AUGUST 2017

AUGUST  2017
FACING DOWN THE RULERS OF WALL STREET A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. THEY ARE BACK.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 1863

Confederate President Jefferson Davis has repeatedly ordered General Pemberton to defend Vicksburg, while Confederate General Jonston, his immediate superior, has urged Pemberton to take the field against Grant. But with his South Carolina history fresh in his mind Pemberton is inclined to obey Davis, first. Besides he does not feel he has enough strength to secure Vicksburg and Haynes Bluff and engage Grant as far away from Vicksburg as possible. Davis has also attempted to get Robert E. Lee to release Longstreet’s Corps for the Vicksburg defense. But Lee is in the middle of planning his invasion of Pennsylvania and knows that without Longstreet there can be no such invasion. So, as it becomes clear that Pemberton is losing control of events, Davis is forced to finally turn to a man for whom he has no respect. Finally, on this late date, Davis authorizes his Secretary of War (as Davis will not even communicate with the man directly) to order General Joseph E. Johnston to “…proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces in the field.” He also issues a public call for state militias to defend Vicksburg. It is all he can do to save the situation in Mississippi.


Meanwhile Brigadier General John Gregg’s over strength 3,000 man Brigade, dispatched from Port Hudson, finally arrives in Jackson after a forced march of 80 parched miles up the damaged rail lines from Brookhaven. He posts his men on the Pearl River, just North of town, where they can enjoy some desperately needed water.

Although he is now a Texan, this is familiar territory for Gregg. He was born in Alabama and attended La Grange College, just across the border in Tennessee (where Grierson began his cavalry raid). Gregg graduated with a law degree, and in 1847 he moved to Fairfield, Texas, where he was elected a County Judge. In 1858 Gregg married the lovely and extraordinary Mary Garth, daughter of one of the wealthiest plantation owners in Alabama and a direct descendant of Patrick Henry, of “give me liberty or give me death” fame. And while, in 1861, John Gregg helped organize the Texas convention on secession and served in the Confederate Provincial Congress in Montgomery, Alabama, his father-in-law was a firm Union man who tried to sell his slaves, in a vain hope of helping to avoid the coming war. Resigning his office, Gregg formed the 7th Texas Infantry regiment and was almost immediately captured. He was exchanged almost as quickly and in September 1862 was commissioned a brigadier General and sent to Mississippi, where he fought at Shiloh.

Today he commands the 1st Tennessee Battalion, made up of the 3rd Tennessee Regiment, 10th/30th Tennessee Regiment (Consolidated), 41st and 50th Tennessee regiments , Captain Hiram W. Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery and Gregg’s old 7th Texas Regiment. With this force, Gregg expects to fall on the rear of Grant’s army when the Union General tries to cross the Big Black River on his way to Vicksburg.
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