Veterans Need Tobacco: A Story From Beauvoir

In the June 13, 1919, edition of the New Orleans States, the paper had a bold headline detailing a crisis that was sweeping Beauvoir veteran’s home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast:


The States went on to relate that “Because the maintenance fund of the home is not sufficient, Confederate veterans at the Beauvoir home cannot swap war reminiscences unless they have more chewing tobacco.”

Intrigued by the tale of this calamity that swept Beauvoir in the spring of 1919, I did a little digging and found a more detailed story of the problem in The Southern Advocate (Benton County, Mississippi), June 19, 1919:


Biloxi, Miss., June 11, 1919

Editor The Commercial Appeal

My appropriation for maintaining the Confederate veterans at the Jefferson Davis Soldiers Home at Beauvoir, Miss., is so small that I am forced to put the old veterans on very small tobacco allowance. If there is anything an old Confederate veteran loves and enjoys it is his pipe and his chewing tobacco. I am doing everything possible to keep them in tobacco. I have made appeals to the public for tobacco for them and am getting some responses.

Mr. W. M. Lampton of Magnolia has sent us 100 pounds of chewing tobacco and we have received quite a number of small packages from various parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, but I am afraid that not many people read my appeal for tobacco and I am going to ask you to write an appeal and ask everybody in Mississippi who uses tobacco to send me just one plug or just one package of plug cut by parcel post. This won’t hurt anybody’s purse and I feel certain that every tobacco user will only be too glad to divide his tobacco with an old Confederate veteran.

Picture postcard of a group of Confederate veterans at Hayes Cottage, Beauvoir
Picture postcard of a group of Confederate veterans at Hayes Cottage, Beauvoir

Mr. L. K. Salsbury, president of the Mississippi Pine Land and Delta Company of Memphis, has written to know what are the

Period advertisement for Brown's Mule tobacco, a favorite of the Confederate veterans at Beauvoir
Period advertisement for Brown’s Mule tobacco, a favorite of the Confederate veterans at Beauvoir

favorite brands of tobacco. We replied Brown’s Mule and George Washington. You will certainly be conferring an everlasting favor by writing an appeal in your paper for tobacco for the old veterans at Beauvoir. thanking you very much for this kindness in advance, I beg to remain, yours very truly,

E. Tartt, Superintendent

In yet another article about the great tobacco shortage from the Times-Picayune (New Orleans), May 31, 1919, I found more detailed information about the cause of the problem:

Mr. Tartt makes this appeal because the institution is short of funds, due to the small appropriation by the Legislature, which allowed only 60 cents a day for each person in the home. The advance in prices since the appropriation was made by the legislature in March, 1918, has placed the institution in an embarrassing financial condition, and the management has found it difficult to make both ends meet. Out of an allowance of 60 cents a day for each inmate the superintendent mush furnish clothing, medicine, fuel and all other necessaries, and in addition must give each veteran $2 per month in cash for pocket money.

The call put out by Elnathan Tartt for tobacco met with a positive response from the general public. The Beauvoir Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy voted to donate $5 to the home to buy tobacco for the veterans. As stated above, the largest single benefactor of the Beauvoir veterans was Walter M. Lampton, who sent the veterans 100 pounds of tobacco. Lampton, a businessman from Magnolia, Mississippi, greatly admired the old soldiers, and often sent them food, drink, and other items to make their stay at Beauvoir more pleasant.

A cursory search in the GenealogyBank newspaper archive turns up story after story of the generosity of Walter M. Lampton: the

Photo of Walter M. Lampton from the Times-Picayune, December 12, 1930
Photo of Walter M. Lampton from the Times-Picayune, December 12, 1930

December 20, 1921 edition of the Gulfport Daily Herald noted that he had offered to replace the wooden headboards in the Beauvoir cemetery with cement headstones, so that the graves would never be unmarked; in the May 29, 1922 edition of the Times-Picayune (New Orleans), the paper noted that Lampton had pledged to pay ten percent of the total donations made to Beauvoir in the campaign to build a $100,000 hospital on the grounds.

Walter M. Lampton died on December 11, 1930, at his summer home, which was near the Beauvoir veteran’s home. In his obituary it was said of him, “Enjoyment of residence near Beauvoir Soldiers Home and friendship with the inmates there were predominating influences in his life during the past decade. He knew every man and woman at Beauvoir and all counted for him their friend. He attended 32 Confederate Reunions, state and general, and was known through America for his interests in the ‘old soldiers.’ When his health permitted no day passed that he did not visit Beauvoir. Not a casual interest but the type of friendship and desire for the happiness of the old soldiers that caused him on numerous occasions to loan the home funds to operate [while] awaiting legislative appropriation, actuated Mr. Lampton.” – Daily Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), December 11, 1930.

The body of Walter M. Lampton was taken by train back to Magnolia, where the body was interred by the family. The Daily Herald noted “The Confederate flag at Beauvoir was at half mast all day in respect to Mr. Lampton.” It was a last tribute to a man who had spent much of his life and fortune helping others.

I am an Old Sea Dog: War of 1812 Veteran Peter Ulrick

In early 1861 when the Confederacy was young and the Southern people had yet to feel the hard hand of war, Mississippians by the thousands were eager to join up and serve their new country. Most of them were young men, full of energy and just itching to fight. There were older veterans that offered their services to the South, most of whom had served as enlisted men or junior officers in the Mexican War. But there were a few, a very few, who fought in even earlier conflicts than the Mexican War. One such old-timer was Peter Ulrick of Daleville, Mississippi. In the spring of 1861 he wrote to Governor John J. Pettus, tendering his expertise in naval matters to the service of the state. His letter is preserved in the John J. Pettus Correspondence at the Mississippi Department of Archives & History:

Daleville, State of Miss., Lauderdale County

April 1st, 1861

Most Honoured Sir,

I am a citizen of this county and state and have been for several years, but find that my old adopted state has weighed anchor, and joined the glorious Confederacy. Therefore I tender my services to the State of Miss., as an old practiced seaman and commander of any craft, to secure the coast, and bays of Miss., Alabama & Florida and defend the same from any foreign power or state.

I am an Old Sea Dog. I was mate on board the U. State Frigate Constitution at the taking of H.B. Majesty’s Ship Guerriere, and had the pleasure of welcoming Captain Dacre on board of the U. State Constitution. I then recd. a warrant as Sailing Master in the U. State service, and was sent to Charleston S. Carolina to take charge of the U.S. Schooner Nonsuch under command of Commodore Dent and Patterson. We sailed upon a cruise and on the second day fell in with and captured the Calledonia an English Privateer from New Providence, mounting 11 long guns and carrying 60 negroes, with a black commander and we took two yankey schooners laden with flour. The battle was fought off Tybee Light House at the mouth of Savannah River, and your humble servant had the pleasure of taking her into Savannah as Prize master, with the Stars and Stripes flying over the Ramping Lyon of old England.

USS Constitution fighting the HMS Guerriere, by Michel F. Corne -
USS Constitution fighting the HMS Guerriere, by Michel F. Corne –

After a few weeks rest and having some damage repaired, that I received in the action, I was sent on board the U.S. Schooner Caroline under Commodore Patterson and started for the Gulf to watch the British fleet as to their whereabouts. I then took charge of Gunboat No. 163 with five other boats to break up Lafitte (the pirate) strong hold on Lake Borgne. We were then on the watch for the British fleet, to lookout for them landing we had six gunboats under the command of Lieutenant Jones (now commodore ap Jones). We were engaged by 43 boats from the squadron and were captured after selling our men and craft at a high premium. There were 800 men and guns against 180 men. We were taken on board this fleet, as prisoners of war. We lost one third of our men and were kept prisoners of war until general Jackson flogged them from New Orleans and peace was declared.

The Battle of Lake Borgne -
The Battle of Lake Borgne –

I have been living a retired life for some time from active service upon the ocean, but feel willing to with the greatest cheerfulness to embark in the service of my state and Confederacy. I could be of great service to the teaching of young officers their duty and train them on the right way.

I now tender my service to the State of Miss., in the capacity of Commander from a gun boat to Seventy four ___ in any capacity where big guns are used for the purpose of defending my country from any foe whatever. I sincerely pray through your excellency that I may receive a call. Once more, to serve in defense of my country.

Will your Excellency have the goodness to respond to the above, and please say if you need the service of such a man as I represent myself to be. If you do, I can be ready for a all in twenty four hours.

I am your excellency

Obt. Servant,

Peter Ulrick

After reading Ulrick’s compelling narrative of his service in the War of 1812, I was compelled to find out more about Peter Ulrick – could it be possible that he actually served in the Confederate navy during the Civil War?

I started by looking for Peter Ulrick in the 1860 U.S. Census, and quickly found my man: 65 year old Peter Ulrick, a native of Pennsylvania, was listed as living in Daleville, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, with his wife Elizabeth, age 60. At the time the census was taken Ulrick was making his living as a small farmer, reporting that he owned real estate worth $500, and having a personal estate worth $400.

My next step was to see if I could find any evidence that Ulrick had served as a sailor, and thanks to, I located the

Peter Ulrick's Seaman's Protection Certificate  - Ancestry.Com
Peter Ulrick’s Seaman’s Protection Certificate – Ancestry.Com

Seaman’s Protection Certificate taken out by him on November 12, 1805, when he was 15 years old. These certificates basically served as a sailor’s passport, proving his place of birth, and offering him some protection from impressment by the British. Ulrick’s certificate stated he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and described him as being four feet, nine inches tall, with light hair and hazel eyes. It also stated he had a scar on his right cheek, and a pit from small pox near the corner of his right eye.

I tried to find some verification that Ulrick served in the War of 1812, but unfortunately was unable to locate anything online. It will probably take some correspondence with the National Archives to determine the details of Ulrick’s service in the war. If the old sailor did what he claimed he did, Ulrick was a veteran of one of the most celebrated naval battles of the War of 1812: the victory of the USS Constitution over the H.M.S. Guerriere on August 19, 1812. On that date the Constitution, a frigate commanded by Captain Isaac Hull, met and decisively defeated the frigate Guerriere, commanded by Captain James R. Dacres.

In addition to serving on the Constitution, Ulrick also claimed to have fought in the Battle of Lake Borgne, one of the most celebrated naval actions to take place along the Gulf Coast. On December 14, 1814, a small U.S. naval force of five gunboats and two tenders protecting the navigable waterways leading to New Orleans met a British force of forty-five barges loaded with 1,200 sailors and marines. The American vessels, commanded by Lieutenant Thomas ap Catesby Jones, put up a fierce resistance despite being terribly outnumbered, killing or wounding 94 of the enemy for the loss of six killed and thirty-five wounded. The Americans lost the battle and the survivors spent the rest of the war as prisoners, but their sacrifice had not been in vain. Their stout resistance at Lake Borgne delayed the British attack on New Orleans, giving General Andrew Jackson much needed time to prepare his defenses.

In the course of my research, I did find one other bit of information about Peter Ulrick – in the newspaper The National Crisis, February 1, 1861, was this brief article: “Peter Ulrick, who served on board the U.S. frigate Constitution when she captured the Guerriere, in the war of 1812, and was subsequently a sailing master in the navy, has tendered his services to Alabama, in any capacity where ‘big guns’ are to be used.”

Apparently Ulrick sent a letter offering his services to the Governor of Alabama as well as to Governor Pettus of Mississippi. Whether

Gravestone of Peter Ulrick in Catholic Cemetery at Mobile -
Gravestone of Peter Ulrick in Catholic Cemetery at Mobile –

either of the men took the veteran up on his offer remains to be seen. I do know that Ulrick survived the war, dying on October 1, 1868. He is buried in Catholic Cemetery at Mobile, Alabama. I will keep looking into the history of this “Old Sea Dog,” and if I find out anything else about his service during the Civil War, I will post it here.