The Coker House
Located on Cotton Hill, three miles southeast of Edwards, Mississippi, the Coker House is known for its role in the Civil War. H. B. Coker, a noted citizen and planter, built the one story Greek Revival house about 1852. It is typical of the style of house occupied by wealthy people of this area in antebellum days.
The hill on which the house stands and the adjacent Champion Hill is the site of the battle of Champion Hill (or Baker's Creek), one of the most important battles of the Civil War. Indeed, several military historians have concluded that Champion Hill was the most significant battle of the War; thinking eloquently expressed by British Maj. Gen. J. F. C. Fuller when he wrote, "The drums of Champion's Hill sounded the doom of Richmond." Three Confederate divisions commanded by Lt. General John C. Pemberton met Federal troops led by General Ulysses S. Grant at this site on May 16, 1863. It was a bloody, day-long battle during which tactical advantage shifted several times. Ultimately, the Confederate forces retreated while Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman defended their escape route across Baker's Creek. The Coker House was used as a hospital by Federal forces and departing, they extensively looted both the house and the plantation stores.
Grant's victory at Champion Hill led to the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. Bullet holes in the front door and jamb and cannon ball holes on the west side of the Coker House remain as evidence of the Battle of Champion Hill.
Historical sources: Confederate Veteran, Sept. 1910, and a 1907 document presented to the Jackson Civil War Roundtable by Mrs. Louise Gervin Windham, whose family purchased the property in 1932. Ownership of the Coker House is presently being transferred from the Jackson Civil War Roundtable to the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History. The historic property was donated to the Jackson Roundtable in 1985 by Cal-Maine Foods, Fred Adams, president.
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