The Free State of Jones

MaryDee

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Hey, considering the competition and the relative lack of publicity, not bad. I agree that putting FSJ up against the summer blockbusters was not a good idea. Maybe they'll make enough out of DVD sales to us CW junkies to at least break even?

Re the Warren statue--they obviously should have worked harder to disguise the hat!
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Hey, considering the competition and the relative lack of publicity, not bad. I agree that putting FSJ up against the summer blockbusters was not a good idea. Maybe they'll make enough out of DVD sales to us CW junkies to at least break even?

Re the Warren statue--they obviously should have worked harder to disguise the hat!

Guess they figured it would look like another soldier standing on the rock.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
Look at what is being obscured by the bushes. It's on the rock above the soldier who is sitting down on the right.
Pretty well camouflaged, I'd say -- or I just have really poor eyes. I had to look and look for it before I found it -- and probably never would have seen it if y'all hadn't set me to looking for it. Then again, I've never been to Gettysburg.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
A critical review of the history as depicted in the movie:

http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/review/the-free-state-of-jones-history-or-hollywood/

2) Jones County Unionism – The essence of the film was that Jones County, as well as a few of the surrounding counties, was a hotbed of unionist, as well as anti-slavery, support since it was sparsely populated with slaves. In fact, there were just over 300 blacks in the whole county in 1860. The film makes it seem as though the majority unionist Jones Countians reacted against the plantation-slave-cotton economy of the South, every bit as much as the hated “Twenty Negro Law” and the Confederate “tax-in-kind” policy.

And to build up this dramatic, anti-wealth narrative, what we see is a large-scale plantation right in the center of Ellisville, complete with a big house with a cruel and unjust master, named James Eakins, who raises a lot of cotton, enough to fill the cotton market in the small town. The set up seems to be taken right from Natchez and transplanted in the heart of Jones County. But it is complete fiction. Jones County had no major plantations and was comprised mainly of small yeoman farmers, who raised more cattle than cotton.

In fact, aside from Eakins, there are many fictional characters in this film, nearly as many as authentic characters in the true story – Moses Washington, the main freed slave in the Knight Company who occupies much of the center stage throughout the film, and Daniel Knight, Newt Knight’s nephew killed at the Battle of Corinth at the start of the movie, are both completely fabricated.

As for Confederate tax policy, the “tax-in-kind” that required farmers to give ten percent to the government, it was a tough tax in those farm-based areas and there were reports of rough tactics used to collect it. But the film essentially portrayed the Confederate army and tax collectors as barbarians. I was unsure if I was seeing the Confederate army or the first coming of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. One particularly nasty tax-collecting officer, a Lt. Barbour, was also a fictional character.

But the film left out the fact that the Confederate Congress changed the tax several times, including a major change in February 1864 that exempted poor and needy families but also heavily taxed the rich and affluent. One political scientist from Yale wrote that the Confederate Congress, in this new change, “taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%.”[4] And all because of the complaints of, and out of concern for, struggling farmers.

And of course the film completely omits the fact that the Knight Company was burning homes and plundering farms of those who remained loyal to the Confederacy in a fashion much worse than actions undertaken by the Confederate army.

In one letter from Captain W. Wirt Thompson to the Confederate Secretary of War, James Seddon, he recounts the carnage: “Several of the most prominent citizens have already been driven from their homes, and some have been slaughtered in their own homes because they refused to obey the mandates of the outlaws and abandon the country. Numbers have been ordered away and are now living under threats and in fear of their lives.”[5]

Although there was a rebellion in Jones, the county was not nearly as unionist as it is portended to be. Jones raised eight companies of troops for the Confederate army, a sizeable number for a county of just 3323 white souls when the war started. Colonel John Marshall Stone, who commanded Mississippi troops in the war and later served 12 years as governor, wrote that Jones County “furnished perhaps as many soldiers to the army of the Confederacy as any other county of like population.”[6]

Several of these units had very colorful names, indicating their loyalty and patriotism toward the Confederate cause: Ellisville Invincibles (Co. K, 8thMississippi, in which my 4th great grandfather William Hugh Graham fought and died doing his part to stop Sherman’s rampage in Georgia), Jones County Rosin Heels (commanded by Amos McLemore, who was murdered by Knight), the Beauregard Defenders, and the Renovators.[7]


-------

Compounding the issue further is Knight’s service in the Confederate army, which was of his own accord until at least 1863, when he deserted for good. Yet in his later years, Knight tried to down play his service. In a petition to Mississippi governor Sharkey in the summer of 1865, Knight wrote, “We Stood firm to the union when secession swept as an avalanche over the state. For this cause alone we have been treated as savages instead of freeman by the rebel authorities.”[14] But his Confederate service disproves that entire petition.

To get around that problem, as Knight told Meigs Frost, he only served because he was forced into service. Mississippi voted to secede from the Union, he said, then the “next thing we know they were conscripting us. The rebels passed a law conscripting everybody between 18 and 35. They just come around with a squad of soldiers ‘n’ took you.” But the conscription act did not pass until April of 1862, after Knight was already in the army, so he had, in fact, voluntarily joined, as did a great many members of his future Knight Company, including Jasper Collins.

As the movie portrays, and as Knight told Frost, he refused to fight and worked as a nurse. “I didn’t want to fight. I told ‘em I’d help nurse sick soldiers if they wanted. They put me in the Seventh Mississippi Battalion as hospital orderly. I went around giving the sick soldiers blue mass and calomel and castor oil and quinine. That was about all the medicine we had then. It got shorter later.” But he is not listed on any muster rolls as a hospital orderly and eventually reached the rank of fourth sergeant during his time in the army. He just decided to desert and start a campaign of “bushwhackin’.”

-------


5) The Character of Newt Knight – The film attempts to portray Newt Knight as a great man, but aside from those in the Knight Company, most Jones Countians, then and now, had a low opinion of Knight. He’s well known, even today, as a murderer, thief, plunderer, bandit, outlaw, and an adulterer. One of his own neighbors called him “a mighty sorry man.”[18]


-------


And during his rebellion, Knight killed Confederate Major Amos McLemore in cold blood, which is the centerpiece of the whole affair. McLemore, a native of Jones, was sent by General Braxton Bragg to put down the rebellion and round up the deserters. He was staying in the Ellisville home of Amos Deason, a house that is still standing today and is the focus of the story. Knight and a cohort sneaked up to the house and shot McLemore late at night as the Major prepared for bed.

One version of the incident holds that Knight shot him through the window, or, in another version, burst in the door and shot him. Either way, we do know that Knight shot McLemore in the back. Yet the film portrays this incident in a church, for some reason, with Knight strangling him with his belt, seemingly an attempt to make it a much more dramatic and a more chivalrous act, supposedly in defense of his county and people from the murderous hordes wearing the gray.
 
Last edited:

nitrofd

Retired User
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
north central florida
A critical review of the history as depicted in the movie:

http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/review/the-free-state-of-jones-history-or-hollywood/

2) Jones County Unionism – The essence of the film was that Jones County, as well as a few of the surrounding counties, was a hotbed of unionist, as well as anti-slavery, support since it was sparsely populated with slaves. In fact, there were just over 300 blacks in the whole county in 1860. The film makes it seem as though the majority unionist Jones Countians reacted against the plantation-slave-cotton economy of the South, every bit as much as the hated “Twenty Negro Law” and the Confederate “tax-in-kind” policy.

And to build up this dramatic, anti-wealth narrative, what we see is a large-scale plantation right in the center of Ellisville, complete with a big house with a cruel and unjust master, named James Eakins, who raises a lot of cotton, enough to fill the cotton market in the small town. The set up seems to be taken right from Natchez and transplanted in the heart of Jones County. But it is complete fiction. Jones County had no major plantations and was comprised mainly of small yeoman farmers, who raised more cattle than cotton.

In fact, aside from Eakins, there are many fictional characters in this film, nearly as many as authentic characters in the true story – Moses Washington, the main freed slave in the Knight Company who occupies much of the center stage throughout the film, and Daniel Knight, Newt Knight’s nephew killed at the Battle of Corinth at the start of the movie, are both completely fabricated.

As for Confederate tax policy, the “tax-in-kind” that required farmers to give ten percent to the government, it was a tough tax in those farm-based areas and there were reports of rough tactics used to collect it. But the film essentially portrayed the Confederate army and tax collectors as barbarians. I was unsure if I was seeing the Confederate army or the first coming of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. One particularly nasty tax-collecting officer, a Lt. Barbour, was also a fictional character.

But the film left out the fact that the Confederate Congress changed the tax several times, including a major change in February 1864 that exempted poor and needy families but also heavily taxed the rich and affluent. One political scientist from Yale wrote that the Confederate Congress, in this new change, “taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%.”[4] And all because of the complaints of, and out of concern for, struggling farmers.

And of course the film completely omits the fact that the Knight Company was burning homes and plundering farms of those who remained loyal to the Confederacy in a fashion much worse than actions undertaken by the Confederate army.

In one letter from Captain W. Wirt Thompson to the Confederate Secretary of War, James Seddon, he recounts the carnage: “Several of the most prominent citizens have already been driven from their homes, and some have been slaughtered in their own homes because they refused to obey the mandates of the outlaws and abandon the country. Numbers have been ordered away and are now living under threats and in fear of their lives.”[5]

Although there was a rebellion in Jones, the county was not nearly as unionist as it is portended to be. Jones raised eight companies of troops for the Confederate army, a sizeable number for a county of just 3323 white souls when the war started. Colonel John Marshall Stone, who commanded Mississippi troops in the war and later served 12 years as governor, wrote that Jones County “furnished perhaps as many soldiers to the army of the Confederacy as any other county of like population.”[6]

Several of these units had very colorful names, indicating their loyalty and patriotism toward the Confederate cause: Ellisville Invincibles (Co. K, 8thMississippi, in which my 4th great grandfather William Hugh Graham fought and died doing his part to stop Sherman’s rampage in Georgia), Jones County Rosin Heels (commanded by Amos McLemore, who was murdered by Knight), the Beauregard Defenders, and the Renovators.[7]


-------

Compounding the issue further is Knight’s service in the Confederate army, which was of his own accord until at least 1863, when he deserted for good. Yet in his later years, Knight tried to down play his service. In a petition to Mississippi governor Sharkey in the summer of 1865, Knight wrote, “We Stood firm to the union when secession swept as an avalanche over the state. For this cause alone we have been treated as savages instead of freeman by the rebel authorities.”[14] But his Confederate service disproves that entire petition.

To get around that problem, as Knight told Meigs Frost, he only served because he was forced into service. Mississippi voted to secede from the Union, he said, then the “next thing we know they were conscripting us. The rebels passed a law conscripting everybody between 18 and 35. They just come around with a squad of soldiers ‘n’ took you.” But the conscription act did not pass until April of 1862, after Knight was already in the army, so he had, in fact, voluntarily joined, as did a great many members of his future Knight Company, including Jasper Collins.

As the movie portrays, and as Knight told Frost, he refused to fight and worked as a nurse. “I didn’t want to fight. I told ‘em I’d help nurse sick soldiers if they wanted. They put me in the Seventh Mississippi Battalion as hospital orderly. I went around giving the sick soldiers blue mass and calomel and castor oil and quinine. That was about all the medicine we had then. It got shorter later.” But he is not listed on any muster rolls as a hospital orderly and eventually reached the rank of fourth sergeant during his time in the army. He just decided to desert and start a campaign of “bushwhackin’.”

-------


5) The Character of Newt Knight – The film attempts to portray Newt Knight as a great man, but aside from those in the Knight Company, most Jones Countians, then and now, had a low opinion of Knight. He’s well known, even today, as a murderer, thief, plunderer, bandit, outlaw, and an adulterer. One of his own neighbors called him “a mighty sorry man.”[18]


-------


And during his rebellion, Knight killed Confederate Major Amos McLemore in cold blood, which is the centerpiece of the whole affair. McLemore, a native of Jones, was sent by General Braxton Bragg to put down the rebellion and round up the deserters. He was staying in the Ellisville home of Amos Deason, a house that is still standing today and is the focus of the story. Knight and a cohort sneaked up to the house and shot McLemore late at night as the Major prepared for bed.

One version of the incident holds that Knight shot him through the window, or, in another version, burst in the door and shot him. Either way, we do know that Knight shot McLemore in the back. Yet the film portrays this incident in a church, for some reason, with Knight strangling him with his belt, seemingly an attempt to make it a much more dramatic and a more chivalrous act, supposedly in defense of his county and people from the murderous hordes wearing the gray.
There is no concrete proof that Knight killed McLemore,is has always been assumed that Knight or some other person like him did the deed.let us see your proof that Knight killed him.
It seems as a little bit of that lost cause is raising it's head again.
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
There is no concrete proof that Knight killed McLemore,is has always been assumed that Knight or some other person like him did the deed.let us see your proof that Knight killed him.
It seems as a little bit of that lost cause is raising it's head again.
Well, his son said it, and gave the story about shooting him through a window.
 

nitrofd

Retired User
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
north central florida
Well, his son said it, and gave the story about shooting him through a window.
A quote from Victoria Bynum's book about the incident days this "Tom Knight did not confirm that his father pulled the trigger,but defended the murder of McLemore on grounds that he was a "news toter" for the confederacy and had been warned by the Knight band to stop."
According to Ethel Kinght,McLemore was a "hot headed young fellow" who had been "warned that he was treading on dangerous ground but he refused to heed the warning."
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Everything he has said in this post is absolutely factually correct and supported by evidence.
Really? Here's the very first item I looked at, chosen at random:

But the film left out the fact that the Confederate Congress changed the tax several times, including a major change in February 1864 that exempted poor and needy families but also heavily taxed the rich and affluent. One political scientist from Yale wrote that the Confederate Congress, in this new change, “taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%.”[4] And all because of the complaints of, and out of concern for, struggling farmers.

Here's what the source actually said:

"The impact of these financial policies was not constrained to civilians but directly felt by the troops. As early as April 1862, the army’s meat ration was reduced from twelve to eight ounces and again reduced by half in January 1863.58 In addition to meager supplies, soldiers were often not paid. “One of the primary causes of demoralization among Confederate fighting men was their government’s failure to provide adequate pay – or, indeed, in many cases, to provide any pay whatever.”59 The unfortunate soldiers stationed beyond the Mississippi were never paid after September 1863 because of the difficulty of transporting funds. And when General Lee examined the causes for the high desertion rates, he found that the lack of food and pay were at the root of the problem.60 Faced with the progressively worsening prospects for the Confederacy, Congress finally reconvened on December 7, 1863, after ending the third session on May 1, 1863, with the objective to turn the war in their favor. The Confederacy could no longer ignore demands on its resources and expenditures had to be financed; relative to other policy alternatives, taxation was the last hope to provide financing. The connection between military success and finances was summarized in the Report of the Committee on Finance printed on January 25, 1864: “No scheme of finance can be maintained in the face of serious military reverses. For, after all, public credit depends as much upon the sword of the soldier who defends the country as upon the pen of the law-giver who regulates its form and character.”61 Consequently, three important tax laws were passed, one in February and two in June of 1864; each increased existing rates and expanded the revenue base. On February 17, 1864, Congress taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%. One commentator, discussing the February 1864 tax law, wrote: “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to escape this tax law.”62 This law was followed by the June 10, 1864, law raising rates again by increasing all existing tax rates by 20% of the previous rate.63 And on June 14, 1864, profits were taxed an additional 30%. These were significant changes to the previous tax regime; there was a tenfold increase in the tax rate on property which included slave assets; taxes on all goods and profits were doubled; and, the tax was renewable each year. But with the uniform tax rate on property, once again slave assets were safeguarded from being taxed at higher rates. Even though the economy’s resources were strapped by 1864, the new tax laws were not simply valiant enactments that rang hollow in the vaults of the Treasury. The War Tax of August 19, 1861, brought $17 million into the coffers of the Confederacy by the end of July 1863. While taxes collected under the Acts of April 24, 1863, February 17, 1864, and June 14, 1864, totaled $118 million, more than ten times as much. Even though the average rate of state contributions declined from 87% to 62%, the absolute amount of taxes paid was still considerable given that the war was in full swing.64 In aggregate terms, the proportion of the revenue that came from taxes increased over this period. From February to August 1862, the Treasury collected $3.7 million in real terms; during the following five months, it was $1.2 million; and from January to September 1863, the same months that the South faced serious financial, political, and military setbacks, it was only $421,000. But from October 1863 to April 1864, tax revenues improved considerably jumping up to $2.2 million with an additional collection of $1.3 million from April to October 1864. (See Table 2) In aggregate, revenue from taxation increased from $1.6 million, collected during September 1862 to September 1863, to $3.5 million collected in the following year, from October 1863 to October 1864. While this would not necessarily reverse the Confederacy’s financial conditions, it was a remarkable achievement. The Union was occupying more and more of the Confederacy shrinking the tax base, and tax evasion was rampant given citizens’ dreary expectations about victory."

http://economics.yale.edu/sites/def...eminars/Economic-History/razaghian-050914.pdf

Note, nothing about exempting poor or needy families from the tax. Also, it wasn't out of concern for struggling farmers. It was out of concern for dwindling revenues. Typical of the abbeville institute, they take a snippet out of context and then weave a web of lies around it.

The abbeville writer wants us to believe the tax-in-kind was discontinued and replaced by a more fair tax. Such is not the case. The February 1864 tax was IN ADDITION TO all the other taxes, NOT INSTEAD OF those other taxes.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
A critical review of the history as depicted in the movie:

http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/review/the-free-state-of-jones-history-or-hollywood/

2) Jones County Unionism – The essence of the film was that Jones County, as well as a few of the surrounding counties, was a hotbed of unionist, as well as anti-slavery, support since it was sparsely populated with slaves. In fact, there were just over 300 blacks in the whole county in 1860. The film makes it seem as though the majority unionist Jones Countians reacted against the plantation-slave-cotton economy of the South, every bit as much as the hated “Twenty Negro Law” and the Confederate “tax-in-kind” policy.

And to build up this dramatic, anti-wealth narrative, what we see is a large-scale plantation right in the center of Ellisville, complete with a big house with a cruel and unjust master, named James Eakins, who raises a lot of cotton, enough to fill the cotton market in the small town. The set up seems to be taken right from Natchez and transplanted in the heart of Jones County. But it is complete fiction. Jones County had no major plantations and was comprised mainly of small yeoman farmers, who raised more cattle than cotton.

In fact, aside from Eakins, there are many fictional characters in this film, nearly as many as authentic characters in the true story – Moses Washington, the main freed slave in the Knight Company who occupies much of the center stage throughout the film, and Daniel Knight, Newt Knight’s nephew killed at the Battle of Corinth at the start of the movie, are both completely fabricated.

As for Confederate tax policy, the “tax-in-kind” that required farmers to give ten percent to the government, it was a tough tax in those farm-based areas and there were reports of rough tactics used to collect it. But the film essentially portrayed the Confederate army and tax collectors as barbarians. I was unsure if I was seeing the Confederate army or the first coming of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. One particularly nasty tax-collecting officer, a Lt. Barbour, was also a fictional character.

But the film left out the fact that the Confederate Congress changed the tax several times, including a major change in February 1864 that exempted poor and needy families but also heavily taxed the rich and affluent. One political scientist from Yale wrote that the Confederate Congress, in this new change, “taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%.”[4] And all because of the complaints of, and out of concern for, struggling farmers.

And of course the film completely omits the fact that the Knight Company was burning homes and plundering farms of those who remained loyal to the Confederacy in a fashion much worse than actions undertaken by the Confederate army.

In one letter from Captain W. Wirt Thompson to the Confederate Secretary of War, James Seddon, he recounts the carnage: “Several of the most prominent citizens have already been driven from their homes, and some have been slaughtered in their own homes because they refused to obey the mandates of the outlaws and abandon the country. Numbers have been ordered away and are now living under threats and in fear of their lives.”[5]

Although there was a rebellion in Jones, the county was not nearly as unionist as it is portended to be. Jones raised eight companies of troops for the Confederate army, a sizeable number for a county of just 3323 white souls when the war started. Colonel John Marshall Stone, who commanded Mississippi troops in the war and later served 12 years as governor, wrote that Jones County “furnished perhaps as many soldiers to the army of the Confederacy as any other county of like population.”[6]

Several of these units had very colorful names, indicating their loyalty and patriotism toward the Confederate cause: Ellisville Invincibles (Co. K, 8thMississippi, in which my 4th great grandfather William Hugh Graham fought and died doing his part to stop Sherman’s rampage in Georgia), Jones County Rosin Heels (commanded by Amos McLemore, who was murdered by Knight), the Beauregard Defenders, and the Renovators.[7]


-------

Compounding the issue further is Knight’s service in the Confederate army, which was of his own accord until at least 1863, when he deserted for good. Yet in his later years, Knight tried to down play his service. In a petition to Mississippi governor Sharkey in the summer of 1865, Knight wrote, “We Stood firm to the union when secession swept as an avalanche over the state. For this cause alone we have been treated as savages instead of freeman by the rebel authorities.”[14] But his Confederate service disproves that entire petition.

To get around that problem, as Knight told Meigs Frost, he only served because he was forced into service. Mississippi voted to secede from the Union, he said, then the “next thing we know they were conscripting us. The rebels passed a law conscripting everybody between 18 and 35. They just come around with a squad of soldiers ‘n’ took you.” But the conscription act did not pass until April of 1862, after Knight was already in the army, so he had, in fact, voluntarily joined, as did a great many members of his future Knight Company, including Jasper Collins.

As the movie portrays, and as Knight told Frost, he refused to fight and worked as a nurse. “I didn’t want to fight. I told ‘em I’d help nurse sick soldiers if they wanted. They put me in the Seventh Mississippi Battalion as hospital orderly. I went around giving the sick soldiers blue mass and calomel and castor oil and quinine. That was about all the medicine we had then. It got shorter later.” But he is not listed on any muster rolls as a hospital orderly and eventually reached the rank of fourth sergeant during his time in the army. He just decided to desert and start a campaign of “bushwhackin’.”

-------


5) The Character of Newt Knight – The film attempts to portray Newt Knight as a great man, but aside from those in the Knight Company, most Jones Countians, then and now, had a low opinion of Knight. He’s well known, even today, as a murderer, thief, plunderer, bandit, outlaw, and an adulterer. One of his own neighbors called him “a mighty sorry man.”[18]


-------


And during his rebellion, Knight killed Confederate Major Amos McLemore in cold blood, which is the centerpiece of the whole affair. McLemore, a native of Jones, was sent by General Braxton Bragg to put down the rebellion and round up the deserters. He was staying in the Ellisville home of Amos Deason, a house that is still standing today and is the focus of the story. Knight and a cohort sneaked up to the house and shot McLemore late at night as the Major prepared for bed.

One version of the incident holds that Knight shot him through the window, or, in another version, burst in the door and shot him. Either way, we do know that Knight shot McLemore in the back. Yet the film portrays this incident in a church, for some reason, with Knight strangling him with his belt, seemingly an attempt to make it a much more dramatic and a more chivalrous act, supposedly in defense of his county and people from the murderous hordes wearing the gray.
I am now intrigued. I went to check out the Abbeville Institute's website to see who they are, and who should I find, mixed in with various Southern revisionists, but Kirkpatrick Sale, who I remember as a sort of guru for many of my comrades in my young and foolish days on the Left. Although Sale has little in common with Confederate apologists -- he thinks the allegedly enlightened states of the northeast (starting with Vermont) should secede this time around -- the site touts Sale's book Emancipation Hell: The Tragedy Wrought By the Emancipation Proclamation 150 Years Ago. The frequent, though unintended, overlap of the two causes never ceases to amaze me. Politics indeed makes strange bedfellows. But I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, given things such as LBJ's notorious comment about African-Americans (which is not the term he used) when he signed major welfare legislation that incentived fatherless families. Or George Fitzhugh's 1854 book Sociology for the South, in which slavery is glowingly described as "a form, and the very best form, of socialism."
 
Last edited:

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
I am now intrigued. I went to check out the Abbeville Institute's website to see who they are, and who should I find, mixed in with various Southern revisionists, but Kirkpatrick Sale, who I remember as a sort of guru for many of my comrades in my young and foolish days on the Left. Although Sale has little in common with Confederate apologists -- he thinks the allegedly enlightened states of the northeast (starting with Vermont) should secede this time around -- the site touts Sale's book Emancipation Hell: The Tragedy Wrought By the Emancipation Proclamation 150 Years Ago. The frequent, though unintended, overlap of the two causes never ceases to amaze me. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, given things such as LBJ's notorious comment about African-Americans (which is not the term he used) when he signed major welfare legislation that incentived fatherless families. Or George Fitzhugh's 1854 book Sociology for the South, in which slavery is glowingly described as "a form, and the very best form, of socialism."

I wasn't familiar with Kirkpatrick Sale, so I went and looked him up. I suspect it's his ideas about decentralization and secession where he might find some common ground with the Abbeville Institute.

As for Free State of Jones, I'm thinking it may well be a good movie that's just not very good history, like so many other "based on a true story" historical films. The problem is that it's being sold as the antidote to old myths, when a lot of what it peddles is just as fictional.

Maybe it will inspire people to learn the actual history. That would be a good thing.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
They are a neoconfederate propaganda mill established to craft falsehoods to fool people with a shaky grasp of history about what the confederacy and the Civil War was all about, in order to serve a modern political agenda.
Yes, but it's their overlap with some on the Left that intrigues me. What all of them share is what I would call anti-Whiggism. Allen Guelzo's book Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President was what finally got me seeing the connections. I recommend the book heartily to anyone who's ever been mystified by how the current political parties seem, to most folks I talk to, to have "flipped" since the Civil War era.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
Really? Here's the very first item I looked at, chosen at random:

But the film left out the fact that the Confederate Congress changed the tax several times, including a major change in February 1864 that exempted poor and needy families but also heavily taxed the rich and affluent. One political scientist from Yale wrote that the Confederate Congress, in this new change, “taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%.”[4] And all because of the complaints of, and out of concern for, struggling farmers.

Here's what the source actually said:

"The impact of these financial policies was not constrained to civilians but directly felt by the troops. As early as April 1862, the army’s meat ration was reduced from twelve to eight ounces and again reduced by half in January 1863.58 In addition to meager supplies, soldiers were often not paid. “One of the primary causes of demoralization among Confederate fighting men was their government’s failure to provide adequate pay – or, indeed, in many cases, to provide any pay whatever.”59 The unfortunate soldiers stationed beyond the Mississippi were never paid after September 1863 because of the difficulty of transporting funds. And when General Lee examined the causes for the high desertion rates, he found that the lack of food and pay were at the root of the problem.60 Faced with the progressively worsening prospects for the Confederacy, Congress finally reconvened on December 7, 1863, after ending the third session on May 1, 1863, with the objective to turn the war in their favor. The Confederacy could no longer ignore demands on its resources and expenditures had to be financed; relative to other policy alternatives, taxation was the last hope to provide financing. The connection between military success and finances was summarized in the Report of the Committee on Finance printed on January 25, 1864: “No scheme of finance can be maintained in the face of serious military reverses. For, after all, public credit depends as much upon the sword of the soldier who defends the country as upon the pen of the law-giver who regulates its form and character.”61 Consequently, three important tax laws were passed, one in February and two in June of 1864; each increased existing rates and expanded the revenue base. On February 17, 1864, Congress taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%. One commentator, discussing the February 1864 tax law, wrote: “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to escape this tax law.”62 This law was followed by the June 10, 1864, law raising rates again by increasing all existing tax rates by 20% of the previous rate.63 And on June 14, 1864, profits were taxed an additional 30%. These were significant changes to the previous tax regime; there was a tenfold increase in the tax rate on property which included slave assets; taxes on all goods and profits were doubled; and, the tax was renewable each year. But with the uniform tax rate on property, once again slave assets were safeguarded from being taxed at higher rates. Even though the economy’s resources were strapped by 1864, the new tax laws were not simply valiant enactments that rang hollow in the vaults of the Treasury. The War Tax of August 19, 1861, brought $17 million into the coffers of the Confederacy by the end of July 1863. While taxes collected under the Acts of April 24, 1863, February 17, 1864, and June 14, 1864, totaled $118 million, more than ten times as much. Even though the average rate of state contributions declined from 87% to 62%, the absolute amount of taxes paid was still considerable given that the war was in full swing.64 In aggregate terms, the proportion of the revenue that came from taxes increased over this period. From February to August 1862, the Treasury collected $3.7 million in real terms; during the following five months, it was $1.2 million; and from January to September 1863, the same months that the South faced serious financial, political, and military setbacks, it was only $421,000. But from October 1863 to April 1864, tax revenues improved considerably jumping up to $2.2 million with an additional collection of $1.3 million from April to October 1864. (See Table 2) In aggregate, revenue from taxation increased from $1.6 million, collected during September 1862 to September 1863, to $3.5 million collected in the following year, from October 1863 to October 1864. While this would not necessarily reverse the Confederacy’s financial conditions, it was a remarkable achievement. The Union was occupying more and more of the Confederacy shrinking the tax base, and tax evasion was rampant given citizens’ dreary expectations about victory."

http://economics.yale.edu/sites/def...eminars/Economic-History/razaghian-050914.pdf

Note, nothing about exempting poor or needy families from the tax. Also, it wasn't out of concern for struggling farmers. It was out of concern for dwindling revenues. Typical of the abbeville institute, they take a snippet out of context and then weave a web of lies around it.

The abbeville writer wants us to believe the tax-in-kind was discontinued and replaced by a more fair tax. Such is not the case. The February 1864 tax was IN ADDITION TO all the other taxes, NOT INSTEAD OF those other taxes.

Hmmm... the mis-interpretation of the Yale piece strikes me as egregious and reckless... thanks for your follow-up work.

- Alan
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
A critical review of the history as depicted in the movie:

http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/review/the-free-state-of-jones-history-or-hollywood/

2) Jones County Unionism – The essence of the film was that Jones County, as well as a few of the surrounding counties, was a hotbed of unionist, as well as anti-slavery, support since it was sparsely populated with slaves. In fact, there were just over 300 blacks in the whole county in 1860. The film makes it seem as though the majority unionist Jones Countians reacted against the plantation-slave-cotton economy of the South, every bit as much as the hated “Twenty Negro Law” and the Confederate “tax-in-kind” policy.

And to build up this dramatic, anti-wealth narrative, what we see is a large-scale plantation right in the center of Ellisville, complete with a big house with a cruel and unjust master, named James Eakins, who raises a lot of cotton, enough to fill the cotton market in the small town. The set up seems to be taken right from Natchez and transplanted in the heart of Jones County. But it is complete fiction. Jones County had no major plantations and was comprised mainly of small yeoman farmers, who raised more cattle than cotton.

In fact, aside from Eakins, there are many fictional characters in this film, nearly as many as authentic characters in the true story – Moses Washington, the main freed slave in the Knight Company who occupies much of the center stage throughout the film, and Daniel Knight, Newt Knight’s nephew killed at the Battle of Corinth at the start of the movie, are both completely fabricated.

As for Confederate tax policy, the “tax-in-kind” that required farmers to give ten percent to the government, it was a tough tax in those farm-based areas and there were reports of rough tactics used to collect it. But the film essentially portrayed the Confederate army and tax collectors as barbarians. I was unsure if I was seeing the Confederate army or the first coming of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. One particularly nasty tax-collecting officer, a Lt. Barbour, was also a fictional character.

But the film left out the fact that the Confederate Congress changed the tax several times, including a major change in February 1864 that exempted poor and needy families but also heavily taxed the rich and affluent. One political scientist from Yale wrote that the Confederate Congress, in this new change, “taxed all property including slaves at 5%; all gold, silver, and jewels were taxed at 10%; all shares or interest in banks, companies or businesses were taxed at 5%; monies in any form were taxed at 5%; and taxes on profits were increased to 10%, with companies that made more than a 25% profit taxed at 25%.”[4] And all because of the complaints of, and out of concern for, struggling farmers.

And of course the film completely omits the fact that the Knight Company was burning homes and plundering farms of those who remained loyal to the Confederacy in a fashion much worse than actions undertaken by the Confederate army.

In one letter from Captain W. Wirt Thompson to the Confederate Secretary of War, James Seddon, he recounts the carnage: “Several of the most prominent citizens have already been driven from their homes, and some have been slaughtered in their own homes because they refused to obey the mandates of the outlaws and abandon the country. Numbers have been ordered away and are now living under threats and in fear of their lives.”[5]

Although there was a rebellion in Jones, the county was not nearly as unionist as it is portended to be. Jones raised eight companies of troops for the Confederate army, a sizeable number for a county of just 3323 white souls when the war started. Colonel John Marshall Stone, who commanded Mississippi troops in the war and later served 12 years as governor, wrote that Jones County “furnished perhaps as many soldiers to the army of the Confederacy as any other county of like population.”[6]

Several of these units had very colorful names, indicating their loyalty and patriotism toward the Confederate cause: Ellisville Invincibles (Co. K, 8thMississippi, in which my 4th great grandfather William Hugh Graham fought and died doing his part to stop Sherman’s rampage in Georgia), Jones County Rosin Heels (commanded by Amos McLemore, who was murdered by Knight), the Beauregard Defenders, and the Renovators.[7]


-------

Compounding the issue further is Knight’s service in the Confederate army, which was of his own accord until at least 1863, when he deserted for good. Yet in his later years, Knight tried to down play his service. In a petition to Mississippi governor Sharkey in the summer of 1865, Knight wrote, “We Stood firm to the union when secession swept as an avalanche over the state. For this cause alone we have been treated as savages instead of freeman by the rebel authorities.”[14] But his Confederate service disproves that entire petition.

To get around that problem, as Knight told Meigs Frost, he only served because he was forced into service. Mississippi voted to secede from the Union, he said, then the “next thing we know they were conscripting us. The rebels passed a law conscripting everybody between 18 and 35. They just come around with a squad of soldiers ‘n’ took you.” But the conscription act did not pass until April of 1862, after Knight was already in the army, so he had, in fact, voluntarily joined, as did a great many members of his future Knight Company, including Jasper Collins.

As the movie portrays, and as Knight told Frost, he refused to fight and worked as a nurse. “I didn’t want to fight. I told ‘em I’d help nurse sick soldiers if they wanted. They put me in the Seventh Mississippi Battalion as hospital orderly. I went around giving the sick soldiers blue mass and calomel and castor oil and quinine. That was about all the medicine we had then. It got shorter later.” But he is not listed on any muster rolls as a hospital orderly and eventually reached the rank of fourth sergeant during his time in the army. He just decided to desert and start a campaign of “bushwhackin’.”

-------


5) The Character of Newt Knight – The film attempts to portray Newt Knight as a great man, but aside from those in the Knight Company, most Jones Countians, then and now, had a low opinion of Knight. He’s well known, even today, as a murderer, thief, plunderer, bandit, outlaw, and an adulterer. One of his own neighbors called him “a mighty sorry man.”[18]


-------


And during his rebellion, Knight killed Confederate Major Amos McLemore in cold blood, which is the centerpiece of the whole affair. McLemore, a native of Jones, was sent by General Braxton Bragg to put down the rebellion and round up the deserters. He was staying in the Ellisville home of Amos Deason, a house that is still standing today and is the focus of the story. Knight and a cohort sneaked up to the house and shot McLemore late at night as the Major prepared for bed.

One version of the incident holds that Knight shot him through the window, or, in another version, burst in the door and shot him. Either way, we do know that Knight shot McLemore in the back. Yet the film portrays this incident in a church, for some reason, with Knight strangling him with his belt, seemingly an attempt to make it a much more dramatic and a more chivalrous act, supposedly in defense of his county and people from the murderous hordes wearing the gray.

War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0515 Chapter XXXVI. UNION RAID ON BROOKHAVEN, MISS., ETC


Report of Lieutenant W. M. Wilson, forty-THIRD Tennessee Infantry. JACKSON, June 30, 1863.

COLONEL: Last Wednesday, June 24, the enemy made a raid upon Brookhaven, burned several cars, and proceeded on toward Monticello. As soon as possible after their passing Brookhaven, a squad of 22 men was raised by Colonel [w. S.]Lovell, who placed me in command of them, with orders to make all haste, and, if possible, overtake them before they did any more damage to our railroads. My orders from the colonel were to fight them in the most advantageous manner. At the time a left Brookhaven the enemy that some four hours the start of me. This advantage over he must not be underestimated, when we consider that they were taking all the fresh horses on the road, pressing along rapidly, while my men and boys were badly mounted at the outset. Any horses gave out during out first night's pursuit. When I arrived at Monticello the enemy that just three hours the start; but, having turned the ferry-boat loose, I was compelled to go down the river 6 miles to cross. By this [time] they had a sufficient start of me to rest a portion of the night, while my men and horses were urged along to the very utmost. At this point I was also detained to re-enforce my command, as many of those who started with me returned from here. We then pursued them with all possible speed to Williamsburg, at which place we were necessarily compelled to delay again for the purpose of recruiting men and horses. After this, again pushed as rapidly as possible for Ellisville. A short distance from Lear River the enemy destroyed a brigade over a creek different road to the river, crossing the ferry below them, and intersecting the road they were traveling some 6 miles from the river. On arriving a this point, some 2 miles from[B] ELLISVILLE,[/B] I discovered they had not yet passed on. I immediately destroyed a bridge on Rocky Creek, dismounted my men, and took a position a receive them. In an hour after I arrived at this place the enemy came in sight. I allowed them to come within a few paces before firing upon them, the first and only fire given them. Four fell dead and 5 wounded, for seriously. The remainder scattered before we could reload. The captain being unhorsed, fell into four hands. In about and hour a flag of truce was sent to know the number of their dead and wounded, which I advised them of. Another flag being granted, after some preliminaries the entire command surrendered unconditionally. The horses, arms, and equipments, number unknown. As my command was composed almost entirely of citizens, strangers to me, it was impossible to prevent them(and, in fact, those who came in afterward)appropriating to their use both horses and equipments. [B]It was a much as I could possibly do, to keep sufficient order to guard my prisoners. [/B]The horses, arms, and equipments are chiefly in the hands of citizens of Lawrence, Covington, and Jones Counties. Might possibly be collected, but it would require a force to do it. As much as possible I returned the horses taken from the citizens by the enemy. The entire command surrendered to me was 37. Four were so badly wounded as to compel me to leave them is Jones County. Before doing so, procured medical and other attention for them. Two of these so,(Michael O'NEIL, company C, and John S. Webster, company A, FIFTH Illinois Cavalry)I paroled; g take some distance from the road, I could to make time to see them. The balance of 33-31 non-commissioned officers and privates and 1 captain and 1 first lieutenant-I returned over to the commandant of the post a this place yesterday. A pursued them 86 miles with a force of 35 men and boys, composed of 2 soldiers of Company F, first Mississippi Light Artillery, a few of Captain [V. L.]Terrell's Cavalry, the balance old men and boys, and attacked them in thirty-six hours from the time I left Brookhaven. I left him at Ellisville. Enclosed please find orders from [B]General [C. C.]Washburn[/B] to Captain Mann, showing the program laid down for him to carry out. * I am, sir, your obedient servant, W, M. WILSON, 1st Lieut, company B, 43rd Regiment Tenn. Vols., commanding the Detachment.[/I] [I][ATTACH=full]241988[/ATTACH][/I] [I]Union General [B]CADWALLADER COLDER WASHBURN[/B][/I] [I][/I][/SIZE][/time]
 

nitrofd

Retired User
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
north central florida
They are a neoconfederate propaganda mill established to craft falsehoods to fool people with a shaky grasp of history about what the confederacy and the Civil War was all about, in order to serve a modern political agenda.
I had never heard of them either so I went to their website,needless to say I will not be going back.
 
Top