Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Southern Town Goes to War: Holly Springs 1861

Two Confederate volunteers in the
an early uniform of the Civil War


“Thursday the 28th of March, 1861, was a day long to be remembered in Holly Springs. It was the day appointed for the volunteers from Marshall County, who had nobly responded to the call made upon Mississippi by President Davis for 1,500 troops to go to Pensacola, to set out for the scene of action. The three companies who had been accepted for that service were the Jeff Davis Rifles, Capt. Sam Benton; the Home Guards, Capt. Thos. W. Harris; and the Quitman Rifle Guards, Capt. Robert McGowan Jr…... Three more brave and gallant companies, or companies made up of better material, social, moral, and intellectual, were never mustered into service, in any age, or in any country. The farmer and the mechanic, the teacher and the pupil, the laborer and the artist, the merchant and the lawyer. . .were represented by some of their very best.... The slaveholder and the non-slave owner stood side by side in those gallant ranks, and they go to teach the fanatic and deluded Yankee that they have common cause in the maintenance of our glorious cause....”

Prior to departure , “the presentation of a beautiful flag to the Jeff Davis Rifles, by the young ladies of the Holly Springs Female Institute, of which Prof. Hackelton is the principal. The flag was presented by Miss Jennie Edmonson, who represented the young ladies. She was most tastefully dressed, having on a jacket of gray, trimmed in black, with cap of similar material, to correspond with the uniform of the Rifles. Her address was replete with beauty both in the matter and manner of it. Her graceful figure; her handsome features; her clear, distinct and musical enunciation; and yet more the earnest feelings with which she spoke, all tended greatly to heighten the effect of the burning words and elegant diction of the address itself. The heart would have been hard and the eye cold indeed that could have withheld the homage of a tear to the triumph of woman’s eloquence, when she pledged to the parting soldiers the prayers of her own sex and the blessings of the people, and invoked in their behalf in anxious and trembling tones, the benediction of Almighty God.”

“That flag was received by Capt. Benton, as the gallant representative of his gallant company. Mr. Benton’s reputation as a public speaker is too well established to need any encomium from us. His remarks were brief, appropriate and to the point--promptings of a patriotism as profound as the speaker is known to be generous and brave. But the heart of the soldier was too full for any display of words. In plain feeling language he thanked the young ladies for this token of their regard and confidence, and of their devotion to the cause of independence; and gave them a soldier’s word that that Flag, though perchance stained with blood, should never be stained with dishonor.”

A brief look at love, sex, and marriage in the Civil War. The book covers courtship, marriage, birth control and pregnancy, divorce, slavery and the impact of the war on social customs.

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