SuperTalk Mississippi

The Civil War: Just How It Affected Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss.– The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865, to determine the survival of the Union or the independence of the Confederacy. The seven slave states known as the Confederacy initially seceded from the rest of the country. The 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War is this week; Thursday, to be exact.

Mississippi was the second state out of that lot to do so, and then-Secretary of War Jefferson Davis went on to become the President of the Confederacy. But they were basically fighting the same battle as every other state in the Confederacy: How do you get through the period of transition between Slavery and Liberation? Among other things, such as the well-being of veterans returning home from war.

News Mississippi spoke exclusively with Dr. Susannah Ural, Ph.D, a professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi specializing in the socio-military experiences of U.S. Civil War soldiers and their families. She also co-directs the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society. She has published several researches, her latest in the Fall of 2013; Don’t Hurry Me Down to Hades: The Civil War in the Words of Those Who Lived It. 

“Mississippi is a prominent influential state when the war begins,” according to Dr. Ural. “And yet, by the end of the war, it’s just a shadow of what it had been just 4 years earlier. By the time you get to 1865, the U.S. Army had been dominating the situation in Mississippi since the late summer of 1863. The governor of Mississippi had been arrested, the state legislature had been shut down. You’ve had inflation, and the economy is just shredded. For 55% of the population, which had been enslaved, this union influence in the state from late 63-65 and continuing on through reconstruction, this of course means liberation.”

In case those of you at home didn’t realize, when over half of your state’s population is enslaved, the liberation process can be a bit complicated. Here lies the biggest issue deriving from the Civil War here in Mississippi. “This will be the transition from slavery to freedom. Again, this is 55% of the population, who, for the most part, had been prevented from learning how to read, write, and do basic arithmetic, the overwhelming question in all this chaos was: how are these people going to successfully make the transition to freedom, and the responsibilities of democracy. And, within a capitalist society. And at the same time, you have all of these Mississippi soldiers who are now coming home, but to what kind of a home? Have their fields been destroyed? Are they even going to be able to get a crop in? Assuming they can even get home in time to do that. Then there are just the physical needs of these veterans. In 1866, one year after the war, 1/5 of the state’s budget went to providing prosthetic limbs to the state’s veterans. And that’s just the veterans who needed prostheses.”

You can hear the full interview with Dr. Ural here:

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More