Walt's Look Around: January weather - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: January weather

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January is often-times a gloomy month in Mississippi.

Often the weather is a reflection of the mood of the people living here.

The dark and clouds and fog we've had recently must have matched what people were thinking 150 years ago this year.

No one comes to Mississippi in January for the weather.

This is pretty much the bleakest time of the year.

That goes for this year, or 1862, if we let ourselves go back a hundred fifty years ago this year, when Mississippi was waiting and seeing what was to become of the Civil War.

Mississippi seceded from the Union on January 9th a year earlier, in 1861.

By April of that year war had broken out.

In July fever-pitched battles had taken place in Virginia.

And by January of 1862 the Union was blockading Southern ports on the Atlantic and slowly moving into the Gulf of Mexico.

As far as actual fighting, it had mostly been an eastern war in January 150 years ago.

Matter of fact, there wasn't near enough fighting going on so suite Lincoln.

In a cabinet meeting in January 1862, about right now, he remarked to his Secretary of War that if the general in charge, McClelland wasn't going to use the army, he'd like to borrow it.

In Mississippi at this point, it was still quiet.

I don't know if people thought it was the calm before the storm, or if they thought it would just STAY and eastern war.

But in January 150 years ago Union General Grant already had his eyes on Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson in Tennessee and had already seen that the taking of those forts would lead directly southward to the important rail road junctions in north Mississippi.

And Grant was also complaining about the horrid January weather.

I imagine the foremost thoughts here at home by the planters were whether they'd be able to make a cotton crop and sell it that year.

And the dirt farmers still wondered what all of this had to do with them.

And since the Emancipation Proclamation had not yet been issued, what the Civil War would or would not do for the slaves was still a cloudy issue in January, 150 years ago in Mississippi.

The whole of the future for everyone was still cloudy 150 years ago.

But one thing was growing clearer, the war everyone thought would last only a few weeks was going to last a lot longer than that.

And in just a few short months from this time of year 150 years ago, those war clouds would be hanging thick over Mississippi.

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