War Comes to Mississippi
This Prologue describes Mississippi’s readiness for war. The prospect of civil war did not frighten Mississippi fire-eaters, so-called because of their fiery defense of slavery and secession as constitutional rights. In late 1861 Governor Pettus reported to the state legislature that Mississippi had twenty-two regiments and one battalion of infantry, one regiment and fourteen cavalry companies, plus eleven artillery companies, or some 23,000 troops altogether. Over the next four years Mississippi would contribute 96,414 men to the Confederate cause, of which 22,843 became casualties, just under a 25 percent casualty rate.
Keywords: civil war, fire-eaters, slavery, secession, regiment, battalion, cavalry, Confederates