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Abstract

Mississippi, the second state to secede from the Union, played a major role in the South’s bid for independence. The state provided troops to Confederate armies in Virginia and in the Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys. Factories in the state provided military equipment and the farms provided foodstuffs. Much of this is documented in the official records of the state held by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at the William F. Winter Archives Building, 200 North Street, Jackson. The department was founded in 1902. The first object and purpose of the department, by state law, was “the care and custody of official archives …” [Miss. Code 1906, §1633 and MCA 1972, § 39-5-1]. The law establishing the department also “… charged [it] with the duty of making special effort to collect and publish data in reference to soldiers from Mississippi in … the war between the United States and the Confederate States … [Miss. Code 1906, §1639]. These records were collected almost from the first day. Some of the earliest collections were Confederate records hidden by state officials in the archives of the Jackson Masonic fraternity in the attic of the Jackson City Hall. Revealed to the first director, Dunbar Rowland, by Colonel E. E. Baldwin, they were added to the department’s holdings thirty-nine years after they had been hidden. Over the decades since then, many more Civil Warera state government records have been transferred to the care and control of the State Archives. This article will briefly discuss what is available and will highlight some of the more significant, and sometimes unappreciated, collections.

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