NATCHEZ, Miss. — “That’s the bullet hole where a carpetbagger shot at my great-great-grandfather,” said Ruth Audley Britton Conner Coy. Dressed in a white blouse and her grandmother’s dark, floor-skimming hoop-skirt, she pointed to a spider-webbed fracture in the glass above the front door of Green Leaves, her family’s ancestral mansion.
A sparkle in her eye betrayed that she enjoys nudging the Yankees who venture into the antebellum house, which displays a letter from Jefferson Davis in the front hall and photographs of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the parlor. She could not resist another story, about the family rushing to hide their baby while the Union ironclad gunboat Essex, moored in the Mississippi River, shelled the city.