After the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the victorious Union army assumed the difficult role of occupier to a city filled with pro-Confederate sympathizers. Over time, most of Vicksburg’s residents settled into an uneasy peace with the federals, but some were more troublesome. Writing of this portion of the population, Vicksburg’s post commander, Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, complained that they “require watching, although seemingly disposed to remain quietly at home and pursue their peaceful avocations, they are hostile in spirit…”
“Hostile in spirit” was a good description for Miss Emma Kline, the daughter of local planter Nineon E. Kline and his wife, Patience. The feisty rebel would be little remembered today if not for one photograph of her that was taken in 1864 showing the defiant Emma standing between two guards from the 5th Iowa Infantry after her arrest for smuggling.
Alonzo L. Brown, captain of Company E, 50th U.S. Colored Infantry, arrested Kline, and his account of the incident was published in The Vicksburg Herald on April 16, 1908. Capt. Brown said that as Kline and a friend approached his post to leave the city, “The writer could hardly repress a smile as he noticed their distended skirts. He informed Miss Kline that he had received instructions not to allow her to go through the lines, but to send them back to the city under guard.”
Kline survived her imprisonment and the war, marrying William Lum Lane in the 1870s. She died in 1878, shortly after the birth of her daughter and namesake, Emma Lane. The cause of her death may have been complications from childbirth, or a Yellow Fever epidemic that scourged Vicksburg in 1878. She is buried in Asbury Cemetery, located just south of Vicksburg.