This guest blog about Stephen D. Lee doesn’t mention the part he played in the southeast Mississippi homeland of the Poore family.
The family had moved from Newton County to a few miles south of the county line into Jasper County in late 1863.
On February 3, 1864, Major General William T. Sherman led 23,519 federal troops out of Vicksburg. The bluecoats struck eastward across the width of Mississippi toward the Piney Woods homeland of the Poore family. The federals headed for the railroad town of Meridian, a major shipping point.
Rebel cavalry Major General Stephen D. Lee had the job of slowing down Union General William T. Sherman’s column long enough to let the Confederate infantry set up a defense line. Lee gathered his horsemen north of Garlandsville, near the Poore family’s Jasper County homestead.
The Yankee invaders entered Newton County on February 12 and Lee’s cavalry made hit-and-run attacks on the 1,000 wagons in the supply train. As it turned out, Lee’s efforts came to nothing. The rebels never made a stand.
Rebel Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk wrongly guessed that the Yanks planned to attack Mobile. Instead of pulling his men together for a defense, Polk scattered the 21,963 troops in the Army of Mississippi across the region, mostly in Alabama.
Mention the surname “Lee” to a Civil War enthusiast or quite possibly any American that sat through a high-school American History class and the name Robert E. Lee is the first one given in reply. Ask that Civil War enthusiast to mention another “Lee” that fought in the Civil War and that person would respond with either Fitzhugh Lee or Rooney Lee, both correct answers.
Yet, there was another “Lee” with no relation to the Lees’ of Virginia who served admirably and faithfully to the Confederate cause too. He even served longer than the three gentlemen officers that shared his same last name. Unlike those Lees he was not a Virginian, but claimed Charleston, South Carolina as his birthplace and hometown.
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