“The Federal authorities have for months past in violation of the Constitution of the United States, waged a ruthless war upon the people of the State of Missouri, murdering our citizens, destroying our property, and… desolating our land. War now exists between the State of Missouri and the Federal Government…”- Claiborne Fox Jackson, October 21, 1861.

When the elected government of Missouri was forced out of the capital by Union forces under the command of Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, all of the secessionist legislators who followed Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson were basically in a state of limbo. A provisional government was being instituted by the members of the State Convention in Jefferson City, while Jackson was in Richmond meeting with Confederate President Jefferson Davis in an effort to get Confederate support, even though Missouri had not formally seceded.

In a two-story brick courthouse in Cassville, Missouri, that was known as Missouri’s “second Confederate capitol,” members of the state legislature gathered between October 29 and November 7, 1861, to complete a legislative agenda that they had begun the preceding week in Neosho. In Neosho the General Assembly had passed an ordinance dissolving Missouri’s tie to the United States and another bill ratifying the provisional constitution of the Confederate States of America.

On October 31, 1861, Missouri’s “rebel” legislature moved to the Barry county courthouse in Cassville to continue its third and special session of the Twenty-first General Assembly begun 10 days earlier in Neosho. Before the Cassville session adjourned November 7, it was suggested that the next meeting be held in Pineville, McDonald County. The legislature rejected this proposal, resolving instead to assemble in New Madrid in March 1862. The New Madrid session was never held.

An important event of the Cassville session occurred November 4 when Governor Jackson notified the senate that he had appointed Sterling Price as major general of the Missouri State Guard. He also appointed the following brigadier generals: Nathaniel W. Watkins, 1st division; Thomas A. Harris, 2nd division; John B. Clark, 3rd division; W. Y. Slack, 4th division; A. E. Steen, 5th division; M. M. Parsons, 6th division; J. H. McBride, 7th division; and James S. Rains, 8th division. Three days later, however, an act was passed which permitted the dissolution of the Missouri State Guard as such. Entitled “an act to pay Volunteers of the Missouri State Guard,” it provided that if any member of the guard should enlist in the Confederate States army he should, with the assent of the commanding officer of his regiment, be given a full discharge from the Guard.

The senate, in a bill passed November 1 and already passed by the house, appropriated $10,000,000 to repel any invasion of Missouri and to sustain the State in an effort to maintain sovereignty. An issue of defense bonds, in denominations of from $1 to $500, was authorized to finance this appropriation.

Toward the end of the war the 49th Missouri volunteers captured the proceedings of the “rump” senate and also other papers and documents in Alabama. These records, forwarded to the Missouri secretary of state, were ordered printed by the house of representatives of the twenty-third general assembly, thus making available the only primary data of this “rebel” legislature. Among the captured documents is Jackson’s approval, November 8, 1861, of a house bill providing for an election for representatives to the Confederate States of America.

Governor Jackson’s hopes for a Confederate invasion of Missouri faded at the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas on March 7-8, 1862. This major Confederate defeat doomed the fledgling Confederate state government to existence in perpetual exile. Governor Jackson would be dead of cancer before the year expired. His Lieutenant Governor, Thomas C. Reynolds, carried on the executive functions in various locations before finally establishing his capital-in-exile at Marshall, Texas, during the waning months of 1863.

The late Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, stated that,

…Guerrilla bands might rip and tear [Missouri]… raider columns of various strengths might cut swaths of destruction up and down [the state], but…[Missouri’s] star in the Confederate flag, placed there like Kentucky’s by a fleeing secessionist legislature, represented nothing more from now on than the exiles who bore arms beneath that banner.

Of those who suffered the most during the Civil War, the family is clearly at the top of the list. Not only were there sectional divides between North and South, but citizens of towns against each other, friendships lost over the divide, and families torn apart.

The Civil War has often been described as pitting brothers against brothers. In fact at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10, 1861, both Joseph Shelby, member of the Missouri State Guard, and his stepbrother Cary Gratz, soldier in the 1st Missouri Infantry, U.S., fought on Bloody Hill. The War, however, was not limited to the battlefield as political differences created painful divisions among family members. The State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Rolla, contains a valuable anthology entitled, The Hunter-Hagler collection, which reveals how women endured through the Civil War and the struggles one matriarch, Elizabeth Hunter, faced in trying to keep her family together through the perils of wartime. The Hunter family lived in Jasper County, Missouri. The collection provides letters written by Elizabeth Hunter and her daughters, Priscilla A. Hunter and Charlotte Elizabeth (Hunter) Hagler. The correspondents contained in this collection are to Elizabeth’s daughter Margaret Hunter-Newberry, who married and left the family farm. The letters are very candid and expose graphic details about daily life in Southwest Missouri.

We hear of horse steeling every week or too Motly’s horses was stoled a few nights ago all they had at home they went to the Sarcoxie mill last week and told the miller if the ground another grain he would kill him so the mill is standing the water is so low wee can hardly git grinding done atal we hear the drouth is awful in the north part of the state and the rebbels killing burning and destroying worse than they are here Jenison [Charles Jennison] is let loose among them I hope he will give them justice the rebels are under no law and the malitia is bound down not to pester anything that belongs to a sworn secish they can ride fine horses but if we go we have to walk we can’t keep a horse here the union party is on the decline we cant keep nothing for the bushwhacks but the secish is let alone Mag I cant be a secesh there is no use trying I am furder from it all the time to see how they are killing our men distroying our cuntry who can claim themfor there party. They have killed Mr Clark Peter Baker Mr Seymore Brice Henry John Blake Pearson Lorence and Alfred Lawrence around here this summer.

– Elizabeth Hunter and to Margaret (Mag) Hunter Newberry-Aug. 11, 1864

Guerrilla warfare spread throughout the Midwest region like a brush fire, hitting hard especially the southwest corner of Missouri along the Kansas border. Marauding bands of men would terrorize civilians, ransacking their homes, pillaging whatever goods they had available, and then burning their homes so nothing remained. Those who were witness to these atrocities were women and children. With the landscape of southwest Missouri devoid of men, women were called upon to offer up their reproductive duties, i.e. their children and their domestic powers to support the men fighting. The Civil War offered women a rare opportunity to step into traditionally masculine roles, without the fear of ridicule or of being ostracized. Many women arose to the challenge and adapted into the roles previously held by their husbands, fathers, and brothers. Women were now working as the head of all aspects of their household, business, or farm. Facing violence, managing a home without a secure network of support, raising a family in the midst of disease and deprivation, tending to crops with a diminished workforce…all combined though to make hardship an everyday reality for these intrepid women.

That reality though proved to be too much for Elizabeth Hunter and her family to handle so they relocated to Illinois in 1864 and remained there until the war was over. The Hunter family was just one of the hundreds of families that were forced to abandon their homes and move to a safer location due to the hostile environment created by the war. Increase in guerrilla warfare along the Missouri-Kansas border forced General Thomas Ewing to issued Order No. 1 1 on August 25, 1863, in an effort to depopulate the area of guerrilla supporters. The order mandated all citizens living in Bates, Cass, Jackson, and the northern half of Vernon County to evacuate their homes immediately and seek refuge in another area.To make matters more complicated for Elizabeth, she also had to deal with an on-going conflict with her daughter Margaret. Margaret was allegedly a secessionist and through the context of the letters it is clear that Margaret felt very disconnected from her family because of their opposing beliefs. Elizabeth adamantly professed her love for her daughter and all her children, but she refused to change her stance on supporting the Union, and tried to persuade her daughter to reconsider her secessionist position.

I am always glad to hear from you, dont let such thauts enter your mind that I ever get tired of yet I would like to be with you all the time. I love you with that love that none but a mother knows it distresses me to think that my child has any fears that I have forsaken [MS torn]ntend long as I have a heart to love any thing I will love my children and be there true friend as I have always been, dont think because we differ in opinion in war matters that I aint your friend I can tell you that I think the rebbels and copperheads are all wrong they will see it when I fear it will be too late.

-Elizabeth Hunter letter Jan. 10, 1865

Whether Elizabeth and her daughter Margaret ever reconciled after the war ended is unknown. However, one may speculate that Margaret did find some peace with her mother, since she kept all the letters she wrote to her. The Hunter-Hagler letters are a powerful collection depicting the hardships many families faced in a politically torn region as neighbors and even families turned on one another. The Hunter-Hagler collection is housed at the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Rolla. The collection was digitized for inclusion in the Community & Conflict project, which serves to explore the war’s impact on the Ozarks.

Digital scans and transcripts of the Hunter-Flagler letters can be viewed at: http://www.ozarkscivilwar.org/archives/1044.

Original article by Rachel Regan

On October 29, 1862 the Battle of Island Mound marked the first time that African-American troops were engaged in Civil War combat, nearly a year before the battle depicted in the film Glory. The current Battle of Island Mound State Historic site encompasses Fort Africa, where the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry were camped in 1862 before a pitched battle with pro-Confederate forces near a low hill named Island Mound. This battle and the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry had a major effect on later Union decisions to allow African-American units to fight.

The following report was given by Captain R. G. Ward of Company B and Colonel J. M. Williams, Commanding First Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteers.

DEAR SIR: I hereby respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by that portion of your command which accompanied me to Missouri:

By order of Maj. B. S. Henning, I started from Camp William A. Phillips Sunday, October [26], with 160 men and 6 officers, joining Capt. H. C. Seaman and command, comprising some sixty-four men (colored) and a small party of white scouts, and moved by the way of Mound City and Camp Defiance to the Dickey’s Crossing of the Osage, in Bates County, Mo., at which point we arrived Monday afternoon. Shortly after crossing the stream me were made aware of the presence of the enemy in force by their scouts and by information from citizens, who stated that Cockrell, Campbell, Hancock, and Turman had concentrated their forces on Osage Island, and that their combined force amounted to some 700 or 800 men, all splendidly mounted. We immediately took possession of old man Toothman’s house (a noted rebel guerrilla) and commenced skirmishing with the enemy’s scouts and pickets, we trying to draw them off the island and the enemy trying to draw us to the bushes. Tuesday we were engaged all day in desultory skirmishes, but the wind was so high were unable to injure them with our sharpshooters, they taking good care to keep a respectful distance. At night, after a consultation with Captain Seaman, we concluded to send runners to Kansas for a force of cavalry sufficient to aid us in dislodging the enemy. accordingly we sent three, one to you at Fort Lincoln, one to Fort Scott, and one to Paola. Wednesdsy morning I detached Captains Armstrong and Crew, with a force of some sixty men, to engage the attention of the enemy, while Captain Seaman, Captain Thrasher, of his command, and Lieutenant Huddleston, with a force of some fifty men, foraging, as we were entirely out of food with the exception of beef end parched corn. Captain Armstrong found a force of the enemy some two miles from camp, and immediately threw out his skirmishers, under command of Orderly Sergeant Smithers, of Company B, who immediately moved forward to the attack and drove the enemy from position to position until they had been driven some four miles from camp, the enemy shouting to the boys to “come on, you d—-d n—-rs,” and the boys politely requesting them to wait for them, as they were not mounted. We succeeded in placing seven men hors de combat, with no loss on our side, and the boys felt highly elated on their return at their success.

While at dinner the enemy made a dash at our pickets and ran them into camp and then drew off. Suspecting that they were concentrating troops behind the mound south of us, we threw out a small party of skirmishers to feel toward them and ascertain their force and retake our picket ground. The boys soon drove the enemy over the hill, and the firing becoming very sharp, I ordered Lieut. Joseph Gardner to take a force of some twenty men and proceed to rally the skirmishers end return to camp, while I placed Captain Armstrong’s force (consisting of detachments from Companies A, B, E, H, and G) under arms. I here found that Captain Crew and Lieutenant Huddleston had left the camp and had gone toward where our skirmishers were engaged. Becoming uneasy at the prolonged absence of Gardner and the skirmishers, I marched Armstrong’s force toward the firing and placed them behind the bluffs, and went forward myself to reconnoiter the position of affairs. I found a detachment of the enemy posted on a mound immediately south of me and some of our scouts occupying a mound west of me, on the right. I sent Adjutant Hinton to that point to ascertain where our force (Gardner’s) was. He returned with the information that they were at a house some 800 yards south of the mound and were making preparations to return, feeling confident that the enemy would attempt to cut them off. I ordered Armstrong to move by the right flank and gain a position in rear of the mound, and dispatched a messenger to camp to inform Captain Seaman of the position of affairs and requesting him to place other forces under arms and to be ready to move immediately. No sooner had this happened than the enemy charged with a yell toward Gardner’s little band of twenty-five men. The boys took the double-quick over the mound in order to gain a small ravine on the north side, but while they were on the north slope the enemy came upon them. Nothing dismayed, the little band turned upon their foes, and as8 their guns cracked many a riderless [horse] swung off to one side. The enemy cried out to the men to surrender but they told them never. I have witnessed some hard fights, but I never saw a braver sight than that handful of brave men fighting 117 men who were all around and in amongst them. Not one surrendered or gave up a weapon.

At this juncture Armstrong came into the [fight] like a lion, yelling to his men to follow him, and cursing them for not going faster when they were already on the keen jump. He formed them in line within 150 yards and poured in a volley. The enemy charged down the slope and were met by a volley from Captain Thrasher’s command, who had just been posted by Seaman. They swung to the right in order to out-flank Armstrong and gain his rear. I immediately ordered a detachment of men under Lieutenants Dickerson and Minor across the open angle between Thrasher’s and Armstrong’s, which was executed with promptness. The enemy finding themselves foiled, wheeled their force and dashed np the hill. The brave Armstrong saw them through the smoke (they, the enemy, having set the prairie on fire) charged his brave lads through the fire, and gave them a terrible volley in the flank as they dashed by. This ended the fight, although they had re-enforcements arriving, estimated by some of our best judges to be from 300 to 400 strong. They did not wish “anymore in theirs.” They had tested the n—-rs and had received an answer to the often mooted question of “will they fight.” Here commenced the most painful duty of the day, the removal of the killed and wounded. On that, slope lay 8 of our dead and 10 wounded, among the former the brave, lamented, and accomplished Captain Crew. He fell as a brave man should fall, facing the foe, encouraging his men never to yield, and casting defiance at the enemy. Three of them rode up to him and demanded him to surrender, saying that they would take him to their camp. He told them never. They said that they would shoot him then. Shoot and be d—-d,” was the reply of the heroic soldier, and set them the example by running backward and discharging his revolver at them, but almost immediately fell, pierced through the heart, groin, and abdomen. Among the wounded was Lieutenant Gardner. He fell shot in the thigh and knee by a heavy load of buckshot. While in this situation, unable to move, one of the cowardly demons dismounted, and making the remark that he would finish the d—d son of a b—h, placed his revolver to his head and fired. The ball, almost by a miracle, did not kill him; striking his skull and glancing around his head came out on the other side. He will recover. It is hard to make distinctions where every man did his whole duty, and I hereby return my thanks to every men and officer of the expedition for their splendid behavior. Captain Armstrong having called my attention to the good behavior before the enemy of Private Scantling, of Company B, Private Prince, of Company E, I hereby make honorable mention of them in this report. Captains Armstrong, Pearson, and Seaman also highly commend Orderly Sergeant Smithers, of Company B, for his coolness and assistance before the enemy. There are undoubtedly numerous instances of men being as meritorious as these, but I have not space in this already long report to particularize. Accompanying this you will find a list of killed and wounded, heroes all, who deserve the lasting gratitude of all the friends of the cause and race.* Thursday the enemy fled and nothing of interest occurred until you arrived and took the command.

I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, your most obedient servant,

R. G. WARD,
Captain company B.

Col. J. M. Williams,
Commanding First Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteers.

*Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 officer and 7 men killed, 1 officer and 10 men wounded.

 

Battle of Island Mound

Missouri State Parks’ new short film depicting the story of the Battle of Island Mound, the first time that African-American troops were engaged in Civil War combat is coming soon to a state park or historic site near you.

The Civil War ended in April of 1865, and during the next year or so the United States War Department demobilized the “Union” forces and materials of war throughout the country. Reducing the manpower, or number of soldiers, was relatively easy in that they were discharged and sent home. The mammoth amount of the materials of war was another matter, especially in the Quartermaster Department. There, there were thousands of wagons, wheels, tools, horses, mules, boxes, barrels, railroad boxcars, engines ships and vessels of all shapes and sizes, buildings and blockhouses, etc. to be disposed of.

In Fort Scott, Assistant Quartermaster Theodore C. Bowles sold off all the excess U.S. government and captured Confederate property in a series of public auctions which also included the four blockhouses and their surrounding palisades. Lunette or Fort Blair is the only one of these “local blockhouses” that has survived to the present day and it is the only existing military structure of many that were constructed during the Civil War. Therefore, it is the “Lone Survivor” which was in fact saved by many people and organizations from its original sale until today. However, before addressing the preservation odyssey of Fort Blair, the following is a brief summary of what happened to the other three Fort Scott Blockhouses.

* Fort Lincoln: Was sold at public auction, disassembled and removed from its location on the west side of Fort Scott overlooking “Happy Hollow.”

* Fort Henning: Was sold at public auction and for a short time was used as the first “County Jail” because of its proximity to the first “County Courthouse” that was located on the southeast corner of Second Street and National Avenue where the public library is today. After its use as a jail, the blockhouse was sold privately, disassembled and removed from its original location.

*Fort Insley: Was sold at public auction and because of its rectangular shape, was probably used as a private residence on the point of “Red Hill” overlooking the KATY Railroad and the Marmaton River immediately north of what is now Fort Scott National Historic Site. The Fort Insley “Blockhouse” existed for another 11 years until it was razed as described on Page 4 in the Nov. 25, 1875, edition of the Fort Scott Daily Monitor newspaper:

“The old blockhouse on the ‘point’ is being torn down. Some of our citizens call it ‘the old fort’ and think it is the old landmark of the town and that it ought, therefore, to be preserved sacred to the memory of the early days.

Such is not the fact. It is simply one of three blockhouses built during the war. The other two stood one on Jones Street (Fort Henning) south of Dr. Baldwin’s house and one on Scott Avenue, (Fort Blair). It is, therefore, not so much a destruction as was supposed.”

* The Odyssey of Fort Blair: The blockhouse was sold at public auction described as follows;

“Office of Depot Quartermaster, Fort Scott, Jan. 10, 1866. This is to certify that the bearer William Smith has this day purchased of me at an authorized sale of government property the following described article to wit: Fort Blair for $50.00.

Theodore C. Bowles

Capt. and Assistant Quartermaster

Per. A. Griffire, Clerk.”

* 1st Move: William Smith moved Fort Blair to the back of his property on Scott Avenue and used the blockhouse as his carpenter shop. It remained on this location for 40 years.

* 2nd Move: In 1906 the Ohio Block was constructed on Second Street and Scott Avenue and the blockhouse was purchased by Dr. W.S. McDonald and moved to his property at 102 S. National Ave., immediately north of the current Post office.

* 3rd Move: In 1924, the Molly Foster Berry Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the Blockhouse and had it moved to the south side of Carroll Plaza because Dr. McDonald had sold his property to the Western Automobile Insurance Co. for the location of its new building and at this time the insurance company adopted the blockhouse as its logo.

* 4th Move: Sometime before the 1950 the blockhouse was moved to the northeast corner of Carroll Plaza.

* 5th Move: In early 1958, the city of Fort Scott passed a municipal bond to fund the construction of “Blair Park” where the blockhouse was moved to in May of 1958. “Blair Park” was located immediately behind Officers’ Row on what is now Fort Scott National Historic Site.

At this time the blockhouse was in very poor condition and it was reconstructed by the Western Insurance Co. in August of 1959 under the direction of Clifton C. Otto and E.C. Gordon Sr.

* 6th Move: In the late 1970s, Fort Blair was moved to its present location on old Fort Boulevard under the direction of T.M. Mayhew and H.E. Duvall of the Western Insurance Co. This was done because the blockhouse was part of an 1863 Civil War fortification that was constructed after the existence of the original 1842-1853 fort to which Fort Scott National Historic Site was being reconstructed.

In 1999, once again, the blockhouse needed repairs and the Historic Preservation Association of Bourbon County requested assistance from some former Western Insurance Co. employees. A Blockhouse Committee was organized and with contributions were received from former employees, agents, business firms and friends of The Western a new roof and siding were installed and a new permanent cannon carriage was acquired.

So ends the “odyssey” of Fort Blair, which has been preserved through the efforts of William Smith, Dr. W.S. McDonald, the Molly Foster Berry Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, the citizens and the city of Fort Scott, the Western Insurance Com. and its former employees and the Historic Preservation Association of Bourbon County. Without the efforts of all these citizens and organizations, Fort Scott would not have the “Lone Structural Survivor” of the Civil War.

On Oct. 26, 1864, a company of Missouri Partisan Rangers led by Captain William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson were camped north of present-day Orrick on land owned by “Riley” Blythe, which was then known as Albany. Major Samuel Cox of Gallatin and 300 men of the 51st and 33rd Missouri Militia Mounted Infantry were a few miles away on the other side of Albany. It is believed that Mrs. Mary Rowland, a Union mother, rode to Major Cox and told him where the Rangers were camped.

What ensued is known as the Battle of Albany, and although it lasted only ten minutes, it’s outcome caused ripples throughout Missouri. William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson, was killed and his death would be a catalyst for the desperado activities that followed the war, most notably that of Jesse and Frank James, both who rode with Anderson. The following is a report dated Oct. 31, 1864, and addressed to “General Craig, Headquarters, 33rd Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia, Hamilton, Missouri.”  The report was evidently was made by “an officer” present at Albany on Oct. 27,1864.

Dear Sir:

We have already forwarded to you a hasty official report of “Cob” Cox’s expedition against the notorious and fiendish bushwhacker Wm. T. Anderson and his rebel crew, but feeling satisfied that there are facts and circumstances connected with the death and capture of Bill Anderson that would be more gratifying to you and perhaps to the public, I have determined to forward you a more detailed account of the expedition and its results which you can have published or not as you may think proper.

The command left Hamilton on Monday the 24th with detailed portions of six companies of the 33rd Regiment Enrolled Missouri commanded by the following company officers to wit: Capts. J. Woodruff, Napoleon B. Brown and Leabo; Lieuts. Samuel Brown and Levi Cline, all of Daviess County, and Lieut. Orem of Caldwell County; also a portion of two other companies, one commanded by Capt. Jones of Cameron and Lieut. James Mylan commanding company of Caldwell home guards organized under Order No.107, in all some 175 men.

We camped at Knoxville that night. Next morning learning that some 75 or 100 bushwhackers were in camp at or near Millville, six or seven miles southeast of us, we marched directly there, with our whole force, except a small guard sent with the wagon train directly from Knoxville to Richmond.

Lieut. Baker commanding company of the 31st Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia whom we joined at Knoxville was sent by a different route to learn the whereabouts of the enemy and report to us at Millville. We had not. been there more than 30 minutes before a messenger came from Lieut. Baker with the information that he had engaged the enemy some three miles east of us. We joined him on the double quick with the whole force along and found him in possession of one prisoner, a blacksmith and his tools, two horses and two guns.

The lieutenant had come upon them shoeing their horses in the woods near their late camp. They were in small force and fed, all making their escape except as before stated. Their camp had moved the evening before as we suppose joining Anderson’s camp near Albany in the southwest corner of Ray County, where we engaged them as hereinafter stated.

We then moved to Richmond and encamped for the night and rested the next day and recruited men’ and horses. We learned the whereabouts of the enemy: 200 of them had passed up the river the night before we got to Richmond just south of town in the bottoms, 120 the night we got there, and others we learned had moved their camps from Hanesville in Clay County and other points, all concentrating near Albany in the Missouri River bottoms.

The next morning, 27th October, the entire force above stated and some 150 more of the 51st Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia under Maj. Grimes of Ray County were marched directly to Albany under the command of S.P. “Cob” Cox of Daviess County.

We came across the rebel pickets some mile east of Albany in the road, 10 or 15 strong. Our advance guard drove them in and through Albany, which is situated in the Missouri bottoms at the foot of the bluffs. The whole command followed up and were dismounted in and south of the town, leaving the 4th man to hold horses. Except that our advance guard of Calvary, consisting of one company of some 40 men under the command of Lt. Baker of Knoxville, Ray County, was sent forward to engage and draw out the enemy.

Our infantry was formed into company lines and marched forthwith into the open woods beyond Albany some 400 yards, and thrown into line of battle extending from a field on the north to a field on the south. Scarcely had the lines been formed when the enemy, who had also been drawn up in line of battle in Calvary force from two to three hundred strong some five or six hundred yards from our line, were engaged by our advance under Lieut. Baker.

And onward came Bloody Bill and his followers in hot pursuit of our advance guard with such hideous J shrieks and fiendish yells that made the very woods ring for miles. Such was Bloody Bill’s mode of warfare. ‘Our advance retired to the rear of the infantry line, which opened the way for them.

The enemy came on in full charge, yelling like Indians without firing a shot until they were within 75 or 80 yards of our line. Then the firing commenced on both sides and was kept up with great fierceness until the enemy came within 40 or 50 yards of our line.

Bloody Bill and some five or six of his associates in crime came dashing considerably in the advance of their line and their chieftain Anderson, with one other supposed to be Lieut. Rains, son of rebel Gen. Rains, charged fearlessly through our lines and were both unhorsed close in our rear.

Anderson fell dead upon the ground within 20 yards of our men, having received two balls in the left side of his head near the ear. The other raised and scrambled off into a field to our left, where he was found dead next day.

The enemy, seeing their leader fall, could stand no longer but fled in wild confusion and returned no more. Our infantry stood firm and fought bravely throughout the contest. Many of the men and officers there deserve especial praise for their gallantry and cool bravery. The retreat of the advance guard to our rear caused a stampede of our horses behind but it was soon checked and did us but little damage.

When the firing ceased, which did not last over 10 minutes before the enemy fled, our advance under Lieut. Baker came in front again and pursued the enemy some two miles, but fell further behind the farther he went.

So the enemy was completely routed. We had four men wounded, three slightly. One James Mulligan, Daviess County, very severely received four balls, one entering the forehead, one through the hips, one through the arm and two fingers shot off; dangerously ill but yet alive. A brave and good man and most excellent soldier. We lost one horse dead on the field, one wounded and since dead.

The enemy lost seven dead men, as stated by a prisoner and young wounded man of theirs, young Miller of Clay County, and some 10 or 12 wounded. But one fell immediately on the field. That was Anderson. Two more were found the next day close by.

The same enemy passed through Millville early that night 25 miles from the battlefield. The battle was fought between two and three o’clock in the evening.

We captured two fine horses in the fight, one supposed to be young Rains’ and the other Anderson’s. The infamous bushwhacker Bill Anderson rode a fine Iron Grey mare with a human scalp tied to the head stall of his bridle on the left rear. He came yelling and shooting and shot until he fell dead and when he fell he was making towards Capt. Woodruff of Daviess County who is another large man and was riding a large gray horse close behind the infantry carrying a flag in his hand.

Bloody Bill had four revolvers buckled around him and two very large ones across his saddle. He was well dressed with rich, clothing. He had on a white wool hat with a long fine black plume in it; wore a fine net undershirt and over it one of fine black cloth most elegantly embroidered on the sleeves and breast; a fine blue cloth vest, and a close-bodied frock coat of excellent drab colored cassimere and pants of same.

He had on his person a fine gold watch and chain and a silver one; $323 in gold and $273 in paper money besides some silver change and small paper currency and $18 in Confederate money.

He also had his own likeness and another supposed to be his wife’s and in his pocketbook was also found a short memorandum which we suppose is from his wife, though he passed himself off through this country for a single man.

After going on to mention certain articles such as a dashing woman would fancy for dress and ornament and some toys for her babe, she winds up thus: ‘Your ever loving and obedient wife until death’ (signed) ‘Bush Anderson, At home Friday evening, April 20th, 1864.’ On the back of same was written: ‘Wm. T. Anderson, Bush Anderson, Grason County, Texas, April 20th, 1864, in pencil mark. Enclosed in this note was a small lock of fine dark chestnut brown hair.

In his pocket was also found a receipt thus: ‘reed, of W.T. Anderson $360. (Signed) Presley Garvis.’ Also two orders thus: ‘Head Quarters Army of Missouri, Boonville 11 October, 1864. Special Order: Capt. Anderson with his command will at once proceed to the north side of the Missouri River and permanently destroy the North Missouri Railroad going as’ far east as practicable. He will report his operations at least every two days. By order of Maj. Gen (Sterling) Price.’

And again: ‘To the officer in charge of the ferry boat: Capt. Anderson and his command will be crossed to the other side of the river after which the ferry boat will await orders on this side of the river. By order of Maj. Gen. Price.’

Both of which there can be no doubt given are genuine and directed by Price. What now can our chivalrous friends of the South say in vindication of their boasted Missouri chieftain General Price: coming into our state under the Confederate flag, leading Missourians and commissioning bushwhackers, yea the infamous, cruel, fiendish Bloody Bill Anderson, for a long time a terror to honest men and women of Missouri.

In his pockets were also found two Rebel flags, one about two feet long and 10 inches wide, another a small but very fine one some foot long and four inches wide, 12 stars on one side and 11 on the other and made of fine silk ribbon. On the middle stripe of which was written on one side, ‘Presented to Capt. Wm. T. Anderson by his friend M.L.R.’ and on the other, ‘Don’t let it be contaminated by Fed. hands.’ As if anything from the hands of such a man as Anderson could be disgraced or be made worse by mortal man. To-the proof of which we need only refer to the cold blooded, heartless and unfeeling butchery of our fellow men at Centralia, unarmed and helpless.

We brought his body off the battlefield and gave it a decent burial in a good coffin, deposited in the extreme south side of the public grave yard in Richmond, marking his resting, place with a head and foot board. Not that we had any respect for him, for God knows we are unable to see how an honest man or woman in Missouri could. But because we respected ourselves and felt that after death his body was but the lifeless remains of a human being and could no longer harm this world and feeling that our cause is a just Holy one we could not forget that we were American citizens and should be guided by feelings of humanity and civilization. God grant that our countrymen in this sanguinary struggle may remember and not disgrace our Anglo Saxon bloom.

After the “Honorable” Burial of Anderson described above, the following was reported by the citizens of Richmond Missouri.

The federal troops took Anderson’s body to Richmond where a series of ghoulish photographs were taken. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Richmond and in the evening federal troops were said to have been seen urinating on his grave. The federals found flowers on the grave a few days later and road their horses over and over the grave in an attempt to hide it. Just a few years ago, a simple marker was placed on his grave in what is now called the Pioneer Cemetery in Richmond, Missouri.

 

A colorful incident of the early Civil war days in Missouri was Major Charles Zagonyi’s charge against southern troops at Springfield, October 25, 1861. The Federal forces of Major General John C. Fremont were encamped some 50 miles north of Springfield, October 24, when he ordered Zagonyi, the commander of his special bodyguard, to march on Springfield and capture it from a force estimated then at about 300 to 500.

Zagonyi and a detachment of 100 left that evening, and at daybreak, October 25, they were joined near Bolivar by other units totaling about 150. About 8 miles from Springfield they captured a foraging party. One man, however, escaped and warned the force at Springfield. Zagonyi then detoured to the southwest hoping to surprise the enemy. On emerging from some woods near the Mount Vernon road about 4 p.m., the Federal troops were confronted with a strong State guard force, approximately 800 cavalry and 200 in infantry troops. The Federals immediately came under fire which swept them for 250 yards while they dashed to the shelter of a small stream. Here Zagonyi reorganized his command. Then the Federal horsemen in fan-like formation quickly charged the State troop positions. The State troops fired briskly for a few minutes and then broke, the infantrymen taking refuge in dense thickets and the cavalry retreating through Springfield and beyond.

Zagonyi and his men pushed on into Springfield, cleared the city of State troops and liberated Union prisoners. Then Zagonyi’s troops proceeded north to rejoin the main army, leaving 15 killed, 27 wounded, and 10 missing. Zagonyi’s estimate of 106 State troopers killed is probably too large. After sending news of Zagonyi’s successful charge to Washington, October 26, Fremont entered Springfield, October 27.

The Fremont bodyguard, organized and equipped for guarding the general, was composed of 3 companies of approximately 100 men each. Two of the companies were composed of Kentuckians, and the third of St. Louisans. The war department, however, refused to recognize a force formed for such a purpose, and the unit was mustered out.

Hist, of Greene Co. (1883); John McElroy, The Struggle for Mo. (1909); Mo. Hist. Rev., XXV, No. 4; War of Rebell., Ser. I, Vol. Ill (1881); Ency. Hist. Mo., VI (1901); Herbert Bashford and Harr Wagner, A Man Unafraid: Story of John C. Fremont (1927).

After the destruction of Osceola, Mo., on Sept. 24, 1861, the Kansas Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. James Henry Lane was ordered to Kansas City to assist in the defense of that metropolis.

Eventually, the “brigade” was to join a large combined Union force commanded by Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont to attack and destroy the Confederate forces that had recently won the “Battle of the Hemp Bales” at Lexington, Mo., and who now and occupied it. This never happened.

However, the following description of Gen. Lane, whose nickname was the “Grim Chieftain,” and the Kansas Brigade was published in the Oct. 2, 1861, edition of the Leavenworth Daily Times Newspaper while the brigade was in Kansas City.

“At an early hour Col. Anthony (Note: brother of Susan B. Anthony) took his men out to meet Brig. Gen. Lane’s large force that was met about one mile out of town and as fresh and jubilant as if it had just entered the field.

They have been marching almost every day since Gen. Lane took command. They have traveled some 300 miles, often met the foe and have never been defeated. Gen. Lane has nearly recovered from his recent illness. Disease cannot wither nor ague beat his restless activity. Lane still wears a straw hat, plain coat and a grey woolen shirt and is the most marked and unmilitary man in the brigade!

The camp is on the upland west of McGee’s Addition. The tents cover several acres of ground and present a scene picturesque. Cols. Montgomery, Ritchie and Weer are here and eager for a march on Lexington.

Their account of the recent engagements in Missouri differs somewhat from the published statements and will be sent to you hereafter.

At Osceola, not less than a million dollars worth of property was taken or destroyed. The impression is general that secession is dried up in Southwest Missouri.

A force has been left at Westpoint, (Mo.), Barnesville and Fort Lincoln, (Kan.) to attend to possible emergencies. The junction of (Gens.) Lane and Sturgis disposes of many fears hitherto entertained. We hope it has not been too late.

The great object attraction here is Lane’s Brigade and the eccentric commandant of that institution is the “rage” all about here. Hundreds — and a chronicler of ordinarily brilliant imagination and less regard for strict numerical accuracy than myself would say thousands — of curious people are constantly thronging his quarters to get a glimpse of the great leader or to shove a letter from some influential individual under his nose.

However, the ubiquitous gentleman rather beat them yesterday; and he accomplished the skillful maneuver in this way:

When he arrived here on Monday, he was habilitated (dressed) in an old straw hat, cowhide boots, blue blouse which had been thrown away by a private in Montgomery’s regiment, some sort of apology for pantaloons and a butternut brown woolen shirt with beard, hair and face to correspond, and thus decorated, everyone, by instinct, could detect the hero of Black Jack and Hickory Point.

Yesterday morning, at 9 o’clock, I visited his tent and found an immense crowd wandering about the neighborhood, each inquiring of the other if he had seen or knew the whereabouts of “Ginerl Lane.”

Upon approaching his tent, I found therein a solitary gentleman seated upon an old split bottommed chair, one leg thrown across the other, intently engaged in caressing, with thumb and finger of his right hand, a beard, if not remarkably luxurious, yet splendidly variegated in color.

Upon a careful reconnaissance, I discovered this figure to be the very specimen of mortality which the adjacent crowd were so anxious to see. He had donned the new rig made especially for him in Boston — blue coat and pants, buff vest, black chapeau and feather as long as a war-leader in the “times” and such boots as would make Gen. Losee, or any other fast horseman, stick his eyes out far enough for Sam Stinson’s Thanksgiving turkey (which he is going to buy and not eat alone) to roost upon.

In this make-up, he sat as quiet and undisturbed as if he were in a wilderness, seemingly enjoying the discomfiture of the multitude about him, when a man with long whiskers, who looked as if he traveled once with a show, approached and asked if Gen. Lane were in?

“No” was the laconic reply of the hero, with the least bit of a twinkle in the northeast corner of his left eye — (I sat northeast of him) — and the victim evaporated. “Such” is war.

I see a great many Leavenworth gentlemen here, each on his own errand. For example, Col. Delahay is offering Gen. Lane a contract to lay out quarters and fractions of the city of Lexington.

R. Crozier, Esq., is trying to persuade Lane that if he will resign his seat in the senate (Lane was one of the two original U.S. senators from Kansas) and revive the old Territorial Legislature, he –Crozier — can, by a skillfully worded provision in a special act, repeal the war and revive the trade and prosperity of the country. Lane, being a little incredulous, naturally, is not quite convinced and, hence, does not resign.

Capts. Insly and Wilder are head and ears in the business of getting things ready for the contemplated march (to Lexington). Besides these gentlemen, there may be seen sitting around on stumps and old boxes and hanging on pegs and limbs of trees all that crew of familiars (people) you may see lounging about the lobby and committee rooms of the legislature aforesaid, asking for an appropriation to build a territorial road or urging the passage of an act incorporating a ferry across three mile creek where the road to the region — commonly called Pike’s Peak — crosses the same.”

The attack on Lexington, Mo., never materialized because the Confederate forces evacuated the city and marched to southwest Missouri.

In October of 1861, Gen. Lane and the Kansas Brigade eventually marched south through Missouri to Springfield and, of course, the war went on!

During the mid-nineteenth century the world was in an uproar. Many countries in Europe were struggling with revolutions. In Prussia, the idea of combining the German states into a unified, single Germany, was part of the revolutionist’s plans. But because of the failed reforms, many of these revolutionaries – most of who were highly educated, politically astute and militarily trained – fled to the United States in a search for a new life. Called “Fourty-Eighters” because of their involvements in the revolutions of 1848, many of these Europeans arrived in America and became not only prominent citizens, but also contributed to and invested in their new homeland.

German immigrants also enlisted, some voluntarily and other not so voluntarily, in the United States Army. With the threat of secession of the southern states and what looked like a civil war brewing, many of these Germans sided with their new found country in the effort to maintain the Union, and some, to fight against the southern support of slavery. With a rise in German immigrants, there were German officers appointed to spur these immigrants towards enlistment. This is a brief look at one such German that, by circumstances or fate, fell into obscurity behind his famous General brother and has been lost to the passage of time.

Colonel Albert SigelColonel Albert Sigel was born in Sinsheim, Rhein-Neckar-Kreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany on November 13, 1827. He was the third child Franz Moritz Sigel (1788 – 1864) and Anna Marie Pauline Lichtenauer, both of Germany, along with his brother, the famed Civil War General Franz Peter Sigel (1824 – 1902), and his other siblings Laura, Theresa, Emil and Karl Sigel. Colonel Sigel immigrated to the United States in 1851 along with many other Europeans, including his brother Franz, who were called “Forty-Eighters” in reference to their participations in the failed European revolutions of 1848. He was naturalized in New York, NY on October 24, 1860.

Colonel Sigel married Rosa Fischer (1844 – 1939) of St Louis, Missouri on March 26, 1863 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Sigel’s had six children, Amalia (1864 – 1953), Moritz (1866 – 1933), Anna (1867 – 1951), Lena (1870 – 1967), Emma (1872 – 1966), and Albert (1878 – 1880).[1] Of the six Sigel children, only Amalia ever married (to Robert G. Bremerman) and they had no sons. The other Sigel children had no children of their own and lived with their mother until her death. Earel Albert Sigel died of meningitis at the age of 1 year, 10months and 6 days, thus ending any direct male lineage from Albert Sigel. Col. Sigel’s wife Rosa, along with Amailia, Moritz, Anna, and Lena were all cremated at the Missouri Crematorium in St. Louis.[2]

Sigel enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 28, 1861 in New Jersey and commissioned a captain of Company D, New Jersey 2nd Infantry Regiment. He mustered out of this regiment on December 14, 1861. Sigel was given the rank of Colonel on May 19, 1862 and commanded the Booneville State Militia Cavalry Battalion (“Epsteins”) which was organized at Booneville, MO. March 24, 1862. This militia unit saw a few skirmishes in central Missouri until it was re-organized as the 13th Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry.

On October 18, 1861, while commanding the 13th MSM Cavalry, Col. Sigel was involved in an investigation of the killing of rebel prisoners in Waynesville.

The 13th MSM Cavalry was involved in an engagement at the California House in which Col. Sigel gave the following report;

OCTOBER 18, 1862. – Skirmish at California House, Mo. Report of Colonel Albert Sigel, Thirteenth Missouri Cavalry (Militia). HDQRS. 13TH Regiment CAV., MO. S. M., Waynesville, Mo., Oct. 18, 1862.

COLONEL: In compliance with your dispatch, received last evening that 200 rebels had crossed the Missouri at Portland the night before and tried to make their way south, I thought it best to let them come near our post, so as to be able to intercept them whenever they tried to cross our line. I therefore ordered Captain Murphy, after midnight, with portions of four companies, numbering 75 men, toward the Gasconade, while I had another force of about 100 men ready to throw on them whenever I could get information where they intended to cross.

At about 10 o’clock this morning I received a report that Captain Murphy had not only found their trace, but was in hot pursuit of them. It was also reported that they had turned southwest, and it was now certain to me that they would cross our line 7 miles west from here, near the California House. I immediately started there with the force already mentioned, and we were scarcely ten minutes near the California House when they drove in our advance guard, under Lieutenant Muller, of Company A, who fell back and brought them into the line of Lieutenant Brown, of Company F, whose men were dismounted. We now pitched into them from all sides, and in a few minutes they ran for their lives. Captain Murphy was also nearly up at that time, and drove a portion of them before hi, scattering them in all directions.

The estimate of the rebels killed is 20, among them Lieutenant Tipton, and as many are wounded. We captured a secesh [sic] flag, 2 roll-books, some horses, and some shot-guns and Austrian rifles; made 3 prisoners, and liberated 2 Union men, who they had prisoners. We had only 1 man slightly wounded. I ordered the secesh [sic] population of the neighborhood to bury the dead and to care for the wounded rebels.

The rebels were well armed and equipped and 250 to 300 strong. They were commanded by Captain Ely, Captain Brooks, and two captains both with the name of Creggs, and were a part of Colonel Porter’s command, who did not cross the Missouri with them, but promised to follow them with a large force.

All our officers and men behaved well. Captain Smith (Company H) has not yet, at 8.30 p. m., come back from pursuit the rebels.

I remain, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALBERT SIGEL, Colonel, Commanding Thirteenth Regiment Cavalry, Mo. S. M. [3]

He again assumed command as Colonel of the 5th Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry when it was reorganized from the 13th Missouri State Militia Cavalry on February 8, 1863.[4] The 5th MSM Cavalry was attached to the District of Rolla, Department of Missouri up until June 1863 where it was then assigned to the District of the Border, Department of Missouri up until October 1863 then reassigned back to the District of Rolla until the regiment mustered out on July 8, 1865.

The 5th MSM Cavalry saw most of its action in and around the area of Waynesville, MO. where the headquarters was located atop a bluff overlooking the town as well as the Wire Road, a main supply route from St. Louis to Springfield, MO. Most of this action involved skirmishes and scouting missions against Missouri bushwhackers who were southern sympathizing, irregular forces.

On March 25, 1864, Brigadier General Odon Guitar, commander of the District of Rolla and Col. Sigel’s commanding officer, was relieved of command and Col. Sigel, in accordance with General Order #25, was directed to assume command of the District of Rolla, in which Col. Sigel responded that he would indeed fulfill this role. In November 1864 he continued this role as commander of the Rolla District and after the evacuation of Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob, MO, awaited the arrival of Brigadier General Thomas Ewing.[5] In a report given by Brigadier General John McNeil, Col. Sigel received praise for setting up a secure defense in anticipation for the continuing threat of Confederate General John S. Marmaduke and General J.O. Shelby General McNeil stated that, “By the 3rd of October, so assiduously and faithfully had the working parties performed the tasks allotted, for which too much praise cannot be given to Colonel Albert Sigel, Fifth Missouri State Militia Infantry, commanding the post.”[6]

After the Civil War, Col. Sigel served as Adjutant-General of Missouri and as a notary public.

Colonel Sigel died on March 16, 1884 at the age of 56. The St. Louis Republican newspaper printed the following obituary of his passing:

BURIAL OF COL. ALBERT SIGEL. From the St. Louis Republican, March 18.

Col. Albert Sigel, Adjutant-General of Missouri under Gov. Brown, was buried yesterday. There were few persons in attendance and no services at the house or grave. Col. Sigel was the brother of Gen. Franz Sigel, and was a native of the Grand Duchy of Baden, having been born at Sinshein, Baden, Nov. 13, 1827. He had a military education and saw some service before coming to this country. Col. Sigel during the war was in command of the Fifth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri State Militia (formerly the Thirteenth.) He was appointed Colonel of the regiment May, 19, 1862, and was mustered out with the regiment at the expiration of its term, Jan. 7, 1865. The regiment aggregated 1,100 men, was well mounted, and the condition of the horses was as good as that of the horses of any mounted regiment in the Missouri Department.[7]

Map of South St. Louis in 1885 with overlay of modern featuresAt the time of his death, Col. Sigel lived at 1853 or 1929 Linn Avenue in South St. Louis, which today would be located at the I-44/I-55 interchange, southeast of Lafayette Park. Many of the streets no longer exist (including this section of Linn Ave.) and quite a few others now have different names.

The St. Louis Death Registry shows that Col. Sigel is buried at “New Picker’s Cemetery” which was seized by the City of St. Louis and renamed Gatewood Gardens Cemetery. Unfortunately, the records from 1861 to 1891 are missing and all that is left is a handwritten transcription of the log, with Col. Sigel not found. So he is most likely buried in an unmarked grave at the cemetery, lost to time.

Colonel Sigel has been mostly forgotten in the shadow of his brother Franz, by children that left him no heirs, and the march of time. However, history shows him as a dedicated soldier and commander for the United States, a public servant to the state of Missouri

 

Works Cited

National Park Service. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailor’s Database: Battle Units. n.d. http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UMO0005RCY2 (accessed January 6, 2015).

New York Times. “Burial of Col. Albert Sigel.” New York Times Obituary, March 21, 1884.

The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-65 Records of the Regiments in the Union Army-Cyclopedia of Battles-Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers. Vols. V Cyclopedia of Battles A – Helena. Madison, WI: Federal Publishing Company, 1908.

United States War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901.

Wood, William D. Report of the Adjutant General. St. Louis: Headquarters State of Missouri Adjutant Generals Office, 1863.

 

[1] Year: 1880; Census Place: St. Louis, St. Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 721; Family History Film: 1254721; Page: 637C; Enumeration District: 100

[2] Missouri Secretary of State, “Missouri Digital Heritage” Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1963. http://www.sos.mo.gov/records/archives/archivesdb/deathcertificates/Default.aspx

[3] United States War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901. Serial 019, Page 0321, Chapter XXV.

[4] Wood, William D. Report of the Adjutant General. St. Louis: Headquarters State of Missouri Adjutant Generals Office, 1863, p. 483.

[5] Ibid., Serial 086, Page 0707, Chapter LIII.

[6] Ibid., Serial 083, Page 0375, Chapter LIII.

[7] New York Times. “Burial of Col. Albert Sigel.” New York Times Obituary, March 21, 1884.

In the April of 1862, a battalion of the 2nd Ohio (Buckeyes) Cavalry Regiment conducted an expedition into the enemy state of Missouri from Fort Scott. If there is an after -action report of this expedition, it has not been discovered yet. However, the following account of this mission was published in the April 26,1862 edition of the “Western Volunteer” newspaper in Fort Scott.

A trip to Carthage”

The 1st Battalion of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry under the command of Mjr. George Minor, left this place for Carthage on Thursday, the 10th inst. The command consisted of companies C, I, F 7 L A (supply) train of nine wagons, loaded with company and commissary stores, ammunition, etc. accompanied us. Nothing of note happened on our first day’s march and we camped on the bank of Drywood (Creek) having made about 12 miles.

Early on Friday morning we resumed our march, intending to reach Lamar that night, but owing to the heavy rain which set in in the forenoon and to some little accidents which delayed our train, we were obliged to encamp on the bank of Cox’s Creek, having marched but 10 miles. The men were drenched with rain and after spending a cold, uncomfortable night, we resumed our march. The day was cold and a drizzling rain set in which continued until night. The road was not bad, however, and everything went on smoothly until within a few miles of Lamar, when we were met by a couple of men, who came to inform us that owing to the rise in the river, we would be unable to cross the at the ford and must go some distance to the bridge. Leaving the main road we struck off into a by road which led to the bridge. Hardly had we gone a hundred yards before we found that our new road was anything but a pleasant one. Wagon after wagon stuck fast in the thick prairie mud, which for three or four miles was nearly up to the (wagon) axles and the strength of six mules was totally inadequate to the task of pulling them out. There was no other way, it must be done by hand. Picket ropes were tied to the tongues and the men, arranging themselves on each side, guiding their horses with one hand and bracing well in the stirrups, would pull with the other hand, adding the labor of 50 or more men to that of six mules and thus the wagons were drawn out of and through the thick mud the entire distance. For a while, the companies relieved each other at this labor, but soon all got to work together and then the fun commenced in earnest, different companies vying with each other to see which should get their wagon out first. The men and officers shouting at the top of their voices, teamsters (wagon drivers) screaming and plying the whip to stubborn mules and shouts of exultation as one company would pass another, made up a scene at once animated and ludicrous. We finally got through the mud, crossed the bridge and encamped within two miles of Lamar.

After refreshing our horses with “secesh” (Confederate) hay and grain, some of the boys thinking they had worked a little too hard to make a supper of hard bread and bacon, started in pursuit of fresh provisions. Woe, then to the unlucky hog, sheep or yearling (calf) found in the woods. The fact of his being there was taken as positive evidence of bushwhacking propensities and our boys have only lead and cold steel for Buschwhackers when the officers are not in sight. After leaving this camp, nothing of interest occurred and we entered Carthage the next day about 10 a.m. We encamped just on the town and prepared for operations.

The next day Co. C, Lt. Strong commanding, was sent out for forage. They came back with nine wagons well loaded with corn, oats, hay, bacon, etc. besides five prisoners and a number of young mules, colts and cattle. On Wednesday, 40 men from Company I, under Lt. Welch were sent out with six wagons to try their luck. They were even more successful than Co. C had been. They brought back grain, apples, potatoes and bacon, all the mules could draw. They also succeeded in finding a squad of rebels, of whom they captured eight, taking at the same time, nine fine horses, three double-barreled shotguns and one revolver. Some of the prisoners were identified as old offenders and it is to be hoped that they may be set at pulling hemp (hanged) as they deserved.

All hands now began to feel as if, after lying idle for months, we were at last to be allowed to work. Certainly this part of the country presents a fine field for operations. But alas, in came a dispatch ordering us back to Fort Scott and we must leave at once. So the next morning, we set out for this place, a place we hoped we had turned our backs upon forever. The very heavens, as if to manifest the displeasure of an angry God, sent the rain in torrents, flooding the roads and raising the streams so that it was only by swimming our horses that we reached camp that night. We pushed on the next day intending to reach Fort Scott, but by the time we reached Drywood, darkness had overtaken us and we were obliged to remain on the other side of Drywood Creek. Our wagons had been left behind at Lamar on account of the roads and having neither tents nor picket ropes, we fed our horses corn and building a few fires, stood wet and shivering through the long, dark night, many of us holding our horses by the bridle until daylight. That night will long be remembered by the boys of the First Battalion, as will also the encouraging looks and words of Mjr. Minor and Lts. Welch and Leslie, the only officers who endured the night with us.

There is nothing like the presence of officers enduring the hardships with them to inspire confidence and cheer in the minds of soldiers at a time like that. Next morning, we crossed the river (Drywood Creek) and came to Fort Scott, where we remain, eagerly awaiting the order that will send us back to Carthage or some point where there is work to do.”

“Vic”

It is not known who “Vic,” the author of this article, was, but it is believed that he was a soldier in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Shortly after completing this expedition into Missouri, the 2nd Ohio Calvary Regiment returned to its home state, was reorganized and participated in various campaigns east of the Mississippi river, and of course, the war went on!

In January of 1863, before being deployed into the northeast Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), the “Union” Indian Brigade” from Kansas comprised of the first, second and third regiments of Indian Home Guards was stationed at Camp Curtis in northeast Arkansas near the town of Maysville. As the result of a change in command, Col. William A. Phillips, the commander of the Indian Brigade, submitted the following status report of his brigade to his new commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Samuel Ryan Curtis. This report is located on Pages 56 -58 in Series I, Vol. 22, Part II Correspondence in the official Records of the War of the Rebellion.

Headquarters, 3rd Brigade, 1st Div.,
Army of the Frontier, Camp Curtis, Jan. 19, 1863.
Maj. Gen. Curtis, Commanding

Sir: I desire to report the peculiar features, character and present condition of the three Indian regiments. My close connection with them in active service during the past nine months has given me opportunities to judge and I submit a report as brief as it can be made, believing it is necessary to give the government a clear idea of the nature and wants of this branch of the service.

First: The first Indian Regiment is of Creeks, mustered at Leroy, (Kan). The only white officers at first were field officers. The regiment did some service in June and July (1862); it became badly demoralized for want of sufficient and competent officers; partially broke up in August; was collected in October and had white First Lieutenants mustered, under Gen. Blunt’s order. Some 300 or 400 of the regiment, who had gone to Leroy in August and who had refused to leave it, got down with the train just at the same time the Army of the Frontier was re-brigaded. The regiment has drilled very little; are indifferently informed as to their duties.

These Creeks are about equal in scale of intelligence to the Delawares of Kansas; they are inferior to the Cherokees. They are now in bad shape, get out their details slowly, sometimes desert a post or a party when sent on duty; yet I would be lacking in my duty to them or the government if I failed to say that, with one or two good field officers, military men, and two or even three, company officers, they could be made very effective. No party of them should be sent without a competent officer. Their own officers are, with few exceptions useless, but there are one or two men of influence amongst the captains, brave fighters in the field and of influence not to be overlooked. This Creek regiment gives me much more concern than either of the others

Second: The Second Regiment originally consisted of Osages, Quapaws, etc., and when it got into the Cherokee Nation, finally of Cherokees. The Osages, who were neither more or less than savages and thieves, who brought the whole Indian command into disgrace, were finally mustered out (discharged) during one of their periodic desertions, which fortunately happened at pay time. So, too, of Quapaws and other broken fragments of tribes that were little better. Under Gen. Blunt’s orders, I recruited for the 2nd Indian Regiment and its numbers have been brought up to its present status from Cherokee, half-breeds and whites. Last summer the regiment drilled but little; lately it has improved in that respect. It still lacks necessary officers, but is in a fair way to make a useful force.

Third: The Third Indian Regiment, which was my own, rejoined after its organization, was literally taken from the enemy and was the heaviest blow dealt in the Southwest last summer. Profiting by the experience of the first two regiments, it was organized by General Blunt’s orders, at my suggestion, with first lieutenants and orderly sergeants picked out of the white regiments in the field. I endeavored to secure active, intelligent men, conversant with their duties as soldiers or non-commissioned officers and just so far as I succeeded in this the result has been favorable. Unless when on the actual march, the regiment had dress parade every evening and drill and officers’ school every day. The result is that it is as well drilled as many white regiments that have a longer time in the service.

The regiment has done a great deal of active service, besides innumerable scouts and skirmishes. They were for two hours and 40 minutes under hot musketry and finally artillery fire at Newtonia. They participated at Fort Wayne, Cane Hill, Dutch Mills, Prairie Grove and other engagements. This is the only Indian regiment that really is a success so far, although the Second will undoubtedly will be, but there are several errors in its organization and some few of the command and also the Third absent themselves without leave, which is a chronic Indian weakness.

The error in all of the Indian regiments has been in not mustering the captains or white officers to be fully responsible for property and to see that orders are carried out. I take the liberty of suggesting that the necessary officers for an Indian company are, the Captain (first lieutenant might be an Indian) and second lieutenant white man or better yet, the captain a white man, first lieutenant a white man, second lieutenant an Indian and orderly sergeant a white man. The white men to be selected from the volunteer army or from men who thoroughly understand military duties and who will work hard. It is a blunder to put men of poor ability in an Indian regiment. It requires character so that the Indians will respect him and a thorough knowledge of military duties. In a white company, if a captain and lieutenants are ignorant, perhaps some privates in the company can run it, but an Indian company improperly officered is a frightful mess.

The officers in an Indian regiment have to work very hard to get things in shape. The besetting sin of Indians is laziness.

They are brave as death, active to fight, but lazy. They ought invariably to be mounted; they make poor infantry, but first class mounted rifleman.

The third Regiment, most of the Second and half of the First entered the service with their own horses, were paid as infantry, but foraged and shod by department order of Gen. Blunt.

Their horses have nearly all been used up in the service. At this time the stock is very poor.

The Third Indian Regiment is of 12 companies of mounted riflemen and has two howitzers attached. They are only paid as infantry, but used as mounted men.

About 100 of them are on foot, as their horses have died in service. To be efficient, they ought to be mounted on Government horses in the spring. The third is armed with Mississippi and Prussian rifles. The Second, Prussian rifles and muskets and the First with hunting rifles and they have to mold their bullets.

Nothing but active steps to supply necessary orders can save the First Indian Regiment from utter demoralization. My orders to drill are disregarded. As I compel the regiments to draw on consolidated provision returns, I have difficulty in getting reports from them. I am much embarrassed. As arresting all the officers of a regiment is not to be thought of and permitting it to run loose has a bad effect on the rest. I earnestly desire instructions and the necessary authority to myself or some others. In the meantime, I shall do the best I can.

With Great Respect,

Wm. A. Phillips

Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade.

Now then, Col. Phillips’ report was brutally honest and eventually he received the “instructions and necessary authority” to correct all of the identified deficiencies. As a result of this, all three regiments of Indian Home Guards compiled an excellent service record for the balance of the war, and of course, the war went on!