"Vignettes" of the Civil War
By Francis McRae Ward (1902 – 1963)
NOTE: Francis Ward was born on Crescent Plantation in 1902, son of Thomas Francis Ward and Margaret Peterkin Ward. He was a lifelong resident of Tallulah and Madison Parish and during his time was considered to be the top authority on local history. He died only two years after this article was finished.
“Vignettes” of the Civil War was written in 1961 and has never been published. It was graciously made available by Frances (Boo) Bettis Eiland of Tallulah. The original manuscript was scanned and converted to computer-sensible text by OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. Although the text of the manuscript was unaltered, there have been several punctuation changes, and the “notes” he scattered throughout the article have been removed from the body of the article and converted to footnotes. Many photos have been added and more may be added in the future. The article is presented here in HTML format so that clicking on any chapter name will take you to the chapter itself – the “Contents” being the keystone section. In addition the footnotes may be accessed by clicking on them. To return to the original position in the article click again on the footnote. This makes the footnotes readily available to those who want them and clears out the main body of the article for those who don’t.
Please understand that in 1961 practically all of the white population of Madison Parish was to some extent “segregationist.” As you will see this particularly applies to Francis Ward and his Introduction-writer, Vicksburg historian V. Blaine Russell. The atrocities committed during the Civil War, especially during Reconstruction, were still fresh in their minds even though they were both too young to have experienced them. If Francis and Mr. Russell were alive today I am sure their attitudes would be quite different. Interestingly enough, Francis Ward’s grandfather, Patrick Ward, fought for the Union during the Civil War.
The Warfare Of The Border Transferred To The Louisiana Delta Cotton Fields
Little Known But Genuine Hero Of The Confederate States Navy
Fear And Gloom Covers The Land. Grant's Move From Milliken's Bend To Vicksburg
General John C. Pemberton. The Surrender. The Aftermath
Along The Western Shore Of The River
The Despots Rule In Louisiana And Mississippi
They Killing Of Colonel Crane, Military Mayor Of Jackson, Mississippi
Captain Cole Younger
Captain Jason W. James
Captain Joseph Calloway Lea
The closer something has hit to a person's heart and home--be it justice or injustice--the more tenderly or the more poignantly he feels it, as the respective case may be. Tenderly he is apt to feel the justice; poignantly he will feel the injustice. And, we of the South have known the poignancy of injustice almost steadily since the Civil War, and are today feeling it more poignantly than ever, as forced upon this, the last frontier of the Anglo-Saxon race, by the misinformed and sometimes prejudiced majority in the North-most of whom have seen the true South only in a book or fleetingly out a car window. Transplant those very Northerners in the South for three years and they become far more rabid segregationists and truer Southerners than many of our native Southerners.
When the author of this book, Francis M. Ward, was born in the stately antebellum home, Crescent, in northeast Louisiana near Tallulah, it had seen better days and worse days. Gradually, as a boy on the place for fifteen years, young Ward learned much of the happier or more poignant years through which his birthplace had gone. Then through the years as a resident of Tallulah, the parish-seat near by, he continued to learn. The history of his home and region in the South is only a repetition of many hundreds of such cases, many of them far more tragic than the case of Crescent Plantation, which was at least spared the torch by the ruthless invaders in the 1860's.
Crescent Plantation House
I have ridden down the bayou road with Mr. Ward to his birthplace. Though in other hands today, the plantation-house still looks out with quiet dignity across Brushy Bayou. Negroes sing no longer in the fields; for, with all their artificial uplift, no person ever of that once-happy race is as truly happy as he used to be. They have had too much hatred put into their minds by a second growth carpetbaggery whose main idea is for personal political gain; they have had too much teaching that the government is their bank, their wages, and their free grocery-store--leaving them nothing to do but hold out their hands for it.
Instead of songs in the fields today, perhaps one hears the drone of a cotton duster plane or a tractor to which the plantation-owner had to turn when his labor was driven from him by the second-growth carpetbaggery. Or perhaps instead of songs in the field may be heard the clank of a rattletrap automobile taking the government's idle children to the nearest town to enjoy themselves.
It was an honor and trust to me to be allowed to read Mr. Ward's manuscript for his book before it went to press. It is all well-authenticated history, as proven by the author's many footnotes and references, the data having been gathered by him through long years of study, retrospect, and observation of current events. Mr. Ward knows the Negro second to none, and, as all fair-minded Southerners know: It is not and never has been any hatred for the Negro race that that has caused the South to stay segregated, but the simple fact that that is the only way to maintain the white race and prevent it from becoming a mongrel breed. Races have been known to bodily migrate as a whole from their native places to far countries simply to preserve their heritages and ways of life--the Biblical races, for instance, as cited in the Scriptures. The Anglo Saxon remnants of the South today have as much love for their heritage, and certainly have as much desire and right to preserve it.
Vicksburg, January 1961
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