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Weapons of Mississippi

Kevin Dougherty

Publication Year: 2010

Mississippians have long found the need for an arsenal of interesting, lethal, and imaginative weapons. Native Americans, frontier outlaws, antebellum duelists, authorities and protestors in the civil rights struggle, and present-day hunters have used weapons to survive, to advance causes, or to levy societal control. In Weapons of Mississippi Kevin Dougherty examines the roles weapons have played in twelve phases of state history. Dougherty not only offers technical background for these devices, but he also presents a new way of understanding the state's history-through the context and development of its weapons. Chapters in the book bring the story of Mississippi's weapons up to date with a discussion of the modern naval shipbuilders on the Coast and interviews with hunters keen to pass on family traditions. As Mississippi progressed from a sparsely populated wilderness to a structured modern society, management of weaponry became one of the main requirements for establishing centralized law and order. Indians, outlaws, runaway slaves, secessionists, and night riders have all posed challenges to the often better-armed authorities.Today, weapons unite Mississippians in the popular pastime of hunting deer, turkey, dove, rabbit, and even bear. In the state's social and cultural character, a shared lore and knowledge of hunting crosses age, racial, and economic lines. Weapons, once used for mere survival, have transformed into instruments masterfully crafted for those harvesting the state's abundant game.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. vii-viii

Weapons serve many functions for many people, but perhaps the common denominator in all cases is that, broadly defined, weapons enhance control. Hunters use weapons to control animals. Criminals use weapons to control their victims. Soldiers use weapons to control their enemies....

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1. ATLATLS, BOWS AND ARROWS, AND STRIKING WEAPONS: WEAPONS OF THE MISSISSIPPI INDIANS

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pp. 3-11

The themes of control, technology, and centralization can be traced to the first appearance of weapons in what is now Mississippi. Native Mississippians spent most of their time in a desperate effort to control a hostile environment in order to survive. Therefore the weapons of the prehistoric period in Mississippi were largely for the purpose of hunting, with spears, initially...

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2. GUNS, STEEL, AND FORTS: WEAPONS OF THE EUROPEANS IN MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 12-27

In the fifteenth century, powerful new monarchies built on centralized authority emerged in Europe. The heads of these states were able to control financial and military resources to a degree that undermined the authority of competing nobles, and the kings built powerful armies that dominated the armored knights who were loyal to the noblemen....

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3. MILITIAS, OUTLAWS, AND KENTUCKY RIFLES: WEAPONS OF TERRITORIAL MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 28-42

On April 7, 1798, President John Adams approved an act of Congress that established the Mississippi Territory. The northern border of the new territory ran from the junction of the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers eastward....

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4. DUELING AND SLAVERY: WEAPONS OF ANTEBELLUM MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 43-58

In the Old South, honor was a complicated but all-pervasive phenomenon. Bertram Wyatt-Brown goes as far as to call honor “the most important aspect of antebellum ethics” and the “keystone of the slaveholding South’s morality.”1 He then proceeds to explain three elements of Southern...

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5. MISSISSIPPI RIFLES: WEAPONS OF MISSISSIPPIANS IN MEXICO

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pp. 59-70

America of the 1840s was the America of Manifest Destiny. In 1845, Congress annexed Texas, which until 1836 had been a republic of Mexico. Since then, however, Texas had considered itself an independent republic, while Mexico still saw it as a wayward province in revolt....

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6. IRONCLADS AND TORPEDOES: WEAPONS ON THE WATER IN CIVIL WAR MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 71-83

At the time of the Civil War, the Mississippi River was the single most important economic feature of the continent, but the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg had closed the river to navigation, posing a serious threat to Northern commercial interests. Lamenting the situation, President Abraham Lincoln...

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7. SIEGE GUNS AND SABERS: WEAPONS ON THE LAND IN CIVIL WAR MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 84-115

Even the diverse array of ironclads, rams, mortar boats, tinclads, and other vessels that worked Mississippi’s Civil War waterways could not match the hodgepodge of weapons used to fight the state’s land battles. In terms of small arms and artillery, the vast assembly of weapons lacked uniformity, not just between the Federals and Confederates but within the two armies as well....

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8. RIFLES, BOWS, AND GUNS: WEAPONS OF MISSISSIPPI HUNTERS AND PRIVATE CITIZENS

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pp. 116-142

Hunting has long been a part of life in Mississippi, as demonstrated by the skills and weapons of the native Mississippians. Today the state boasts more than two million acres of wild game habitat for species such as white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, migratory waterfowl, mourning dove, quail, squirrel, and rabbit...

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9. TRAINING CAMPS AND MILITARY MOBILIZATION: WEAPONS OF MISSISSIPPI DURING THE TWO WORLD WARS

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pp. 143-163

In the first half of the twentieth century, Mississippi was still largely an agrarian state with a small industrial base. The massive military mobilizations that swept the nation in conjunction with the world wars, especially World War II, brought a large increase in military activity to the state....

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10. FIREBOMBS AND ROPES: WEAPONS OF TERROR IN MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 164-187

The civil rights era in Mississippi was a violent time when central authority was under serious challenge. Many white Mississippians, disgruntled and threatened by the social change going on around them, resisted by using weapons to terrorize and intimidate blacks who moved to exercise their growing rights. Some blacks responded by arming themselves in a ...

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11. SHIPS, AIRCRAFT, AND ARTILLERY: WEAPONS OF MISSISSIPPI’S POST–WORLD WAR II MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

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pp. 188-202

Building on the tradition of BAWI and the industry brought to the state by the two world wars, Mississippi continues to host a variety of weapons manufacturing, testing, and training activities for the U.S. military. In Pascagoula, Ingalls carries on its shipbuilding tradition as an operation under Northrop Grumman Ship...

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12. NUCLEAR TESTING: WEAPONS OF THE ATOMIC AGE IN MISSISSIPPI

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pp. 203-213

When most people think of nuclear testing, they think of places like Los Alamos, New Mexico, or the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. In spite of these larger and better-known sites, Mississippi has a history involving nuclear weapons. Two nuclear tests were actually conducted in Mississippi, and a massive nuclear earthmoving project was planned but rejected....

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AFTERWORD

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pp. 214-216

The themes of weapons facilitating control, control of weapons being critical to this broader control, and centralized societies having an advantage in the possession of quantities—and, more importantly, quality—of weapons run throughout the history of Mississippi...

NOTES

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pp. 217-240

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 241-254

INDEX

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pp. 255-266


E-ISBN-13: 9781604734522
E-ISBN-10: 1604734523
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604734515
Print-ISBN-10: 1604734515

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2010