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 Free State of Jones - How accurate?

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Mikestone8
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PostSubject: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Mon 03 Jul 2017, 22:09

Have just viewed this film, and found the wartime half, at least, very interesting, but am uncertain about how closely it sticks to the facts.

I understand that some of Knight's followers were indeed hanged, but did the authorities really hang two small boys who were trying to give themselves up? And if so did the officer concerned really get strangled with a leather belt?
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Mon 03 Jul 2017, 22:13

Mikestone8 wrote:
Have just viewed this film, and found the wartime half, at least, very interesting, but am uncertain about how closely it sticks to the facts.

I understand that some of Knight's followers were indeed hanged, but did the authorities really hang two small boys who were trying to give themselves up? And if so did the officer concerned really get strangled with a leather belt?

 Mikestone,

welcome to the boards.

You have just viewed "which" film?

Kind regards, Paul.
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Mikestone8
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PostSubject: Re: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Tue 04 Jul 2017, 03:59

The film "Free State of Jones" (Matttheww McConaughtey)'
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Wed 05 Jul 2017, 09:52

I haven't seen the film, but a look on wiki showed the following;

General Polk initially responded to the actions of the Knight Company by sending a contingent under Colonel Henry Maury into the area in February 1864. Maury reported he had cleared the area, but noted the deserters had threatened to obtain "Yankee aid" and return. Shortly afterward, Polk dispatched a veteran contingent of soldiers led by Colonel Robert Lowry, a future governor who would later describe Knight as an "ignorant and uneducated man." Using bloodhounds to track down guerillas in the swamps, Lowry rounded up and executed ten members of the Knight Company, including Newton's cousins, Benjamin Franklin Knight and Sil Coleman. Newton Knight, however, evaded capture. He later stated his company had unsuccessfully attempted to break through Confederate lines to join the Union Army.

limited book preview;

Legend of the Free State of Jones

and an article in the Smithsonian:

Jones County
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Wed 05 Jul 2017, 12:44

Jones County, Mississippi was not alone in being pro-Unionist in the South.
Scott County seceded from Tennessee when that state left the Union. Although it's independent status was not recognised by either the Federal or Confederate Governments, the inhabitants of Scott County did not formally rejoin Tennessee until 1986.
Winston County, Alabama and Searcy County, Arkansas were also pro Union, and, of course, the western counties of Virginia broke away to form the State of West Virginia.

Map showing pro and anti Secessionist counties in the South;



Last edited by Triceratops on Wed 05 Jul 2017, 13:58; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Wed 05 Jul 2017, 13:15

Missouri, officially a Union state, harboured many immigrants from the South who were pro-Confederate.
The counties of Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Howard, Monroe and Randolph were the heartland of what was known as "Little Dixie". Missouri in the Civil War became the scene of an extremely bitter guerrilla war.

Little Dixie



The James-Younger Gang, made up of ex-Confederate bushwackers came from Clay County.
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Mikestone8
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PostSubject: Re: Free State of Jones - How accurate?   Thu 13 Jul 2017, 10:58

Thanks for all the replies.

I think, however, that I have found the answer to my own question.

In "The Free State of Jones", Victoria E Bynum describes the execution of Sil Coleman, age 17, by Colonel Lowry, allegedly for having taken part in an ambush against Lowry's men.  Friends claimed that Lowry also hanged Nobe Coleman, Sil's 13-year-old brother. There is no record of that, but Nobe does not appear in any postwar census or other record,  so at any rate, he  apparently did not survive the war. We are left to draw our own conclusions.

On other points, the film seems to have "embroidered" a bit. Firstly, Lowry did not die in the manner shown, either at Knight's hands or anyone else's. Indeed, he went on to be Governor of Mississippi in the 1880s.  Nor is there any mention of the boys (and others) having been lured into surrender by a promise of pardon. According to Bynum they were simply captured after being hunted down with bloodhounds.  So in real life he was certainly a brutal bastard, but not a particularly treacherous one.
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