Today’s featured item in our 75 for 75 project is a jacket worn by a member of the University Greys, a unit of the Confederate army that many students joined during the spring of 1861. That following fall, only four students signed up for classes, so the university closed and would not reopen until 1865.
The unit was led by William B. Lowry, a 19-year-old UM student. Other Ole Miss students joined the Lamar Rifles, which was based in Lafayette County, or they left to join units in their respective hometowns.
Many of the University Greys were involved in “Pickett’s Charge” in July 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg. All members of the unit were killed, captured or wounded during the charge. The Greys were part of the 11th Mississippi Infantry, which saw only 53 of its 393 men escape Pickett’s Charge unscathed.
Can you imagine leading a military unit at age 19? List three adjectives that you think might describe William B. Lowry.
Describe what you know about the Civil War. List three outcomes the North wanted to come from the war. Now list three outcomes the South wanted.
Do a little research of your own- were there other universities that closed down when all of their students left to fight in the war?