Who do you think should manage Ferriday water?|
Story Archives: Gen. T.E.G. Ransom -- a Union favorite -- led the occupation of Natchez in 1863
- 2013 - 300 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|Gen. T.E.G. Ransom -- a Union favorite -- led the occupation of Natchez in 1863|
(12th in a series)
At 3 p.m. Monday, July 13, 1863, a federal occupation force of 1,200 troops arrived in Natchez under the command of 28-year-old Gen. Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom, one of the most beloved men in the federal army.
A year later, Ransom was dead, a casualty of war and illness.
Ransom was sent to Natchez by Gen. U.S. Grant following the Union victory at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. Part of his job was to help cut a Confederate supply line from Natchez to the little Catahoula Parish village of Trinity, located where four rivers meet at present-day Jonesville.
His other tasks, in addition to taking possession of Natchez with all of the responsibilities that entailed, including law and order, was to keep the river open to navigation from Rodney, Miss., to the Louisiana-Mississippi state line.
"The people were completely surprised and hardly realized our design until the place was fully occupied and picketed," Ransom reported to his superiors.
At the Adams County Courthouse, Ramson met with the mayor and council and formally "took possession of the city." Simultaneously, federal troops moved out to roads leading into town where pickets were assigned 24 hours a day.
"The store-houses in the city contain large quantities of sugar liable to fall into the hands of the rebel army in case this post is abandoned," Ransom reported to his superiors. "I have detailed a commission to inquire into its ownership, and desire instructions as to whether it shall be seized, if it is private property, as it will probably appear at least to be. There is also an immense quantity of lumber here, about the disposition of which I desire instructions. Will it be shipped, destroyed, or allowed to remain?"
The young general also quickly took possession "of the post office, with a large quantity of mail matter, the telegraph office, and courthouse."
Additionally, Ransom began disarming the citizenry, one of the first acts of a conquering army. Although Natchez had surrendered to U.S. Navy authorities in 1862, the city was never occupied until Ransom's arrival.
A Vermont native, Ransom's father was killed in action during the Mexican War in 1847. When an adult, Ransom moved to Illinois. He became a civil engineer and a surveyor and was employed by the Illinois Central Railroad when the Civil War broke out.
He immediately raised a company, was elected its captain and served the Union army until his death four years later. By the time he arrived in Natchez, Ransom's body had been battered, bruised and bloodied in battle on three occasions. He was wounded in Missouri in 1861, again at Fort Donelson in February 1862 and seriously injured in the head during the Battle of Shiloh two months later.
His superiors, including Grant, were crazy about him. Grant said Ransom was the perfect leader for expeditions and "a live man and of good judgment." Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said Ransom was one of the best officers in the army..."been shot all to pieces, but it doesn't hurt him."
Normally mild mannered, the bachelor became a different man when armies clashed. A newspaper reported that "when in battle he (Ransom) becomes tiger like, fearing nothing and becoming terrible in action."
For the full story, subscribe to the The Concordia Sentinel's NEW E-Edition!
|Frank Morris Murder Series|