previous next

Ladies banished from Vicksburg — free Religions Worship not allowed.

The Mississippian published a communication from a lady, one of a number furnished lately from Vicksburg by order of Gen. McPherson It appears that since the fall of Vicksburg few of the citizens have visited the churches at that unfortunate city. On Christmas day, however, a large number were induced to attend services in the Episcopal church, it being understood that an old and esteemed minister would officiate, and they being assured that the prayer for Lincoln would be omitted. The church was crowded by citizens and Federal officers and soldiers, and under compulsion the prayers for the Yankee President and Congress were audibly read, whereupon a number of the citizens rose from their knees, whilst others quietly walked out of church. The result was that the Yankee Provost Marshal called next day upon the prominent indles who left the church and gave them to understand they had incurred the displeasure of the commanding General, and must leave the city.--The banished ladies are of the highest social position. Miss Martin is the sister of Gen. Wm. T. Martin, of Natchez; Mrs. Moure and Miss Latham daughters of Harvey Latham, residing near The Mississippi daughters of judge Barrett. The letter says:

‘ I send you a copy of Major-Gen. McPherson's order banishing certain ladies of Vicksburg beyond the Federal lines, together with a circumstantial account of their offence.


Headquarters 17th Army Corps, Provost Marshal's Office, Vicksburg, Dec. 27th, 1863.
The following named persons--Miss Kate Barnett, Miss Ella Barnett, Miss Laura Latham, Miss Eille Martin, and Mrs. Mary Moore--having acted disrespectfully towards the President and Government of the United States, and having unsuited the officers, soldiers, and loyal citizens of the United States, who had assembled at the Episcopal Church in Vicksburg, on Christmas day, for divine service, by abruptly leaving said church at that point in the services where the officiating minister plays for the welfare of "the President of the United States, and all others in authority," are hereby banished, and will leave the Federal lines within forty-eight hours, under penalty of imprisonment.

Hereafter all persons, male or female, who by word deed, or implication, do insult or show disrespect to the President, Government, or flag of the United States, or any officer or soldier of the United States, upon matters of a national character, shall be fined, banished, or imprisoned, according to the grossness of the offence.

By order of Maj. Gen. McPherson.
Jas Wilson, Lieut-Colonel,
Provost-Marshal 17th Army Corps.

Headquarters 17th Army Corps. Provost Marshal's Office, Vicksburg, Dec. 27th, 1863.
The parties ordered to proceed outside the Federal lines by circular from these headquarters, dated December 27th, 1863, will report at the Railroad Depot, at 10 o'clock A. M. to-morrow. They will be permitted to take their private baggage. A conveyance will be in readiness at Big Black bridge, with flag of truce to take them to the Confederate lines, or so far as the flag may be permitted to proceed.

By order of Maj-Gen, McPherson.
Jas. Wilson, Lieut-Colonel,
Provost Marshal 17th Army Corps.

It is known that the citizens of Vicksburg, with but few exceptions, have not attended church since the occupation of the city by the Federals--But having been informed by a Federal officer that the services in the Episcopal Church, on Christmas day, would be conducted by the Rev. Mr. Fox, an old and esteemed minister of that church, a citizen of Warren county for many years, and well known in Vicksburg, and having been assured, both by the officer and the minister, that the prayer for the President of the United States should be omitted, and that the services in all respects should be congenial, after the most urgent solicitations, on the part of each of these persons, many of them consented to attend. Their own chosen ministers, knowing that a fanatical and unprincipled enemy would place the most grievous and offensive restrictions upon their ministry, if they remained, had gone within the Confederate lines, with the consent and by the advice of their respective congregations, very soon after the fall of the city. To a people therefore, who had been so long debarred the pleasure of congenial religious services, this promised privilege afforded a peculiar satisfaction. The congregation, on this memorable occasion, was composed of citizens and Federals, both officers and soldiers. The services commenced as usual, and proceeded until the prayer which, it was pledged should be omitted, was audibly read, and followed by a prayer for the Federal Congress. Whereupon, some of the members of the congregation arose from their knees and quietly took their seats — others gave vent to their feelings in a flood of tears while a young lady of impulsive disposition, feeling indignant at the bad faith of those who had invited her to attend, arose and left the church, and was immediately followed by four other ladies, who were actuated by the same feelings.

Under these circumstances, they regarded it their right and their duty to withdraw from a place which thus had been rendered unpleasant to them, and from a people with whom they had no sympathy. Judge of their surprise, therefore, when on the next day, they learned from undoubted sources, that a number of Federal officers had signed a petition for their banishment.

This first petition it is believed, did not reach the commanding General, but a feeling of shame had found its way to the heart of some one at or about headquarters, and it was destroyed. It was soon succeeded, however, by another, urgently requesting that the offenders be sent beyond the lines; and this, we understand, was signed by two thirds of the officers in the city. The General commanding held a consultation on the grave question with his advisers, and the magnanimous officials, many in number, were unanimous, with but few exceptions, for the banishment of the offenders.

The Provost Marshal made an official visit to demand the names of the ladies when he was informed that no apology would be made by the parties offending, and the Federal authorities could take such action in the matter as they pleased.--Accordingly, a copy of the above order was sent to each of the ladies in the afternoon of the same day, and also placarded throughout the city. The General was applied to on behalf of some of the parties, for longer time to make arrangements for their transportation beyond the lines, and for the adjustment of their financial matters. No reply was made to this, but the second order was then sent, shortening the time five hours.

The mother of some of the young ladies requested permission to accompany them, and place them under proper protection, which was granted, when according to the order, they reported at the Railroad Depot during a violent ain storm at the appointed hour. They were conveyed to the terminus of the railroad, where hundreds of Yankee soldiers stood to witness their departure. Thence they were conveyed to the Confederate lines by an officer and an armed guard, where the Confederate scouts received them and conducted them at once to the hospitable mansion of a Southern gentleman.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (6)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
McPherson (4)
William T. Martin (2)
Harvey Latham (2)
Jas Wilson (1)
James Wilson (1)
Moure (1)
Mary Moore (1)
Eille Martin (1)
Lincoln (1)
Laura Latham (1)
Gen (1)
Fox (1)
Barrett (1)
Kate Barnett (1)
Ella Barnett (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 27th, 1863 AD (3)
December 25th (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: