3/8/62, Converting Church Bells into Artillery; General Beauregard’s Entreaty to Plantation Owners
HDQ'RS Army of the Mississippi
Jackson, Tenn., March 8, 1862
To the Planters of the Mississippi Valley:
More than once a people, fighting with an enemy far less ruthless than yours, for imperiled rights not more dear and sacred than yours; for homes and a land not more worthy of resolute and unconquerable men than yours; and for interest of far less magnitude than you have not at stake, have not hesitated to melt and mould into cannon the precious bells surrounding their houses of God, which had called generations to prayer. The priesthood have ever sanctioned and consecrated the conversion, in the hour of their nation's need, as one holy and acceptable in the sight of God.
We want cannon as greatly as any people who ever-as history tells you-melted their church bells to supply them. And I, your General, intrusted with the command of the army embodied of your sons, your kinsmen, and your neighbors, do now call on your to send your plantation bells to the nearest railroad depot, subject to my order, to be melted into cannon for the defence of your plantations.
Who will not cheerfully and promptly send me his bells under such circumstances?