Wednesday, September 4, 2013 1:00 AM
In less than four months, the 11th Mississippi Infantry, which numbered approximately 1,070 men at the Lynchburg, Virginia, muster on May 13, 1861, lost over two hundred men, thirty to the battlefield and the others to death or discharge. On September 6, 1861, a severe case of bronchitis caused the discharge of Private John R. Dumas, a six-foot two-inch tall farmer from Neshoba County. Dumas re-enlisted in March 1862, only to be severely wounded at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862. He was discharged once again from the Bird Island Hospital at Richmond, Virginia, in June 1862, this time with a gunshot wound and with "the ball still in the body." Two days later, a group of eight Mississippians arrived at Bristoe Station, Virginia, and quickly enlisted. They were: Company C, the Prairie Rifles from Okolona, Mississippi, William E. Weddell, 22, printer; Company D, William C. Cox, age and occupation unknown; John W. Earnest, 29; William M. Griffin, 30, farmer; Hiram Perry Harrison, 34, farmer, and brother Robert Bell Harrison, Jr., 25, farmer; Hampton J. Herrington, 29, farmer, and James H. Merkel, 20, farmer. None of these seven "boys" from Neshoba County escaped the horrors of war: William A. Cox, died of unknown causes at Camp Winder General Hospital at Richmond, Virginia, August 2, 1862; John W. Earnest, captured at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862, later dying of typhoid fever at Raleigh, North Carolina, January 19, 1863; William M. Griffin, discharged with chronic rheumatism, February 24, 1862; Hiram P. Harrison, wounded and captured at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, discharged as "permanently disabled from wound," December 1864; Robert Bell Harrison, Jr., wounded at Talley's Mill, May 10, 1864, arm amputated and discharged, October 13, 1864; Hampton J. Herrington, wounded in the leg and foot at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, retiring as disabled, August 25, 1864; and James H. Merkel, died with acute bronchitis at Warrenton, Virginia, November 6, 1861.
In the fall of 1861, a meeting of some of the soldiers of the 11th Mississippi produced a preamble and resolution that addressed the concerns about what they "had heard" was going on back home with the ladies. The document, forwarded to The Oxford Intelligencer for publication, read: "To the ladies of Mississippi: Whereas, It being reported that the ladies of Mississippi have fallen into several habits which cause much discontent among the soldiers, such as laying aside hoop skirts and cutting off the beautiful hair which has so long ornamented their lovely persons; also, the marrying of bachelors and widowers at home and discharged soldiers, -- Therefore, be it resolved, 1st, This it is with feelings of the deepest regret that we hear that our fair countrywomen have cut off their hair, and we do implore them, if such be the case, to let it grow out by the time we return home, as it is suggestive of disagreeable ideas connected with camp; and we cannot believe that the same necessity for this practice exists at home as in camp. 2nd, That we do earnestly beseech them not to remove their hoop skirts, which add so much to their gracefulness; as we do not desire them to occupy less space either in our hearts, mines or streets, as we think such a practice calculated to lead the enemy to cause so great a collapse of our dearest resources. 3rd, That the practice of marrying widowers, and bachelors and discharged soldiers now at home, is in the highest degree unjust and reprehensible, not only causing feelings of anger and regret upon our part, but greatly impairing the efficiency of the army. Large numbers have in consequence of this practice applied for discharge and returned home, and the committee greatly fear if practice be not discontinued, there will be no soldiers left to fight the future battles of our country. 4th, That we would remind the ladies that by waiting for return, they would meet with a body of men who, from being acquainted with hardships, can appreciate the comforts of home, and who, in case of a reversal of fortune, are qualified by the educations, lately received, to assist with domestic duties as cooking, washing and who are in every respect superior to the sickly and unfavorable specimens of unmarried mankind now at home."
Civil War Veterans
Burdine, Joseph A. - First Sergeant to Private; mustered April 13, 1861, at Neshoba Springs, Mississippi, in the Neshoba Rifles, later Company D, 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment; age twenty-five; clerk; served as first sergeant with the Neshoba Rifles; served as a private in Company D; died with pneumonia and dysentery at Winchester, Virginia, July 25, 1861; buried in the Stonewall Cemetery at Winchester.
World War II Veterans
Day, George Henry - Apprentice Seaman to Photographer's Mate Second Class; enlisted on December 31, 1943 at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the United States Navy; age twenty-eight; photographer; served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at the Naval Training Centers at Great Lakes, Illinois, Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia, and Atlantic City, New Jersey; completed photographic schools at Pensacola, Florida, and Anacostia, District of Columbia; served also in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations aboard the U.S.S. Lexington (aircraft carrier) of Carrier Group 9 ; participated in the campaigns on Wake Island, Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands and Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, April 1945 to May 1945; was one of the first photographers to capture on film the damage from the atomic bomb (Fat Man) dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, August 9, 1945; was present and photographed the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S Missouri (battleship) in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945; awarded the American Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with one bronze battle star); discharged at New Orleans, Louisiana, December 15, 1945, demobilization; described as five feet eleven inches tall, weighing 170 pounds, with black hair and green eyes.
Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum
Steven H. Stubbs, Curator
303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.;
Monday thru Friday