Category Archives: Cotton

October 12, 1865: More from Mississippi

As promised, the Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus of October 12, 1865 ran the second installment of “Baldface”s report of his travels in Mississippi. This one has some fascinating stuff: the destruction of the railroads, the value of black soldiers, class … Continue reading

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October 5, 1865: A visit to Mississippi

The Cape Girardeau Argus prints a letter from a local who is traveling down the river to Mississippi. It’s interesting how quickly battle sites became objects of tourist interest. The writer’s account of seeing Fort Pillow shows how strongly the … Continue reading

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March 9, 1865: Abolition will make us like Canada

The Richmond Daily Dispatch speculates about the consequences of abolition for the American economy. There was considerable discussion throughout this period of the relative merits and productivity of free vs enslaved labor. Poundage of cotton picked per hand peaked in … Continue reading

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April 7, 1863: Great grain crop in Mississippi

The Richmond Daily Dispatch reprinted an article from Jackson, exulting in the good grain crops in Mississippi. Apparently some reprobates were still planting cotton and forsaking the war effort, though. Still, Mississippi would produce enough flour to supply the confederacy, … Continue reading

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February 17, 1863: The North is doomed

The Richmond Daily Dispatch explains how the North is fighting for its survival, because it can’t make it without the South. The South, says the Dispatch, produces everything the North depends on, and they can buy stuff from other manufacturers. … Continue reading

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December 17, 1862: Grant expels the Jews

Grant was exasperated by the machinations of cotton speculators who followed the Union army south. According to Bruce Catton, he had recently been especially offended by a scheme hatched by his father with some Northern businessmen. They came down to … Continue reading

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December 13, 1862: Maybe they won’t destroy the cotton after all

Official Records 7:40 AM WATER VALLEY, December 13, 1862. General GRANT: A scout sent to Oakland captured a messenger with orders to Major Blythe to destroy all cotton between the Tallahatchie and Coldwater, and all other points accessible. He expected … Continue reading

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December 10, 1862: Burn the cotton

Official Records JACKSON, December 10, 1862. Major-General VAN DORN, Grenada: Send a courier to Major Blythe and tell him to destroy all the cotton between the Tallahatchie and Coldwater and all other points accessible. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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November 20, 1862: Memphis Unionism

The New York Times reports that after a few months of occupation, the citizens of Memphis have found an unexpected well of Union sentiment. Considering that trade with the North had resumed for them, unlike places still under Confederate control, … Continue reading

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November 16, 1862: What to do with all these contrabands?

As Grant moves south from Memphis, he finds that he’s got more freed slaves than he knows what to do with. Halleck tells him to put them to work for the Union, and take food for them from the rebels. … Continue reading

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