Charles Clark (May 24, 1811 – December 18, 1877)

Updated: November 19, 2011

Ohio-born Charles Clark was a brigadier general in the Confederate Army and governor of Mississippi during the American Civil War.

Charles Clark was born in Lebanon, Ohio, near Cincinnati, on May 24, 1811. After graduating from Augusta College, in Kentucky in 1831, Clark relocated to Mississippi, where he taught school and studied law. After being admitted to the bar, Clark practiced law and became active in politics as a member of the Whig Party.

During the 1840s, Clark accepted a large tract of land between Beulah, Mississippi, and the Mississippi River as his legal fee for a case that appeared before the Mississippi Supreme Court. He developed a plantation there named "Doe-Roe," which was locally referred to as "Doro." Clark became a slaveowner and one of the wealthiest planters in Mississippi.

When the Mexican-American War began, Clark organized the Thomas Hinds Guards, an infantry company that became a part of the 2nd Regiment of Mississippi Volunteers. Clark initially served as a captain and later as a colonel.

During the controversy over the extension of slavery in the American Southwest after the Mexican-American War, Clark remained a Unionist and supported the Compromise of 1850. In 1856, he was elected to the Mississippi State Legislature, where he served until 1861. In 1860, Clark joined the Democratic Party and became an advocate for secession. He was a delegate to both Democratic conventions, in Charleston and Baltimore that year, and he supported the presidential candidacy of John C. Breckinridge.

When the Civil War began, Clark was appointed brigadier general and later major general of Mississippi state troops. When the Mississippi militia was incorporated into the Confederate army, Clark was appointed brigadier general, effective May 22, 1861. He initially served as a brigade commander under Albert Sidney Johnston in Kentucky. Clark was wounded in the shoulder while commanding the 1st Division of the Army of Mississippi at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-April 7, 1862). Upon returning to active duty, Clark was injured again and taken prisoner while commanding a division during the Battle of Baton Rouge (August 5, 1862). He was imprisoned at New Orleans until February 1863. Clark's injuries cost him the use of his legs for the remainder of his life and forced him to leave active.

On October 5, 1863, voters elected Clark as Governor of Mississippi. He served in that capacity for the remainder of the Civil War. As the Confederacy disintegrated, Federal authorities arrested Clark in the spring of 1865 and imprisoned him at Fort Pulaski, Georgia. On September 2, 1865, Clark signed an oath of allegiance to the United States. He was paroled and released from prison in late September or early October of that year.

After his release from prison, Clark returned to practicing law and managing his plantation. When Reconstruction ended, Clark was appointed chancellor for the fourth judicial district in 1876 and served on the bench until his death.

Charles Clark died on December 18, 1877 and was buried on his plantation in Mississippi.

Clark was one of six generals in the Confederate Army who was born in Ohio.

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"Charles Clark," Ohio Civil War Central, 2021, Ohio Civil War Central. 20 Sep 2021 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=909>

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"Charles Clark." (2021) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved September 20, 2021, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=909

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