Charles Clark (governor)

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His Excellency
Charles Clark
Charles Clark.jpg
24th Governor of Mississippi
In office
November 16, 1863 – May 22, 1865
Preceded by John Pettus
Succeeded by William Sharkey
Personal details
Born (1811-05-24)May 24, 1811
Lebanon, Ohio
Died December 18, 1877(1877-12-18) (aged 66)
Bolivar County, Mississippi
Resting place Bolivar County, Mississippi
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ann Darden
Alma mater Augusta College
Profession Teacher
Lawyer
Religion Methodist
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States
Years of service 1861–1863
Rank Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier-General
Unit Confederate States Army
Battles/wars American Civil War

Charles Clark (May 24, 1811 – December 18, 1877) was Governor of Mississippi from November 16, 1863 until May 22, 1865.

Early life and career[edit]

Clark was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1811 and subsequently moved to Mississippi. He is the great grandfather of Judge Charles Clark who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1969 to 1992 and was the chairman of the United States Judicial Conference.

In the late 1830s and early 1840s, Clark, a lawyer, represented a settler in a dispute with some Choctaw Native Americans over land in the Mississippi Delta. The dispute led to a series of lawsuits before the Mississippi Supreme Court. The settler ultimately prevailed, and gave Clark a large tract of land between Beulah, Mississippi and the Mississippi River as his legal fee. In the late 1840s, Clark formed a plantation on the land, naming it Doe-Roe, pseudonyms commonly used in the legal profession to represent unnamed or unknown litigants (e.g., John Doe, Roe v. Wade). The state of literacy being what it was at the time, however, the plantation came to be known by its phonic representation, Doro. According to archives at Delta State University, "The plantation grew to over 5,000 acres (20 km2) and became the most prosperous in the region, operating until 1913. It was prominent in the social, political and economic affairs of Bolivar County."[1]

Civil War[edit]

Following the secession of Mississippi in early 1861, Clark was appointed as a brigadier general in the Mississippi 1st Corps, a state militia organization that later entered the Confederate Army. He commanded the brigade at engagements in Kentucky and then a division under Leonidas Polk at the Battle of Shiloh. He was promoted to the rank of major general of Mississippi State Troops in 1863. Clark led a division at the Battle of Baton Rouge, where he was severely wounded and captured. He spent time as a prisoner of war before being released.

On November 16, 1863, Clark was inaugurated as governor of Mississippi under Confederate auspices. He served in this capacity until June 13, 1865, when he was forcibly removed from office by occupation forces of the United States Army and replaced by William L. Sharkey, a respected judge and staunch Unionist who had been in total opposition to secession. Clark was briefly imprisoned at Fort Pulaski near Savannah, Georgia.

He died in Bolivar County, Mississippi, on December 18, 1877, and was buried at the family graveyard in that county.[2]

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