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Cedar County

Military History

On account of its location in the border-land between the North and the South, Cedar County, in common with other parts of Southwest Missouri, was the scene of considerable local political disagreement, as well as of some exciting episodes of the war. The spirit of violence which marked the time and the country was rife here, and lawless deeds of irregularly organized bands of both Northern and Southern sympathizers were by no means infrequent, and men were killed at and near the seat of justice and in other parts of the county, whose slayers were never brought to trial, and men were hanged to convenient trees without the preliminary services of judge and jury. The number who enlisted regularly as soldiers in the two armies was nearly equal, and it cannot be said that either Unionists or Confederates from Cedar County were braver or more devoted to the cause they espoused than their neighbor-foemen; and, though they were foemen, they did not then or later forget that they were neighbors, and that in the woods and on the prairies of the same county stood the dwellings that sheltered the loved ones they had left behind.

The Livingston  and Shelby Raids.— For a considerable period during the war, Stockton, the only town of importance in the county, was guarded. The court house was barricaded and supplied with arms, and regarded as the place of safety in case of attack. It was in the possession of Union troops much of the time, and the town was picketed and in other ways guarded against a descent by the enemy. Small bodies of armed riders were often seen, and house-burnings and other lawless deeds were of frequent occurrence. The two most note-worthy events of the war, locally, were the raids mentioned above. The first occurred July n, 1863, when nearly every man in town (most of whom were soldiers, or at least armed), who was not on guard at some point of approach, was in the court house, listening to a joint debate between Orville P. Welch and William C. Montgomery, rival candidates for the assembly. One of these aspirants for political preferment was speaking when word came that the raiders were descending upon the town. It was very foggy, and their approach had not been noticed by the pickets until it was too late either to give warning or offer resistance, and almost as soon as the first alarming cry was heard in the court house the enemy was seen dashing into the center of the town by different streets. A brief engagement ensued, the raiders firing on the soldiers and others to be seen about the court house, and the soldiers returning the fire through the court house windows and other loopholes, in which Col. Livingston, who commanded the attacking party, was killed and Capt. Vaughn, the next in command, mortally wounded, the latter dying in a few minutes. A Unionist named Holman was killed in the affray, and another, George Kingston, was taken prisoner by the raiders as they rode out of town, and shot soon afterward. The attacking party numbered some 300 or 40c men. In the fall of the same year, Shelby's force, of some 3,000 or more, descended upon the town, and, without blood-shed, burned the court house. Stockton was much damaged, and the Crow and Caplinger mills, with most of the farm houses in the western part of the county, were destroyed.

Removal of the County Records.— At the outbreak of the war most of the Cedar County officials were Southern sympathizers, and the records were taken South, it is said, by some of them, and hidden in Arkansas. Near the close of the war some Union soldiers discovered the books in a cave in Arkansas, and brought them to Springfield, whence later they were returned to their legal custodians.

Federal Soldiers.— Two companies were recruited in Cedar County entire for the Union service, and a large number of men from the county attached themselves to other than Cedar County organizations. The two companies mentioned served seven months in the Seventh Provisional Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia. November 3, 1863, they were mustered into the Fifteenth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, as Companies A and M. Of the former, P. H. Rohrer was captain; A. C. Montgomery, first lieutenant; and Samuel Hornbeck, second lieutenant. Of the latter, Dennis H. Connaway was captain; W. A. McMinn, first lieutenant; and Jesse Spencer, second lieutenant. The Fifteenth Missouri Cavalry saw service in the campaigns against Marmaduke, Shelby and Price, and in scouting in the Southwest. It was mustered out of service at Springfield, June 30, 1865. Cedar County's most distinguished Union soldier was Col. Joseph J. Gravely, of the Eighth Missouri State Militia, and there were others who distinguished themselves in regiments organized in other localities. Battery H, Twentieth Missouri Light Artillery, was commanded by Capt. William C. Montgomery. Attached to this organization were Lieuts. T. M. Montgomery, T. J. Travis, and other Cedar Countians.

Confederate Soldiers.—The " Stockton Grays 99 were organized, with about ninety men, with B. F. Walker as captain, and Russell Lilburn as first lieutenant, in 1861. Capt. J. W. Prowell and Capt. J. A. Musgrove also organized companies in the •county, of eighty and seventy-five men, respectively. These companies were recruited under Gov. Jackson's call, and attached to the Missouri State Guard; but later most of the members of these companies connected themselves with the Confederate States army, and served until the close of the war. At Cowskin, where the first general organization was effected, Capt. Walker was made lieutenant-colonel of his regiment, under Col. James Cawthon. Subsequently, at Oak Hill, Col. Cawthon was killed, and Lieut.-Col. Walker was promoted to the colonelcy. Lieut. Lilburn succeeded to the command of Capt. Walker's company. Besides the engagement at Oak Hill, where forty of Walker's company were killed, the regiment was in the fighting at Lone Jack, Prairie Grove, Lexington and other places. Many men from Cedar County were in a company recruited by Capt. (afterward Maj.) Reynolds, then of St. Clair County, now of Jerico.

History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties Missouri- Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889 page 422 to  425

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