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27931Re: Book Review - "Confusion Compounded: The Battle of Raymond"

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  • slippymississippi
    Jun 28, 2004
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "b_schulte70"
      <brettschulte@b...> wrote:
      > The "refraction" concept is very interesting, especially when
      > considering hills and valleys could cause it as well if not
      parallel
      > to the line of march. I had heard it mentioned in other places
      that
      > Grabau postulated that Union agents were working heavily in the
      area
      > and that Pemberton was "in the dark" much of the time while Grant
      was
      > unusually well-informed.

      Well, Grabau merely invokes Occam's Razor to insist that
      the "wandering locals" who gave Grant such good information must have
      been connected to the Union army (the informant who told him about
      Bruinsburg Landing, the farmer picked up at Bruinsburg, the informant
      who told Sherman that Jackson had been abandoned and the trenches
      were manned by graybeard home guards, the "railroad workers" who were
      so knowledgeable about Pemberton's troop strength, and the "farmer"
      who directed Loring down a dead-end cow trail forcing him to abandon
      his cannons and supply train.

      However, there are so many primary sources that point to Unionist
      underground activity in the area: the Jones County insurrection, the
      Choctaw County insurrection, the Mississippi Delta Deserter
      insurrection, and Rev. John Aughey's autobiographical description of
      a Unionist underground in his "Iron Furnace" (a.k.a. "Tupelo"). In
      this book he meets up with a secret society (complete with passwords,
      handshakes, callsigns, secret symbols hanging in front of houses)
      that helps him avoid execution at the hands of the Kosciusko
      Vigilance Committee and evade NBF's cavalry screen as he escapes
      bloodhounds, a pitched battle between Unionists and local militia,
      military stockades, and CSA regulars. Given that Vicksburg was
      surrounded by areas that were in open revolt against the CSA, I
      cannot but imagine that these elements would have been in contact
      with the Union army, providing them intel on local roads and
      Confederate dispositions.

      The Aughey book is certainly worth a read, I believe it's the only
      first-hand account of the activities of the Unionist secret societies
      in the area. The latest book on the Free State of Jones is very
      informative, if a little matter-of-fact for such intriguing subject
      matter. I believe she was attempting to avoid the emotionalism that
      surrounded the subject in previous studies.
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