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Year: 1861

The 1850’s were a turbulent period of political and social struggle in our nation’s history, but along the Missouri-Kansas border a bloody struggle ensued over the question of slavery in Kansas. Between 1854 and 1859 pro and antislavery forces ambushed and raided each...

1861 – Missouri is the Seat of War

Not surprisingly, most battles or engagements of the war’s first year occurred in the border states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri. In fact, except for several actions in the northern portion of Virginia, all of the principal battles of 1861 occurred in these three...

European Revolutions Produce Missouri Combatants

In 1848-1849, revolutions rocked the European continent. A peaceful effort, initially, by left-leaning intellectuals to democratize the Austro-Hungarian Empire, brutal repressive reaction lead first to war, and then to emigration by the losers. It has been estimated that in the...

St. Louis Cemeteries

It doesn’t get better than this. In North St. Louis, near by Interstate 70, two adjacent cemeteries hold the “mother load” of Civil War burials. Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries (4947 and 5239 West Florissant Avenue, respectively) together comprise about a square mile. There...

Total War Comes to Missouri

The legend, and the true life story, of the American “Robin Hood”, Jesse James, were forged in an era when Missouri’s Civil War had become the most brutal form of warfare visited on the continent. The James boys, Frank and Jesse, and Cole Younger and his brothers, carried their...

Where Was Phil?

The Camp Jackson incident, which occurred in St. Louis on May 10, 1861, was the first significant event to occur in the Civil War after Fort Sumter. It was the first time units of opposing infantry confronted each other. An incredible congregation of the famous and...

Kentucky Cousins

Francis Preston Blair, Jr., Joseph Orville Shelby and Benjamin Gratz Brown are a part of one of the most remarkable families in the annals of Civil War history. All from Lexington, Kentucky, Blair and Brown descended from the Gist family of Maryland and Kentucky, as had Shelby,...

The Long Ride

In June, 1865, JO Shelby’s Missouri Calvary Division was the last Confederate military unit remaining in service in the former Confederacy. It never surrendered to federal authorities. Instead, it embarked on one of history’s remarkable odysseys. After the disaster at Westport,...

African-Americans’ War for Freedom – From First to Last

Ironically, it was a losing case, and the persistence of Dred and Harriett Scott of St. Louis who brought the case in 1847, which contributed more than any other single event to the coming of war and the abolition of slavery. The Scotts? suit, which was brought first in the...

Missouri’s Gallant 62nd

By STANFORD L. DAVIS During the Civil War, 186,000 ex-slaves and black freedmen joined the Union Army. Thirty-seven thousand of them would not see the beginning of the new society. Amongst these men of war was a regiment of veteran black Missouri troops who took part in what is...