"Raymond Years Ago"

By George W. Harper

Journalist - Editor - Owner Of Hinds County Gazette 1845-1883

A Series Published in the Hinds County Gazette, 1878-1879

From the Gillespie Collections edited by Pattie Adams Snowball and Rebecca Blackwell Drake


History Home Page

"Raymond Years Ago"

Home Page

Part I

Harper Arrives in Mississippi

Vicksburg & Meridian RR

Businesses in 1844

The Raymond Bar

Early Merchants

Part II

1844 Businesses

Seat of Justice

Cotton Industry

Early Churches

Part III

Establishment of Schools

John B. Peyton

Raymond Area Homes

Medicinal Resorts & Spas

Part IV

The Mexican War

Early Churches

Early Schools

Raymond Female Institute

Raymond Military Institute

McNutt-Foote Debate

Part V

1844 Presidential Election

Local Elections of 1845

Literary Raymond

Raymond Fires

Old Log Jail

Part VI

Death of Jos. Stewart

Murder of Benj. Sims

Duel Ends in Death

Part VII

Raymond & Bolton RR

Harper Elected Mayor

Chaos at Oak Tree Hotel


Great Fire of 1858

Early Area Settlements

  • Amsterdam

  • Yeizer's Store

  • Newtown

  • Meridian Springs

  • Sturgiss Store

  • Dry Grove

  • County Line

Part IX

Rev. Fisk's Biology Class

Fisk Charged with Fraud

Part X

Fleetwood Tragedy

Local Racetracks

Dignitaries Visit Raymond

Winning the Lottery

Fire Company No. 1

Part XI

"Devoted & Valued Friend"

Tribute to Amos Johnson

Part XII

Yellow Fever Strikes Raymond

Doctors Treating Victims

Cooper's Well

Mississippi Springs


Newspaper Entrepreneurs

Yankees Sack Gazette Office

Fate of Editorial Giants

Part XIV

Henry Clay Defeated in 1844

Stray Cats in Raymond

"A Remarkable Occurrence"

Blow That Punky Bell to Hell"

Isom Bldgs Destroyed

Part XV

1851 Gubernatorial Election

Union Ticket Sweeps State

Part XVI

New Raymond Courthouse

Gibbs Building Rebuilt

Hinds Co. Poor House

Schools Struggle

Murder of Addie Owens


War comes to Raymond

The Battle of Raymond

Willie Foote Captured

Make-shift Hospitals

Yankees Occupy Raymond


Raymond Lodge No. 21

Odd-Fellows' Graveyard

Bolls Incarceration

Crimes Blamed on Whisky

Peyton's Willow Tree Prank

Part XIX

Politics in Raymond

Presidential Election 1860

Hinds Co. for Succession

Raymond Fencibles Organized

Churches Reorganize

Part XX

The Clinton Riot of 1875

Why the Great Uneasiness?

Deaths of Sivley & Thomson

"Kill the Raymond Men"

Part XXI

Harrison Election

Political Gatherings

Event at Dupree's Grove

Presidential Election 1876


Governor Ames Impeached

Great Wrongs Investigated

Fight the Devil with Fire


Reconstruction Era

Harper Ends with Poetic Vision



The War Comes to Raymond

Raymond commenced preparations for the war immediately upon the secession of the State, (Jan. 1861,) but did not see a Yankee in arms until May 12, 1863. Three companies were made up here very early after secession, while many of our men afterwards found places in all arms of the service and in every army over which floated the Confederate flag.

The old [Raymond] Fencibles, which had acquired so much character in Mexico, in 1846 – ’47, was the first company ready for service in the county, and would have been “in at first Manassas,” but for delay here waiting for arms, and still further delay in the north part of the State awaiting the organization of a regiment. It went forward under command of the then Sheriff of the county, Col. W. H. Taylor – but that gentleman was soon promoted to the Colonelcy, when the [Raymond] Fencibles elected Sam. B. Thomas, our present Sheriff, and a Mexican veteran, to that position, and most worthily did he fill it. Capt. G. W. Elliott also formed a company here; and so did Col. R. Charlton; and a company in Withers’ regiment of artillery, commanded by Capt. W. T. Ratliff was made up to some extent of Raymond men; as was also Capt. T. A. Mellon’s company of infantry, afterwards under command of Capt. A. J. Willis.

Capt. A. J. Willis of Raymond with his guitar which he played throughout the entire war. Willis' company, as well as other local companies, joined the 3rd Mississippi Infantry.

The bombardment of Vicksburg, as well as the battle of Chickasaw Bayou, in 1862, were distinctly heard in Raymond, and gave the people who were still at home, an idea of war.

Time wore along, and May 1863, arrived. An army, under command of Pemberton, said to be from 30,000 to 50,000 strong, was in Vicksburg, and that city, so long the business point for all this region of county, had become a vast military camp, and was no longer a commercial centre. It was known early in the spring that Grant was organizing an immense army for the capture of the position without regard to cost, and to successfully defend the place, was the great desire of the Confederate authorities.

Vicksburg then commanded the Mississippi river, and, besides, was the point of communication between the east and west. It was highly important that it should be held by the Confederates, and every man, and every appliance, that could be spared from other points, was sent there. It was soon discovered that, unlike the former federal expeditions for the same purpose, this one would not rely wholly on gunboats or solely on a front attack; but that Vicksburg would be assaulted both by land and water, in front and rear; and as certain was it that the Northern army, provided it was assembled south of the city, would pass through Hinds county on its way to the rear of the city. It was supposed, however, that the mass of the army would cling to Big Black River, and that little of it would be seen so far in the interior as Raymond.

Gen. Gregg, of the Confederate army, arrived in Raymond with 1500 [3,000] gallant Tennesseans and Texans, on the evening of the 11th of May, from Jackson, and camped in the woods at what was then known as Alston’s Springs, with heavy pickets on all the roads.

Grant’s force landed at Bruensburg [sic], marched out to Port Gibson, and turned northwards towards the rear of Vicksburg. On the 10th of May a company of volunteer scouts from Raymond encountered the Yankees, and reported on the 11th a large force on each of the roads leading to this place.

The Battle of Raymond

Battle of Raymond historic marker

Gen. Gregg, on arrival, sent scouts down the roads, who were driven back by a superior force. It was the opinion of Gen. Gregg, however, as late as 12 o’clock, on the 12th, that the force advancing on Raymond was not large, and that he could meet it with 1500 [3,000] men. And at 11 o’clock on the 12th his little army was drawn up in battle array just west of the town, where the Cayuga and Utica roads intersect - on Mrs. Moore’s farm – it being known that the Yankees were advancing on both roads. At 12 o’clock the battle was raging, and by 2 o’clock Gen. Gregg became convinced that he was engaged with the entire land force of Gen. Grant, 75,000 strong [McPherson’s XVII Corps of 14,000], and that they were about to surround him. Of course he at once arranged for a retreat, which he accomplished most successfully, He saved every thing (except a disabled field piece,) reaching Mississippi Springs that night, and Jackson the next day.

Brigadier General John Gregg
Gregg's Brigade
Major General James B. McPherson

XVII Corps. Army of the Tennessee

Gen. Gregg styled the battle the battle of Raymond, while Gen. Grant called it the battle of Fondren’s lane – John Fondren, Sr., being then the owner of the plantation just west of the battle ground.

The fight was opened by the Confederates with artillery, but speedily the infantry joined, and at very short range, and for a time in, the woods. The Yankees were soon driven from the woods, however, and in following them to the open fields, the immense Yankees force was encountered, and the hopelessness of the contest fully developed.

As Gregg’s little force passed out of the town going eastward, Grant’s army [McPherson’s XVII Corps] came pouring in from the west, and Grant’s was, perhaps, the finest army in all its appointments of the war – and composed almost solidly, of Western men.

The result of the 2 or 3 hours fight was reckoned at the time as follows:

  Confederate Federals
Killed 50 100
Wounded 150 300
Total 200 400

In Prisoners, the Confederates lost about 50, the Federals about 20. [See editor's footnote for accurate count.]

Willie Foote, Son of Gov. Foote, Captured

And here we must do a simple act of justice, and it is this: So far as we are advised, there was but ONE NATIVE OF RAYMOND under arms that day in front of the town fighting the army that was seeking to overrun us, and that one was WILLIE FOOTE, the then youngest son of Gov. H. S. Foote, who was a private in one of the Tennessee regiments. He was wounded in the fight, captured and taken off by the Yankees as a prisoner under guard.

Make-shift Hospitals in Raymond

Dr. H. H. Dupree's residence was used
as a Union Hospital.

The wounded from the battlefield were rapidly brought to the town, and were all here, from both armies, before midnight of the 12th. The confederates occupied as hospitals the court house and the Oak Tree Hotel, while the federals, for the same purpose, took possession of the Methodist and Baptist churches, the Female Institute, Dr. Dupree’s residence, and, we believe, the Masonic and Odd Fellow Lodge rooms. Gen. Grant himself entered the town on the 13th or 14th, and made Maj. Peyton’s residence his headquarters.

Yankees Occupy Raymond for Two Weeks

With the approach of night on the 12th, the town was alive with blue coats, who soon began the work of plunder; and we do not err, we believe, when we state, that nearly every store, stable, kitchen and out-house was gutted during that dreadful and never-to -be-forgotten night. Numbers of families were stripped of almost every thing – some not having left to them a dust of meal or a pound of meat, nor plates, knives, forks or cooking utensils. Fortunately there was no burning, ( the number of sick and wounded federal soldiers in hospital forbidding,) but the office of the GAZETTE, with its files, library, &c., was destroyed.

For two long weeks, the Yankees held possession of the town and the surrounding country, living for the most part from the plunder of the inhabitants, and they mainly women and children. But rapidly the federals pushed on for the rear of Vicksburg, leaving Raymond a very small force to care for their sick and wounded; and early one bright Sunday morning, unannounced, a Confederate regiment, under command of Col. Brown, dashed into the village and captured all of the blue coats who were here, and their supplies, without firing a gun.

The two weeks was the extent of the Yankee occupation of Raymond during the war, with the exception of one other occasion when for a day and night brigade that had been sent from Vicksburg to Jackson returned to Big Black via Raymond. It was with this last force that the great body of the negroes left their masters and cast their fortunes with their northern friends, and on this occasion the new and elegant family residence of Mr. H. Sivley, with its entire contents, was destroyed by the torch of the incendiary.



Prior to the Vicksburg Campaign, Pemberton’s army in Vicksburg numbered approximately 30,000 while Grant’s army, as they arrived in Bruinsburg, numbered about 40,000. The Union army, while marching eastward, divided forces around the Rocky Springs area. Sherman's XIII Corps marched his men up the Old Port Gibson road while McPherson's XVII Corps took the Utica-Raymond Road. Both roads led to Raymond. Grant remained at Dillon's Plantation, 6 miles west of Raymond. On May 12, 1863, McPherson’s Corps approximately 12,000 strong, engaged John Gregg’s brigade of 3,000 at Fourteenmile Creek located two miles southwest of Raymond. After a fierce fight, Gregg's Brigade was forced to retreat.


Casualties as Reported in the Official Records

  Confederate Federals
Killed 100 68
Wounded 305 341
Missing 415 37
Total 820 446

All photographs and illustrations were edited into the series by Pattie Snowball and Rebecca Drake.

Copyright © 2008  PattieAdams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake