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Collection Title: Featherston (Winfield Scott) Letter

Collection Number: M41

Dates: April 7, 1850

Volume: 1 letter

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This letter may be protected from unauthorized copying by the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Winfield Scott Featherston was born on August 8, 1819, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the youngest child of Charles and Lucy Featherston, recent pioneers from Virginia. He left his high school studies to serve as a volunteer in the war against the Creek Indians. After the war, Featherston studied law and was admitted to the bar at Houston, Mississippi, and began his successful legal career in 1840.

Featherston was elected on the Democratic ticket to the Thirtieth and Thirty-first United States Congresses (1847-1851) over strong opposition. In 1850, he was again a candidate for Congress but was defeated. When secession became imminent, Featherston was sent to negotiate with the Kentucky authorities. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was elected colonel of the 17th Mississippi Regiment and took part in several important battles (the first and second Manasses, Sharpsburg, and Fredericksburg) and was wounded during the Battle of Seven Days before Richmond. Following the battle at Leesburg, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. In Mississippi, Featherston took command of a brigade of Major-General Loring's division when General Joseph Johnston requested a skilled brigadier.

When the war ended, Featherston returned to his law practice and later served as president of the state tax-payer's convention which protested against high taxes and the needless expenditures made by Governor Ames' administration. He served in the Mississippi House of Representatives 1876-1878 and 1880-1882. During the 1876 legislative session, Featherston introduced a resolution which called for the impeachment of Governor Ames. During his last term, he served in the capacity of chairman of the judiciary committee and assisted in the revision of the state code of 1880. Two years later, he became judge of the second judicial circuit of Mississippi. His last public service was as a member of the judiciary committee at the Constitutional Convention in 1890. One year later, May 28, 1891, Winfield Scott Featherston died at his home in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Scope and Content:

One letter written April 7, 1850, by Winfield Scott Featherston (United States House of Representatives 1847-1851) to an unidentified person. The letter is a reply to a letter which Featherston had received asking for the appointment of Mr. Brownrigg as a cadet. Featherston stated that he had already conferred the appointment on Mr. Davis of Aberdeen, Mississippi, before the letter was received.

Featherston mentioned that Isham Harrison had also written a letter in behalf of Mr. Brownrigg but that Mr. Davis had been more strongly recommended than anyone else. He apologized for not having written sooner and explained that answering his business correspondence occupied all of his leisure time.

Featherston also spoke on the issue of slavery. He believed that the South should take a firm, decided, and united stand on slavery and the North would have to come to terms with it. He also believed the South would submit to any aggressive measure. Featherston also stated that in the current state of affairs the slavery issue would not be settled.


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Revised: November 8, 2004