MONMOUTH’S OCCUPATION BY UNION SOLDIERS
In 1861, the state of Mississippi seceded from the Union and John Quitman daughters see their husbands off to war.
When Natchez was attacked by the Union army in 1862, during the American Civil War, the city surrendered to the Union army. Yankee officers moved into the first floor of the main house at Monmouth, forcing the Quitman daughters and their families to move upstairs.
In the summer of 1863, after the fall of fortress Vicksburg, Union soldiers occupied Natchez, and life at Monmouth was never the same again. The Union army set up refugee camps for the formerly enslaved in the town and at its waterfront, constructed a military fort, and housed soldiers and animals in nearly every estate house and structure. Monmouth was overrun by Union soldiers, who looted the house of furnishing and food, tore up its gardens, and carried off timber and farming utensils. Its extensive acreage may have been used as a burial ground for those soldiers and their families who died from the ravishing diseases that swept through the town during the war, including the families of those black soldiers who had followed them to Natchez where they succumbed to dysentery and other fatal illnesses.
By 1865, Impoverished by the War, the Quitman daughters bartered, borrowed, and sold some of their household possessions, i.e., furniture, clothes, carpets, glass jars and personal possessions, and a carriage, to any taker, often to Union soldiers. The family lacked even the money to purchase milk for the granddaughter of General Quitman. The enterprising Quitman daughters even used Union soldiers to their advantage. Some soldiers were paid to move furniture and purchase wood, and a Union Captain paid $5.00 for the rental of a room at Monmouth. Henry W. Slocum, a Union general, befriended the family, warding off significant structural damage to Monmouth. In a step that might have caused John Quitman to turn over in his grave, the Quitman daughters agreed, as did many others in Natchez, to pledge their loyalty to the United States. With a brother and husbands in the Confederate army, this was no easy decision.
Once the war ended, the three Quitman sisters, Louisa, aged forty, Annie Rosalie, aged twenty-six, and Fredericka aged twenty-two, managed to scrape together enough money to purchase from their sister, J. Antonia, and brother, F. Henry, their share of Monmouth in 1866. Sister Eliza T. tragically dies shortly after her marriage leaving her share of Monmouth to her surviving sisters and brother. The following year, Louisa and her husband, Joseph Lovell, along with their toddlers. Eva Chadbourne and Alice Quitman, as well as newly widowed Fredericka, moved into Monmouth, while Annie Rosalie moved to New Orleans with her sister, J. Antonia. Tragedy struck the Quitman family again, when Louisa lost her son and husband within a year, after which she moved to Baltimore.