I came across this story recently. There seems no end to the fascinating stories and characters from this era. MILFORD G. COE was born in 1828 in Claiborne County, MS, second son of Thomas and Jane (Glasscock) Coe. He was destined to become one of Mississippi's most notorious renegades during the Civil War. Listed in his father's home in the 1850 census of Madison Parish, LA, he also appears as a 22-year-old overseer in the 1850 census of Claiborne County, MS. He first appears on record in Claiborne County in the tax list of 1849. In Bolivar County, MS, in 1860, he was overseer of Egypt Plantation, belonging to the Lobdell estate. He served with Company G, 2nd Mississippi Infantry, during the Mexican War, and as a private, Company A, 1st Mississippi Cavalry, Confederate Army, during the Civil War. At the Battle of Belmont he "demonstrated himself a constitutional coward." He returned to Bolivar County and was engaged as overseer by Rhodes Estill, whose plantation was situated on Lake Bolivar, three miles from Bolivar Landing, opposite the lower end of Island No. 76 in the Mississippi River. Estill, a chronic invalid, on several occasions sent Coe to the gunboat Marmore, stationed near Bolivar, to present gifts to the officers and to solicit protection for himself and property. Coe was and always had been very fond of "John Barleycorn," and this, with other motives, induced him to turn his back on the South and desert to the cause of the North. He became a notorious renegade and bandit during the remainder of the war. In 1863 he was located on Island 76 with about fifty fugitive slaves under his command. There were also other renegade white men with him. A tall, powerful Negro named Tom, who had been foreman on the plantation of Colonel Christopher Fields near Bolivar, acted as his first lieutenant. Here in this island fortress these miscreants dwelt with a woodyard to supply Uncle Sam's war boats. Occasionally Coe would have a boat put him and his men on the Mississippi side of the river. There they would raid the countryside, collecting mules, herds of cattle and fugitive slaves. Transported back to his island home, he would dispose of the property at his leisure. On one of his forays he swept everything from the Estill plantation and cursed and abused his former employer with rancor and bitter hatred. He also on this raid took all of the mules from the plantations of William Sellers and others. He never stole from Egypt Plantation nor the Burrus or Gibson plantations, stating that W.S. Gibson and Mr. Burrus had always treated him kindly, Burrus having once nursed and cared for him throughout a long and dangerous illness. Here on this island, in command of a band of misfits and fugitives, Coe became a perpetual menace to the welfare of citizens within a wide radius of Bolivar. His name became more of a terror to area inhabitants than that of Malinda Coe' s Confederate guerrilla son George "Beanie" Short to Union sympathizers in Kentucky. Sometime in late 1863 or early 1864 six men belonging to Evans' Scouts, Ross' Texas Brigade, commanded by Bob Lee, sent a 16-year-old Negro boy named Holt Collier, a servant of Howell Hines, as a spy to the island. After joining Coe's band and remaining several days, he returned with full information as to the location of the camp, numbers, etc. He also collected important intelligence that Coe's arms, when not in use during a foray, were by Coe' s order kept in the house occupied by Coe and his white associates. Some nights after this an old flat-bottom bateau containing six white men and this Negro boy moved with muffled oars through the darkness and fog, silent as a phantom, across the murky waters of the Mississippi. It was as gallant and desperate mission as was ever undertaken by men who realized the issue to be success or death to every man of that silent group. Quietly they landed on the bar below the camp. Stealthily, Indian file they approached the hut occupied by Coe. Quickly the door was forced and by the flash of a dark lantern Coe and his white comrades in crime looked into the nearby muzzles of six Army Colts. "Hands up; no noise!" was uttered by a voice, the quiet intensity of which was sufficient to make one's hair rise and goose bumps crinkle one's flesh. Quickly Coe and his white companions were bound and gagged. Leaving two men to hold the hut and arms, the other five soon captured and corralled the Negroes. They then moved the entire group away from the camp and into an open place in the woods. They were bunched with the stern assurance that the first one to move or make a noise would also be the first to die. About daylight the next morning a sutler trading boat, commanded by a Captain Booker, landed at the woodyard landing. Leaving two men to guard the prisoners, the other five, disguised in Yankee overcoats, walked aboard and in less than five minutes the boat and crew were captured and secured. They then used the boat as a ferry to cross their captives to the Mississippi side and made the boat pay a large stipend not to burn her. Luckily, the Yankee's gunboat was away on some mission. The mules and property that could be identified were restored to the planters from whom they had been taken. Mr. Estill and Mr. Sellers regained most of their stock. The fugitive slaves were released with the command to return to their masters, which most of them obeyed. Coe was taken before Mr. Estill, where he again demonstrated his cowardice by agonized prayers, pleading for his life to be spared. Coe, one of the other white men and Tom were immediately shot. Thus was the end of Milford Coe and his band. Interestingly, Coe's brother, Thomas Jefferson Coe, who served under Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War, was employed by the Confederate president as overseer of his home known as Brierfield, located near Bolivar. Coe's other two brothers served in the Confederate army.