JFH Claiborne

Editor’s Note: The article that follows is an extract from an unpublished manuscript titled History of Hancock County, Mississippi, with Emphasis on the Pearl River Area. The authors are Marco Giardino, Ph. D, and this writer.
Russell B. Guerin
John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne
The following is an extract from a bill of sale in which J.F.H. Claiborne bought slaves from the Virginia estate of Gholson, noted below. It is inserted here in the beginning of this section because it is the start of a confusing and complicated picture of the man Claiborne. It reads as follows:
       “Bought in Virginia (Burns County) from Jas H Gholson and Thos. S. Gholson, Executors of Wm Gholson (August 7, 1832) who bargained, sold and delivered, for $15,182 dollars, to J.F.H. Claiborne.
All which…we warrant sound of body and mind with the exception of Amey who is sometimes subject to obstruction in her “menstrual discharges” and Wilson which has a sore leg, occasioned by an injury received from an ox cart, three children without parents. List enclosed, witnessed by Col. Wilson (Molson) in presence of Dupuy, 7th August 1832, Brunswick County, VA.
29 working hands equal
25 efficient hands
19 male working hands
10 female
29 males in the whole
17 females
46 in all
Not one over 50 years of age
7 over forty years of age
2 between 30 and 40 years of age
12 between 18 and 30 years of age
8 between 10 and 18 years of age
17 under 6 years of age.”
     As much as has already been written about John Claiborne, no attempt is made here to completely profile him. What follows is a backdrop of his life and activities in order to understand his experiences in Hancock County, to which he moved after reaching middle age.
     John Francis Hamtranck Claiborne was born of a famous father, General Ferdinand Claiborne, who had been commander of the Southern wing of the Army during the Creek War and one time Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John Claiborne was also the nephew of W. C.C. Claiborne, governor of the Mississippi Territory and of Louisiana.
     John Claiborne too had ventured into politics, on both the state and federal levels. As a young congressman, he was a member of the lower house from 1835 to 1838. During his tenure, he was in the middle of considerable controversy, and was not reelected in 1838. Moreover, because of his staunch defense of the government and the Choctaws against the fraudulent actions by land speculators, he made many powerful enemies.
     Curiously, just before this period, Claiborne had purchased in 1834, with G.W. Martin as partner, 800 acres of land which had been made available by a treaty with the Choctaws signed September 1830. Most such land was sold for $1.25 per acre.[1] One of the assignees in this transaction was Edward Sims, who had in 1834 failed to answer a subpoena from Congress. G. C. Woolridge, sheriff of Lowdones County, had a warrant for his arrest. He allegedly cost the government between $65,000 and $70,000.[2]
      Virtually ostracized from Mississippi, Claiborne was forced to take “refuge” in New Orleans. There, as a novice among men of shrewd business acumen, he had ventured in land, cotton and slaves, deriving invaluable commercial experience, but he had lost his patrimony through ruinous endorsements and was taken into custody as a common debtor. [3]
     Claiborne, in his letter to Rev. Abbey dated July 12, 1879, remembered his New Orleans experience differently, stating that it was there that “I supported myself by writing and made money by adventures in cotton, under advice of the late Henry Hill.”[4]
Laurel Wood Plantation
     Having suffered many disappointments and being in poor health, Claiborne changed lifestyles and in 1849,and bought Laurel Wood Plantation on the Mulatto Bayou, in Hancock County. [5] The manor house, according to some records, was built by Francois Saucierwith slave labor in 1800.[6] The house may have been used in the slave trade. It was razed in the early 1960’s and some local inhabitants of Hancock County still remember what appeared to have been a slave prison under the raised house. Lang, citing a WPA report, states, “… the small house with pitched tin roof was supported by high brick piers joined by iron bars to hold Negroes brought ashore from slave ships in the early days of the century. Slave quarters were located to the rear of the main structure.”[7]
     In 1853, Claiborne received an appointment to a government sinecure from his friend, President Franklin Pierce. This resulted from Claiborne’s suggestion that the timber management of the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana be combined and that he be given authority over that district. For this he was paid a salary, giving him much needed financial security.[8] In the letter to Rev. Abbey, Claiborne stated that in addition to being a planter of cotton, he was also “an operator in timber.”
     It was after this appointment as timber agent that Claiborne moved to Laurel Wood.
Much of his early years at there were spent in writing Mississippi history. In 1858, with Benjamin Wailes, Joseph B, Cobb, and Benjamin Sanders, he organized the Mississippi Historical Society. He published The Life and Times of General Sam Dale, the Mississippi Partisan in 1860. In the same year, he published The Life and Correspondence of John A. Quitman in two volumes.
Sea Island Cotton
     Claiborne’s enterprise as a planter was successful. By 1861, with the help of 100 slaves, “he was out of debt and had an annual income of $6,000.” [9] His cotton production averaged 800 pounds per acre. Earlier, the New Orleans Picayune had reported enthusiastically, “We yesterday examined the sample of 22 bales of Sea Island cotton, sold in this city a few days since. This cotton was grown upon the plantation of Col. J.F.H. Claiborne and Major Andrew Jackson, on Pearl River, Hancock County, Mississippi, and was sold at the handsome price of 35, 40, and 44 cents, 16 bales bringing 40 cents per pound; the whole consignment of 22 bales netting to the enterprising planters something over $2250, after deducting freight, commissions, and all other charges.” [10]
(Because of its relevance, the foregoing quote is included also in another section.)
      Perahps because of such success, he remained at Laurel Wood during the Civil War,
although he sent his wife and daughter to live in Narchez, where Mrs. Claiborne owned a family plantation.
Slave Holder as Anti-Secessionist
     Claiborne was a defender of states rights and evidently convinced of the rectitude of owning slaves. In fact, as mentioned above, he at one time dealt in slaves. The document at the beginning of this section details his purchase in 1832 in Virginia of 46 slaves for $15,182. The purchase from the estate of one William Gholson, and was paid for one-third in cash, balance due in two notes of 12 and 24 months. A meticulous accounting was attached showing 19 male working hands, and 10 females, with 25 referred to as “efficient hands.” Interestingly, in the dollar accounting, a credit of $450 is taken, comprised of $100 for the “young one” and $350 for Ephraim, who had apparently been previously sold. Another curious entry is the name of one male as “Freeman.” A breakdown of ages shows no one over age 50, and 17 people less than ten years of age.[11]
      Another document, dated 20 years later, on February 2, 1852, is an indenture between Martha Dunbar Claiborne and Martha W. Dunbar of Adams County (Mrs. Claiborne’s mother). This consists of a mortgage of a tract previously sold by Francois Saucier, consisting of 640 acres [the document says 6409, assumed to be an error] “on which Martha Claiborne now resides, together with the following slaves….” The list includes 29 names, and the note given by Martha Claiborne was for $4000.[12]
      Apparently representing a family formality, the note was not cancelled until October 23, 1871, after Dunbar’s death.[13]
      While the above makes the Claiborne position on slavery clear, he was also an avowed non-secessionist. As early as 1832, in a letter to George Poindexter, senator form Mississippi, Claiborne wrote: “I have not and do not accord with your course in the Senate. If I be true that you have denounced General Jackson, and avowed yourself a Nullifier in such a sense of the word, as would destroy the Union or involve us in civil war, to get rid of an unpopular tariff, if such be your position, then I state now as I have heretofore stated, I can no longer be classed among your friends.”[14]
     Adding to the complexity of Claiborne’s positions, he wrote an address to the people of Mississippi in 1835, in which he stated, “I am more of a State’s Rights man than many among you who shout Hozannas to Mr. Calhoun.”[15]   Regardless of that stance, it must be wondered whether Claiborne’s eventual move to the southwest Mississippi region may have had to do with his being comfortable with the politics there. Counties in that area had fewer slaves than in other parts of the state, and this may have caused some settlers to have a less strident attitude toward secession. It is noteworthy that in the election of delegates to the state convention in 1861, Hancock County was one of the few southern counties to give a majority to the Union party. Most other southern counties voted for the Democratic States Rights party, which backed secession. The Union party was committed to preservation of the Union.
     Aside from his political and philosophical leanings over the years, his mid-life years at Laurel Wood were somewhat idyllic, until the Civil War. As a gentleman farmer, besides cotton, he grew potatoes and other vegetables for market. He claimed that some of his orange trees were 60 years old, certainly possible if the 1800 date is correct for Laurel Wood; their fruit brought ten dollars per thousand in New Orleans. Claiborne apparently did not move full time to Laurel Wood until 1853.Meanwhile, in the 1850’s, he offered his services as a lobbyist in a New Orleans newspaper ad, apparently with some success.
     Perhaps as a result of such offering, an interesting letter from J. Calhoun[16] was sent to Claiborne at Pearlington on February 27, 1856. The sender was not the famous John Calhoun, but a New Orleanian who was president of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad Company. The letter was marked “Private.” It states that there is a matter very important “to our company” and involves bills before the legislatures of both Louisiana and Mississippi “…to confer the power on the Company to sell mortgage bonds for the purpose of finishing and equipping the road to Canton and have good reason to believe that we can borrow two million on the bonds if the bills pass.” It was stated that the Mississippi legislature would pass the bills if only there were someone who could explain it sufficiently. “Knowing from past experience how potent you are in matters, I beg you if you can possibly go that you will come over and see me at your earliest convenience. Be so kind as to say nothing to any body on this subject until we converse about it.”[17]
      It is evident that Claiborne had not lost touch with his former colleagues in the legislature. Though he had made enemies in government, his oratory was still respected.[18]
Civil War Allegiances
     If Claiborne’ character appears fairly consistent in the foregoing, it was during the Civil War years that he divided his activities, if not his allegiance, between the Union and the Confederacy. Considering his devotion to Mississippi and to a son who fought for and was ultimately to die for the Confederacy, his clandestine support of the Union is surprising. In truth, he walked both sides of the road, and might have been motivated strongly to safeguard his own security by duplicitous actions. For example, he resigned his United States appointment as timber agent, but accepted a commission to administer oaths and acknowledge deeds for the Confederate government in southern Mississippi. This was August 1861. But by the next year, if not before, he was engaged in heavy correspondence with Major General Nathaniel Banks, who commanded New Orleans for the Union. Lang, in his well-researched treatment of Claiborne’s years at Laurel Wood states: “In actuality he was undoubtedly the most active advocate of the Union in southern Mississippi.”[19] But Claiborne was not totally operating in secret, as he may have believed. Captain John Cavanaugh, of the 8th Battalion, Louisiana Artillery, wrote to Lt. General J.C. Pemberton on November 11, 1862, from Pass Christian: “A prominent citizen of Pearlington, Col. J. F. Claiborne, is in daily communication with the enemy and no doubt keeps them advised of all that is going on in his neighborhood. He was, until the state seceded, timber agent for the United States government….”[20]
     Entire text of this document follows:
Pass Christian, Miss. November 11, 1862
Lieut. General J. C. Pemberton,
Commanding Department No. 1:
GENERAL: Agreeably to your orders I arrived here on Thursday, 6th instant. On examining the cost and the inhabitants thereon I found there had been many families gone to the enemy’s lines and more preparing to go. There has been direct communication carried on between this place and the coast with the enemy for some time. There are also several persons employed in trading between this coast and New Orleans, thence forwarding their goods to Mobile, where they get higher prices than the poor of this coast can afford to pay, and many refusing Confederate money. Gold, silver or U.S. Treasury notes seem to be the only money they want. I find that Pearl River is navigable and open to the enemy’s vessels as high up as Gainesville, and there are persons at that place awaiting the arrival of the enemy’s vessels to go to their lines, and others at Pearlington, seven miles below Gainesville, awaiting the same opportunity. Mr. Trimour, of Pearlington, who owns a sawmill on West Pearl River, has taken several of his Negroes to the mill for the avowed purpose of sawing lumber for the enemy. This river, as well as the whole coast, could be guarded and prevent the landing of their vessels by putting eight or ten launches at different points, properly manned, and under the command of a naval officer, to act in connection with the land forces here or that may be placed here. The mills that may be found sawing for the enemy should be destroyed. The wharves also in front of this place and all others on this coast should be destroyed, thereby preventing the landing of the enemy’s ordnance at the different points. All small boars or vessels should be destroyed except for those in use of the Government. There are at present several hundred runaway negroes on Cat Island who have got away by means of small boats, and are now employed in making charcoal for the enemy. Those families who go over to the enemy go for subsistence, and say they are actual starving. I know of cases where they have eaten nothing but corn bread for weeks. I would suggest the propriety of appointing an officer whose duty it might be to grant passes to those who a re actually in need, and let them take charcoal or wood and bring back provisions for their own use, he preventing any speculating. That officer should be appointed immediately.
      Steps should be taken to prevent general intercourse with the enemy or this coast will be entirely demoralized. Those escaped slaves now on Cat Island can easily be retaken if we had launches. I am informed that there are two launches on Pearl River belonging to the Government. The balance could be easily built, and with small expense, at or near Gainesville, or at Chateau Beuf, near Pascagoula. There is a cost of 100 miles to guard, but ten launches properly manned would do it, supported by 1,000 land forces. The three coast counties have large numbers of cattle and sheep which will fall a prey to the enemy’s marauding parties if this coast is unprotected. A man by the name of Brown, living at Handsborough, took two Government launches, with two brass pieces, to Mobile and sold them, apparently without authority. There are two trading vessels expected in. I shall await them here and report in my next. There are a number of conscripts on the coast, all seafaring men. I would suggest detailing them to be under the command of the naval officer whom you may appoint. I will inquire more minutely and report in my next. A prominent citizen of Pearlington, Co. J. F. Claiborne, is in daily communication with the enemy, and no doubt keeps them advised of all that is going on in the neighborhood. He was, until the State seceded, timber agent for the United States Government. The cavalry under the command of Maj. A. C. Steele I find very efficient and if properly equipped would be of considerable terror to the enemy.
Respectfully submitted
John Cavanaugh,
Captain, Eighth Battalion Louisiana Artillery
Gulf Coast Counties Starving
     In the summer of 1862 Claiborne wrote Governor John J. Pettus to deplore the starving condition of the inhabitants of the seaboard counties, as well as the depredations of Yankee invaders. Affirming his own fidelity, he wrote: “We are now proving our loyalty by starvation – by the tears of our women and the cries of our children for bread!!” and begged permission to import essential foodstuffs from enemy-held New Orleans in order to preserve the lives of loyal supporters of the Confederacy living along the coast.”[21] A few months later, however, in a memorandum to Banks, Claiborne did not speak kindly of his neighbors: “Few of them can be addressed through their moral sense or convictions of duty. They are essentially animals…. When Civil War broke out they eagerly volunteered…with the hope of plunder. But the mortality that has occurred among them…has disgusted them with the service. Most of all, they feel the pressure of want in their families…They are now subsisting on sweet potatoes; that crop will be exhausted by 1st Feb…. The Union sentiment is spreading…A vigorous exclusion would bring this whole seaboard to its allegiance in 3 months."[22]
      In other correspondence, Claiborne told Banks that he was “confiding in the U.S. military authorities for the protection of my property” and that he had “maintained confidential relations” with Union officers at Fort Pike. Further, he stated that he was “surrounded here by armed men, mostly of desperate character & fortunes, my person in danger and my property liable to be plundered, I have been compelled to be circumspect. But I have neglected no means to further the cause. I have created a strong Union sentiment, which is rapidly developing.”[23]
     Perhaps in a continuing effort at circumspection, Claiborne bought thousands of dollars of Confederate bonds during the war.[24] Claiborne must have known that the protection he sought from Banks and the officers at Fort Pike did not come gratis. He reported the twenty wagon loads of salt sent to Confederate General Joe Johnston; he told of fortifications built at Mobile; his information detailed smuggling between New Orleans and Mississippi coastal towns involving the schooners Alice and Venus[25] and other vessels “that regularly bring out contraband.”
      He named names: “Arrangements are making to run the blockades to Havana from two points on this coast. The parties engaged in it have all been in or are in the Confederate service. They have two men in New Orleans – a Capt. Dane or Dean & one Asa Weed…employed to give them information about your movements…. Dane and Weed communicate with one of the parties here, by means of a schooner (The Venus) which makes a weekly trip from the city to Toomer’s Mill near Fort Pike, and the information they give is duly sent to Jackson. Weed of Dane, or both of them are soon to visit your camp at Port Hudson.” [26]
     Names he might have mentioned but apparently did not were those of Poitevent, Toulme and Smylie. One month after his report to Banks about Weed and Dane, Major Smylie wrote a letter to J. V. Toulme. (J. B. Toulme was mayor of Shieldsboro ion 1860.)It was dated April 28, 1863, and may have been part of a similar operation. It is contained on copy form in Claiborne’s own papers; if he did not report it, perhaps the reason would be that he must have been on very close terms with the addressee, Toulme as well as Poitevent, who was mentioned in the letter. The former was a leading citizen of Shieldsborough, and the latter of the Pearl River area. The letter reads as follows:
     “I have the authority from Richmond to carry our cotton, see Capt. Poitevent and let us go in with him. I think arrangements can be made with some parties on the other side to carry cotton to Havana & from there I care not where it goes. I have full authority to carry our cotton from any port in our possession to any place New Orleans and Memphis excepted. See Capt. Poitevent and let him know what can be done, I am in for it and will be with you. Send a runner up (if we go in) regardless of expense. I will risk all, loose or make something.”[27]
     The fact that this letter found its way into Claiborne’s hands suggests that he may have been the instrument of cooperation “with some parties on the other side.”
     Within a few days of the above letter, Claiborne was able to obtain a pass from Union Admiral Farragut allowing him to transport cotton through the lines. As he had continued to grow cotton during the war, this included his own production as well as cotton bought from growers along the Pearl. To complete the arrangement, he had become, representing the Confederacy, the purchasing agent for the Belgian consul in New Orleans. Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin subsequently became aware of the trade which was “evidently illegal, and is, in point of fact, a trade with the port of New Orleans covered up under the disguise of a trade with neutral vessels.” Nonetheless, he cautioned that in order to take action to break up “this illegal traffic” it would be “necessary to have the papers now in the possession of M. Claiborne proving the assent of the enemy’s officers to the shipment of the cotton.”
     Claiborne was not always comfortable about his arrangements. On July 27, 1863, he wrote to General Banks, “My position here is very precarious & the registered enemies in Mobile are doing their best to have me arrested.”[28]
      If the assessment of Claiborne as a spy who played both ends against the middle is too harsh, there are those historians who have been too gentle. A case in point is found in the Foreword of Claiborne’s major work, wherein it is written, “Claiborne was no proponent of secession; so he sat out secession and war at Shieldsboro and at times was reported to the Confederate authorities as being a bit too friendly with the Yankees, to whom he reputedly sold cotton.”[29]
Post Civil War
     On July 26, 1865, Claiborne took the oath of allegiance to the United States.
After the war, Claiborne sought favor with the carpetbag governor Adelbert Ames,[30] who interceded in Claiborne’s behalf for the federal government to compensate him for the losses at Laurel Wood.[31] In return, Claiborne wrote articles defending General Grant and supporting him for a third term as president.
     Claiborne continued to live at Laurel Wood until 1870, when at the death of his mother-in-law, he inherited Dumbarton Plantation and moved to Natchez. He contined to hold his Gulf Coast lands, but after 1870 his visits to Laurel Wood became less frequent. His last prolonged visit occurred in 1876 when he was invited to speak at Bay St. Louis during the centennial celebrations on July 4. He indicated in the 1879 letter to Rev. Abbey, cited above, that he retained his interest in the Gulf Coast, and continued to spend half his time there. In fact, an 1872 article quoting the Bay St. Louis Gazette was evidence of his continued success with Sea Island cotton. That article follows:
       The cotton grown by J.F.H. Claiborne last year (1871) at Zoma <sic> plantation in this county on … prairie land without fertilizer is pronounced to be the finest long-staple ever exhibited in New Orleans, and has just been sold by Messrs. Claiborne and Co., 59 Carondelet St., for 50 cents a pound.
       Had it been ginned on rollers instead of a saw gin, it would have netted 75 cents.
        Col. Claiborne’s crop of the previous year, grown on hammock land, was shipped to Liverpool a few months since and netted 32 cents sterling.[32]
     In the Rev. Abbey letter, Claiborne made a remarkable defense of his ability to deal in cotton during the war. He told the reverend, “I lost my negroes, of course, but being within the Federal lines I made some money in cotton.” In Claiborne’s defense, Napier considers that Union forces had captured the Gulf Coast.[33] However, this is not the conclusion that is rendered for the project area by a reading of the Koch letters,[34] and one must be charitable to ascribe Claiborne’s misapprehension of the geography of Hancock County to senility. (He was then 74.) But then again, in his younger, wartime years, it must be noticed that he had a convenient syllogistic fault when he made decisions involving his own well-being.
     His letter also lamented the loss of his “only son, an officer in the ill-fated Confederacy.” He rejoiced in mentioning his daughters, and then said that he and his wife were growing old together.
     Perhaps Claiborne’s position during the Civil War is best summed up by a passage in his Mississippi history in which he defended the Loyalists who fled to West Florida during the American Revolution, and whose course paralleled his own:
       “It has been the custom to denounce those men as…enemies of their country. Such censure would be proper when applied to men who drew the sword against their countrymen, and waged upon them a savage and relentless war. But the same sentence should not be pronounced on those whose sense of loyalty and of duty forbade them to fight…but rather than stain their hands with kindred blood, renounced home, comfort, society and position…The right of conscience and of opinion is sacred, and at this distance of time these men, once generally condemned, may be properly appreciated.” (15-16).
     Of himself, he said in the letter to Rev. Abbey:
“I am still a temperate man; I have a glass of wine, beer or toddy but never enter a grog shop and was never on a spree. I have never been inside a race track. I never learned cards, dice, billiards, or any other game. I never bet on or buy lottery tickets. Inever swear. Never wore weapons. Never belonged to a society or club. Never attended but one public dinner. Have not been in a theater or ballroom for forty years. Never learned the use of tobacco. Have never sued or been sued (for a debt of my own) and thank God, I am at peace with all mankind.”
     In his last years, Claiborne wrote prolifically. It was in 1879 that he published his first volume of Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State. His manuscript for volume two was unfortunately lost in an explosion of a Mississippi River steamer.
     The dedication of the book reads as follows: To the young men of my native state, and to the widows and daughters of those who died in its defence, these volumes are respectfully inscribed.
     Claiborne died a few years later, in 1884.


[1] Mississippi Department of Archives and History, List of Land Purchasers 1834, p. 395.


[2] Banks Papers, Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts


[3] Lang, p. 2.


[4] Journal of Mississippi History, vol. 6, no. 1, 8-50. In 1943 the original was in the possession of Dr. B.L. Magruder, of Starkville, MS.


[5] James A. Cuevas, in an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 7, 1922, is quoted as saying that Claiborne, in 1849, had a plantation in Waveland called “Sea Glen,” where he raised sea island cotton. “He had another plantation farther down the coast, what is now Baldwin Lodge, on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The Jackson place also was a fine plantation. Each place had its own gin.” It should be considered, in assessing the accuracy of names and locations, that Cuevas was going by memory of 1849.


[6] Sea Coast Echo, (date and Page?)


[7] Lang, 3, citing Federal Workers’ Project, Mississippi Gulf Coast; Yesterday and Today, Gulfport 1939, p. 116.


[8] Ibid, 2-3


[9] Journal of Mississippi History, vol. 6, no. 1, 48-50, edited by C.E. Cain.


[10] New Orleans Picayune, June 6, 1858.


[11] Claiborne papers, Archives, Jackson, MS


[12] The names of the slaves are not the same as a later list of Claiborne’s slaves, suggesting a continuing dealing in slave trade.


[13] Hancock County Courthouse, Deed Book A, p. 121.


[14] J.F.H. Claiborne, Mississippi, as a Province,…, p. 397.


[15] Claiborne Papers, Archives, Jackson, MS.


[16] This was not the John Calhoun of national political prominence. The sender of the letter was another John Calhoun, identified in the 1856 New Orleans city directory as the president of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad Company, with offices at 45 Carondelet Street, and a depot at Calliope corner Solis.


[17] Claiborne papers, Archives, Jackson, MS.


[18]Though he had made enemies in government, his oratory was still respected.


[19] Lang, J.F.H. Claiborne…,10.


[20] War of the Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Conffederate Armies, published by Brig. Gen. Fred C. Ainswoth and Joseph W. Kirkley (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901) Series I, vol. 52, 388.


[21] Lang, J.F.H. Claiborne…,10.


[22] Ibid.


[23] Letter to Banks, December , 1862.


[24] Lang, J.F.H. Claiborne…,9.


[25] Confer Koch section for numerous mentions of the Venus and the Alice.


[26] Lang, J.F.H. Claiborne…, 3.


[27] Claiborne papers, Archives, Jackson, MS. 


[28]Lang, J.F.H. Claiborne…,vol. 18, p.13. See also letters between Christian and Nettie Koch of May 23 and May 29, 1863, commenting on Claiborne’s expressions of fears.


[29] Claiborne, Foreword to Mississippi…


[30] Ames was the son-in-law of General Benjamin Butler. As governor of Mississippi, Ames lived for a while in Bay St. Louis.


[31] It may be that Claiborne sought to support others who wanted compensation. This is suggested by an original document in Claiborne’s papers which purports to be an affidavit attesting to the destruction of the schooner Elodie, by federal troops under the command of General Butler. The action described took place on Mulatto Bayou in the spring of 1863. The affiant was John Favre, who was sworn before the United Sates Commissioner for the Southern District, and who testified that William Stovall brought his schooner, the Elodie, to Mulatto Bayou for repairs, and who wanted Favre to take charge until the return of peace. Favre further stated, that in the following spring, in April, 1863, it was burned “with all her tackle, appurtenances, and furniture.” The value at the time was $1,000, but “…would have commanded at the close of the War not less than $1,300.” Claiborne papers, Archives, Jackson, MS.


[32] Summit Mississippi Times, April 8, 1872.


[33] John H. Napier III, Lower Pearl’s Civil War Losses, Journal of Mississippi History, vol. 23, 100.


[34] Confer Koch section.