A New Orleans Refugee Complains about General John C. Pemberton

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First Sergeant
Mar 18, 2011
Clinton, Mississippi
I found the following letter in the correspondence of Mississippi Governor John J. Pettus:

Pike Co., Miss.

March 3rd, 1863

John J. Pettus, Esq.


Holding a position that will give your voice power & your counsel deference, may an earnest appeal from an humble individual have a hearing? Throughout this portion of the country there is a growing distrust of Lieut. Gen. Pemberton; certainly strengthened by late events.

His antecedents are not in his favor, which fact, taken in conjunction with the passing of the Vicksburg batteries by three Federal gunboats, has made the people naturally inclined to question his loyalty. His stringent order prohibiting all telegraphic dispatches in case of an engagement, looks ominous & leaves the game entirely in his own hands.

Knowing from bitter experience how my own city was needlessly yielded & how even at the eleventh hour telegrams announced all as progressing well, I am distrustful of such an entire assumption of military power. I would ask the supervision of your watchful eye, since “External vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Lovell’s incompetency lost New Orleans – Pemberton’s treachery may bring worse evils, by needlessly prolonging a fearful war & allowing the enemy to penetrate to the heart of our country. Should the future prove our fears are groundless, so much the better, but opinions are openly expressed & by men of position too – “that the Vicksburg officers won’t do.”

Pardon the liberty of thus addressing you, I have but given voice to the feeling of the community & in their name do appeal to you by all that is sacred in home & country – to watch!


A New Orleans Refugee

John J. Pettus Correspondence

Series 757

Box 944

Folder 4

Mississippi Department of Archives & History
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