Mississippi


Virtute et armis
Mississippi was the second state to declare succession from the Union. About 80,000 men from Mississippi fought in the Civil War. Northeast Mississippi saw fighting from the war’s earliest days to its final months. Mississippi troops fought in every major theater of the Civil War. In the Battle of Vicksburg, over 3,000 soldeiers lost their lives.

Brigadier General William Wirt Adams

by Tom Todd

Adams was born in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, on May 22, 1819. His parents were Judge George and Anna (Weissiger) Adams. His father was a personal friend of American statesman and orator Henry Clay.

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The family moved to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1829, and his father served as a district court judge from 1836 to 1839. William returned to Kentucky where he graduated from Bardstown College in Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1839.

Upon returning from college, he enlisted as a private under Colonel Edward Burleson’s command in the Republic of Texas. He immediately received a commission as adjutant of the regiment and went to northern Texas to fight the Indians.

He returned to Mississippi and made his living in banking and agriculture through the end of the 1850s. While in Mississippi he married Sally Huger Magrant in 1850. He served in the Mississippi State Legislature in 1858.

In early 1861 he operated as a Confederate agent in Louisiana, helping the state to secede. When the Confederate States of America was formed, President Jefferson Davis offered Adams the position of Postmaster General, which he declined. Instead, he returned to Mississippi and formed the 1st Mississippi Cavalry regiment. Commissioned its Colonel and commander, he fought a rear guard action as the Confederates were forced to flee Kentucky. He then saw action at the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh and the April to June 1862 Siege of Corinth.

After the fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi, in July, 1863, his command harassed and had skirmishes with Union cavalry units. In September of 1863, another regiment was assigned to Colonel Adams regiment and he was promoted to Brigadier General, PACS on September 25, 1863. After his promotion he was given the unenviable task of attacking Union Major General William T. Sherman’s forces, who were marching on Meridian, Mississippi. Towards the end of the conflict, he served with General Nathan Bedford Forest in Alabama. His brigade surrendered in Sumter County, Alabama, on May 4, 1865, and he gave his farewell speech to the troops two days later. He had served gallantly throughout the war and was never wounded.

He returned to Mississippi after his parole, and was appointed a state revenue agent in 1880, a position he held until 1885 when President Grover Cleveland appointed him as postmaster of Jackson, Mississippi.

On May 1, 1888, William Wirt Adam met John H. Martin, a newspaper editor, on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi. The two had been quarreling for some time over political differences. Words were exchanged, both drew pistols and in less than a minute they lay dead. Wirt is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi.

His brother, Daniel Weisiger Adams, also a Confederate Brigadier General, lost an eye at Shiloh and is buried in an unmarked grave next to William.

Private James Howard Murray

By Danella Dickson

Pvt. James Howard Murray was born on March 4, 1831 in Copiah County, Mississippi, the son of Alexander Murray. He was married December 15, 1852 in Copiah County to Margaret Elizabeth Davis (born August 27, 1838 MS). They were parents of ten children.

James enlisted as a private on May 8, 1862 at Jackson, Mississippi in the newly organized 39th Mississippi Infantry, also known as Barry Guards of Copiah County. He was listed on company muster rolls for 1862 and then in January, 1863, he was noted “on sick furlough at home”  March and April 1863 he was present and April – August 1864 he was listed as present. Due to the sparse records and his illness it is difficult to be certain in what battles he was present. The regiment took part in the battles of Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Luka Corinth, Port Hudson and Franklin. Most likely he was with his regiment for the final action on April 8, 1865 when a remnant of the regiment was captured east of Mobile. They were paroled May 4, 1865 at Citronelle, Alabama.

James Howard Murray and family remained in Copiah County until the early 1870’s when they joined a wagon train traveling from Mississippi to Texas. The family settled in Nacogdoches County where the census taker found them in 1880.

James Howard Murray died on February 12, 1892 in San Augustine County, Texas where he is buried in the Spring Ridge Cemetery. Margaret Elizabeth applied for a widow’s pension in November 1913 that was promptly approved. She drew this pension until her death on January 29, 1918 in San Augustine County, Texas.

Thomas Benjamin Lee

By Matthew Aparicio

Thomas Benjamin Lee was born in newton County, Mississippi on October 24, 1843.

Thomas enlisted in the Confederacy at Chunky Station in Mississippi on August 10, 1861. He was mustered into service on September 5, 1861 at Pass Christian, Mississippi. He was assigned to Capt. W.B. Johnson’s Company (Chunky Heroes), 3rd Regiment Mississippi Volunteers*.

Thomas died sometime between the years of 1864 & 1865, in Camp Moore, Louisiana.

He was one of four brothers that served during the Civil war. Out of the four, he was the only one that did not survive the conflict.

*3rd Infantry Regiment, organized in the spring of 1861 at Enterprise Mississippi, contained men from Hancock, Newton, Hines, Yazoo, Harrison, Copiah, Jackson, and Sunflower counties and surrendered with the Army of Tennessee. The field officers were Colonels John B. Deason and Thomas A. Mellon; Lieutenant Colonels Samuel M. Dyer, Robert Eager, James B. McRae, and E.A. Peyton; and Major William H. Morgan.