[Ed. Copiah County borders Simpson County on the west. The Pearl River is the dividing line. Hazelhurst is about 10 miles or so from Bridgeport. Although Hugh joined the Covington Rebels in Covington county (borders Simpson on the east side of the county, Turner Wilson enlisted in a unit from Copiah county.]
NB - This article contains offensive language, but I include it here for historical accuracy. This piece is apparently intended to give a flavor of the attitudes of people in the county at the beginning of the war and this is part of it.
COPIAH COUNTY NEWS [HAZLEHURST, MS], August 21, 1861, p. 3, c. 2
To the Boys in the Army.
We have been silent a week or two, boys, just to find out whether you remembered us. The rain has been falling so constantly, falling so rapidly and ceaselessly for a week or two that we are almost submerged. Judge McDonald's rice is about the only thing in this country that has its head above water. We don't think there is a tick left alive in this country—unless they went up a tree.
Boys, when you travel on a railroad, don't let the conductors fool you; they are no more afraid of a lie than a blind mule of Bermuda grass. We went up the road the other evening, and hadn't gone more than 30 miles before the conductor sung out, "Buy Rum!" We jumped out to buy some, but Coon said he didn't have a drop—never had any. After awhile another one sung out "Coffeeville," and we snatched a dime and ran out to buy a cup. There wasn't a mouthful in the neighborhood, and not a soul up in town. Afterwards he told the passengers we were at an "Ox Ford." Perfect lie! There wasn't a single ox there, and not a creek in sight. We should have raised a difficulty with him, but he was bigger than us, and we didn't want to hurt him. He didn't come it over us any more, though.
The hardest lick we got, though, was at Iuka. The Hinds County Light Guard were camped there, and we thought we'd go out and see them. First we knew we come up to Prentiss Hawkins, standing in the road with a musket. "Who comes there?' "It's nobody but me, Prentiss," says I, "don't be scared." "Advance and give the countersign," says he. "Three raps and a dime," says I, "If that don't wake up the barkeeper, I don't know what will." "Got a pass from Col. Bonham?" says he. "Prentiss," says I, "do you keep a looking glass about here? I started from home a white man, and if I've turned to a nigger I'll never go back home any more. You may sell me, and divide the money amongst the regiment." "Don't take it so hard," says he, "I'll try to get you in," and he commenced calling "Corp'ral Guard." "Don't call him," says I, "I don't know him; call some of the Hinds county boys." Presently however, Corp'ral Guard came down. "Good evening, Mr. Guard," says I. "Are you a citizen, sir?' says he? "No, sir" says I, "I live in Copiah county." Is that in the Southern Confederacy?" says he. "Not much, I left it in the pine woods." "What state is it in?" says he. "It was in a state of uncertainty when I left, whether we'd all go to fight Lincoln, or leave the crippled and sick people at home." "You don't mean that?" says he. "That's our style!" says I. "Go in, take a cheer and make yourself at home," says Corp'ral. "I thought you was from North America. Tell the boys in mess no. 2 to pass out the pisen." We found the domestic buildings on the hill, and all the inhabitants as gay as jaybirds on Friday. They have everything. Some have light bread; some corn bread, some have measles, and most of them have a great desire to go to Virginia. We mixed around with the boys awhile, and came to the conclusion that when that regiment was ordered to charge Lincoln's people had better start the other way!
Crops of corn look excellent all the way, and wheat was laying in piles promiscuously in the field. We think the bread arrangement is all right. Take good care of yourselves, boys, and don't catch cold wading the branches.