364 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI PHOTOS COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS many local white men gone, planters feared potential slave insurrections more than Yankee invaders at war’s start; they wished to do everything in their power to prevent such uprisings. Dr. Thomas Watkins, a large land and slave owner in Carroll County, took leave from his medical practice in 1861 to run his plantation. Mississippi’s access to northern capital for financing, shipping, and selling cotton had ended, so planters like Watkins faced new challenges. Wartime shortages of some basic supplies and consumer goods affected the Watkins’household, as did the fear of slave uprisings. His wife and daughter supported the troops by sewing and later by taking food to wounded men, and Watkins joined the local Home Guard to police local slaves. When the Union Army reached Grenada in 1862, Watkins sent his most productive slaves to work in Alabama, fracturing some of their families in the process. Although he later suffered sincere regrets regarding his actions, he had feared the loss of his plantation more and acted on those concerns. As Watkins’scramble to protect his slaves suggests, the war did not go according to predictions. Railroads, rather than waterways, became a primary target in 1862 when Union forces under the leadership of Ulysses S. Grant focused their attention on several of the most vital Confederate lines that crossed the state. This strategy