Weekly Mississippi Pilot clipping

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A Grand Turnout of the People.

The Legislature, on Thursday, adjourned over to Monday morning, to enable the members to accept the invitation of the Mayor and citizens of Vicksburg, to visit that city, and join in the celebration of the great event of the age - the adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, securing to every citizen the right to vote any where in all the land where he may have a proper residence, in spite of the United States or of State authority, by reason of previous condition as to race, color or servitude.

According to previous arrangements, a railroad train was placed at the service of the invited guest at six o'clock A.M. on Friday, and a large number of the members of the Legislature and others left Jackson for the city of many hills. Among others who were present on this trip we recognized Hon. R. C. Powers, Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate, Hon. F. E. Franklin, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Lynch, Secretary of State, Hon. J. S. Morris, Attorney General, and these were joined at Vicksburg by Hon. H. Musgrove, Auditor of Public Accounts, Hon. H. R. Pease, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Hon. H. F. Simrell, Judge of the Supreme Court. His Excellency, Governor Alcorn, and Hon. Wm. H. Vasser, Treasurer of State, were absent.

On the arrival of the train at Vicksburg the party was met at the depot by the Mayor and other officials of the city, and also by a numerous concourse of citizens, and escorted to the steamboats in carriages, preceded by a band of music. The Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House and the Supreme Judge having precede in the order of march. The steamers Calumet and Belle Yazoo were chartered for the occasion, and lashed together, and with an immense crowd on board, steamed up the river to the National Cemetery where the whole party landed and visited the graves of the departed heroes of the war, gratefully remembering that their lives had been sacrificed in the cause of liberty and right, and that but for that sacrifice - with the thousands of others that went down in the great battles of the war - there would have been no freedom for the slave, no civil rights to rejoice over, and no Fifteenth Amendment to celebrate. Gen. Carlin, the commander of the post of Vicksburg, with officers of his staff, met the visitors at the cemetery and exchanged pleasant salutations with them. The grounds are not in quite as good order as might have been expected, but the roadways are graveled, the terraces are formed, the buildings put up and the general appearance shows that an immense amount of labor has been expended in making this last resting place of the soldiers of the Union army a cheerful looking and a pleasant one. The numerous little trinkets and souvenirs found on the bodies of the soldiers at the time of their deaths have been carefully preserved, and a note made of the name of the owner attached to each, and these now form an interesting cabinet of curiosities in the building on the grounds where they are examined by thousands of Union people who yearly visit that sacred spot. As the visitors were leaving and returning from the cemetery grounds the bands of music on board the steamers played the solemn tunes suited to such occasions. The steamer Countess joined at the cemetery with a large number of people on board, and acted as consort to the other boats for the remainder of the trip. The vessels proceeded to the mouth of the canal on the Louisiana side of the river, stopping a while to contemplate the efforts that were made to get supplies below Vicksburg during the siege of many months. Remembering that beside that gigantic undertaking, Gen. Grant sent vessels to enter the Yazoo Pass, nearly opposite Helena, and then down the Coldwater, the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers to flank the rebels at Haines' Bluff; not forgetting the difficulties of that undertaking, nor Sherman's attack and repulse, nor finally the great feat, that of successfully floating by the batteries of Vicksburg, that Gibraltar of the South, several vessels with all the supplies needed for the march that immediately followed from Young's Point to Bruinsburg, the crossing of the river at Rodney, the battle of Champion Hills, the final full investment of the city, and its surrender on the 4th of July, 1863, followed by the surrender of Port Hudson to Gen. Banks in a few days afterwards - and the complete opening up of the whole Mississippi river. All these events, so prominent in the history of the war, passed rapidly in review, while the boats headed for the mouth of the Yazoo river, and then returning, repassed the cemetery, and went a few miles below the city, and finally reached the levee again at about 3 o'clock P.M. During this period of time a fine dinner was served on both of the boats. Gen. Webber, Mayor of the city, presided at the tables on the Yazoo Belle, and the Hon. A. H. Arthur, on the Calumet. After the good things with which the tables were supplied, were well discussed, and the wine corks began to fly, the Mayor arose, and in a very appropriate speech, welcomed the State officials, and Members of the Legislature, and other invited guests to the city. This was responded to by Lieut. Governor Powers, Hon. H. Musgrove, Rev. James Lynch, and the Hon. J. S. Morris, on the part of the State officials; and by Hon. Mr. Lynch, of Adams, Hon. C. D. Landon, of Warren, on the part of the Legislature. The Hon. P. P. Bailey, Editor of the PILOT, and Mr. Simpson, a representative of the Northern Press, responded to the calls made upon them by the Mayor and gentlemen present. Mr. S. J. Ireland, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House, and Mr. H. C. Carter, made excellent speeches; and the whole proceedings on the boat were of the most satisfactory character. On the Calumet, speeches were made by Hon. J. S. Morris, Hon. James Lynch, Hon. H. T. Simrall, Hon. B. B. Eggleston, Hon. W. H. Gibbs, of the Senate, Hon. Charles W. Clarke, of the House, and many other gentlemen whose names we failed to get. Of course we cannot give even a sketch of the remarks that were made on this most interesting occasion, our want of space utterly forbids that we should do so. We, however, can say that they were all good, all quite to the point. The Fifteenth Amendment and its importance to the newly enfranchised colored men, was treated as a subject of that magnitude only should be treated. The great value of a city like Vicksburg to the State of Mississippi was dwelt upon, and what the South had been and was to be was not overlooked, and the whole was every way worthy of the day and the occasion. After landing at the levee the line was again formed, and with thousands of others joining in the procession under the admirable command of Frank Packard, Grand Marshall of the day, the whole were marched to the Court House, where Hon. T. W. Stringer, Senator from Warren, presided. Speech-making was continued here until sundown. Among others who addressed the assembled multitude at this place were Hon. J. W. Wood orator of the day, Col. R. C. Powers, Hon. F. E. Franklin, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. A. Warner, of the Senate, Mr. H. C. Carter, Hon. Jas. Lynch, Maj. John Williams, Reading Clerk of the Senate, and others. The enthusiasm here was even greater than it had been, if such a thing were possible, on the boats. The ground about the court house was crowded with people who evinced the deepest interest in all that was said and done. A band discoursed excellent music at the intervals between the speeches. The people of Vicksburg have much to congratulate themselves upon in getting up and carrying out this most delightful entertainment. Its memory will last long in the minds of the present, and the effects for good will be felt on others even after the participants in the pleasant scenes have all passed away.




Weekly Mississippi Pilot, “Weekly Mississippi Pilot clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed December 9, 2023, http://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/2127.

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  1. 15th.PNG