Monmouth Historic Inn

The Civil War and Monmouth

June 4 2015 | News

I find the Civil War fascinating - and painful; reading about its history in Natchez and at Monmouth has also been interesting for me, as I hope it is for you.  This excerpt is from the booklet:  "Monmouth:  Its Majesty and Legacy."  Enjoy and until next time - happy travels!

"It was the night of 17th of February, 1863 when we were exposed to the fury of sixty-thousand fiends in the shape of Yankee soldiers. . . . I cannot grow familiar with the sight of them.  the glimpse of that uniform fills one with loathing and horror. . . ."

Antonia Quitman Lovell, Elmscourt, Sunday 1866

The city of Natchez felt the impact of the Civil War beginning in May 1862, when Union war ships sailed up the Mississippi River to Natchez.  In September of that year, the town was shelled by Union artillery when members of a local home guard fired on the Union gunboat, the USS Essex.  This shelling lasted for several hours, resulting in the death of one Natchezian and the burning of several homes.  Natchez came under full Union military occupation in May 1863.  Natchez sent 1,444 of its white men to war under the Confederate flag.  Thousands of enslaved men from throughout the district also participated in the Civil War, experiencing their first taste of freedom.  Most eventually joined the Union regiments as soldiers.  Several thousand served as a force of occupation in Natchez and the surrounding countryside for the duration of the war.

The impact of the Civil War engulfed Natchez and especially the Monmouth household.  The Union army set up refugee camps for the formerly enslaved in the town and at its waterfront, constructed a military fort, and housed men and animals in nearly every house and structure.  Monmouth's enslaved men and women fled at the first sign of Union troops, some obviously breaking for freedom, and some out of fear for their lives.  Yankee officers moved into the first floor of the main house at Monmouth, forcing the Quitman daughters and their families to move upstairs.