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Year: 1863

The early months of 1863 were characterized by small engagements throughout the state. One such action was Colonel John S. Marmaduke’s first raid in to the southern portion of the state. These mounted raids were designed to strike Federal outposts, recruit and acquire new mounts for the Confederate cavalry. This was a two-pronged raid that rarely saw large actions. Some of the larger actions or battles were the battle of Springfield on January 8 and Hartville on January 10. The former a Federal victory and the latter a Southern triumph followed by a Southern retreat back into Arkansas.

General Marmaduke executed a second raid into the southeast portion of the state. He crossed into Missouri on April 17 striking small Federal detachments and destroying military property. The most notable incident was the engagement at Cape Girardeau, on April 26, that escalated into a serious fight. While the main Confederate army remained occupied in Arkansas throughout the year Colonel Jo O. Shelby raided the central portion of the state. His raid, that began on September 22, and was highlighted by the large amount of property destroyed and supplies captured. Shelby barely escaped a Federal trap at Marshall near the end of his raid, but successfully returned to Arkansas.

Throughout the years of Civil War in Missouri there were constant incidents of guerrilla and bushwhacking activity. These events occupied the Federal troops in the state and brought death and suffering to the civilian population. The Union leadership responded by issuing Order No. 11, which cleared the civilian population from the western counties near the Kansas border. The purpose was to check guerrilla activity in the region, but this harsh measure served only to increase the bloodshed. William Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson and numerous others raised terror in the hearts of anyone connected with the Union war effort. These raids impacted more than Missourians, as soldiers from Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois attempted to preserve the peace. Despite the guerrilla uprisings the year concluded with the Federals solidly in control of Missouri, but their leadership saw Union troop strength dwindle to support activities in other theaters of combat.

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