and Mr. Strickland form- 
ing a friendship then which death alone had power to interrupt. 

The advanced students of the "Hall" formed a polemic so- 
ciety, known as the "St. Thomas Hall Debaters," and Mr. 
Strickland was notified that he had been elected to membership 
in the same. The society met weekly, on Friday evenings and 
discussed a great variety of questions embracing law, literature, 
history and current topics. Young Walthall, Mr. Strickland 
tells us, was uniformly present and in fact was the leading spirit 
in the debates. He completed his literary career at St. Thomas, 
as did many others who subsequently distinguished themselves 
as leaders in the Commonwealth of Mississippi, whether as 
lawyers, legislators or soldiers, time determined. None, how- 
ever of that gallant group of young Mississippians shone more 
brilliantly in after life, nor held the affections of the people of 
the State in a firmer grasp than did the subject of this sketch, 
Edward Gary Walthall. After completing his literary course, 
he entered the office of his brother-in-law, George R. Freeman, 
a distinguished man of the bar of Mississippi, residing at that 
time in Pontotoc, and for a year pursued his legal studies with 
an ardor and enthusiasm that in the end brought its own re- 
ward. At the expiration of that time, he returned to Holly 
Springs, and in the capacity of deputy clerk, served in the office 
of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Alexander Caruthers, Esq. 
He occupied that position for several months and by close ap- 
plication to his law studies and the practical outlines of plead- 
ing and practicing in the Circuit Court, became familiar with 
the jurisprudence of Mississippi. 

Soon after receiving license to practice law, he removed to 
Coffeeville, Miss., the county site of Yalabousha county, and 

The Chevalier Bayard of Mississippi. Duval. 405 

formed a partnership with Judge Cheves, a well established, 
able and painstaking lawyer from South Carolina, with a large 
and lucrative practice. Walthall rose rapidly to prominence 
in his profession and in a short time was elected District At- 
torney for that Judicial district. Very soon he became one of 
the most prominent and successful prosecuting attorneys in the 
State. Learned in all the technicalities of his profession, able 
and brilliant in delivery, handsome of person and of face, 
courtly and winning in manner, it is small wonder that among 
a generous people, quick to appreciate those qualities, he rose 
steadily from a popular favorite to a popular idol upon whom 
was lavished the affections of a whole State. 

There were no railroads in that portion of Mississippi when 
Walthall began his public career, and the swing of a popular 
lawyer around the circuit was an event of marked importance 
to himself, his clients and the public generally. Society in 
Mississippi "in the '40*5 and '5o's was a reproduction, on a 
newer and grander scale of that of old Virginia and the Caro- 
linas of an earlier period. The palatial homes, veritable Greek 
temples whose white columns gleamed invitingly through the 
arches of green woodland, and the gracious manners handed 
down through generations of English, Scotch, or Irish-Ameri- 
can ancestors were faithful copies of Anglo-Virginian models, 
and became the birth-right of the Mississippian at his best, viz : 
in ante-bellum times. 

In the courtly manners, elegant speech, and lavish hospital- 
ity of the period referred to, we have an echo also of Virginia 
and her daughters of the southeastern states. In the libraries 
we find all the current publications and periodicals of the day 
American or foreign and the conversation was flavored with 
wit, wisdom and the true Attic salt whose quality could not 
have been surpassed by the Puritan or the Knickerbocker of 
the same or any subsequent period. 

With the passionate love of land and out-door pursuits, was 
mingled the genuine Saxon avoidance of cities and correspond- 
ing love of all phases of rural life, the elegant leisure engen- 
dered by a rich soil and generous climate making plantation 
life in Mississippi, a pastoral idyl, a poet's dream. Deference 
to woman, sympathy with the weak or unfortunate, faith in 
God and the Bible, and reverence for authority in church and 

406 Mississippi Historical Society. 

state, these were the predominant characteristics of the civil- 
ization of the South at that period, the most advanced that has 
yet existed on this continent! Many things conspired to pre- 
serve in the South the spirit and habits of the founders of our 
government, and it was in a State and community, thoroughly 
in accord with that spirit, that Edward C. Walthall entered 
upon his public career. No profession, not even the clerical, 
stands in such high repute in the South as the legal one. Given 
then, a man who is master of the science of jurisprudence, hon- 
est, honorable, forceful in argument, sympathetic and public- 
spirited and you have a character whose influence for good in 
a community is unlimited and inestimable. Such a character 
was General Walthall and even during the days of his district 
attorneyship, men were beginning to realize something of his 

The circuits, in the absence of railways, were traversed by 
the members of the legal fraternity in private conveyances, and 
picturesque enough they often appeared, the inevitable col- 
ored body-guard, for each gentleman carried his own 
valet in those days, bringing up the rear. During "Court 
Week" the dull little county seats took on new life and activity, 
for in the somewhat monotonous life of a country purely agri- 
cultural, the regular recurrence of the spring and fall terms of 
court brought a relaxation, and aroused public interest to a de- 
gree unsurpassed except by Christmas and-election days. 

The country people with one accord came to town, shopping 
and other important matters having been set aside until "Court 
Week" should make it a matter of convenience. Such an array 
of farm stock as was displayed at the public hitching rack and 
convenient fence corners could not be equalled outside the 
pages of Georgia Scenes. 

Farm wagons, transformed into family conveyances, the 
light sulky, stylish buggy, and aristocratic family carriage 
were all brought into requisition ; family servants jostled each 
other, happy to the heart's core over any promised excitement. 
The "cracker element" has never existed to any degree in Mis- 
sissippi and so the "poor whites" are the only class at such 
times conspicuous by their absence. The handsome wife and 
lovely daughters of the planter, their rich dresses and gay 
plumes giving the touch of color needed to the scene, lend the 

The Chevalier Bayard of Mississippi. Duval. 407 

charm of womanly grace and vivacity to the ever-shifting 
crowd, the planter himself, touching up his blooded stock, 
looking over the crowd with that serenity of soul produced by 
a full pocketbook, and the consciousness that he has "no case 
in court" this term. The talk varies, from the price of cotton, 
perennial theme to the latest aspirant for political honors 
and through the whole kaleidascopic scene, walks the lawyer, 
alert, conscious, yet seemingly oblivious to what is as plain 
as the nose on his face to others, viz: that he, the representa- 
tive of the law, is "monarch of all he surveys." 

Callow youths, and budding politicians, watch his every 
movement, speculating in secret as to whether it were possible 
for the cut of the great man's coat, the tie of his neckerchief, 
above all his grand poise of manner to be imitated. The la- 
dies, young and old, bestow their sweetest smiles upon the man 
of the law, and in his secret soul, the lordly planter himself ac- 
knowledges that if there is a being on earth to whom he would 
be willing to acknowledge a sense of inferiority it is the "lead- 
ing lawyer in the district." If then, the average lawyer is 
looked upon in the light of a demi-god, small wonder is it, that 
a man of the personality possessed by young Walthall, fresh 
from academic and legal lore, his mind thoroughly imbued 
with the technicalities of his profession, his face, not only clas- 
sically intellectual, but rarely beautiful, should have been hailed 
almost as the Apollo Belvidere himself ! Olympian Jove, there 
was not! Mississippians do not concede such superiority to 
mortal man, but surely this tall, straight, somewhat melancholy 
patrician, he whose eyes flashed with the true Promethean fire 
and whose speech won for him the proud title of "silver-ton- 
gued," was worthy of canonization, and having acquired the 
habit of worshiping Walthall, they never left off, but kept it up 
to the last. 

From the day when first as a mere boy he asked for the suf- 
frage of his own people until crowned with the honors of the 
proudest nation on earth he was laid to rest in the beautiful 
"City of Roses," he asked for nothing that was not given him. 
Asked, did I say? Nay; not as a suppliant came he they 
brought their very best to him to accept. Now they take up the 
sad refrain : 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

" Mourn, for to us he seems the last, 
Remembering all his greatness in the past; 
No more in soldier-fashion will he greet 
With lifted hand, the gazer in the street. 
O, friends, our chief state-oracle is dead. 
Mourn for the man of long-enduring blood. 
The statesman warrior, moderate, resolute, 
Whole in himself, a common good. 
Mourn, for the man of amplest influence, 
Yet clearest of ambitious crime, 
Our greatest, yet with least pretence, 
Great in council, great in war, 
Foremost captain of his time, 
Rich in saving common sense, 
And as the greatest only are, 
In his simplicity sublime." 

Such was the Walthall, loved and honored as few men have 
the privilege of being. While he was still a practicing attorney, 
residing at the little town of Coffeeville, an incident occurred 
which Mr. Strickland still dwells upon with great pleasure. The 
"Debaters of St. Thomas Hall," the former schoolmates of 
young Walthall, determined to have a re-union in Holly 
Springs, the seat of their Alma Mater and the scene of their 
boyish triumphs and defeats. When the question as to the or- 
ator of the day arose, it was found that the body was unanimous 
for inviting Walthall. The invitation was sent, and he replied 
in his best vein, accepting. The place of meeting selected was 
the hall of the old "Union Hotel," southeast corner of the pub- 
lic square. The members of the "Debaters" had become scat- 
tered and were settled in distant sections, but the majority 
of them returned to be present on an occasion of so much in- 
terest. A large number of invited guests, including many of 
the most prominent people of Holly Springs, were present and 
the chosen orator was at his best. He was greeted by the close 
attention and enthusiastic applause invariably accorded to his 
public utterance. As this was his first purely literary oration, 
he was very much gratified at its reception, and in later years, 
says Mr. Strickland, used to allude to the occasion with evident 
pride and pleasure. 

While Mr. Walthall was still occupying the position of dis- 
trict attorney, Mississippi by her "Ordinance of Secession" 
passed in January, 1861, dissolved the bonds existing between 
herself and the Federal Union. Companies were rapidly or- 
ganized throughout the State, the manhood of the common- 

The Chevalier Bayard of Mississippi. Duval. 409 

wealth, taking fire, as the electric lines carried over the country 
the news of the mighty events that were transpiring from day 
to day. Applications for acceptance into the State and Confed- 
erate service poured in upon Pettus, the "War Governor," 
daily. Among other companies was the one organized at 
Coffeeville, Miss., of which the captaincy was offered to 
Walthall, but, declining in favor of a friend, Captain Aldrige, 
he accepted the place of first lieutenant and went into the ren- 
dezvous at Union City with it, its appellation being "Co. H.," 
Fifteenth Mississippi Regiment. 

This regiment, of glorious memory, was composed of the 
very flower of Mississippi's manhood and carried its banner 
triumphantly over many a hard-won field of battle. After leav- 
ing Union City, it was placed under the command of the "fight- 
ing Bishop," General Leonidas Polk, who had left the field of 
labor as Bishop of Louisiana to join the militant host, fighting 
for the Southern Confederacy. He was stationed at the im- 
portant strategic point of Columbus, Ky., a city on the Missis- 
sippi river a short distance below Cairo, Illinois. 

In June following, the lieutenant colonel of the Fifteenth reg- 
iment having resigned to take work in another department of 
service, Walthall was chosen to fill his place, and from that 
time his promotion was rapid. He won his spurs at the ill- 
fated battle of Fishing Creek, where his regiment gained undy- 
ing laurels, following their dauntless leader into the jaws of 
death. He was the idol of his soldiers, and they followed him 
with unbounded confidence and enthusiasm, whether it was into 
the heat of battle or on the tedium of a long and monotonous 
march. In the hospital and around the campfire he was their 
comforter, friend and protector. 

On the nth of April, 1862, he was elected Colonel of the 
Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiment, and in June following was 
made Brigadier General, his brigade being composed of the 
Twenty-fourth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth and 
Thirty-fourth Mississippi Infantry. From that time on "Wal- 
thall's Brigade" became "a name to conjure" with, their services 
being called into requisition wherever there was work to be 
done, whether in resisting the tide of defeat, holding back over- 
whelming numbers until successful retreat was practicable, or 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

making the welkin ring with their cheers when they had caused 
victory to perch above the Southern standards. 

Men speak to-day with tearful eye and faltering voice of the 
Walthall who through four long years lived so near his men 
that they could feel the throbbings of his mighty heart. He had 
all the qualities that go towards the make-up of a great leader, 
fine judgment, earnest, dignified deportment, gentle and simple 
manners, joined to a fervent, unselfish patriotism, the courage 
and prowess of the Chevalier Bayard, the stainless truth and 
spotless honor of that King Arthur who made truth and honor 
and chivalry synonymous terms. His soldierly qualities, fine 
powers and earnest nature soon carried him over intervening 
grades to the office of Major General. After the death of Gen- 
eral Leonidas Polk, who was killed at Pine Mountain, the name 
of Gen. Walthall was seriously considered as the fitting one to 
succeed the "soldier Bishop" who had died so gloriously. 
Learning of this, Gen. Walthall, with an honorable pride that 
does him great credit and a magnanimity rarely met with vol- 
untarily relinquished all claims to the preferment in favor of 
Gen. A. P. Stewart, whose seniority in years, service and thor- 
ough military education, in Gen. Walthall's opinion, made him 
the most suitable candidate for the place. His letters endors- 
ing Gen. Stewart and recommending him for the vacancy had 
much to do with the latter's receiving the promotion and the 
magnanimity that dictated them, throws a still more glorious 
light upon the "Bayard of Mississippi." 

It is impossible, within the limits of this article, to follow the 
course of General Walthall through the different campaigns in 
which he was actively engaged; nor even to attempt to name 
the many battles in which he bore so. conspicuous a part. It 
would, however, be an injustice to his memory not to give the 
names of those in which he so distinguished himself as to win 
a place in universal history. At the battle of Lookout Mount- 
ain, Walthall's bridgade, composed of 1,500 Mississippians, as 
brave men as ever went into any battle, was ordered to hold a 
very important position occupied by a picket post extending 
from Lookout Creek, up the side of the mountain, across a 
breach to the projecting cliff. The fire of the Federal batteries 
swept the road by which retreat must be made or relief come. 
Walthall's line, upon his front and left flank, was attacked by 

The Chevalier Bayard of Mississippi. Duval. 411 

Gen. Hooker, "Fighting Joe," of an earlier day, with a division 
of 10,000 men. ,The brave Mississippians under their fearless 
leader made good their resistance until General Pettus came 
to their relief and the Confederate line thus reinforced held its 
new position for the remainder of the day. Both the Federal 
and the Confederate commanders, in their reports of the battle 
mention particularly this resistance of Walthall and his men. 
Only about 600 effective men were left the brigade after this 
battle, but on the afternoon of the next day we find them dash- 
ing across Missionary Ridge to protect Hardee's retreat, hold- 
ing their position stubbornly until the long day's fight was 
done. Gen. Walthall was severely wounded in this battle, hav- 
ing been shot through the foot but nothing could induce him to 
leave the field, preferring to endure the pain to having his men 
demoralized by his absence. He was confined to his quarters 
for six weeks by this accident. 

All the world knows the story of Hood's retreat from Nash- 
ville, protected by the "right and left arms" of the service, Wal- 
thall and Forrest. When Forrest, brave "Wizard of the Sad- 
dle" that he was, appeared before General Hood and was in- 
terrogated as to whether he would undertake the protection of 
the army he replied : "Give me Walthall and I shall undertake 

When Walthall was asked if he would accept the responsi- 
bility, his reply was nobly characteristic : "I have never know- 
ingly sought the path of danger, nor shunned the path of duty. 
I will go." 

The story of that last march of despairing veterans would 
be darker than it is, but for the courage, the skill, the heroic 
daring that marked the defense of the retreating Confederates 
until the last straggling soldier had crossed the Tennessee 

When the bitter end came, General Walthall returned to his 
home in Mississippi, re-opening his law office, at first, in Cof- 
feeville and remaining there until 1871 when he removed to the 
beautiful old town of Grenada, continuing his legal practice 
there until 1885 when he was appointed by the Governor of 
Mississippi to fill the vacancy in the United States Senate, 
caused 'by the resignation of Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar who had 
been offered the place of Secretary of the Interior by President 

412 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Cleveland. From that time until the day of his death, while 
Mississippi still claimed him as her favorite son, her familiar 
places knew him