CIVIL WAR IN MISSOURI FACTS

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  • Missouri was a keystone in the Union cause. The nation's major western lines of communication and travel were anchored in the state the Pony Express and the California, Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. The three major waterways of the country, the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers, either passed through or touched the state. According to the 1860 census, Missouri ranked eighth in population, making it an excellent manpower resource for the army. The state was rich in deposits of raw materials -- lead for bullets, iron for cannonballs. Its agricultural production could feed an army.
  • Germans took the lead as war opened; six regiments were made up solely of Germans in Missouri.
  • NOTE: The 31,000 Germans in Missouri who went into blue saved the Western frontier for the Union; four fifths of the St. Louis Union men were foreign~born, chiefly German.
  • For the siege of Vicksburg, Missouri furnished 39 regiments: 17 Confederate, 22 Union.
  • Missouri sent more men to war, in proportion to her population, than any other state. The total number of Missouri Volunteers who served was 199,111.
  • In the year 1860 there were 114,930 slaves (9.75 percent of the population) in Missouri.
  • The slaves freed at the close of the Civil War represented some $40 million of investment loss to Missouri slaveholders.
  • During the Civil War the chief quartermaster for the U.S. Army spent $180 million in St. Louis to secure supplies for Union troops.
  • Approximately 27,000 Missourians, both military and civilian, were killed during the Civil War.
  • Francis P. Blair, Jr., along with his father, were the organizers of the new Republican Party (1856) in St. Louis.
  • Francis P. Blair, Jr. was the individual who had masterminded the preservation of Missouri for the Union and raised 7 regiments for the cause.
  • "Bloody Bill" Anderson, a bushwacker, was born in Randolph Co., Mo. and grew up in Huntsville which he considered his hometown.
  • In 1862, the pro~Confederate Mo. State Guard led by Gen. Sterling Price was driven from the state and defeated by Union Gen. Samuel Curtis at the Battle of Pea Ridge.
  • Gen. John C. Fremont was the Union General that was in charge of the Dept. of the West for Lincoln during the first months of the war, and he issued an emancipation proclamation which Lincoln later rescinded.
  • Gen. Sterling Price replaced Gov. Claiborne Jackson as the State's pro~South leader, who had been deposed by the State convention which he himself had earlier assembled.
  • Victories at Wilson's Creek and Lexington encouraged Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson to call a special legislative session in Neosho. The pro~Confederate politicians passed an Ordinance of Secession and the Confederate government recognized Missouri as the 12th Confederate state.
  • During the same period, pro~Union Missouri legislators met in Jefferson City and declared the state's loyalty to the Union. Missouri now had two governments and representation in both the U.S. Congress and Confederate Congress.
  • The Masonic Hall at Neosho, 200 miles southwest of Jefferson City, served as the first "Confederate Capitol" for Jackson's government. This building no longer exists today.
  • One of the 13 stars on the Confederate flag represented Missouri, this being because the Confederate States of America Congress admitted Missouri to membership on Nov. 28, 1861.
  • Although referred to as the Battle of Boonville, it was, in reality, a brief skirmish that lasted 20 minutes in which the superiority of Union troops prevailed and the Pro-Southern forces were routed and driven from the field of battle. It was the first land battle of the Civil War to take place in Missouri, June 17, 1861.
  • Grant's first battle of the war was at the Battle of Belmont in Mississippi Co., Missouri, Nov. 7, 1861.
  • William C. Quantrill was the most notorious Missouri guerrilla captain. His band was the largest and the most active. He received a captaincy in the Confederate Army in August of 1862 for helping capture the town of Independence, Missouri and the Union forces garrisoned there.
  • First skirmish in Missouri was at Liberty, Mo. - seizure of U.S. Arsenal April 20, 1861.
  • More than 2/3's of Missouri's white population were of Southern stock, while in St. Louis 65,000 free-thinking German immigrants formed a core of Union support.
  • Gen. Sterling Price was twice elected Governor of Missouri. He served from 1853-1857.
  • It took two weeks until Hannibal Confederate, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) had his fill of war and retired, "being incapacitated through continual retreating." His one other brush with the Union Army came when a steamboat on which he was a passenger was fired upon while trying to run a blockade past Jefferson Barracks.
  • Claiborne Fox Jackson was the only sitting governor to lead troops into battle during the Civil War (at Carthage, Mo.). He was born near Fayette in Howard Co. and married three sisters, one at a time, daughters of Dr. John S. Sappington.
  • During the war Jefferson Barracks had one of the largest Federal hospitals in the country with over 3,000 beds, accommodating patients from battles as far away as Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • The other name given for the Battle of Lexington was the "Battle of the Hemp Bales." During this battle the first land mines were used during the war.
  • Col. Ulysses S. Grant received his commission as a brigadier general in 1861 at Ironton, Missouri.
  • Col. David Moore (Union) led a bayonet charge against a secessionist force that included his own 2 sons at the Battle of Athens. This battle was the northernmost battle fought in Missouri.
  • Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's 1864 Missouri Expedition was the last major campaign west of the Mississippi during the Civil War, it being the longest cavalry action of the war, lasting over 3 months and encompassing over 1,500 miles. He fought in 43 battles or skirmishes and destroyed an estimated $10 million worth of property.
  • Nathaniel Lyon was the first Union General to die in battle during the Civil War at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. His death made him a hero in the North.
  • The Battle of Wilson's Creek marked the beginning of the Civil War in Missouri. For the next 3-1/2 years, the State was the scene of savage and fierce fighting, mostly guerrilla warfare, with small bands of mounted raiders destroying anything military or civilian that could aid the enemy. By the time the conflict ended in the Spring of 1865, Missouri had witnessed so many battles and skirmishes that it ranks as the 3rd most fought over State in the nation.
  • Franz Sigel, German refugee from the failed 1848 Revolution, was second in command of Union troops at the battles of Neosho and Wilson's Creek.
  • The Battle of Wilson's Creek was called "Oak Hills" by the Confederates. It was the 1st major engagement of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Battle of Westport was the largest battle fought west of the Mississippi River. It was nicknamed the "Gettysburg of the West" and "Missouri's Gettysburg". Like Gettysburg, the Battle of Westport was a failed Confederate attempt to sever Union territory at the point of attack. This battle was the last big battle in this state and ended the Civil War in Missouri.
  • The Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861 would mark the second major Confederate victory in the Civil War.
  • Following William C. Quantrill's burning of Lawrence, Kansas in August 1863, Gen. Thomas Ewing issued Order No.11, which basically evacuated all the residents living in certain areas of the Missouri counties of Jackson, Cass, and Bates; parts of Vernon were given 15 days to vacate their homes.
  • Thomas C. Fletcher, Missouri's Governor in 1865, signed the proclamation stating that slavery would be abolished in
  • Missouri "now and forever." Missouri, by her own independent action, abolished slavery within her borders before the 13th amendment of the Constitution abolished it everywhere in the United States. That amendment was adopted Dec. of 1865.
  • The state of Missouri supplied 94 volunteer infantry regiments, 46 independent companies, and 6 artillery batteries, during the Civil War.
  • The name of the rebel general who never surrendered was Missouri's own Joseph 0. Shelby. He took part in much of the action West of the Mississippi. Refusing to surrender, he lead several people to Mexico. He did return later and rendered significant service after Pres. Cleveland appointed him U.S. Marshal for western Missouri.
  • The Battle of Pilot Knob on Sept.27, 1864, was the beginning of the end for Sterling Price and the Missouri Confederacy. News of the battle gave Union forces in St. Louis and Jefferson City time to build up their defenses, and Price's forces were soon driven from the state.
  • One of Thomas C. Reynold's (Missouri's 2nd Confederate governor) post-war accomplishments was, that he acted as counsel for St. Louis in the establishment of Forest Park. In 1887 he committed suicide.
  • Gen. U.S. Grant's army career has often been compared to that of Dwight D. Eisenhower. They are similar in many respects. Both men entered the White House as national heroes after a great war. Both served as supreme commanders of a great army, and both began their military careers at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
  • Some of the Union generals who served at Jefferson Barracks before the Civil War included: U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Henry W. Halleck, Don Carlos Buell, Winfield S. Hancock, and Edwin V. Summer.
  • Confederate generals who served at Jefferson Barracks and later resigned their commission in the U.S. Army to fight for the South were Joseph E. Johnston, James Longstreet, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Braxton Bragg.
  • On July 14, 1861 Pvt. Joseph W. Cole of Co. 0 of the 1st Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment became the first soldier to be executed in the War. He and another man had had an argument; Pvt. Cole pulled a knife and stabbed the man to death. Pvt. Cole was executed by Lyon's command in Greene Co., Missouri near Little York at Pond Springs. By the end of the Civil War, a total of 267 Union soldiers had been executed.
  • In Shelby Co. there is a marker at the site of the first Civil War action of Gen. U.S. Grant in Missouri (Hunnewell area). Grant, commanding the 21st Illinois Infantry, was stationed here in July, 1861, to guard Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad bridge, then being rebuilt after its destruction by some of Col. Porter's troops.
  • Vernon Co. furnished more men for the rebel army than any other county in Missouri. One of its towns, Nevada, was known as the Bushwhackers' Capital. The old stone jail in Nevada now houses the Bushwhacker Museum.
  • A monument was erected in Sept. of 1864 in Independence, Mo. two months after the skirmish called the Grinter Farm Fight. This monument was one of the first Civil War monuments erected in memory of fallen soldiers.
  • What was the Missouri "Declaration of Independence"? Aug. 5, 1861, at New Madrid, Gov. Claiborne Jackson proclaimed "the political connection between the United States (and Missouri). . . totally dissolved."
  • Before the days of the Civil War, one of the big problems of St. Louis was how to keep the Mississippi River from wandering away from the door of St. Louis and from leaving the city high and dry - and economically ruined. The St. Louis riverfront continued to be threatened with desertion of the river until a young civil engineer came to town. His name was Robert E. Lee. Where others before him had failed, he was successful in devising a workable method to control the wandering river and to keep it in its place at the doorstep of St. Louis.
  • John S. Marmaduke (b. Missouri), an inmate of the prison at Fort Warren, Massachusetts, was promoted to the rank of major general while he was a Union prisoner of war. He was the last major general appointed in the armies of the Confederacy -- on March 18,1865.
  • Edward Bates (once a member of Lincoln's 1861 cabinet) a St. Louis attorney, received 48 votes at the 1860 Republican convention, then later became a member of the cabinet of the man who defeated him in Chicago.
  • The first ironclad ships for Federal use were built in sixty-five days by St. Louis contractor, James B. Eads. U.S. Grant was the first man in the U.S. military to hold the rank of general of the army.
  • The USS St. Louis, launched at Carondelet, Mo. on Oct.12, 1861, was the first ironclad gunboat of U.S. forces and was the first to Sustain a bombardment from a hostile battery. The St. Louis led the fleet of Ead's ironclads in victories at Island No.10 on the Mississippi and at Ft. Henry on the Tennessee.
  • Blood was first spilled west of the Mississippi River in St. Louis on May 10, 1861.
  • The capture of Island No.10, in the Mississippi River, April 7, 1862 was the first significant Union victory in which not a man was lost in combat.
  • The 8th Missouri Regiment gained fame as some of the most successful foragers in the Army.
  • Osceola in St. Clair Co. was sacked and burned by Kansas abolitionist, Jim Lane, and his men in September of 1861. Because of the strong local sympathy for the Southern cause, the Missouri Valley heartland became known by the nickname of "Little Dixie" during the war.
  • On October 14, 1864, Anderson's Raiders, a Confederate guerrilla band, burned Danville (Montgomery Co.). Gen. Sterling Price and his troops captured approx. 3,000 Union prisoners at the battle of Lexington.
  • After ten years in office, Judge Alfred W. Morrison resigned as state treasurer in 1861 rather than swear allegiance to the Union.
  • Gen. Sterling Price, noted Missouri political and military leader, at the bidding of Emperor Maximilian, attempted to establish a colony of ex-Confederate soldiers near Cordova, Mexico.
  • Following the Civil War, James Milton Turner, slave-born educator opened the first school for blacks in the state. During the war he was a valet for a Union officer and was at the battles of Wilson's Creek and Shiloh.
  • Ten Confederate soldiers were executed on Oct.18, 1862 at the Palmyra fairgrounds by order of Col. John McNeil.
  • Constructed at Hannibal in 1865, the first steam locomotive to be built west of the Mississippi River was given the name General Grant.
  • The Missouri's Ordinance of Secession from the Union and the Act of Affiliation to the Confederate States was signed in Cassville (Barry Co.) in the fall of 1861.
  • During the Civil War, a newspaper was published in Linn, Missouri uniquely named Unterrified Democrat.
  • From the town of Monroe City, Ulysses S. Grant and his troops routed Confederate forces on July 11, 1861 without bloodshed on either side.
  • The 1861 stand-off of Callaway Co. residents and Union forces led to the nickname "The Kingdom" for the county. William ("Bloody Bill") Anderson and his Confederate raiders called Rocheport in Howard Co. their "capital".
  • The National Cemetery in Springfield is the only cemetery where both Union and Confederate forces are buried side by side.
  • Information taken from "Missouri - Our Civil War Heritage", V.3, by the DUVCW, Julia Dent Grant, Tent #16, c1994, p.451-454
    Sources given in that reference:
    1. The Missouri Quick-Fact Book, Midwest Research Institute & Capper Press
    2. Civil War Trivia and Fact Book, by Webb Garrison
    3. Missouri Trivia, Compiled by Ernie Couch
    4. The Civil War: Strange and Fascinating Facts, The Fairfax Press

    Please email us your comments at momollus@mail.usmo.com or write THE MISSOURI COMMANDERY OF MOLLUS, 302 W. Springfield Ave., Union, MO 63084.

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