Posted September 10, 2003

 

A Missouri Civil War Syllabus

By the Webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com

This is copyrighted material--the article, the pictures, and the introduction--and may not be copied or reproduced in any form, including on other websites, without permission of the authors.

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So you want to learn about the war in Missouri? The goal of the lists presented below is to give someone relatively new to the story of the Civil War in Missouri a list of titles they can work their way through –in the order given for each side—to gain a relatively complete understanding of the war. There are many other works on the war we’ve enjoyed that don’t appear below. The goal is to provide a solid grounding on the war in Missouri for both sides, not to offer a complete list of titles we have read and enjoyed.

Why two lists, one Confederate and one Union? That’s the way they categorized themselves as we considered the issue. Does this mean that none of the works below have relevance to “the other side”? No, of course not —just read the footnotes and you’ll see the authors are freely borrowing from those works where they feel appropriate. The thing about a civil war on the scale of the American one as a whole, and the viciousness of the Missouri war-within-a-war, however, is that in the final analysis it represents a fundamental chasm between the viewpoints of the two sides. There are times when reading accounts of the participants of both sides that one can wonder if they are even talking about the same war. This is almost necessarily so; else how could such carnage and death been allowed to come to pass in a democracy? You, the reader, will of course come to whatever conclusions your reading may bring you to; the goal of presenting the lists below is to give you the grounding to do so knowledgeably.

The list for each side is offered in an order that will take you from “Big Picture” to detail, hopefully providing you with the appropriate background and context to make the most of the succeeding titles on the list. It would be hard –even irresponsible— to recommend Edwards’ “Noted Guerrillas” or Peckham’s “Lyon and Missouri” to a general reader as “first reads” on the war in Missouri, but both are vital to get an understanding for how the two sides saw themselves and each other. The trick is to have enough background from broader and more balanced works to accept those books for what they are and not build your whole picture of the war in Missouri around either of them. On the other hand, there are no reported cases of fatalities from sampling the lists out of order.

Those interested in a list of most of what has been published on the war in Missouri should consult the site maintained by Gary Shearer, reference librarian at Pacific Union College. For those even further interested in works not commonly available, there are the wonderful resources of the Missouri Historical Society and the State Historical Society of Missouri. The National Archives and Records Administration has the Provost Marshall records for Missouri. The Library of Congress has some nice Missouri material, including Confederate Governor Thomas C. Reynolds’ letter books. The New York Historical Society has a suspiciously good collection of the Army Argus & Crisis while it was located at Mobile, Alabama, but still run by Missouri Confederates Joseph W. Tucker and William F. Wisely. Most Missourians remember it as the “Missouri Army Argus” from the early days of the war. One could speculate the post-war residence of Thomas L. Snead in New York City might have something to do with NHS fortune in having this rare newspaper.

We have provided search boxes on the right side of the page to help you find any of these books from Amazon or ABEBOOKS. In some cases we link free editions offered on this site, or available inexpensively on CD-ROM from the webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com.

Confederate/“Pro-Southern Neutral”

Claiborne Fox Jackson

Missouri’s Confederate: Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Creation of Southern Identify in the Border West. Christopher Phillips, University of Missouri Press, 2000. Phillips, heir-apparent to the title “Leading Historian of the Civil War in Missouri”, has created the book that should be the beginning point for gaining an understanding of how Missouri became a state with a “southern identity”, what that meant to Missourians, and the effect it was to have on the war to come. Phillips tells a humorous story in the introduction of how he was able to hijack what was originally intended to be a standard biography of Missouri’s Confederate governor, Claib Jackson, and turn it into a broad examination of what it meant to be Southern in Missouri. Not to worry though, the biography of Jackson—the Pro-South governor who dared too much and too little—is there too. A very nice telling of the battle to retire Thomas Hart Benton from Missouri politics over the slavery question in the period leading up to the war is included as well.

 

Sterling Price: Portrait of a Southerner. Robert E. Shalhope. University of Missouri Press, 1971. Chapters 1-10. We are recommending the pre-war chapters of this biography of Missouri’s leading Confederate general, “Pap” Price, for a further delineation of many of the same themes that Phillips synthesizes into a unified whole in his book on Claib Jackson.

 

Borderland in the Civil War (Select Bibliographies Reprint Series)

The Borderland in the Civil War. Edward Conrad Smith. 1927 (There is also a 1970 reprint edition.) Smith’s examination is more broad than just Missouri, which is why it is very valuable to anyone trying to understand what happened in Missouri and whether it could have been different. Smith looks at the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The comparison between Kentucky and Missouri is particularly interesting, and makes a strong case that the worst part of the war in Missouri could have been ameliorated —maybe even avoided?—if pro-Union forces had acted with greater restraint, much as they did in Kentucky. This is a serious and credible position. It has problems too, however. It is worth noting that the pro-southern governor of Kentucky was not so blatant in his efforts to align his state with the South as Claib Jackson was in Missouri. Also, that while Kentucky avoided the early nastiness that was evident in Missouri, by 1864 they had their own guerrilla war going, every bit as vicious as the one in Missouri. Remember that Quantrill ended his career in Kentucky, not Missouri.

The Fight for Missouri. Thomas L. Snead. 1886 (There is a CD reprint available from the webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com). This is still the best single work on the politics of secession in Missouri in late 1860 and 1861. Snead was a proud Confederate, aide to Governor Jackson, adjutant to General Price, and Confederate Congressman from Missouri. Some pro-Confederate partisans consider by 1886 that Snead was too “reconstructed”, by which they mean he says some nice things about Frank Blair and Nathaniel Lyon in the course of his book. Snead clearly admires men of action, unafraid to act in the crisis for the right as they see it, and this is the basis for the kind comments he makes about Blair and Lyon. Nevertheless, this is a relatively balanced book from a Confederate participant who had an excellent view of events from the positions he enjoyed. Regardless of his kind words for Blair and Lyon, Snead makes no apologies for those who fought for the “Lost Cause”. His explanation of the “Right of Revolution” early in the book is an eye-opener –and a clear reminder that we are dealing with a generation of men not far removed from those who ousted the British in the American Revolution. Snead’s book is also very valuable for gaining a recognition that “southern identity” or not, it was primarily Southern men who lead Missouri –both Union and Confederate—during the war and the crisis that preceded it, and that a great many “Southern men” went with the Union because they saw it as the best hope for maintaining slavery in Missouri. To the modern reader this is a counter-intuitive observation, yet it is an important one for understanding the war in a border slave state that did not want “Canada at its borders”.

Sterling Price by Castel

General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West. Albert Castel. Louisiana State University Press, 1968 (There are also several softcover reprints). Castel, over a published career that is approaching fifty years, has proven himself to be the leading historian of the war in the West. This is probably his most valuable contribution to understanding the war in Missouri. Castel’s book is more of a military history, with politics included, while Shalhope includes more of the social aspects. Indeed, Shalhope readily recommends and leans heavily on Castel for the military aspects of Price’s career during the war. Castel will also give you a sense of the tension between the leadership of the Confederacy at Richmond and the Missouri forces lead by General Price over the proper strategy for regaining Missouri for the Confederacy.

 I Acted from Principle: The Civil War Diary of Dr. William M. McPheeters, Confederate Surgeon in the Trans-Mississippi (The Civil War in the West)

I Acted From Principle: The Civil War Diary of William McPheeters. William McPheeters, edited by Cynthia Dehaven Pitcock and Bill J. Gurley. University of Arkansas Press, 2002. McPheeters, a St. Louis doctor, was General Price’s surgeon during the last half of the war, and was along for his campaigns in Louisiana, Arkansas, and the Great Raid into Missouri in 1864. An educated and moderate man, McPheeters’ diary provides an educational glimpse into the mind of a Southern man who did not choose sides because of the slavery issue. As Confederate secret service experts, we also cannot help noticing the great regularity with which McPheeters reports mail, newspapers, and persons being exchanged between General Price’s headquarters and St. Louis. It seems hardly a day goes by without letters leaving for or arriving from there. Persons, usually in the form of wives of Confederate officers, also arrive and return with regularity —almost always loaded down with illicit mail, and often supplies as well.

Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerrilla Warfare in the West, 1861-1865

Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerrilla Warfare in the West, 1861-1865. Richard S. Brownlee. Louisiana State University Press, 1958 (There are also several reprints). Brownlee, a longtime executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri (link SHSM), produced an excellent overview of the causes that produced the Confederate irregulars in Missouri, and the southern sympathizers who nurtured them. Brownlee clearly has sympathy for at least some of those who found themselves Confederate guerrillas, and makes a strong and damning case against the mismanagement of Union authorities for greatly intensifying the ferocity and scope of the guerrilla war in Missouri. General Price also comes in for criticism, however, in encouraging and setting in motion this mode of warfare in Missouri in the fall of 1861. Brownlee’s chapters 9-10 are not to be missed; they are as good a history of the uses and abuses of the Provost Marshall system in Missouri as can be found anywhere. Combine it with Neely on the Union list for a pretty complete picture of the mechanics, history, and scope of martial law in Missouri.

Tucker's War: Missouri and the Northwest Conspiracy

“Tucker’s War: Missouri and the Northwest Conspiracy”. G. E. Rule. www.civilwarstlouis.com, 2003. After having read Phillips, Castel, Shalhope, and Brownlee, this is the point where you will be able to understand and appreciate just who J. W. Tucker was, his relationship to Price and the Missouri Confederates, and the implications of his leadership of a group of saboteurs composed mainly of members of the secret society OAK (Order of American Knights) that were responsible for the destruction of dozens of Union-controlled steamboats in the Mississippi River valley.

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Confederate Mail Runner. Absalom Grimes, edited by M. M. Quaife. Yale University Press, 1926 (There are also reprints available from Two Trails Publishing). Having learned that General Price was promoting, if not exactly controlling, the guerrilla war in Missouri, it is time for you to learn how he kept in contact with pro-southern forces remaining in the state. During 1862 and 1863, General Price’s main pipeline into and out of Missouri was Ab Grimes and his partner Bob Louden. Grimes comes across as a gentleman adventurer—the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Mississippi River valley—and the casual reader might be fooled into thinking that there is a lot of “old soldiering” going on in his account of his war experiences. However, if one takes the time to check, and takes the trouble to collate Grimes accounts with other sources, you will be rewarded with the Rosetta Stone allowing you to untangle the Confederate secret service in the Mississippi River valley. A great source for getting a sense that even in “Unionist St. Louis” there was an effective Confederate underground throughout the war.

Devil Knows How to Ride

The Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders. Edward E. Leslie. Random House, 1996 (There is also a paperback edition). Simply the best book on Quantrill and his Confederate irregulars yet produced; though some observers feel it is too sympathetic. Building on the work of Castel (William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times, 1962) and others who came before, Leslie’s book is an unblinking look at the most famous and infamous of the Confederate irregulars.

Bloody Bill Anderson

Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Confederate Guerrilla. Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich. Stackpole Books, 1998. A fascinating look at the most crazed of the Confederate guerrilla leaders in Missouri. Anderson, who lost a sister when a Union jail in Kansas City holding the women-folk of Confederate guerrillas collapsed, embarked on a gory career that ended during General Price’s great raid of 1864. It is clear that Castel and Goodrich do not see eye to eye on many aspects of Anderson’s career; indeed it says so right in the book. While no doubt uncomfortable for the two authors, it results in a interesting and more thought-provoking book for the readers.

Reminiscences of the Women of Missouri During the Sixties. Various. United Daughters of the Confederacy, Missouri Division, 1913 (The webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com intend to produce a CD reprint later this year.) Full of tragic stories of Jayhawker raids, Union militia atrocities, and yearning for a society that is gone. A wonderful compilation from all sections of the state of the stories of ordinary women thrust into extraordinary circumstances. However, for nearly every story of a “pro-southern neutral” family set upon and ruthlessly pillaged, there is a story of southern women aiding the Confederate war effort through supplies, spying, or harboring Confederate soldiers or irregulars. It is unfortunate that there is no similar title for Union women’s stories on the other list.

Shelby and His Men, or the War in the West and Noted Guerrillas, or the Warfare on the Border. John N. Edwards. 1867 and 1877, respectively (There are reprints of both available, including a CD reprint of Noted Guerrillas from the webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com). Having reached this point in your reading, you should be amply prepared to deal with flowery, rampant Missouri Confederatism in its purest form; the “Victor Hugo of the West”, John N. Edwards. We’ve lumped both books together, but really there is a distinction to be made here. Edwards, as Confederate General Jo. Shelby’s adjutant, had a much better first-hand view of the events in Shelby and His Men. In Noted Guerrillas (the story of Quantrill, Anderson, Todd, and the rest of the Missouri Confederate irregulars), while Edwards had access to great sources, he is still mostly reporting second hand. Also, it seems clear, by 1877 he had turned to myth-making in pursuit of providing political support to the ex-Confederate wing of the Democratic Party in Missouri. As a result, he has clearly “improved” some of the stories in Noted Guerrillas –one need only compare the versions of stories that appear in both books to see that this is true.

Nevertheless, one can never truly understand the way the Missouri Confederates saw themselves without reading Edwards. He is, of course, wildly biased in favor of his Confederate comrades, but is often surprisingly respectful of some Union figures as well. “Some”, that is --at any given moment he is perfectly capable of tearing off a line like “Missouri’s cruel hyena, F. A. Dick, Provost Marshall of St. Louis”, who had angered St. Louis Confederates by forbidding public burial services for the ex-mayor of St. Louis, Col. John M. Wimer (CSA).

Jesse James by Stiles

Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War. T. J. Stiles. Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. We can hear the groans of our pro-Confederate and James’ expert friends over this one. Yes, Stiles puts rather too much emphasis on slavery and not enough on Jayhawking and other Union atrocities. He seems to interpret “abolitionist” the way a modern reader would instead of with the full and awful meaning of the term as used by Missourians at the time. Was Unionist James O. Broadhead talking about Free-Soiler Frank Blair when he fantasized that “Every damn abolitionist in the country ought to be hung!”? Unlikely. When African-Americans were refused the franchise in the Republican-controlled Missouri election of 1868, who was it that voted that amendment down? Not Jesse and his disenfranchised friends. Stiles also labels Jesse a “terrorist”, though he does so in rather more of an academic way than it has been received. If he’d used “politically-motivated criminal” instead of the “T-word”, the reaction might have been quite different.

However, none of this is why we are recommending this book. Whatever the more controversial aspects of this book, it is the best that has yet appeared to deal with the Reconstruction period in Missouri from an ex-Confederate point of view in detail, and therefore is an essential companion to Parrish’s book on the Union list that deals with the same period.

Union

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The South vs. The South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War. William W. Freehling. Oxford University Press. 2001 (There is a paperback edition available as well). Freehling, author of The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay 1776-1854 (1990), has provided a slender but provocative book that starts our survey of the war in Missouri from a Unionist perspective. While this book spreads its Missouri-specific observations throughout the work, its value for our purpose is in placing Missouri in the context of the rest of the Border South states. Clearly a Lincoln fan, Freehling offers an interesting analysis of Lincoln’s ultimately successful efforts to hold the Border South for the Union (or, as Freehling would say, encourage the Border South to recognize for itself that its future was with the Union). Freehling’s position is that the Confederacy lost the war by losing the Border South, both before and during the war. He does not take the traditional view of the centrality of Nathaniel Lyon in causing the crisis in Missouri, observing “But take away the tempestuous Connecticut Yankee and no becalmed Missouri would have emerged”.

For some Border buffs, one of Freehling’s more controversial arguments will be “that neutrality was an illusion”. The Union had to have the Border states or the job of subduing the Confederacy would have been simply too big and too impractical. As Freehling notes, Lincoln himself observed that neutrality would lead to “disunion without a struggle”. Without the shipyards and strategic position of St. Louis, and the warehouses and rail yards of Louisville, the Union would have started the war at a much greater disadvantage.

Turbulent Partnership: Missouri and the Union 1861-1865. William E. Parrish. University of Missouri Press, 1963. Parrish is the undisputed holder of the title “Leading Historian of the Civil War in Missouri”. It is no accident that he is represented by three titles on this list. His history of the pro-Union Provisional Government (“one of the most unusual extralegal actions any state ever witnessed”) will be read for as long as anyone cares about the Civil War in Missouri. Ever wondered what the difference between the MSM (Missouri State Militia) and the EMM (Enrolled Missouri Militia) was, and why there were two of them? This is the book for you. Particularly fine is his telling of the story of Provisional Governor Hamilton R. Gamble, a good man trying his best to do an impossible job. Also valuable is his history of the various state conventions as they moved from slavery, to gradual emancipation, to freedom. There is a grievous lack of a similar book on the Confederate list, but the source material seems to exist for one some day (“Paging Mr. Phillips. . .Mr. Phillips, your party is waiting. . .”), and it could even use the same title with “Confederacy” replacing “Union”.

Civil War St. Louis by Gerteis

Civil War St. Louis. Louis S. Gerteis. University Press of Kansas, 2001. (There is a prewar excerpt of the lynching of Francis L. McIntosh and subsequent murder of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy here ) St. Louis was the heart of Unionism in Missouri, and Gerteis does a nice job of capturing the variety and breadth of her stories before, during, and after the war. Examples of stories you won’t find elsewhere on this list are ironclad shipbuilder James B. Eads and a very nice history of the Western Sanitary Commission. All this breadth does come at the occasional cost of a lack of depth, and there is an error or two, but Gerteis has provided a worthy chronicling of our favorite Civil War city, at least from the Union perspective. The definitive story of St. Louis from the Confederate side has yet to be written.

Frank Blair: Lincoln’s Conservative. William E. Parrish. University of Missouri Press, 1998. We have something in common with Thomas L. Snead; we like Francis Preston Blair, Jr. too. We just have to love a guy who before the war would threaten quite seriously to have St. Louis secede from Missouri if Missouri seceded from the Union. . .and then after the war, Union Major General Blair would refuse to take Radical Republican Charles Drake’s anti-Confederate oath of loyalty on the grounds that he had made war against the government of Missouri (which he did –Claib Jackson’s government) in 1861! For good or ill—heck, for good and ill—Frank Blair was the heart of militant Unionism in Missouri in 1861, and the heart of the eventually successful post-war effort to revive the Democratic Party too. Parrish’s bio of the brawling Blair (“if he was in for a fight, he was in for a funeral”) provides a full-length treatment of one of the most important and interesting characters of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Missouri.

The Struggle for Missouri. John McElroy. National Tribune Co. 1909 (There are later editions available, including a CD reprint from the webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com). John McElroy joined an Illinois cavalry regiment at the age of 16. He was captured after six month’s service and spent much of the rest of the war in Andersonville prison. After the war, he wrote one of the primary works on the infamous Confederate prison. McElroy was also the long-time editor of the National Tribune, official journal of the Grand Army of the Republic (the fraternal organization of Union veterans of the Civil War). Eventually McElroy was elected national commander of the G.A.R. as well. His book is dedicated “To the Union Men of Missouri”. So don’t be looking for balance from McElroy, though he is an entertaining writer who specializes in the snide remark and the cutting observation.

We are recommending the introduction (which you can find here on our site) to McElroy’s book on the war in Missouri precisely because it is a representative, though especially venomous, example of many hard-core Unionist’s views on the causes of the Civil War, and this particular example is Missouri-centric. An up-close look at fire-breathing Unionist/Abolitionist thought “from the horse’s mouth” will serve you well for your next assignment. Though one suspects it was not the mouth of the horse that Missouri ex-Confederates were reminded of while reading McElroy.

Damned Yankee

Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon. Christopher Phillips. University of Missouri Press, 1990 (There is a paperback edition from Louisiana State University Press). This is the only book we seriously considered having on both lists. From a Confederate viewpoint, Phillips’ characterization of the inflexible and volatile Lyon as the match that lit the fire in Missouri is right on target. The thing is, at least contemporaneously, “unconditional” Unionists don’t really disagree with that analysis either. They just use different adjectives. This group felt pretty strongly the fire needed lighting, and the sooner the better. To push the metaphor to the extreme, they were willing to risk burning the house (Missouri) to the ground in order to “smoke out” Claib Jackson and the rest of the Missouri secessionists before they were able to gain the upper hand. The debate over whether such would ever have happened will continue for as long as Civil War buffs debate the war in Missouri.

Phillips adds to our understanding of Lyon by delving into his pre-Civil War career in the Army in greater detail than any previous biographer, including the “Bleeding Kansas” period that put the finishing touches on the character and political development of the hard-nosed commander that would further polarize St. Louisians in the early months of 1861. A lively and important account—the only work we would call a worthy biography of Lyon that has yet appeared.

James O. Broadhead: Ardent Unionist, Unrepentant Slaveholder

“James O. Broadhead: Ardent Unionist, Unrepentant Slaveholder.” Kirby Ross, www.civilwarstlouis.com, 2002. Here is a very good example of the other side of the coin of Missouri Unionists. Broadhead, a native Virginian and pro-slavery Unionist, was one of Blair’s key allies in St. Louis in the early days of the crisis. He was a member of Blair’s “Safety Committee” that lead pro-Union efforts in St. Louis, Assistant U. S. Attorney that prosecuted newspaper editor J. W. Tucker for treason, and Provost Marshall General for the Department of Missouri under General Schofield. He was a southern man through-and-through –a fact that brought him criticism from suspicious Radicals—and was occasionally lead astray by his sympathy for other southern men. For example, Broadhead wrote the letter of recommendation that allowed future Confederate saboteur (and former Sheriff of St. Louis County) Thomas E. Courtenay back into St. Louis in 1863. After the war, Broadhead would be a “favorite son” candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 1876, and the first president of the American Bar Association. He deserves to be better known than he is, and Ross’ profile is an excellent step in the right direction.

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The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. Mark E. Neely, Jr. Oxford University Press, 1991 (There is a paperback edition as well). This is another excellent “big picture” book that allows you to compare Missouri to the situation elsewhere, and get a sense for just how bad it was in Missouri. Neely clearly is a big Lincoln fan, and his second chapter, “Missouri and Martial Law”, just as clearly pained him to write. A nice numerical summary of the Provost Marshall system gleaned from National Archives material is included. Neely ends the Missouri chapter of his award-winning book with the plaintive observation, “What a different story this book would tell if Missouri and its thousands of political prisoners could be left out.” Our own research, sampling NARA Civil War Provost Marshall records from all across the country by name to find the individuals we were after, indicates that Missouri, by itself, constitutes a majority of such material.

Inside War

Inside War: The Guerrilla War in Missouri During the American Civil War. Michael Fellman. Oxford University Press, 1989. One could argue this book belongs on the other list, but the doings of the Confederate irregulars are well represented over there. We like this book on the Union side for its very revealing view of the “middle management” of Union officers engaged in trying to suppress the Confederate guerrillas. These Union officers were under incredible pressure from their superiors to do something—anything—to bring the guerrillas under control. But there is a strong undercurrent of hypocrisy in the direction they received. Essentially the unspoken message was “Do whatever you have to do, I don’t care what it is so long as it works; just don’t tell me the details.” A few unlucky officers were not quite bright enough to catch the second half of that message; they told their superiors what they were doing to the civilian population in their efforts to suppress the guerrillas. Once “on the record”, this left their superiors with no choice but to punish them. This would explain why in post-war Missouri there was a law passed absolving all Union soldiers of culpability for any acts committed during the war; ex-Confederates were given no such protection.

"Order No. 11 and the Civil War on the Border"

“Order No. 11 and the Civil War on the Border”. Albert Castel. Missouri Historical Review, July 1963. (Reprint available at www.civilwarstlouis.com) Castel looks at the history of the infamous Order No. 11 that temporarily depopulated three Missouri counties after Quantrill’s equally infamous raid on Lawrence, Kansas. The article focuses on the decision-making among Union officials who formulated and implemented the order, and analyzes the common criticisms lodged against them and it. A balanced and thoughtful appraisal of one of the most emotional issues of the war in Missouri.

Forty Six Years in the Army. John M. Schofield. 1892 (There is a recent reprint available and an excerpt here on our site.) Schofield had one of the most meteoric careers in the Civil War, and was intimately connected to the war in Missouri. He was Lyon’s adjutant in the Wilson’s Creek campaign, and twice was Union commander of the Department of Missouri. A moderate man, the Missouri sections (Chapters 3-6) of his memoirs make for informative reading. His take on the “Claybanks” (Conservatives, of which he was considered to be a leader) versus “Charcoals” (Radicals) is good stuff.

General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861

General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861. James Peckham. 1866 (The first half of this book is available for free at www.civilwarstlouis.com). Quite a marvelous piece of work for 1866, long before many important sources became available, and one of the granddaddies of Missouri Civil War scholarship. Heavy on the detail, and a good many anecdotes of St. Louis personages that cannot be found anywhere else. Peckham was a St. Louis Republican member of the Missouri Assembly when the war began, and was closely associated with the group around Frank Blair. A more accurate authorship credit would read “The Committee of Safety and Friends”, as Peckham clearly had access to the personal papers and reminiscences of Blair, Broadhead, Glover, How, the Filleys, etc. While he is not as gifted a writer as John McElroy or John N. Edwards, he is every bit as biased. This book was also used as a campaign biography for Frank Blair in his 1868 campaign for Vice President of the U.S. on the Horatio Seymour (D-New York) ticket.

Solving the Mystery of the Arsenal Guns

“Solving the Mystery of the Arsenal Guns”. Randy McGuire. www.civilwarstlouis.com, 2003. Throughout your reading you have been repeatedly exposed to the story of the St. Louis Arsenal in 1861, and told time and again that there were 60,000 small arms in its inventory. Now it is time to unlearn that factoid. McGuire, author of St. Louis Arsenal: Armory of the West (2001), has produced an extensive and convincing history of the numbers of arms at the St. Louis Arsenal and concludes that the most likely number was approximately 36,600.

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Mrs. Hill’s Journal: Civil War Reminiscences. Sarah Jane Full Hill, ed. by Mark M. Krug. Lakeside Press, 1980. A marvelous reminiscence by the wife of a St. Louis Union officer in the Engineer Corps. The devoted and strong-willed Mrs. Hill does a goodly amount of traveling in the book to visit her husband, but there is strong Missouri and St. Louis content by a dedicated Unionist lady.

 

 

The Story of a Border City During the Civil War. Galusha Anderson, 1908 (There is a CD reprint available from the webmasters of www.civilwarstlouis.com). Reverend Anderson was a strong Union man, and his history of the war in St. Louis reflects that from every page. Unlike Peckham, who stops in 1861, Anderson’s account covers the whole war. His congregation included some of the leading pro-Union personages in the city, and Rev. Anderson seems to have been well-informed, at least from a Union perspective. He puts himself in the middle of great events a little much, but he has a fine eye for detail and is a must read to get a sense for how the Union side saw itself and its adversaries. Also a good source for a view of the refugees that flooded St. Louis during the war. There is a nice bio of Rev. Anderson, written by his son, here.

 Missouri Under Radical Rule, 1865-1870

Missouri Under Radical Rule 1865-1870. William E. Parrish. University of Missouri Press, 1965. Parrish again. Here we get a telling of the rise and fall of the Radical Republican Party in Missouri, lead by Charles Drake. Missouri, considered a “loyal Union state” by the Federal government (at least officially), was never subject to Congressional Reconstruction. However, for the five years that Parrish covers here there was a State-run Reconstruction. Our favorite section from the book is the birth of the Liberal Republican Party, accomplished when ex-Union General John McNeil stomped out of a Radical Republican convention, followed by dozens of delegates. The issue that caused the split was the re-enfranchisement of the ex-Confederates, and McNeil was in favor. The rich irony of this story is that McNeil was known to most ex-Confederates as “The Butcher of Palmyra”, and was one of the most hated men in Missouri for that reason. Unfortunately, Parrish leaves that part out, but then this book is very much an “inside the camps of the ex-Unionists” kind of affair. Which is fine, and why it is here, ending the Union list.

 


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