Mississippi finally captures Civil War Nemesis, US Grant
One of the combatants who fought Grant and his forces during the Vicksburg campaign was Confederate Gen. Stephen Dill Lee. Lee was wounded in the shoulder at the Battle of Champion Hill. After the war, Lee would become the first president of Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College in Starkville -- now Mississippi State University.
Dr. Mark Keenum, MSU’s current president, reflected on that irony during remarks at Jan. 30 ceremonies honoring the official presentation of Grant’s papers to MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library by the Ulysses S. Grant Association. Nationally prominent Civil War scholar, author and MSU professor emeritus of history John F. Marszalek has assumed the duties of executive director and managing editor of the association.
The irony of the Mississippi university first led by a Confederate general gaining control of the papers of the Union general who laid siege to Vicksburg was not lost on the most active group dedicated to the historic preservation of the Confederate legacy.
Dr. Cecil F. Fayard Jr. of Duck Hill, national chaplain-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and pastor of the Elliott Baptist Church near Camp McCain, expressed mixed feelings.
“Personally, since the (Grant) papers are here, it will give Southern scholars an opportunity to actually see who Grant really was, to compare his words and his deeds and get a sense of his presidency from his perspective,” said Fayard.