I have a passion for history and believe there is no more powerful connection with the past than visiting a site where history happened. I have been reading, researching, and writing about the history of the Gulf South my entire career, and traveling to visit its incredible historic sites my whole life. My primary interests are colonial, antebellum, and Civil War history.
Old Southwest to Old South: Mississippi 1798-1840
Mississippi’s foundational epoch—in which the state literally took shape—has for too long remained overlooked and shrouded in misunderstanding. Yet the years between 1798, when the Mississippi Territory was created, and 1840, when the maturing state came into its own as arguably the heart of the antebellum South, was one of remarkable transformation. Beginning as a Native American homeland subject to contested claims by European colonial powers, the state became a thoroughly American entity in the span of little more than a generation. In Old Southwest to Old South: Mississippi, 1798–1840, authors Mike Bunn and Clay Williams tell the story of Mississippi’s founding era in a sweeping narrative that gives these crucial years the attention they deserve.
Several key themes, addressing how and why the state developed as it did, rise to the forefront in the book’s pages. These include a veritable list of the major issues in Mississippi history: a sudden influx of American settlers, the harsh saga of Removal, the pivotal role of the institution of slavery, and the consequences of heavy reliance on cotton production. The book bears witness to Mississippi’s birth as the twentieth state in the Union, and it introduces a cast of colorful characters and events that demand further attention from those interested in the state’s past. A story of relevance to all Mississippians, Old Southwest to Old South explains how Mississippi’s early development shaped the state and continues to define it today.
The Assault on Fort Blakeley: The Thunder and Lightning of Battle
On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, some sixteen thousand Union troops launched a bold, coordinated assault on the three-mile-long line of earthworks known as Fort Blakeley. The charge was one of the grand spectacles of the Civil War, the climax of a weeks-long campaign that resulted in the capture of Mobile-the last major Southern city to remain in Confederate hands. Historian Mike Bunn takes readers into the chaos of those desperate moments along the waters of the storied Mobile-Tensaw Delta. With a crisp narrative that also serves as a guided tour of Alabama's largest Civil War battlefield, the book pioneers a telling of Blakeley's story through detailed accounts from those who participated in the harrowing siege and assault.
Fourteenth Colony: The Forgotten Story of the Gulf South During America's Revolutionary Era
The British colony of West Florida—which once stretched from the mighty Mississippi to the shallow bends of the Apalachicola and portions of what are now the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana—is the forgotten fourteenth colony of America's Revolutionary era. The colony's eventful years as a part of the British Empire form an important and compelling interlude in Gulf Coast history that has for too long been overlooked. For a host of reasons, including the fact that West Florida did not rebel against the British Government, the colony has long been dismissed as a loyal but inconsequential fringe outpost, if considered at all. But the colony's history showcases a tumultuous political scene featuring a halting attempt at instituting representative government; a host of bold and colorful characters; a compelling saga of struggle and perseverance in the pursuit of financial stability; and a dramatic series of battles on land and water which brought about the end of its days under the Union Jack. In Fourteenth Colony, historian Mike Bunn offers the first comprehensive history of the colony, introducing readers to the Gulf Coast's remarkable British period and putting West Florida back in its rightful place on the map of Colonial America.
Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798-1826
Alabama’s territorial and early statehood years represent a crucial formative period in its past, a time in which the state both literally and figuratively took shape. The story of the remarkable changes that occurred within Alabama as it transitioned from frontier territory to a vital part of the American union in less than a quarter century is one of the most compelling in the state’s past. This history is rich with stories of charismatic leaders, rugged frontiersmen, a dramatic and pivotal war that shaped the state’s trajectory, raging political intrigue, and pervasive sectional rivalry.
Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798–1826 serves as a traveler’s guidebook with a fast-paced narrative that traces Alabama’s developmental years. Despite the great significance of this era in the state’s overall growth, these years are perhaps the least understood in all of the state’s history and have received relatively scant attention from historians. Mike Bunn has created a detailed guide—appealing to historians and the general public—for touring historic sites and structures including selected homes, churches, businesses, government buildings, battlefields, cemeteries, and museums..m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. Feel free to drag and drop me anywhere you like on your page. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.
Alabama: From Territory to Statehood
Inspired by Alabama’s bicentennial celebrations, Alabama from Territory to Statehood compiles the work of experts on the history of Alabama’s formative years. In March 1817, the US legislature authorized the eventual split of the Mississippi Territory into a new State of Mississippi to the west and the Alabama Territory to the east. Over the next few years, Alabamians created the vision and laid the framework to create their own state, which formally entered the United States on December 14, 1819. Lavishly illustrated articles illuminate the state’s prehistory, border disputes and land surveys, the land rush remembered as “Alabama Fever,” early settlements and towns, architecture, foodways, the cultures and experience of Creeks and enslaved persons, and the legal and political creation of the State of Alabama. Conceived, written, edited, and designed for original publication in Alabama Heritage magazine, each article both stands alone and supports the larger work. The landscape, culture, and people of the time come to brilliant life in the rich maps, historical images and paintings, and photography of artifacts, documents, landscapes, and surviving structures. This collectible volume fills a substantial gap in the story of Alabama. Mike Bunn contributes several essays.
Historic Blakeley State Park:
A Guide to the History and Heritage
This thirty-page guide provides an overview of the incredible history to be discovered at Historic Blakeley State Park, ranging from Native American residents of the site thousands of years ago to details on the Civil War battle which occurred here on April 9, 1865. Sold exclusively in the park gift shop.
Well Worth Stopping to See: Antebellum Columbus, Georgia Through the Eyes of Travelers
This book chronicles—through the eyes of a range of visitors—the first quarter century of the development of Columbus, Georgia. A planned city located at the head of navigation on the Chattahoochee River, the city underwent a remarkably swift transformation from isolated frontier town to Deep South commercial hub between its founding in 1828 and the eve of the Civil War. Many historians have drawn on the rich archive of documents that help us understand antebellum Columbus and its colorful past from the perspective of residents, but few have attempted to provide the fresh insight of those visitors from America and abroad not familiar with the inner workings of the city. Through an overview narrative history of Columbus’s early years, dozens of rare images, and an assemblage of over fifteen intriguing, candid, at times humorous visitor accounts, Well Worth Stopping to See provides a unique and insightful perspective on an influential and dynamic Southern town. Also included is a driving tour of historic sites that will enable readers to appreciate the town’s robust antebellum architectural heritage and better understand the contours of life within the borders of the original city carved from the wilderness nearly two centuries ago.
Civil War Eufaula
Told here for the first time is the compelling story of the Bluff City during the Civil War. Historian and preservationist Mike Bunn takes you from the pivotal role Eufaula played in Alabama's secession and early enthusiasm for the Confederate cause to its aborted attempt to become the state's capital and its ultimate capture by Union forces, chronicling the effects of the conflict on Eufaulans along the way. Civil War Eufaula draws on a wide range of firsthand individual perspectives, including those of husbands and wives, political leaders, businessmen, journalists, soldiers, students and slaves, to produce a mosaic of observations on shared experiences. Together, they communicate what it was like to live in this riverside trading town during a prolonged and cataclysmic war. It is the story of ordinary people in extraordinary times.
The Eufaula Regency:
Alabama's Most Celebrated Secessionist Faction
The secessionist faction known as the "Eufaula Regency" was among the first and most vocal groups in the South to advocate secession as a viable political option over the issue of slavery. Based in the riverside trading center of Eufaula, Alabama, this close-knit group of politically active lawyers kept threats to slavery under discussion in the pages of newspapers, backed likeminded candidates for political office, and promoted the expansion of slavery to counter any perceived threats to the institution. Though the Regency is mentioned frequently in the history of Alabama and the Civil War-era South, this short book (34 pages) is the first to investigate who comprised the group, how it operated, and to what extent it influenced events leading toward secession.
All Roads Lead to Coweta: A Center of Colonial Era International Diplomacy on the Chattahoochee
The influential Creek Indian town of Coweta, located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in what is now Russell County, Alabama, was an important Native American cultural, political, and economic center which played a pivotal role in diplomatic relations between European colonial powers and native populations in a wide area of the Southeast. In this short book (41 pages), author Mike Bunn explores some of the most colorful and significant chapters in Coweta's storied past and illuminates some of the reasons it came to be such a central player in regional history.
Battle for the Southern Frontier:
The Creek War and the War of 1812
This comprehensive book is the first to chronicle both wars and document the sites on which they were fought. It sheds light on how the wars led to the forced removal of Native Americans from the region, secured the Gulf South against European powers, facilitated increased migration into the area, furthered the development of slave-based agriculture and launched the career of Andrew Jackson. Co-authored with Clay Williams.
Images of America:
Lower Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee River has dramatically shaped the heritage of the lower Chattahoochee Valley of east and southeast Alabama and west and southwest Georgia. As the region's dominant geographic feature, the Chattahoochee has served residents of the area as an engine for commerce and as an important transportation route for centuries. It has also been a natural and recreational resource, as well as an inspiration for creativity. From the stream's role as one of the South's busiest trade routes to the dynamic array of water-powered industry it made possible, the river has been at the very center of the forces that have shaped the unique character of the area. A vital part of the community's past, present, and future, it binds the Chattahoochee Valley together as a distinctive region. Through a variety of images, including historic photographs, postcards, and artwork, this book illustrates the importance of the Chattahoochee River to the region it has helped sustain.
Pride of the Fleet: The USS Mississippi
This fifty-page booklet, which accompanied an exhibit about the four U.S. Navy ships which have been named USS Mississippi at the Old Capitol of Museum History, was compiled by Mike Bunn, Clay Williams, and John Gardner for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It is now out of print, but is available in the MDAH Library.
Mississippi: The Bulwark of New Spain
This twenty-two page booklet, which accompanied an exhibit about the Spanish period in Gulf South history at the Old Capitol of Museum History, was compiled by Mike Bunn and Clay Williams for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It is now out of print, but is available in the MDAH Library.
Two Rivers Unleashed: The 1927 Mississippi River Flood and the 1979 Pearl River Flood
This booklet, which accompanied an exhibit about two of Mississippi's most notorious floods at the Old Capitol of Museum History, was compiled by Mike Bunn, Clay Williams, and John Gardner for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It is now out of print, but is available in the MDAH Library.