by D. C. Love
The citizens of Mississippi cherished the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and regarded the Constitution of the United States as the palladium of their liberties. Mississippians assisted in teaching foreign nations, in the severe school of war, to respect the flag of our whole country, and they also taught their children to love and defend it. But in 1861 a political party which despite those principles, gained control of the government, and was pledged to the abolition of slavery, which was recognized by the Constitution. The fanaticism of this party was such that the lives and property of those who differed from it were unsafe in the Union. And when, on the 9th day of January, 1861, Mississippi withdrew from the Union, her sons were displaying the patriotism inherited from their revolutionary sires. On the 8th day February, 1861, the States which had up to that time withdraw from the Union, organized a Confederate government. This government, known as the Southern Confederacy, did not desire war with the Northern States, and only undertook it after every peace proposal had been rejected.
The Prairie Guards, an infantry company, raised in and near Crawford, Miss., was among the first to offer its services to the State. It was composed of the flower of the manhood of this section, was handsomely uniformed, and under the drilling of its Captain (J. T. W. Hairston, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute) soon learned to move with military precision. It at once became the pet of the ladies of this community.
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