Brigadier General Embury Durfee Osband
I’m sharing this one for those who are unfamiliar with the story. In the basic details, it is also the same story of how Alabama, Virginia and Georgia became part of the glorious Union. Sadly, the great stories of Reconstruction like this one are no longer taught to our children in either high school or college in the 21st century. They kind of linger on only in folk memory and obscure books mostly from the 19th century which are rarely accessible to our people and only interest antiquarians such as myself.
The following excerpt comes from William Doyle’s book An American Insurrection: James Meredith and the Battle of Oxford Mississippi, 1962:
“May 22, 1865, 9:00 A.M.: the Governor’s Office, State Capitol, Jackson, Mississippi.
Forty-three days after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, a platoon of black Union troops with fixed bayonets stormed through the ruined streets of Jackson and onto the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol building. The troops were led by white U.S. Army Brigadier General E.D. Osband. They marched toward the office of Governor Charles Clark.
Two days earlier, the soldiers had invaded the Mississippi state legislature, declared the gathering an illegal assembly, and dissolved it, waving the legislators out of the building at bayonet point. Now Governor Clark heard the measured clap of soldiers grow louder in the marble hallway, and presently General Osband appeared in the doorway.
The general saluted the governor, and read to him a proclamation by the president of the United States, dissolving Mississippi’s government.
Governor Clark was an elderly, dignified veteran of the Mexican war whose limbs were shattered at the battle of Shiloh. The old man straightened his battered legs and struggled onto his crutches.
“General Osband,” the governor announced defiantly, “I denounce before high heaven and the civilized world this unparalleled act of tyranny and usurpation. I am the duly and constitutionally elected Governor of the State of Mississippi. I would resist, if it were in my power, to the last extremity the enforcement of your order. I yield obedience because I have no power to resist.”
Within moments the federal troops invaded the executive office, seized the governor’s office furniture, records, and the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi and escorted the governor out of the building. In that instant the government of Mississippi was decapitated, and the state was under the direct rule of President Andrew Johnson and his military.
They inherited a ruined, ravaged land. Before the Civil War, cotton-rich Mississippi was among the wealthiest members of the Union, but now the state was decimated, with families, fortunes, and entire cities wiped out.”
May 22, 1865 was Mississippi’s turn.
Before the War Between the States, Mississippi had been the wealthiest state in America. The vast Black Belt region, which stretches from Texas to Maryland, was teeming with prosperity. After the Union Army came and liberated the slaves from the people who lived there in 1865, it became the poorest part of the United States, which is a distinction it holds to this day over 150 years later.
Now, I want you to think about this scene in which Mississippi’s government was decapitated in 1865, and think of how that scene was replicated all over the world in the 169 years since that time. How many other countries around the world were visited by the U.S. Army like our people? What happened to our people when the carpetbaggers came here during Reconstruction and the New South?
Such is my perspective on U.S. foreign policy. I see the vultures circling Iran and Venezeula and know all too well what “liberation” means for those countries because it has happened here.