Cordelia Scales, the young daughter of a wealthy slave- owning family, described in her letters to a friend how Union troops behaved camped on their plantation “Oakland” eight miles north of Holly Springs. “They used to order the milk to be churned anytime and they took corn, fodder, ruined the garden and took everything in the poultry line,” she wrote. She witnessed a raid passing through Holly Springs: “When the wagon trains were passing, 30 or 40 of the Yankees would rush in at a time, take everything to eat they could lay their hands on and break, destroy and steal everything they wanted to—all our mules, horses and wagons were taken, 42 wagons were loaded with corn at our cribs and a good many more after.” When Grant’s army crossed into Lafayette on December 1, 1862, Jacob Thompson rode through the county, telling wealthy families to store their valuables in his home. He had a plan, and many took advantage of his offer. Thompson placed the silver in labeled boxes in his home office. In the front room an elderly slave woman and slave children bitterly wept next to a sign reading, SMALL POX IN HERE. Thompson’s ploy saved the rebel silver. Many others were not so fortunate. Yankee soldiers, for the most part, spared inhabited homes but burned abandoned buildings. Marching past the blackened chimneys, they would reportedly taunt, “There’s another Mississippi headstone.” Union troops entered Oxford on December 2, 1862, with rebel civilians lining the streets, scowling and jeering. Reporting from Grant’s headquarters, a correspondent asserted, “The people here are, if possible, more intensely bitter and radical in their feelings and opinions than any I have seen before. The children are taught a positive hatred of Lincoln and all Yankees.” From the start of the occupation, residents complained heatedly to Grant of Yankee depredations. Former slave Rebecca Wood remembered, “Dey kilt all our chickens an’ turkeys…the whole yard wuz full of chicken heads, but nary a chicken.” The Seventh Kansas “Jayhawkers” were notorious and very efficient thieves: They “camped in our yard and garden and occupied part of our house. Killed nearly all our fowl, took all my meat, potatoes, nearly a barrel of molasses, all the meal, destroyed nearly 500 bushels of corn, burned the plank off the crib, the palings off the garden and yard fences, took jars of butter, milk jars, pans, cups, coffee pots, sheets, towels, hoes, two carving knives, cooking vessels and a great many little things.” Historians have described the Civil War as the “first railroad war.” Grant’s invasion was the first in military history where an army used a railroad as the primary line of supply advancing into enemy territory. Unfortunately for the Union army, the Mississippi countryside was JAMES EARL JONES Actor James Earl Jones was born in Arkabulta on January 17, 1931, to parents Robert Earl Jones and Ruth Connolly. Jones’s father was a sharecropper in Mississippi before becoming one of the first prominent African American film stars, known for performances in notable films such as Lying Lips (1939), The Sting (1973), The Cotton Club (1984), and more than a dozen others. The actor was also cast in a number of plays, including Langston Hughes’ Don’t You Want to Be Free? (1938). Robert Earl and Ruth separated before James Earl’s birth, leaving him to be raised by his maternal grandparents, John Henry and Maggie Connolly, on their farm which belonged to the family since the Reconstruction era. When Jones was five years old, he moved with his family to a farm in rural Michigan. Jones enrolled at the University of Michigan; he intended to study medicine but instead discovered a talent for acting. While studying drama at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Jones joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Following college graduation, Jones expected to be deployed to fight in the Korean War but rather was sent to a training unit in the Rocky Mountains before being discharged. Jones moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. There, he studied at the American Theatre Wing and worked as a janitor to support himself. For more than five decades, James Earl Jones has appeared in more than fifty films, as well as dozens of plays and television productions. Some of his most memorable roles include Admiral Greer in The Hunt for the Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger, Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian, Mr. Mertle in The Sandlot, and many others. Perhaps best known for his deep, resonant voice, Jones portrayed the unmistakable voices of iconic characters Darth Vader in Star Wars and King Mufasa in The Lion King. Jones has won two Tony awards, three Emmy awards, and a Golden Globe award, in addition to numerous nominations. Additionally, Jones has received several awards for his long, outstanding career, including the National Medal of Arts in 1992, the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, and an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2011. © PHOTO COURTESY NAN MELVILLE WWW.NANMELVILLE.COM 446 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI