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Henry, Patrick (1843-1930) to John J. Pettus

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07082.03 Author/Creator: Henry, Patrick (1843-1930) Place Written: Brandon, Mississippi Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 5 August 1862 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 24.8 x 20 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07082.03 Author/Creator: Henry, Patrick (1843-1930) Place Written: Brandon, Mississippi Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 5 August 1862 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 24.8 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Writes to the Governor of Mississippi about Rankin county, Mississippi, which is in very bad condition due to a lack of able bodied men. They fear a slave uprising. "In our county the able bodied men have been so reduced by volunteering and drafting that the militia is not only greatly reduced, but the people are insecure from an outbreak of our blacks." Asks him to do what he can by using his position as Chief Magistrate of the state. Says there are hardly any guns or ammunition. Gives his advice to remedy the situation. This includes furnishing powder and ball to the board of police of each county to distribute to the people, and bringing the minute men back home to provide adequate protection. States, "The great object is first, to over awe the slave population, should discontent spring up, by the presence of armed men in each county, and second, to prevent these demoralizing inroads, which small bands of the enemy might make in neighbourhoods, greatly to the injury of life & property."

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Brandon
Aug 5th 1862
His Excellency
John J. Pettus
My Dear Sir:
My sickness has prevented me from making the communication to you which I previously intended viz.

The condition of ...the County of Rankin taking it for granted that every county in the state is similarly situated, I am of opinion that something ought to be speedily done for the public good. I know you will do anything you can reasonably do, in your capacity as chief magistrate of the state, and I submit whether you can relieve in this case. In our county, the able bodied men have been so reduced by volunteering and drafting, that the militia is not only greatly reduced, but the people are insecure from an outbreak of our blacks. Upon careful enquiry, I have ascertained that good guns are not only very scarce, but there is no ammunition to speak of in the county. The best guns have all been impressed for the public service and the few remaining would be useless upon an emergency for the want of ammunition. [2]

The question is how can this be remedied? I will suggest 2 ways - 1st by furnishing powder & ball to the board of police of each county, for distribution among the people of the county, in such way as you might think right & fair - & the 2nd to bring the minutemen home, & let them be organized for home protection as guerrillas (& mounted) according to population in each county. This last seems to be, to my mind, the best & most suitable plan. We have heard of the desolation in the track of the enemy, of the ruin produced near Helena, & to prevent the escapement of slaves, or their forcible abduction, it would be a matter of vast importance to have an organized band of determined querrillas in each county, to cut off those infernal straggling & marauding parties of the enemy, should they come. If there should be [inserted: no] need of them, from the fact that the enemy may not come, they will be of incalculable advantage in compelling peace and order at home, amongst our servile population, who see & know our total want of preparation for a raid on their part, as well [inserted: as] we do ourselves. [3]

As an inducement to this withdrawal, it might be stated that they will not be required in the field of Genl. VanDorn, from present appearances, & that their physical condition would be greatly improved by the privilege of being at their respective homes, at least, two nights in every week. My idea is that they should still remain in the service & pay of government, & to be in the saddle everyday, & night too, if necessary. They could be ranged in squads for the most part in every [beat], & to have the power of concentrating once every week. The great office is first, to overawe the slave population, should discontent spring up, by the presence of armed men in each county, - & second, to prevent those demoralizing inroads, which small bands of the enemy might make in neighborhoods, greatly to the injury of life and property.

I submit these things to the patient consideration of your excellency, & ask you to take the letter home with you, & give it an attentative perusal, away from the bustle of [inserted: the] office. Hoping you will excuse the liberty I have taken, I remain

Your friend P. Henry

[Address]
His Excellency
John J. Pettus
Jackson
Miss
[Docket]
Brandon Miss
Aug 5. 1862
Gen. P. Henry
Makes suggestions
With regard to
Rankin county.
See More

People: Pettus, John Jones, 1813-1867
Henry, Patrick, 1843-1930

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Civil WarMilitary HistoryConfederate States of AmericaSlaverySlave RebellionAfrican American HistoryConscriptionMilitiaWeaponryAmmunitionRebellionGuerrilla WarfareWartime Pillaging and Destruction

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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