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John H. Aughey (John Hill), 1828-1911
Tupelo
Chicago: Rhodes & McClure Publishing Co., 1905, c1888.

Summary

John Hill Aughey was born in New Hartford, New York in 1828 and spent most of his childhood in Ohio. He graduated from Franklin College in 1852 and became a Presbyterian minister, serving throughout Mississippi until the beginning of the Civil War. Because he was loyal to the Union, he was taken prisoner by Confederate General Braxton Bragg and held in Tupelo, Mississippi. He escaped, and after recovering from his wounds, served as a chaplain in the U. S. Army. After the war, he worked in churches in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania and worked as a home missionary in the Northwest Territory for eleven years. He retired to Newton, New Jersey in 1904, and died there in 1911. Aughey wrote two works, The Iron Furnace: Or, Slavery and Secession (1863) and Tupelo (1888).

In Tupelo, Aughey describes the South just before and during the Civil War from his unique perspective as a Union sympathizer living in the South. He begins by providing several speeches others made on the subject of secession. While these speeches offer an example of the debate that secession engendered, Aughey describes a very hostile climate during the vote for secession. Indeed, a vigilante committee threatened to execute him for being disloyal to the South. Although those charges were dropped, General Bragg later took him prisoner for his disloyalty. Aughey describes the Tupelo prison conditions and his efforts to escape. Tupelo concludes with sermons, speeches, and poems reflecting on the state of the country immediately following the Civil War.

Works Consulted: Coyle, William, ed., Ohio Authors and Their Books, 1796-1950, Cleveland: World Publishing, 1962.

Harris Henderson

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