Charles Clark: Twenty-fourth Governor of Mississippi: 1863-1865
Governor Charles Clark has the distinction of being one of the three governors of Mississippi to be arrested and imprisoned. The other two are John Quitman and Theodore Bilbo. When the Civil War ended, Governor Clark was arrested by Union authorities and incarcerated briefly at Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia. A witness described the arrest of the former Confederate general, who had twice been wounded, first at Shiloh and then at Baton Rouge:
Clark moved to Jefferson County in 1831 from Ohio, where he was born
in 1810. He taught school, practiced law, and represented Jefferson County
in the state legislature for several years. During the American-Mexican
War, Clark organized the Thomas Hinds Guards, an infantry company which
became a part of the Second Regiment of Mississippi Volunteers. After
the resignation of Reuben Davis, the regimental commander, Clark was elected
colonel of the regiment.
In 1863, after the fall of Vicksburg, many Mississippians wanted to end
the war and called for negotiations with the Union government. But many
others favored the continuation of the war, and Charles Clark ran for
governor as an anti-peace candidate, winning over only token opposition.
After his release from Fort Pulaski, Governor Clark returned to his home in Bolivar County where he resumed the practice of law. In 1876, after the Reconstruction period had ended, he was appointed chancellor for the fourth judicial district and served on the bench until his death December 17, 1877.
David Sansing, Ph.D., is history professor emeritus, University of Mississippi.
Posted December 2003
Mississippi Official and Statistical Register (1912), 70.
Rowland, Dunbar. Mississippi Comprising Sketches in Cyclopedic Form I. 437-445.
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