The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 94
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and Louisiana to the rest of the Confederacy. Federal forces operating
out of New Orleans under the command of Adm. David Farragut had
tried and failed to take the city during the summer of 1862; during the
next winter Gen. U. S. Grant also unsuccessfully attempted to capture
Vicksburg. Having won control of northern Mississippi, Grant marshaled
his forces for a push southward but was outflanked and blocked from
entering the central part of the state. Nevertheless, Grant did not give
up the field. During the spring of 1863 he prepared his second push to
seize the city. Maj. Maurice Kavanaugh Simons and the rest of the
Second Texas Infantry were waiting for him.
Simons, who recorded in his 1863 journal an account of the siege of
Vicksburg and the Confederate surrender, was born March 4, 1824, in
Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his father operated a shipping business and
served for six years as the city's mayor. His family came to Texas in 1834,
finally settling near Dimmit's Point in Jackson County early the follow-
ing year. Their town had been named Santa Anna when it was founded
in 1832, but the name was changed to Texana as a result of the political
events of the day. Since Maurice Kavanaugh Simons grew up with a polit-
ically active father, it was no surprise that he and his brothers wanted to
make their mark on Texas as well. The eldest son, Joseph, joined the
1842-1843 Mier Expedition and eventually died in the Castle of Perote.
Simons and another brother volunteered for duty in Gen. Zachary
Taylor's army at Corpus Christi during the Mexican-American War. The
brother, Thomas, died of smallpox during the early days of that conflict,
and Simons nearly died of the disease later. Simons also suffered a horri-
ble leg wound, which forced a doctor to remove the leg with Simons's
own butcher knife and saw.'
After recovering from the amputation and his bout with smallpox,
Simons returned to Texana and joined his father in business. He met
and married Elizabeth Archer Hatcher in 1857. Her first pregnancy
ended in stillbirth, but she later bore a daughter, whom they named
Elizabeth after her mother. Such was the state of the Simons house-
hold when the United States fell into war in 1861.
Many of Jackson County's men traveled to Houston to volunteer for
Confederate service. These men were originally part of the home militia
i Capt. William P. Rogers, journal, Apr. 28, 1847, July 3, 1846-May 6, 1847 (Center for
American History, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas); Elizabeth Simons to Virginia
McChesney, July 2, 19o0, letter m the possession of Maurine Simons Miller, great-granddaughter
of Maurice Kavanaugh Simons. The pension was granted as part of an act of Congress, which
read, m part, that the "injury and amputation are certified to by N. S Jarvis, army surgeon" and
that a letter from General Taylor certified Simons's service and should "entitle the prayer of the
petition to the favorable consideration of Congress." Report Number too, Jan. 3o, 1852, House
Resolution Number 185, 32d Cong., ist Sess., United States Congressional Printing Office.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/102/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.