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The free state of Jones : a true story of defiance during the American Civil War / Victoria E. Bynum.

By: Bynum, Victoria E.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London Duckworth Overlook, 2016Description: 400 pages : illustrations, maps ; 20 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780715650776(pbk); 9780715650776(pbk).Subject(s): Knight family | Racially mixed people -- Mississippi -- Jones County -- History -- 19th century | Unionists (United States Civil War) -- Mississippi -- Jones County | Military deserters -- Mississippi -- Jones County -- History -- 19th century | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects | Mississippi -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects | Jones County (Miss.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century | Jones County (Miss.) -- History -- 19th centuryDDC classification: 976.255
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Default St Albans Library
Non-fiction 976.255 BYNU Available IA0970670
Total reserves: 0

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

In the days surrounding April 15, 1864, several deadly confrontations erupted on the borders of Jones and Covington Counties, near the Leaf River, as the Knight Company clashed with cavalry led by Col. Robert Lowry. By the time the skirmishes ended, one cavalryman had been killed and ten deserters "summarily executed" by the cavalry. . . . Growing fears of collaboration between deserter bands and the Union Army . . . influenced Confederate authorities' decision to send Colonel Lowry into the region. Members of the several bands of deserters in the Jones County region apparently had frequent contact with one another and moved back and forth between bands when convenient, On March 29, [Capt.] W. Wirt Thomason reported rumors that "Yankees are frequently among" the Jones County deserters. Nine days later, and only one week before the Lowry raids, Daniel P. Logan warned Provost Marshal Major J.C. Denis that "large numbers" of Jones County deserters "have gone down Pearl River to and near Honey Island where they exist in some force . . . openly boasting of their being in communication with the Yankees." According to Newt Knight, during this period his company continually sought connections with the Union Army. He recounted how Jasper Collins had traveled without success to Memphis and Vicksburg to seek the company's recruitment into the Union Army. Newt also recalled that "Johnny Rebs busted up the party they sent to swear us in," explaining that a company of Union forces sent to recruit men of the Knight Company was waylaid by Confederate forces at Rocky Creek. After that, he said, "I sent a courier to the federal commander at New Orleans. He sent us 400 rifles. The Confederates captured them." Newt concluded that "we'll all die guerrillas, I reckon. Never could break through the rebels to join the Union Army." Excerpted from The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War by Victoria E. Bynum All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Bynum's deeply researched and well-written book unravels the historical and sociological significance of the Piney Woods region of southeastern Mississippi, a section that experienced decades of class, cultural, personal, and political antagonisms. During the Civil War, Jones County was a hotbed of Unionism and the site of an inner civil war. In late 1863 and mid-1864 Confederate deserters led by "Captain" Newt Knight, and supported by white women, slaves, and children, battled Confederate cavalry near the Leaf River. Knight's followers, the "Knight Company," seceded metaphorically from Mississippi and the Confederacy, establishing what local lore dubbed the "Free State of Jones." Bynum (history, Southwest Texas State Univ.) examines the interracial relationship between Knight, the grandson of a slaveholder, and Rachel Knight, one of his grandfather's slaves. The intermarriage of their children starting in the 1870s spawned a mixed-race lineage that exists today. In addition to sifting fact from fiction in Civil War-era Mississippi, Bynum penetrates "race" as an idea and explains the broad meaning of skin color classifications longitudinally. Powerful, revisionist, and timely, Bynum's book combines superb history with poignant analysis of historical memory and southern racial mores. For college and university collections. All levels. J. D. Smith North Carolina State University

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