Henry County Missouri
MASS MEETING IN CLINTON - PETITION TO GOVERNOR STEWART - ENLISTMENTS IN BOTH ARMIES - EVENTS IN THE STATE - SURRENDER OF CAMP JACKSON - FLIGHT OF GOVERNOR JACKSON - RETREAT OF PRICE THROUGH HENRY COUNTY - BATTLES OF CARTHAGE AND WILSON'S CREEK - GENERAL ORDER No. 11.
It is hard to determine from official records, the part played by Henry County and its people in the war between the States. It would be very interesting to have all of the historical data gathered and a connected story written telling accurately and well the history of this struggle within the borders of the county, and the part played by resi-dents thereof in other parts of the State and Nation. The opening of the war, as far as this county was concerned, antedated the firing on Sump-ter by some months and it would seem from the following official record, that the war began in southwest Missouri, long before the Star of the West was turned back in Charleston Harbor and the Confederate batteries compelled Major Anderson to haul down his flag at Fort Sumpter.
At the opening of the session of the Legislature, in 1860-1861, the then Governor of the State, Clayborn F. Jackson, submitted the following document, with the recommendation that the Legislature should take such steps as the good of the commonwealth demanded, the first document showing results of the action of the people of Henry County in mass meeting assembled:
"At a meeting of the citizens of Clinton, Henry County, Missouri, held at the court house on the night of the 20th of November, 1860, the following, among other proceedings, were had, towit:
"After a speech from Judge Williams, of Kansas Territory, and other gentlemen, the following resolutions were adopted:
"Whereas, We have received indisputable evidence of the fact that the notorious Montgomery, of Kansas, has lately been receiving large supplies of arms, money and provisions from the East, and he has erected a fort and has supplied the same with munitions of war, and that he has collected a large band of outlaws around him, and that he has published that the United States District Court should not convene at Fort Scott; that the several United States officers in that portion of Kansas Territory should leave the territory or be killed; that these officers have been compelled to abandon their official duties and flee for their lives; that several citizens of the county have actually been murdered, property plundered, negroes stolen and the border counties threatened with invasion, and open and extensive preparations made to carry the threats into execution, for the purpose of murder, plunder and negro stealing.
"Resolved, That a volunteer company be organized for the purpose of defending our own homes, and, if necessary, the western borders of the State.
"Resolved, That a messenger be immediately sent to the Governor of the State with a request to provide for the purpose.
"Resolved, That Thomas E. Owen, Norval Spangler, J. C. Alexander, J. Davis, A. M. Tutt, B. L. Dozier, T. W. Royston, S. P. Ashby and Burt Holcomb be appointed to enroll such names as may be willing to join a volunteer company and to effect an organization of the same.
"Resolved, That D. C. Stone and W. A. Duncan be appointed a committee to wait upon the governor and represent to him the emergency of the case, and, if possible, to procure a supply of arms.
"Resolved, That a committee of fifteen be appointed to inform the citizens of the County of Henry of the meeting and its purposes, of the 22nd instant and devise means for the same: Tebo, A. C. Avery, J. Davis; Springfield, R. K. Murrell, E. J. Warth; Osage, A. T. Bush, N. S. Spangler; Deepwater, B. L. Dozier, L. Cruce; Big Creek, B. L. Quarles, J. G. Dorman; Bogard, Jesse Nave, B. G. Boone; Grand River, S. P. Ashby, W. H. Cock, J. H. Vance.
"Resolved, That a messenger be sent to Warsaw, Osceola, Lexington and Warrensburg, and take with them a copy of the proceedings of this meeting and ask their co-operation: Lexington, A. Raney, Hampton Winew; Warrensburg, T. A. Hust, M. W. Lowry; Osceola, B. F. Cox, H. C. Tutt; Warsaw, H. S. Marvin, R. L. Burge. "I. M. CRUSE, Chairman. "B. L. QUARLES, Secretary."
"Clinton, Missouri, November 20, 1860. "Governor Stewart:
"Sir - I am here to inform the citizens of this place of the following facts; and I have been requested to present them to you as Governor of the State:
"The Abolitionists, under the command of Montgomery and Doctor Jennison, to the number of from three to five hundred, armed with Sharpens rifles, dragoon sabres, navy revolvers and bowie knives each, have suddenly commenced a war of extreme ferocity on the law-abiding citizens of southern Kansas, in the counties of Linn and Bourbon.
"These arms arrived by the wagon load at or near Mound City, about one month since, in boxes marked as donations for Kansas sufferers. They are all new.
"Montgomery had been at Boston during part of the summer, and returned with plenty of money to enlist recruits. Many of his men are freshly imported. He has taken possession of Fort Scott and other towns on the border near the Missouri line. He has murdered Mr. Moore, a grand juror; Mr. Harrison, Mr. Samuel Scott, Mr. Hindes, and obliged all of the United States officers, including myself, to fly for our lives. His openly expressed design in a public speech, as he said, 'Without concealment,' is to keep possession of Fort Scott and other places near the State line, to preent 'a fire in the rear," while he cleaned out 'southern Missouri of slaves.' So far, he has carried out literally his declared program.
"The citizens of Missouri on the Osage, Marmaton, and in Bates and Vernon, are flying from their homes into the interior.
"He boasts that he has money and arms to sustain one thousand men. These are facts. 'Omne pars fui.'
"My court was broken up by them - the United States Court for the Southern District. I expect they have seized the records, and also the records of the land office, as he publicly declared he would do so.
"I send this in haste to accompany the proceedings, etc., of a meeting of the citizens here. Yours, etc.,
"U. S. District Judge, 3rd Judicial District of the Territory of Kansas."
"Warsaw, Missouri, November 22, 1860
"To D. C. Stone:
"Montgomery is at Ball's Mill - stole a number of negroes and murdered six or eight men. Williams is here. Great excitement - meeting to be held tonight - company formed.
J. H. LEACH"
"Warsaw, Missouri, November 22, 1860.
"To General Hackney:
"Is it possible to get the military from Saint Louis, say five hundred men, armed and equipped? Montgomery has actually invaded the State, and is now near Taberville. Reply immediately.
The following extract from a letter written from Papinville, Eates County, Missouri, December 2, 1860, to Gen. G. A. Parsons, was also presented by the governor to the Legislature with the others. The extract is as follows:
"They have been in the State in parties, evidently for the purpose of stealing negroes and other property, and to murder some of our citizens; they have also threatened the Democratic Banner, a newspaper published at West Point, Bates County, Missouri; and wherefore we would state that our county is virtually besieged, our lives and property being endangered by this band of outlaws, compelling us to be armed to repel an invasion, with which Montgomery has threatened us in public speeches. Our State has been invaded and is now in imminent danger of being again visited by Montgomery and his hired band. We would further represent that on account of the present state of affairs, general distress now Prevails. Slave owners have sent their negroes to the interior of the State.
"All honest and law-abiding men of southern Kansas have either left or are leaving the territory, abandoning their all to save life.
conclusion we would repeat to you, that we deem this section of Missouri in danger, which we are but poorly prepared to resist successfully. We also believe that they will attack us before spring; that this border has been selected as battle ground of the two great parties, the one for the Constitution and the Union, and the other for Abolition and Disunion.
"The leaders - Montgomery and Jennison - of the latter party openly and defiantly state that their object is to steal and liberate negroes in southwest Missouri, and to hang or shoot every man who opposes them, being well armed with new and superior arms, and money supplied from the East; they have now possession of Fort Scott and other important places near the State line, and if not crushed, we may soon meet them in our State with sufficient force to carry out their program."
The people of Missouri began to see that if something was not done blood and carnage would soon begin its terrible work. Union meetings were held in almost every county of the State, but the people while favoring union to the last degree, had no love for the abolition fanatics who were doing all that devils incarnate could do to precipitate a deadly conflict. In Henry County strong Union sentiments were expressed as above and another meeting called. The proceedings are here given:
"Pursuant to a previous notice, a large number of the citizens of Henry County met at the court house at Clinton on the 9th of January, I860, for the purpose of appointing delegates to the Democratic State Convention, which convened at Jefferson City on the 9th of April next, when the following proceedings were had:
"Major William M. Wall was made chairman and R. K. Murrell ap-pointed secretary of the meeting.
"On motion of R. L. Burge, it was resolved that a committee of six be appointed to draft resolutions expressing the sense of this meeting; whereupon the following gentlemen were selected, towit: R. L. Burge, L. Cruce, John A. Bushnell, J. G. Dorman, G. F. Warth and James Swindle.
"During the absence of the committee the meeting was addressed by Messrs. Marvin, Williams, and Murrell upon the political questions of the day. The committee returned and reported the following preamble and resolutions:
"Whereas, The United States have advanced more rapidly than any other nation in all the elements that constitute greatness; and whereas, the administration of the general government has been in the hands of the Democratic party for the greater portion of that time; therefore
"Be It Resolved, That we have entire confidence in the principles of the Democratic party;
"Resolved, second, That we regard the so-called Republican party of the North as a sectional and fanatical one, whose avowed principles are directly subversive of the Constitution, and whose ultimate triumph would be a national calamity - greatly endangering the Union of the States; and that we look with extreme reprobation at its attempted organization in our own State.
"Resolved, third, That in the Democratic party we recognize a truly national party, unwaveringly devoted to the rights and interests of every section of our common country, and to the preservation and perpetuity of the entire Union.
"Resolved, fourth, That we hereby pledge ourselves unanimously and cordially to support the nominee of the Charleston convention, and of our State convention, which convenes at Jefferson City on The 9th of April next.
"Resolved, fifth, That we endorse the Cincinnati platform, adopted June, 1856, and the principles enunciated in the Dred Scot case.
"Resolved, sixth, That having full confidence in the ability and integrity of the Hon. Waldo P. Johnson, of Saint Clair, we hereby instruct our delegates to the State convention to cast the vote of this county for him as our first choice for governor.
"Resolved, seventh, That having entire confidence in the qualifications, and fitness of our esteemed fellow-citizen. Major Daniel Ashby, of Henry, for the office of State Treasurer, we hereby instruct our delegates to cast the vote of this county for him as first choice for said office.
"Resolved, eighth, That while we view the recent outrages committed at Harper's Ferry, as the fruits of the teachings and 'irrepressible conflict' principles of the Republican party of the North, and sincerely sympathize with and approve of the course pursued by the State of Virginia, we regard the Union meetings recently held in the North as manifesting the spirit of patriotism calculated to check the disorganizing principles of the Abolition party, and preserve the Union of the States on true Constitutional grounds.
"Resolved, ninth, That in view of the eminent abilities and long-tried services of the 'wheel-horse' of Democracy, Claiborne F. Jackson, we recommend him as the second choice of this meeting as a candidate for the office of governor.
"Resolved, tenth, That the chair appoint seventeen delegates to attend a State convention at Jefferson City and cast the vote of Henry County in obedience to the foregoing instruction; whereupon the following were appointed by the chair, towit: G. H. Warth, A. C. Marvin, S. P. Ashby, J. G. Dorman, A. Walmsley, L. Cruce, William Johnson, Addison Bronaugh, John A. Bushnell, R. L. Avery, William M. Wall, John W. Williams, James Swindle, William H. Murrell, A. J. Lee, John O. Coving-ton and William Paul.
"Resolved, eleventh, That each township in the county be requested to elect delegates to a convention to be held at Clinton on the first Monday in May next, for the nomination of county officers and the more perfect organization of the party, and the twelfth resolution called for the publication of the foregoing in the Warsaw Democrat, Jefferson Examiner and Clinton Journal. From the latter and under date of January 13, 1860, the above proceedings were taken. The report was signed.
"WILLIAM M. WALL, President.
"RICHARD K. MURRELL, Secretary."
The Journal's Comments. " A report of the proceedings of a Democratic convention, which was held in this place on .Monday last, January 9, 1860, will be found in another column. Without expressing any other opinion regarding the general tenor of the resolution adopted, and which every one is at liberty to construe as he pleases, yet we must say that the spirit which dictated the eighth resolution is worthy of general imitation. We have not seen before in any portion of the South, a single instance of a public recognition of the conservative principles which prompted the recent Union demonstrations in the North. Can it be that Henry County has taken the lead of the entire South, in a movement which sound policy as well as common sense would suggest?"
The Journal quoted last above was an independent paper of conservative tendencies but of an outspoken Union sentiment; however, it discredited any relationship or adherence to the Republican party. The meetings and extracts above referred to show the temper of the people of Henry County and of Missouri generally, at the inception of the war, a feeling which was afterwards moderated by the commencing of one of the greatest civil wars of all history. The people of Henry County, as may be seen, were for the Union at the beginning; and it was not until guns had been fired in anger, that some took up arms to defend what they considered the rights of the sovereign State in which they lived.
It is impossible to get an accurate account of the number of men or the names of the individuals who enrolled in each of the contending armies. While some joined the Federal forces, the greater number enrolled themselves under the Stars and Bars and followed the fortunes of the Confederacy. Records show that in the Federal forces there were enrolled six volunteers from this county in the 18th Infantry, one in the 24th Infantry, one in the 27th Infantry, nine in the 33rd Infantry, three in the 1st Cavalry, two in the 8th Cavalry, or twenty-two in all. In the Missouri State Military there were four volunteers in the 1st Infantry, two in the 6th Cavalry, twenty-seven in the 7th Cavalry, or thirty-three in all. One volunteer from Henry County joined a Kansas regiment, two an Arkansas regiment and two the 3rd Arkansas Regiment, or five in all. There is an official record of sixty who joined the Federal forces up to January, 1864. There were others undoubtedly, but the total number of Union soldiers from this county was certainly not over seventy-five or eighty; the war having practically ceased, as far as this section is concerned, by the date last above mentioned.
On the other hand, probably a thousand sons of the county devoted their fortunes and offered their lives to the cause of the South. One company which was raised at or near Windsor, was General Price's body-guard; but the record of those who went into the Southern army, is hard to obtain. Preparations for the war in Missouri actually opened with the call of President Lincoln on April 15, 1861, in which 75,000 men were asked for to suppress combinations in the Southern States. Simultaneously with the call Hon. Simon Cameron sent a telegram to the Gov-ernors of the States not mentioned in the proclamation, asking them to send a certain number of militia to serve for three months; Missouri's quota of the total being four regiments. On the seventeenth of April, 1861, Governor Jackson sent the following reply to the Secretary of War, whose dispatch of the fifteenth inst., making a call on Missouri for four regiments of men for immediate service, had been received:
"There can be, I apprehend, no doubt but these men are intended to form a part of the President's Army to make war upon the people of the seceeded States. Your requisition in my judgment is irregular, unconstitutional and cannot be complied with. Not one man will the State of Missouri furnish to carry on such an unholy war."
This was signed by C. F. Jackson, Governor of Missouri. From then on things moved swiftly. On the twenty-second of April, after the arsenal at Liberty had been seized, the Governor issued a proclamation calling the Legislature of Missouri to meet May following in extra session, to take into consideration the momentous issues which were presented and the attitude to be assumed by the State in the struggle. On the twenty-second of April, 1861, the adjutant general of Missouri issued the following military order:
Headquarters Adjutant General's Office, Missouri.
Jefferson City, April 22, 1861.
(General Order No. 7.)
I. To attain a greater degree of efficiency and perfection in organi-zation and discipline, the commanding officers of the several military districts in this State, having four or more legally organized companies, whose armories are within fifteen miles of each other, will assemble their respective commands at some place to be by them severalty designated, on the third of May, and to go into an encampment for a period of six days as provided by law. Captains of companies not organized into battalions, will report the strength of their companies immediately to these headquarters, and await further orders.
II. The quartermaster general will procure and issue to quarter-masters of districts, for these commands not now proivded for, all necessary tents and camp equipage, to enable the commanding officers thereof to carry the foregoing order into effect.
III. The light battery now attached to the Southwest Battalion, and one company of mounted riflemen, including all officers and soldiers belonging to the First District, will proceed forthwith to St. Louis and report to General D. M. Frost for duty. The remaining companies of saidbattalion will be disbanded for the purpose of assisting in the organiza-tion of companies upon that frontier. The details of the execution of the foregoing are intrusted to Lieutenant Colonel John S. Bowen, commanding the battalion.
IV. The strength, organization and equipment of the several companies in the districts will be reported at once to these headquarters, and district inspectors will furnish all information which may be serviceable in ascertaining the condition of State forces.
By order of the Governor, WARWICK HOWE, Adjutant General of Missouri.
On May 2, 1861, the Legislature convened in extra session. Among the many acts passed was one authorizing the Governor to purchase on necessity David Valentine's factory at Boonville for the manufacture of arms and munitions of war; authorizing the appointment of one major-general by the Governor and also appointing him to take possession of the railroads and telegraph lines of the State when in his opinion the security of the commonwealth demanded. Acts providing further for the organization, government and suprSort of the military forces were passed; also provision was made for borrowing one million dollars to arm and equip the militia of the State to enable them to repel invasion and protect the lives and property of the people. An act was also passed creating a "military fund" which was to consist of all money then in the treasury or might thereafter be received from one-tenth of one per cent, on the one hundred dollar valuation, which had been levied by an act of November, 1857, to complete certain railroads, and also the proceeds of a tax of fifteen cents on the one hundred dollar assessed valuation and the proceeds of the two-mill tax, all of which had hitherto been appropriated for educational purposes.
Following the preparations for war, as outlined above, Camp Jackson was organized near St. Louis on May 3, and on May 10 Sterling Price, later formally known as "Old Pap," was appointed major-general of the State Guard; and on the same day, General Frost, who commanded Camp Jackson, addressed Gen. N. Lyon, commander of the U. S. forces in St. Louis, as follows:
Capt. N. Lyon, commanding United States troops in and about St. Louis Arsenal.
Sir: - I am constantly in receipt of information that you contemplate an attack upon my camp, whilst I understand that you are impressed with the idea that an attack upon the arsenal and United States troops is intended on the part of the militia of Missouri. I am greatly at a loss to know what could justify you in attacking citizens of the United States, who are in lawful performance of their duties, devolving upon them under the constitution in organizing and instructing the militia of the State in obedience to her laws, and, therefore, have been disposed to doubt the correctness of the information I have received.
I would be glad to know from you personally whether there is any truth in the statements that are constantly pouring into my ears. So far as regards any hostility being intended toward the United States, or its property or representatives by any portion of my command, or, as far as I can learn (and I think I am fully informed) of any other part of the State forces, I can positively say that the idea has never been entertained. On the contrary, prior to your taking command of the arsenal, I proffered to Mayor Bell, then in command of the very few troops constituting its guard, the services of myself and all my command, and, if necessary, the whole power of the State, to protect the United States in the full possession of all her property. Upon General Harney taking command of this department, I made the same offer of services to him, and authorized his adjutant general, Captain Williams, to communicate the fact that such had been done to the war department. I have had no occasion since to change any of the views I entertained at the time, neither of my own volition nor through the orders of my constitutional commander.
I trust that after this explicit statement that we may be able, by fully understanding each other to keep far from our borders the misfortunes which so unhappily affect our common country.
This communication will be handed you by Colonel Bowen, my chief of staff, who will be able to explain anything not fully set forth in the foregoing.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BRIGADIER GENERAL D. M. FROST, Commanding Camp Jackson, M. V. M.
May 10, 1861, General Lyon sent the following to General Frost: Headquarters United States Troops, St. Louis, Missouri, May 10, 1861. General D. M. Frost, commanding Camp Jackson:
Sir: Your command is regarded as evidently hostile toward the Government of the United States.
It is, for the most part, made up of those secessionists who have openly avowed their hostility to the general Government, and have been plotting at the seizure of its property and the overthrow of its authority. You are openly in communication with the so-called Southern Confederacy, which is now at war with the United States, and you are receiving at your camp, from the said Confederacy and under its flag, large supplies of the material of war, most of which is known to be the property of the United States. These extraordinary preparations plainly indicate none other than the well-known purpose of the Governor of this State, under whose orders you are acting, and whose communication to the Legislature has just been responded to by that body in the most unparalleled legisla-tion, having in direct view hostilities to the general Government and co-operation with its enemies.
In view of these considerations, and of your failure to disperse in obedience to the proclamation of the President, and of the imminent necessities of State policy and warfare, and the obligations imposed upon me by instructions from Washington, it is my duty to demand, and I do hereby demand of you an immediate surrender of your command, with no other conditions than that all persons surrendering under this command shall be humanely and kindly treated. Believing myself prepared to enforce this command, one-half hour's time before doing so will be allowed for your compliance therewith.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, N. LYON, Captain Second Infantry, Commanding Troops.
On the same day Camp Jackson surrendered and all of the prisoners were released except Capt. Emmett McDonald, who refused to sign a parole. On May 12, Brig.-Gen. William S. Harney, commanding the mili-tary district of Missouri, issued a proclamation to the people stating that he would carefully abstain from the exercise of any unnecessary powers and would only use the military forces stationed in this district in the last resort, in order to preserve peace. A second proclamation was issued on the fourteenth of May and on the twenty-first a conference was held between General Price and General Harney; on this date (May twenty-first) General Harney was superseded by General Lyon; and on June eleventh a second conference was held in St. Louis between the national and State authorities. This conference having resulted in no decision and no compromise, Governor Jackson left St. Louis and went to Jefferson City, burning the railroad bridges and cutting all telegraph lines behind him. Immediately on his arrival at Jefferson City, the Governor issued a proclamation under date of June twelfth, calling into active service 50,000 militia, for the purpose of repelling invasion and protecting the lives and property of the people of the State. The Governor was at a tremendous disadvantage in the controversy that was being waged with the national authorities. There were disciplined and well-equipped bodies of United States troops in the State, under trained and efficient officers; while the Missouri troops, such as they were, had all been captured and disarmed at Camp Jackson, and it took time to organize an army and to equip one; therefore the Federal troops swiftly followed the fleeing Gov-ernor and on the fifteenth of June Col. F. P. Blair took possession of the State capitol. Governor Jackson, General Price and other civil and military officers had left Jefferson City on the thirteenth for Boonville. On the seventeenth of June the Federal forces under General Lyon had proceeded by boat to Boonville and on the hills near that city took place the first battle of the Civil War on Missouri soil.
The Missouri State troops were ill-equipped, undisciplined, practically without ammunition and arms, and although gallantly led by Colonel, afterwards Governor John S. Marmaduke, the engagement was little more than a skirmish and the total casualties were four - two on each side. The next day General Lyon issued a proclamation to the people of Missouri, while the Confederate troops were in full retreat, hurrying to southwest Missouri, where the Legislature was to meet. On their retreat Price, who bad assumed command of the Confederate forces, led his men through Henry County. Hon. D. H. Mclntyre, at one time attorney general of Missouri, was accustomed to relate that it was on the occasion of this retreat that he made his first visit to Clinton, which town was passed through by Price and his troops on their way to Springfield. Mclntyre, at the time of the breaking out of the war, was a student at Westminster College at Fulton and a member of the senior class. On a certain day he was eating his lunch in the college building when he re-ceived a message, together with Joseph S. Laurie of Saline County, calling him to the court house square. They hurried away from the college in response to the summons, leaving their books open on the desks and their lunch baskets uncovered, their food half consumed. On their arrival at the square, they found that they had been elected as officers of a volunteer Confederate regiment - Mclntyre as captain and Laurie as first lieutenant. Courageous and hopeful, they moved forward to join Price, never returning to their college duties again.
In illustration of the temper of the times - the following June, when the president of Westminster College, S. S. Lowe, afterward president of the University of Missouri, awarded the diplomas, he conferred the degrees "in absentia" on both Mclntyre and Laurie, in his speech, which was in Latin, being careful to make only a very guarded reference to these men, owing to the excited passions of the times. His exact language was that he conferred the diplomas "on Centurian Mclntyre and Legatus Laurie, absent in a field crowded with tents f so bitter was the feeling between the adherents of the North and South that Unionists concluded that even such a reference was disloyal and for fifty years the usefulness of Westminster College was hampered by the alienation of some people, due to this little incident. M clntyre and Laurie joined Price and went, as lias been above stated, with him on the occasion of his passing through Henry County and Clinton on his retreat.
On the Grand River General Price was closely pursued by Lyon. Early in July, Lyon had reached the Grand River in Henry County and he was there reinforced by three thousand troops from Kansas, commanded by Major S. D. Sturges. In the meantime, a battle had occurred at Carthage between the forces of General Seigel and Jackson. On the sixth of July, Lyon reached Springfield. Meanwhile, a State convention which had been called had met and declared the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State vacant, these officers having gone with the Southern armies; and from this time on there were two distinct governing bodies in Missouri. On July 26, Gen. John C. Fremont assumed the command of the western department and established his headquarters in St. Louis. The battle of Dug Springs, between Captain Steele's forces and General Raine's, occurred on the second of August, followed by the so-called Battle of Athens, on the fifth of August; and on August 10 occurred the most serious engagement of the war on Missouri soil, when the Federal forces under Gen. Nathaniel Lyon met the troops of General McCulloch at Wilson's Creek, near Springfield. The engagement resulted in a victory for the Confederate forces. General Lyon himself was killed and the Union troops forced to retreat.
A series of proclamations followed, each side declaring itself to be the duly-appointed guardians of the welfare of the State. On August 24, Gov. Hamilton R. Gamble, who was the recognized head of the State by the Federal authorities, issued a proclamation for 32,000 men for six months' serivce in the Union army, which was followed on August 30 by another proclamation issued by General Fremont in which he declare a martial law; and promised that the slaves of all persons who should thereafter take an active part with the enemies of the Government should be free. Fremont's proclamation brought an immediate reply from Gen. Jeff Thompson and on the eleventh of September President Lincoln modified General Fremont's declaration of martial law as far as the clause referring to confiscation of property and liberation of the slaves was concerned. September 12, 1861, Price attacked Lexington and eight days later compelled the surrender of Colonel Mulligan, with 2,600 men. Price retired to southwest Missouri and wintered in those counties, issuing a proclamation in Neosho, November 27, in which he called for 50,000 men. In December General Hunter, who had succeeded to the command of the western department, levied an assessment on certain wealthy citizens of St. Louis, to provide for feeding and clothing Union refugees, and later, in the same month, declared martial law in St. Louis and the country adjacent, the declaration covering all the railroad lines. On January 8, 1862, the provost marshal of St. Louis issued General Order No. 10, to the effect that it was hereby ordered "that from and after this date the publication of all newspapers in the State of Missouri, St. Louis city papers excepted, should furnish to his office immediately on publication one copy of each issue, for inspection."
A failure to comply with the order would render the newspaper liable to suppression and local provost marshals were ordered to furnish the proprietors of the several newspapers with copies of the order and to attend to its enforcement. On January 26 General Halleck issued Order No. 18, which forbade the display of secession flags in the hands of women or on carriages, and in case of violation the carriages were to be confiscated and the women arrested. On February 4 a similar order was issued to the professors and instructors of the State University at Columbia, forbidding the funds of the institution to be used "to teach treason or to instruct traitors." On February 20, a military commission was convened by Special Order No. 120, which met in March and tried Edmond J. Ellis of Columbia, at that time editor and proprietor of the "Boone County Standard," for the publication of information which was of benefit to the enemy, and for encouraging resistance to the United States Government. Ellis was found guilty and banished from Missouri during the war, and his printing materials confiscated and sMd. During the late fall a battle (so-called but really a skirmish) was fought at Osceola and during the whole of that winter Confederate troops were in and about Henry County. The gradual approach of Union forces compelled the retirement of the Confederate Army to the south, and on March 6, 1862, occurred a battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, between the contending armies of Curtiss and Van Dorn. Skirmishes continued throughout the State during the year of 1862. The battle of Cherry Grove in June, between the forces of Col. Joseph C. Porter and Col. H. S. Lipscomb, was followed in the same month by a battle at Pierce's Mill in which Col. J. Y. Clopper met Colonel Porter. On July 22 occurred the Florida engagement, on the twenty-eighth the battle of Moore's Hill, on August 6 the battle near Kirksville, on the eleventh the battle at Independence, on the sixteenth the well-known battle of Lone Jack. The war began to assume more and more the character of guerilla fight in Missouri, and irresponsible bands made life a terror throughout the State.
About this time the notorious Col. Jim Lane of Kansas made a raid in Henry County, in the course of which he visited Clinton and, in accordance with his usual habits, decided to destroy those things which he could not carry off, or which were not of use to him in a military way. His object seemed to be to injure the people as much as possible and the county records appealed to him as being easily destructible, and because of their character most liable to cause confusion and loss to the people if they were destroyed. He therefore decided to burn them, but he was finally persuaded not to do so. The people, by this time, had become thoroughly alarmed as to the safety of the records and so Judge J. G. Dorman boxed them up and took them to Sedalia. The trip was eventful and perilous, and on the way wagons broke down which added to the difficulties of the journey. However, they finally safely arrived at Sedalia and were kept in safety for the remainder of the war.
Continual skirmishes occurred there in Henry County and armed men of both sides passed and repassed through her fields, bringing devastation and ruin everywhere. Conditions which had been steadily growing worse, and partisan bitterness which had been continually increasing until men's passions were fanned into flame, grew furious at the publication of General Order No. 11, issued by Gen. Thomas Ewing on August 25, 1863:
Headquarters District of the Border,
Kansas City, Missouri, August 25, 1863.
General Order No. 11.
First - All persons living in Cass, Jackson and Bates Counties, Mis-souri, and in that part of Vernon included in this district, except those living within one mile of the limits of Independence, Hickman's Mills, peasant Hill and Harrisonville, and except those in that part of Kaw township, Jackson County, north of Brush Creek and west of the Big Blue, embracing Kansas City and Westport, are hereby ordered to re-move from their present places of residence within fifteen days from the date hereof.
Those who, within that time, establish their loyalty to the satisfaction of the commanding officer of the military station nearest their present places of residence, will receive from him certificates stating the fact of their loyalty, and the names of the witnesses by whom it can be shown. All who receive such certificate will be permitted to remove to any military station in this district, or to any part of the State of Kansas except the counties on the eastern borders of the State. All others shall remove out of this district. Officers commanding companies and detachments serving in, the counties named will see that this paragraph is promptly obeyed. Second - All grain and hay in the field, or under shelter, in the district from which the inhabitants are required to remove, within reach of military stations, after the ninth day of September next, will be taken to such stations and turned over to the proper officer there, and report of the amount so turned over made to district headquarters, specifying the names of all loyal owners and the amount of such produce taken from them. All grain and hay found in such district after the ninth day of September next not convenient to such stations will be destroyed.
Third - The provisions of General Order No. 10, from these head-quarters, will at once be vigorously executed by officers commanding in the parts of the district, and at stations not subject to the operations of Paragraph First of this Order - and especially in the towns of Indepen-dence, Westport and Kansas City.
Fourth - Paragraph Three, General Order No. 10, is revoked as to all who have borne arms against the Government in the district since August 20, 1863.
By order of Brigadier General Ewing.
H. HANNAHS, Adjutant.
General Ewing was begged not to issue this order and he was told that it would serve no real military necessity; but in spite of that, he persisted. Finally, it is related that Major John C. Bingham, the famous Missouri artist and at that time a member of his staff, despairing of being able to change the decision of the general, told him that if he did issue the order, "I will damn you to everlasting fame!" As a result of that declaration, Bingham painted his famous picture, called General Order No. 11, and it is said that the face and figure of the Union general, who in the center of the picture dominates the scene of desolation and death, is none other than the face and figure of General Ewing, who in that painting actually had been "damned to everlasting fame."
The issuing of General Order No. 11 and its enforcement caused the country from Kansas City to Nevada, embracing all the counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates and part of Vernon, to be turned into a literal desert; and the memory of this ruthlessness will never be effaced from the hearts of many Missourians. Useless, unproductive of any military advantage, it was simply an example of what a commander will do when he has the power and the disposition to vent his spite on a helpless people. The Confederate forces had been largely split up into smaller bands, and outlawry became common, it being immaterial to any of the men whether they assumed the character of Union soldiers or of Confederate guerillas, their only object being plunder and rapine. Over General Order No. 11 came the issues accredited, many of them without reason, to Quantrell and Bill Anderson; and late in September, 1864, occurred the massacre at Centralis in which Captain Anderson practically wiped out a body of Union troops. There were skirmishes hardly of sufficient size to be dignified by the name of battle; during October, 1866, at Prince's Ford, at Glasgow and Little Blue Creek. Nothing of an especially military character further occurred in the State.
It is impossible to give the names of all of the battles that took place in Missouri, or differentiate the deeds of the sons of Henry County from those of the other gallant sons of the State who were engaged in this terrible struggle. It is well to remember the above facts in connection with the history of Missouri and particularly as they touch the County of Henry, in the confines of which later lived so many of the men who had fought so well.
[Source: History of Henry County Missouri by Uel W Lamkin 1919]
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