“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.

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.

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).

March 10, 1861
The Confederate Congress unanimously adopted the Constitution of the Confederacy. CSA Brig. General Braxton Bragg took command of Confederate forces. General Winfield Scott was briefing President Lincoln on the events at Ft. Sumter and options that were available.

March 10, 1862
Confederate President Jefferson Davis attempted reassure Gen. Joseph E. Johnston that reinforcements were on the way by telling him, “you shall be promptly and adequately reinforced.” Johnston was on the retreat in Virginia.

March 10, 1863
President Lincoln issued a proclamation giving amnesty to Union soldiers who were absent without leave (AWOL) if they reported by April 1st. If not, they would be regarded as deserters and arrested.

March 10, 1864
General Ulysses S. Grant took control of the entire Federal army Grant was not in Washington to receive the order but in Virginia with current commander George Gordon Meade discussing current and future plans of the Army of the Potomac. Beleaguered Maj. General Franz Sigel took command of the Department of West Virginia replacing Brig. General Benjamin F. Kelley

March 10, 1865
Maj. General William T. Sherman‘s army was nearing Fayetteville, NC. after skirmishing with Confederate cavalry. Meanwhile, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was in a scramble to consolidate what forces he had left available to him. General Robert E. Lee wrote to President Jefferson Davis proposing a law to enlist negro troops as soon as possible, however, the Confederate Congress debated on.