The Honorable Powell Clayton

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9780944436103: The Honorable Powell Clayton
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Biography of important and controversial civil war and reconstruction era soldier and political figure. May 1861 Clayton was formally mustered into the Union Army as a captain rising the the ranks to the level of brigadier general. During the morning and early afternoon of October 25, 1863, Clayton commanded federal troops occupying Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He successfully repulsed a three-pronged confederate attack of the forces of General John S. Marmaduke. His troops had piled cotton bales around the Pine Bluff courthouse and surrounding streets to make a barricade for the Union defenders, and it worked. After the war, Powell decided to stay in Arkansas. He married and together with his brother William (W.H.H. Clayton), purchased a plantation in Jefferson County, Arkansas, Mississippi Delta. As in other southern states, violence did not end with the war. Hostilities continued and intensified as whites used lynchings, other physical attacks and intimidation against emancipated freedmen to repress black voting and maintain white supremacy. They intimidated white Republicans as well to regain political power. Other planters told Powell that they would just pretend to go along with Reconstruction. Powell at first tried to stay out of the conflicts. When his neighbors became more threatening, he decided to enter politics. In 1868 Clayton was elected as the first Republican governor of Arkansas. His tenure was marked by soaring state debt , corruption, and violence. He was forced to declare martial law at the beginning of his term because of racial tensions, which were eventually cleared by General Daniel Phillips Upham. Many members of his administration, and colleagues in his party were charged with corruption while he was governor. Clayton was impeached but never formally convicted. He was reportedly involved with the tampering of a US senate election between Thomas Boles and John Edwards. His administration is mainly blamed for the Brooks-Baxter War...

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Burnside, William H.
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