James H Baker – Provost Marshal

James H. Baker – Union Provost Marshal

James H. Baker was Union Provost Marshal of St. Louis in 1863, later of the Department of Missouri. In his role as Provost Marshal he pursued, among others, Robert Louden, subject of the article in “North and South” magazine.

Baker was from Minnesota, having served as Secretary of State. He became a Colonel in the 10th Minnesota, later brevet brigadier-general.

Baker in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion

Following are memorial tributes by fellow Minnesotans:


I met General Baker first in the political campaign of 1860. I heard him then make one of the very ablest and most eloquent speeches I had ever listened to, though I had heard speeches by Daniel Webster, Daniel S. Dickinson, William H. Seward, Joshua R. Giddings, Benjamin F. Wade, Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and many other noted orators. I say now, after hearing many speeches delivered by General Baker, that in true eloquence he was the peer of all of them, and in power the superior of all of them, Abraham Lincoln excepted. Once I heard Henry Clay, when I was in my “teens” and Clay was an old man, somewhat enfeebled doubtless by age and disappointment; but the old fire flashed as he “picked his flint and tried it again,”–at any rate, he electro-fired me. When I heard General Baker the first time (and many times after), the image of Henry Clay came before me like a flash.


James Heaton Baker, son of Rev. Henry Baker, a Methodist preacher, and Hannah (Heaton) Baker, was born in Monroe, Ohio, May 6, 1829. He graduated at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1852. In 1853 he purchased the Sciota Gazette, at Chillicothe, Ohio. In 1855 he was elected secretary of state on the ticket headed by Salmon P. Chase as governor. In 1857 he removed to Minnesota, where, for two successive terms he was elected to the same office. At the outbreak of the Civil War he resigned, and accepted a colonel’s commission in the Tenth Minnesota Volunteers. In 1863 his command was ordered to the South, and he was detached and made provost marshal of St. Louis, and subsequently of the department of Missouri, in which position he served until the close of the war, he being meanwhile promoted to a brevet brigadier generalship.

At the close of the war he was appointed register of the land office at Booneville, Missouri, but in two years resigned and returned to his farm in Blue Earth county, Minnesota.

In 1871 President Grant appointed him commissioner of pensions, a position for which he was singularly well fitted. He resigned in 1875, and was appointed by President Grant surveyor general of Minnesota. Gen. Baker has been prominent in Masonic circles, and has contributed much to the newspaper and periodical press. He was married Sept. 25, 1852, to Rose, daughter of Reuben H. Thurston, then of Delaware, Ohio, now of Mankato, Minnesota. This estimable lady died at Washington City, March 21, 1873, leaving two sons, Arthur and Harry E. Gen. Baker, since his appointment as surveyor general, has resided at Mankato. He served in 1885 and 1886 as railroad commissioner for the State.


General James H. Baker, a life member of the Minnesota Historical Society, died at his home in the City of Mankato in this state on May 25, 1913.

General Baker was born in Monroe, Butler county, Ohio, on the 6th day of May, 1829. He was the son of Henry Baker, M. D., and Hannah Heaton Baker. In his youth he attended the Firnian Academy at Middletown, Ohio, and later the Ohio Wesleyan University. For a period of time he edited the Sciota Gazette at Chillicothe, Ohio, it then being the oldest newspaper in the state. He served as Secretary of State of Ohio from 1854 to 1856, when Salmon P. Chase was Governor of that State. In 1857 he came to Minnesota, and shortly thereafter located with his family in Blue Earth County.

He was elected Secretary of State in 1859 and again in 1861. In 1862 he was commissioned, by Governor Alexander Ramsey, to be Colonel of the Tenth Minnesota Volunteers, then being recruited for service in the War of the Rebellion. He served with his regiment the first year in the campaign against the Sioux Indians, and in the fall of 1863 with his regiment went South. At the close of the war General Baker was appointed Commissioner of Pensions, and afterward Surveyor General for Minnesota. In 1881 he was elected State Railway Commissioner, in which office he served two terms.

For a time General Baker was the editor and proprietor of the Mankato Free Press. A goodly portion of his life in Blue Earth county was spent on a beautiful farm owned by him near Rapidan, where he personally engaged in agriculture, in which he was always much interested and very progressive.

General Baker was always much interested in the early history of Minnesota, and was never more at home than at the meetings of the old settlers of his county and state. He was pre-eminently a social man, an easy, fluent, and very interesting conversationalist, and hospitable to a fault. He was never more happy than when surrounded by his friends whom he always delighted to entertain.

He was a consistent attendant and supporter of the Methodist Church, and also belonged to the Masonic Order, as well as the Elks, the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Loyal Legion.

He was a power to be reckoned with in politics, and his influence was always felt in the civic and social life of the community in which he lived, and always for the betterment of conditions and of humanity in particular. The life of General Baker stands out as one of pronounced individuality, and of great strength of purpose.

On September 25, 1851, he was married to Rose Lucia Thurston at Delaware, Ohio, who died March 20, 1873. On December 23, 1879, he was married to Miss Zula Bartlett, who survives him and now resides in the homestead in Mankato.
General Baker was away in beautiful Glenwood Cemetery in Mankato. His funeral was held on Wednesday, May 28, 1913, being largely attended.


The late General James H. Baker was a man of many splendid talents. Eminent as he was as an orator, warrior, and statesman, he also possessed rare talents as an author. His numerous and valuable historical and biographical contributions found in the publications of this Society attest this fact. Among these papers are “History of Lake Superior,” “The Sources of the Mississippi River,” “Transportation in Minnesota,” and “The Lives of the Governors of Minnesota.” All these writings show great research and a masterly selection and presentation of the mass of material their author was always able to discover.

The general had a very acute mind and retentive memory, and his long life spanned one of the most eventful periods of the world’s history; and so far as this related to the “Middle West” of our own country, he had a personal acquaintance with most of the great men and a personal touch with most of the big events which went to make up that history. Hence the ease with which General Baker could always command the right material and infuse into it the very life and atmosphere it had when it was the actual reality.

Besides the very unique relation he bore to the people and the times concerning which he wrote, the general had a remarkable command of the English language and a fervid literary spirit, which gave force, fitness, and finish to every sentence he penned. His style is never dull nor florid, but always elegant, incisive, and vigorous.

His monograph on “The Sources of the Mississippi” is a valuable contribution to geographic knowledge, and it dealt a mortal blow to certain theories as to the head of the great river once in vogue. His “History of Lake Superior” did much to call attention to the world’s greatest waterway and the world’s greatest iron mines. “The Lives of the Governors of Minnesota,” forming Volume XIII of this Society’s Historical Collections, written at the eventide of our author’s life, is a fitting climax to his literary activity, being truly a great work, which will grow in worth and importance as the years go by.

Mighty was he with tongue, sword, and pen, and his passing removes from our midst one of our greatest and best citizens.

Lady With Spurs

The Lady with Spurs

by

John Fiske

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule, from “The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War”, by John Fiske, 1900


Further Reading: Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon
by Christopher Phillips

Frank Blair: Lincoln’s Conservative by William Earl Parrish

John Fiske was a well-known chronicler of the history of the United States with many books to his credit. His “The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War” starts in St. Louis, but quickly moves elsewhere. This book originated from a series of lectures Fiske gave in St. Louis in 1886 in support of a fund dedicated to erecting a monument to U.S. Grant. These lectures were hosted by William Tecumseh Sherman. Fiske clearly believes that the Civil War was won in the West, and that the Union victories in Missouri in 1861-1862 were indispensable preconditions to that victory.

“The Lady With Spurs” tells the famous story of Nathaniel Lyon’s masquerading as an old woman to scout the Missouri State Guard encampment at Camp Jackson on May 9th, 1861. This unorthodox scouting mission lead directly to the Union Safety Committee’s decision to demand the surrender of Camp Jackson on pain of immediate assault. While many believe the story, and many do not (how does a man with a beard –even if veiled—manage to successfully pose as a woman?), this is one of the few accounts that actually supplies first-hand witnesses to bolster its credibility. The second section is Fiske’s footnote giving his sources. These would seem to be nearly unassailable.



A fine cordial hospitality was dispensed at the camp in those balmy days of early May. The surgeon of [Francis P.] Blair’s regiment had dined there on the 8th, and he could have told anybody, says [Missouri State Guard] General [D.M] Frost, “that it was a very attractive place, because he saw it filled with the fairest of Missouri’s daughters, who from morn to dewy eve threaded its mazes in company with their sons, brothers, and lovers. He could also have described the beautiful United States flag which waved its folds in the breeze from the flagstaff over my tent.” from "Border City" by Galusha AndersonOne of the visitors next day came in a light open carriage then known as a “Jenny Lind,” and was leisurely driven by a coloured servant up and down the avenues “Jeff Davis”, “Beauregard”, and “Sumter”, and the rest. This visitor, dressed in a black bombazine gown and closely veiled, was a familiar sight on the streets of St. Louis, as she took the air daily in her light carriage. Everybody recognized her as Mrs. Alexander, the mother of Mrs. Blair, but nobody accosted her or expected recognition from her because she was known to be blind. What should have brought this elderly lady to Camp Jackson? Was it simply the Negro coachman gratifying some curiosity of his own?

A couple of hours later, as Blair was sitting in the porch of the southern house of the arsenal, chatting with Colonel Simmons and a few other friends, the Jenny Lind carriage drove up, and the familiar figure, in its black gown and veil, alighted and came up the steps. It was natural enough that Blair should greet his wife’s mother and escort her into the house. But as they stepped upon the threshold, a slight uplifting of the bombazine skirt disclosed a sturdy pair of cavalry boots to the eyes of Colonel Simmons and another gentleman, who glanced at each other significantly but said never a word.

LyonHad the close veil been lifted, it would have revealed the short red beard and piercing blue eyes of Nathaniel Lyon, the “little Connecticut abolitionist,” as some called him.

* * *

In my opening lecture at St. Louis, April 15, 1886, I mentioned the fact of Lyon’s visiting Camp Jackson disguised in woman’s clothes. For this statement I was taken to task in some of the newspapers, which derided it as an “old woman’s story”, too absurd for belief. I was thereupon assured by several members of the Blair family, friends of mine, that the story, although an old woman’s, was literally true. In proof thereof General Blair’s son, Francis Preston Blair III, took me to call upon his grandmother, Mrs. Alexander, a fine old lady of eighty-three. From her lips I heard the story, just as I have above given it, and she showed me the bombazine gown and close veil which she had lent to Lyon. As to the Simmons incident, it was told me by Colonel Simmons himself, who was soon afterward on Lyon’s staff, and at a later date on the staff of General Rosecrans at Stone River.


Taming the Southern Belles of St Louis

Taming the Southern Belles of St. Louis

by

John McElroy

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule, from “The Struggle for Missouri”, John McElroy, 1909


Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I now available

The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909

The Story of a Border City During the Civil War by Galusha Anderson, 1908

The Crisis by Winston Churchill, 1901

Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911

The Brown-Reynolds Duel, 1911

Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping

In 1863, at the age of sixteen, John McElroy joined an Illinois cavalry regiment.  Six months later he was taken prisoner and remained so until the end of the war, spending much of the time at the infamous Andersonville prison.  In 1879 he wrote a book about his experiences, “Andersonville: A Story of Rebel Military Prisons. Fifteen Months a Guest of the so-called Southern Confederacy”.  In 1909 he was back with “Struggle for Missouri”, with little of his anti-Confederate heat dissipated.  This book starts with a Missouri-centric history of the slavery controversy from the founding of the Republic and continues thru the Battle of Pea Ridge in March of 1862.

“The Struggle for Missouri” is dedicated “To the Union Men of Missouri”, and they get the better end of every argument or controversy in its pages. According to McElroy, the viciousness of the guerrilla war in Missouri was due to one simple fact  –the mass of non-slaveholding secessionists were “White Trash” with a “dog-like fidelity” to the slaveholding upper-class secessionists. Just in case the reader might miss this vital point the first time, McElroy drives it home again and again, using “White Trash” nine times in his first chapter before settling down to just the occasional mention thereafter.  This class was so relatively numerous in Missouri, according to McElroy, because most of the nice folk who were pioneering in the first half of the 1800s shunned slaveholding Missouri for more civilized places like Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Despite McElroy’s “White Trash” obsession, “The Struggle for Missouri” does have virtues.  The plates in it are very nice, with large, striking black & white plates of Union heroes like Blair, Fremont, Sigel, Curtis, and Schofield. There are nice plates of Claiborne Fox Jackson and Sterling Price as well.  There are also two beautiful color plates  –one of the fateful meeting in June of 1861 at the Planter’s Hotel, and another of the St. Louis levy packed with steamboats before the war. McElroy supports his points liberally with more (and more complete) official documents than many other contemporary works on Missouri, though he usually fails to cite exactly where he found them.  His description of the Planter’s Hotel confrontation between Lyon and Price has some poetry to it, and McElroy seems to respect Sterling Price as much as it is in him to respect any Confederate.

Taming the Southern Belles in St. Louis is one of the few light-hearted stories that McElroy relates. To an age less used to euphemisms (whether that be good or bad), when McElroy refers to “ women of the town plying their vocation” and “disreputable women” he is talking about prostitutes. Or perhaps “sex industry workers” would be the current politically correct term (and maybe that euphemism habit isn’t dead yet).


The secessionists of St. Louis had been encouraged by the untoward course of events in the East. After Bull Run had come the shocking disaster of Ball’s Bluff, and with Gen. Price only a short distance away on the Osage threatening Jefferson City and north Missouri, they felt their star in the ascendant, and became unbearably insolent. Gen. Halleck repressed them [in late 1861] with a vigorous hand, yet without causing the wild clamor of denunciation which characterized Gen. Butler’s Administration of New Orleans.

It will be remembered that at that time it was thought quite the thing for young Secessionist women to show their “spirit” and their devotion to the South by all manner of open insult to the Yankee soldiers. Spitting at them, hurling epithets of abuse, and contemptuously twitching aside their skirts were regarded as quite the correct thing in the good society of which these young ladies were the ornaments. This had become so intolerable in New Orleans, that Gen. Butler felt constrained to issue his famous order directing that women so offending should be treated as “women of the town plying their vocation.” This was made the pretext of “firing the Southern heart” to an unwarranted degree, and Jeff Davis issued a proclamation of outlawry against Ben Butler, with a reward for his head.

Sanguine Secessionists hoped that this “flagrant outrage” by “Beast Butler” would be sufficient cause for the recognition of the Southern Confederacy by France and England.

Gen. Halleck met the same difficulty as Butler very shrewdly. The Chief of Police of St. Louis had some measure of control over the disreputable women of the city, and made law for them. Under Gen Halleck’s order he instructed these women to vie with and exceed their respectable sisters in their manifestations of hostility to the Union cause and of devotion to the South. Where the fair young ladies of the Southern aristocracy were wearing Secession rosettes as big as a rose, the women of the demimonde sported them as big as a dahlia or sunflower. Where the young belle gave a little graceful twitch to her skirts to prevent any possible contamination by touching a passing Yankee, the other class flirted theirs’ aside in the most immodest way. It took but a few days of this to make the exuberant young ladies of uncontrollable rebel proclivities discard their Secession rosettes altogether, and subside into dignified, self-respecting persons, who took no more notice of a passing Union soldier than they did of a lamp-post or tree-box.

Meeting at the Planters House

from "Struggle for Missouri" by McElroyThe Meeting at the Planters House

by

John McElroy

Excerpted and introduced by G.E. Rule, from “The Struggle for Missouri”, John McElroy, 1909


In 1863, at the age of sixteen, John McElroy joined an Illinois cavalry regiment. Six months later he was taken prisoner and remained so until the end of the war, spending much of the time at the infamous Andersonville prison. In 1879 he wrote a book about his experiences, “Andersonville: A Story of Rebel Military Prisons. Fifteen Months a Guest of the so-called Southern Confederacy”. In 1909 he was back with “Struggle for Missouri”, with little of his anti-Confederate heat dissipated. This book starts with a Missouri-centric history of the slavery controversy from the founding of the Republic and continues thru the Battle of Pea Ridge in March of 1862.

“The Struggle for Missouri” is dedicated “To the Union Men of Missouri”, and they get the better end of every argument or controversy in its pages. According to McElroy, the viciousness of the guerrilla war in Missouri was due to one simple fact –the mass of non-slaveholding secessionists were “White Trash” with a “dog-like fidelity” to the slaveholding upper-class secessionists. Just in case the reader might miss this vital point the first time, McElroy drives it home again and again, using “White Trash” nine times in his first chapter before settling down to just the occasional mention thereafter. This class was so relatively numerous in Missouri, according to McElroy, because most of the nice folk who were pioneering in the first half of the 1800s shunned slaveholding Missouri for more civilized places like Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Despite McElroy’s “White Trash” obsession, “The Struggle for Missouri” does have virtues. The plates in it are very nice, with large, striking black & white plates of Union heroes like Blair, Fremont, Sigel, Curtis, and Schofield. There are nice plates of Claiborne Fox Jackson and Sterling Price as well. There are also two beautiful color plates –one of the fateful meeting in June of 1861 at the Planter’s Hotel, and another of the St. Louis levy packed with steamboats before the war. McElroy supports his points liberally with more (and more complete) official documents than many other contemporary works on Missouri, though he usually fails to cite exactly where he found them. His description of the Planter’s Hotel confrontation between Lyon and Price has some poetry to it, and McElroy seems to respect Sterling Price as much as it is in him to respect any Confederate.

Missouri Civil War Reader CD-ROM

Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I now available

Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping

“The Meeting at the Planters House” describes the fateful confrontation that was the demarcation between imperfect and uneasy peace in Missouri and outright war between Secessionists and Unionists. McElroy’s account calls on both Union and Secessionist first-hand observers to give one of the most complete and detailed descriptions of the meeting to be found. Being McElroy, and unable to do otherwise, he gives the Union side the best of it, and his description of Governor Jackson in particular makes not the slightest effort to be fair.

It seems unlikely that either side had much hope for the meeting, and that it is much more likely that both only agreed to it in hopes of maneuvering the public blame for War onto the shoulders of the other. Jackson and Price certainly would have liked to have bought more time for the Missouri State Guard to organize, but one of Lyon’s rock-ribbed demands was the immediate dispersion of the Guard. It is highly unlikely that any agreement that could have been reached would have lasted for more than a month or two, if that long.


Gov. Jackson and Gen. Price did not lose all heart at the change of commanders [from Harney to Lyon]. They seemed to have hopes that they might in some way mold Lyon to their wishes as they had Harney, and sought an interview with him. Gen. Lyon was not averse to an interview, and sent to Jackson and Price the following passport:

Headquarters, Department of the West

St. Louis, June 8th, 1861

It having haven suggested that Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson and ex-Gov. Sterling Price are desirous of an interview with Gen. Lyon, commanding this Department, for the purpose of effecting, if possible, a pacific solution of the domestic troubles of Missouri, it is hereby stipulated on the part of Brig.-Gen. N. Lyon, U.S.A., commanding this Military Department, that, should Gov. Jackson or ex-Gov. Price, or either of them, at any time prior to or on the 12th day of June, 1861, visit St. Louis for the purpose of such interview, they and each of them shall be free from molestation or arrest on account of any charges pending against them, or either of them, on the part of the United States, during their journey to St. Louis and their return to Jefferson City.

Given under the hand of the General commanding, the day and year above written.

N. Lyon

Brigadier-General, Commanding

According, on June 11th, 1861, Price and Jackson arrived at St. Louis by special train from Jefferson City, put up at the Planters’ House, and informed Gen. Lyon of their arrival. The old State pride cropped out in a little dispute as to which should call upon the other. Jackson as Planters House 1859Governor of the “sovereign and independent” State of Missouri and Price as Major-General commanding the forces, felt it was due them that Lyon, a Brigadier-General in the United States service, should visit them rather than they him at the Arsenal. Lyon’s soul going direct to the heart of the matter, was above these technicalities, waved them aside impatiently, and said that he would go to the Planters’ House and call on them.

Accompanied by Col. Frank P. Blair and Maj. Conant, of his Staff, he went at once to the Planters’ House, and there ensued a four hours’ interview of mightiest consequences to the State and the Nation.

Jackson and Price were accompanied by Col. Thomas L. Snead, then an Aid of the Governor, afterward Acting Adjutant-General of the Missouri State Guards, Chief of Staff of the Army of the West, and a member of the Confederate Congress. He makes this statement as to the opening of the conference:

“Lyon opened it by saying that the discussion on the part of his Government ‘would be conducted by Col. Blair, who enjoyed its confidence in the very highest degree, and was authorized to speak for it.’ Blair was, in fact, better fitted than any man in the Union to discuss with Jackson and Price the grave questions then at issue between the United States and the State of Missouri, and in all her borders there were no men better fitted than they to speak for Missouri on that momentous occasion.

“But despite the modesty of his opening, Lyon was too much in earnest, too zealous, too well informed on the subject, too aggressive, and too fond of disputation to let Blair conduct the discussion on the part of his Government. In half an hour it was he who was conducting it, holding his own at every point against Jackson and Price, masters though they were of Missouri politics, whose course they had been directing and controlling for years, while he was only the Captain of an infantry regiment on the Plains. He had not, however, been a mere soldier in those days, but had been an earnest student of the very questions that he was no discussing, and he comprehended the matter as well as any man, and handled it in the soldierly way to which he had been bred, using the sword to cut the knots that he could not untie.”

Really the interview soon became a parley between the two strong men who were quickly to draw their swords upon one another. The talking men, the men of discussion and appeal passed out, and the issue was in the hands of the men who were soon to hurl the mighty weapons of war.

JacksonJackson, who was a light, facile politician, used to moving public assemblies which were already of his mind, had but little to say in the hours of intense parley, but interjected from time to time with parrot-like reiteration, that the United States troops must leave the State and not enter it. “I will then disband my own troops and we shall certainly have peace.”

BlairBlair, an incomparably stronger man, but still a politician and rather accustomed to accomplishing results by speeches and arguments, soon felt himself obscured by the mightier grasp and earnestness of Lyon, and took little further part. There remained, then, the stern, portentous parley between Lyon and Price, who weighed their words, intending to make every one of them good by deadly blows. They looked into one another’s eyes with set wills, between which were the awful consequences of unsheathed swords.

Gen. Price stated at some length his proposals, and claimed that he had carried out his understanding with Gen. Harney in good faith, not violating it one iota.

Gen. Lyon asked him sharply how that could be, according to Gen. Harney’s second proclamation in which he denounced the Military Bill [recently passed by the State of Missouri] as unconstitutional and treasonable?

Gen. Price replied that he had made no agreement whatever with Gen. Harney about the enforcement or carrying out of the Military Bill.

Gen. Lyon answered this by presenting a copy of the following memorandum which had been sent by Gen. Harney as the only basis on which he would treat with Jackson and Price:

Memorandum for Gen. Price –May 21, 1861

Gen. Harney is here as a citizen of Missouri, with all his interests at stake in the preservation of the peace of the State.

He earnestly wishes to do nothing to complicate matters, and will do everything in his power, consistently with his instructions, to preserve peace and order.

He is, however, compelled to recognize the existence of a rebellion in a portion of the United States, and in view of it he stands upon the proclamation of the President itself, based upon the laws and Constitution of the United States.

The proclamation demands the dispersion of all armed bodies hostile to the supreme law of the land.

Gen. Harney sees in the Missouri Military Bill features which compel him to look upon such armed bodies as may be organized under its provisions as antagonistic to the United States, with the meaning of the proclamation, and calculated to precipitate a conflict between the State and the United States.

He laments the tendency of things, and most cordially and earnestly invites the cooperation of Gen. Price to avert it.

For this purpose, Gen. Harney respectfully asks Gen. Price to review the features of the bill, in the spirit of law, warmed and elevate by that of humanity, and seek to discover some means by which its action may be suspended until some competent tribunal shall decide upon its character.

The most material features of the bill calculated to bring about a conflict are, first, the oath required to be taken by the Militia and State Guards (an oath of allegiance to the State of Missouri without recognizing the existence of the Government of the United States); and, secondly, the express requirements by which troops within the State not organized under the provisions of the Military Bill are to be disarmed by the State Guards.

Gen. Harney cannot be expected to await a summons to surrender his arms by the State troops.

From this statement of the case the true question becomes immediately visible and cannot be shut out of view.

Gen. Price is earnestly requested to consider this, and Gen. Harney will be happy to confer with him on the subject whenever it may suit his convenience.

N.B. –Read to Gen. Price in the presence of Maj. H.S. Turner, on the evening of the 21st of May.

Naturally this threw Gen. Price into much confusion, and his face reddened with mortification, but after a few minutes he said that he did not remember hearing the paper read; that it was true that Hitchcock and Turner had come from Gen. Harney to see him, but he could recall nothing any such paper being presented. The discussion grew warmer as Gen. Lyon felt more strongly the force of his position. Gen. Price insisted that no armed bodies of Union troops should pass through or be stationed in Missouri, as such would occasion civil war. He asserted that Missouri must be neutral, and neither side should arm. Gov. Jackson would protect the Union men and would disband his State troops.

Gen. Lyon opposed this by saying, in effect:

That if the Government withdrew its forces entirely, secret and subtle measures would be resorted to to provide arms and perfect organizations which, upon any pretext, could put forth a formidable opposition to the General Government; and even without arming, combinations would doubtless form in certain localities, to press and drive out loyal citizens, to whom the Government was bound to give protection, but which it would be helpless to do, as also to repress such combinations, if its forces could not be sent into the State. A large aggressive force might be formed and advanced from the exterior into the State, to assist it in carrying out the Secession program; and the Government could not, under the limitation proposed, take posts on these borders to meet and repel such force. The Government could not shrink from its duties nor abdicate its corresponding right; and, in addition to the above, it was the duty of its civil officers to execute civil process, and in case of resistance to receive the support of military force. The proposition of the Governor would at once overturn the Government privileges and prerogatives, which he (Gen. Lyon) had neither the wish nor the authority to do. In his opinion, if the Governor and the State authorities would earnestly set about to maintain the peace of the State, and declare their purposes to resist outrages upon loyal citizens of the Government, and repress insurrections against it, and in case of violent combinations, needing cooperation of the United States troops, they should call upon or accept such assistance, and in case of threatened invasion the Government troops took suitable posts to meet it, the purposes of the Government would be subserved, and no infringement of the State rights or dignity committed. He would take good care, win such faithful cooperation of the State authorities to this end, that no individual should be injured in person or property and that the utmost delicacy should be observed toward all peaceable persons concerned in these relations.”

Gen. Lyon based himself unalterably upon this proposition, and could not be moved from it by anything Price or Jackson could say.

Gov. Jackson entered into the discussion again to suggest that they separate and continue the conference further by correspondence; but Lyon, who felt vividly that the main object of the Secessionists was to gain time to perfect their plans, rejected this proposition, but said that the was quite willing that all those present should reduce their views to writing and publish them; which, however, did not strike Jackson and Price favorably. As to the close of the interview, Maj. Conant says:

“As Gen. Lyon was about to take his leave, he said: ‘Gov. Jackson, no man in the State of Missouri has been more ardently desirous of preserving peace than myself. Heretofore Missouri has only felt the fostering care of the Federal Government, which has raised her from the condition of a feeble French colony to that of an empire State. Now, however, from the failure on the part of the Chief Executive to comply with constitutional requirements, I fear she will be made to feel its power. Better, sir, far better, that the blood of every man, woman and child of the State should flow that that she should successfully defy the Federal Government.’”

Col. Snead has published this account of the close of the conference:

“Finally, when the conference had lasted four or five hours, Lyon closed it, as he had opened it, ‘Rather,’ said he (he was still seated, and spoke deliberately, slowly, and with a peculiar emphasis), ‘rather than concede to the State of Missouri the right to demand that my Government shall not enlist troops within her limits, or bring troops into the State whenever it pleases, or move its troops at its own will into, out of, or through the State; rather than concede to the State of Missouri for one single instant the right to dictate to my Government in any matter however unimportant, I would (rising as he said this and pointing in turn to every one in the room) see you, and you, and you, and you, and every man, woman, and child in the State, dead and buried.’

“Then turning to the Governor, he said: ‘This means war. In an hour one of my officers will call for you and conduct you out of my lines.’

“And then, without another word, without an inclination of the head, without even a look, he turned upon his heel and strode out of the room, rattling his spurs and clanking his saber, while we, whom he left, and who had known each other for years, bade farewell to each other courteously and kindly, and separated –Blair and Conant to fight for the Union, we for the land of our birth.”

When the great American painter shall arise, one of the grandest of themes for his pencil will be that destiny-shaping conference on that afternoon in June, 1861. He will show the face of Gov. Jackson as typical of the class of Southern politicians who raised the storm from the unexpected violence of which they retreated in dismay. There will be more than a suggestion of this in Jackson’s expression and attitude. He entered the conference full of his official importance as the head of the great Sovereign Sate, braving the whole United States, and quite complacent as to his own powers of diction and argument. He quickly subsided, however, from the leading character occupying the center of the stage to that of chorus in the wings, in the deadly grapple of men of mightier purpose –Lyon and Price, who were to ride the whirlwind he had been contriving, and rule the storm he had been instrumental in raising.

Even Blair, immeasurably stronger mentally and morally than Jackson –Blair, tall, sinewy, alert, with face and pose revealing the ideal leader that he was—even he felt the presence of stronger geniuses, and lapsed into silence.

The time for talking men was past. Captains of host were now uttering the last stern words, which meant the crash of battle and the death and misery of myriads. Hereafter voices would be swords, and arguments flame from the brazen mouths of cannon hot with slaughter.

General Sterling PriceSterling Price, white-haired, large of frame, imposing, benignant, paternal, inflexible as to what he considered principle, was to point the way which 100,000 young Missourians were to follow through a thousand red battlefields.

General Nathaniel LyonNathaniel Lyon, short of stature, red-haired, in the prime of manhood and perfected soldiership, fiery, jealous for his country’s rights and dignity, was to set another 100,000 young Missourians in battle array against their opponents, to fight them to complete overthrow.

After they withdrew from the conference, Gov. Jackson, as Price’s trumpeter, sounded the call “to arms” in a proclamation to the people of Missouri.


Galusha Anderson – Bio

A bio of Galusha Anderson

Galusha Anderson



ANDERSON, Galusha, educator, was born at Bergen, Genesee county, N.Y., March 7, 1832. His father was of Scotch descent, and a strict Presbyterian. The boy, becoming converted to the Baptist faith, determined to become a minister. He was graduated with high honors from the Rochester university in 1854, and from the theological seminary, Rochester, in 1856. He was ordained pastor and took charge of the Baptist church at Janesville, Wisconsin, the same year. His next pulpit was in St. Louis, from 1858 to 1866. In 1866 he went to Newton, Mass., as professor of homiletics in the theological seminary, remaining there for seven years. In 1873 he took charge of the Strong place church in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he preached five years, going thence to the Second Baptist church, Chicago, in 1876. In 1878 he was made president of the Chicago university, and for eight years he endeavored, faithfully, to establish the institution on a firm footing. In 1886 he resigned, and for a short time preached in Salem, giving up his church there to accept the presidency of Denison university, which position he filled very successfully until 1890. He afterwards accepted the chair of homiletics in the Divinity school of Chicago university. Dr. Anderson was given the degrees of D.D., 1866, and LL.D., 1884, by the University of Rochester.

Johnson, Rossiter, ed.

Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans

Vol. I-X (10). Boston, MA

The Biographical Society, 1904

Missouri Oath of Loyalty

The Missouri Oath of Loyalty of 1865

By Galusha Anderson

Excerpted and Introduced by G.E. Rule

from “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War”, Galusha Anderson, 1908

Galusha Anderson 1861

Galusha Anderson 1861

Bio of Galusha Anderson


Galusha Anderson was a Baptist minister in St. Louis from 1858-1866. His decidedly pro-Union “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War” has many faults. Anderson’s opinion of his own importance in events is exaggerated, and at times the reader would be forgiven for thinking that Blair, Lyon, Fremont, Schofield, Rosecrans, et al could have just stayed in bed –it was really Galusha who held the fate of the Union cause in Missouri in his strong hands. At one point he has an agitated southerner blame his preaching for the Union seizure of Camp Jackson. One suspects Anderson would not want to discourage his readers from reaching the same conclusion. Describing his first blast from a St. Louis pulpit against the heresy of secession, Galusha reports the event with a freighted solemnity and attention to minute detail most historians would reserve for the third day at Gettysburg or the final scene at Appomattox.

On the plus side, Anderson does have a fine eye for detail and his book is filled with many interesting anecdotes of life in St. Louis during the Civil War. Galusha’s Union sources (men like James O. Broadhead were his parishioners) seem to be excellent and allow the reader a valuable insight into the thinking of the pro-Union population of St. Louis. For those interested in the topic, Rev. Anderson’s book has many revealing stories of the stresses –and sometimes fractures– that can occur in “Christian fellowship” during a time of political upheaval.

The Missouri Loyalty Oath of 1865 can only be interpreted as an extreme and vindictive attempt to exclude any but the staunchest Unionist from public life in Missouri after the war. It is an abomination to the modern eye schooled by the ACLU to consider even most pornography as untouchable by government power under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A secret police the Third Reich or Stalinists would admire would have been required to enforce it effectively. It reads better as a script for a Monty Python or Saturday Night Live skit than a serious governing document. One can concede that it may have been only prudent at that time and in that place to suspend the franchise of Confederates who had recently borne arms against the United States and still find the Missouri Oath of Loyalty a breathtakingly oppressive instrument. It says much of the mood of the times in Missouri in 1865 that when the Missouri Supreme Court attempted to overturn the Oath, they were all immediately removed from the bench! What is interesting in the account given by Anderson –a Union man who would never accept second place to anyone in his loyalty to the U.S.—is that he clearly believed the Oath was a gross mistake and a grave injustice to many fine citizens of Missouri.

In fact, no less a Union personage than Major-General Frank Blair –who had done more than all of Missouri’s Radical Republicans combined to keep her in the Union when the issue was in doubt in early 1861– declined to take the Oath in 1865 and was refused the right to vote.  When asked why he would not take the Oath, Blair cheerfully explained that while he would gladly take an Oath professing his loyalty to the Union and Missouri going forward, the fact of the matter was that he had taken up arms against the government of Missouri in May and June of 1861 (see Blair and Lyon Save the Union) and hence could not meet the draconian terms of the current Oath.  The radicals were not amused by this perfectly valid point that vividly illustrated the ridiculousness of their Oath, but refused to bend.

In excerpting from Anderson’s book the section concerning the Missouri Oath of Loyalty of 1865, there is always the danger the resulting piece may give an impression unintended by the author of the original work had he the opportunity to write on the Loyalty Oath solely instead of as part of a larger work. Any perceived problems of that sort should be laid at the door of the editor, not the author.


Missouri Civil War Reader CD-ROM

Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I now available

The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909

The Story of a Border City During the Civil War by Galusha Anderson, 1908

The Crisis by Winston Churchill, 1901

Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911

The Brown-Reynolds Duel, 1911

Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping

If, after eliminating from the Constitution of the State all that pertained to involuntary servitude, thus making it consonant with the [Missouri] Ordinance of Emancipation, the [Missouri Constitutional] Convention had adjourned sine die, it would have covered itself with imperishable glory. But the act of the legislature by which it was created gave to it almost unlimited powers. It was especially called upon so to amend the Constitution that the elective franchise should be preserved in its purity to all loyal citizens, and to make such other amendments as it might think “essential to the public good”. Under this last clause apparently there was nothing that they might not legally do, and in their remaining work they went to the full limit of their powers. Instead of simply revising the old Constitution they in fact made a new one, and in spots it was admirable. It contained the most progressive doctrines of popular government; but in prescribing who should be legal voters their enactments were so extreme that they appear to us now quite ludicrous. To justify this statement we venture to give in full sections 3 and 6 of article II of the Constitution, together with the prescribed oath, believing that any intelligent reader who begins the perusal of them will proceed with increasing interest to the last line.

Sec 3. At any election held by the people under this Constitution, or in pursuance of any law of this State, or under any ordinance or by-law of any municipal corporation, no person shall be deemed a qualified voter, who has ever been in armed hostility to the United States, or to the lawful authorities thereof, or to the Government of this State; or has ever given aid, comfort, countenance, or support to persons engaged in any such hostility; or has ever, in any manner, adhered to the enemies, foreign or domestic, of the United States, either by contributing to them, or by unlawfully sending within their lines, money, goods, letters or information; or has ever disloyally held communication with such enemies; or has ever advised or aided any person to enter the service of such enemies; or has ever, by act or word, manifested his adherence to the cause of such enemies, or his desire for their triumph over the arms of the United States, or his sympathy with those engaged in exciting or carrying on rebellion against the United States; or has ever, except under overpowering compulsion, submitted to the authority, or been in the service, of the so-called “Confederate States of America”; or has left this State, and gone within the lines of the armies of the so-called “Confederate States of America,” with the purpose of adhering to said States or armies; or has ever been a member of, or connected with, any order, society, or organization, inimical to the Government of the United States, or to the Government of this State; or has ever been engaged in guerrilla warfare against loyal inhabitants of the United States, or in that description of marauding commonly known as “bushwhacking;” or has ever knowingly and willingly harbored, aided, or countenanced, any person so engaged; or has ever come into or left this State for the purpose of avoiding enrollment for or draft into the military service of the United States; or has ever, with a view to avoid enrollment in the militia of this State, or to escape the performance of duty therein, or for any other purpose, enrolled himself, or authorized himself to be enrolled, by or before any officer, as disloyal, or as a Southern sympathizer, or in any other terms indicating his disaffection to the Government of the United States in its contest with rebellion, or his sympathy with those engaged in such rebellion; or, having ever voted at any election by the people in this State, or in any other of the United States, or in any of their Territories, or held office in this State, or in any other of the United States, or in any of their Territories, or under the United States, shall thereafter have sought or received, under claim of alienage, the protection of any foreign government, through any consul or other officer thereof, in order to secure exemption from military duty in the militia of this State, or in the army of the United States; nor shall any such person be capable of holding, in this State, any office of honor, trust, or profit, under its authority; or of being an officer, councilman, director, trustee, or other manager of any corporation, public or private, now existing or hereafter established by its authority; or of acting as a professor or teacher in any educational institution, or in any common or other school; or of holding any real estate, or other property, in trust for the use of any church, religious society, or congregation. But the foregoing provisions in relation to acts done against the United States shall not apply to any person not a citizen thereof, who shall have committed such acts, been naturalized, or may hereafter be naturalized, under the laws of the United States, and who has, since such acts, been naturalized, or may hereafter be naturalized, under the laws of the United States; and the oath of loyalty hereinafter prescribed, when taken by such person, shall be considered as taken in such sense.

Sec. 6 The oath to be taken as aforesaid shall be known as the Oath of Loyalty, and shall be in the following terms:

I, A. B., do solemnly swear, that I am well acquainted with the terms of the third section of the second Article of the Constitution of the State of Missouri, adopted in the year eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and have carefully considered the same; that I have never, directly or indirectly, done any of the acts in said section specified; that I have always been truly and loyally on the side of the United States against all enemies thereof, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States, and will support the Constitution and laws thereof, as the supreme law of the land, any law or ordinance of any State to the contrary notwithstanding; that I will, to the best of my ability, protect and defend the Union of the United States, and not allow the same to be broken up and dissolved, or the Government thereof to be destroyed or overthrown, under any circumstances, if in my power to prevent it; that I will support the Constitution of the State of Missouri; and that I make this oath without any mental reservation or evasion, and hold it to be binding on me.

We see from this how intensely in earnest were the delegates of the Convention. But this oath was not wholly a creation of theirs. It had a gradual growth. We have seen with what imperativeness General Halleck demanded an oath of allegiance of all officers of the State, county and city, without which they were not permitted to exercise their functions. The generals of the department that came after him rigorously maintained the same policy. The first sovereign Convention adopted it and strenuously enforced it by the sword. This Convention, receiving it from the first, with wonderful genius for probing the conscience, elaborated it. Under its manipulation the oath became retrospective, introspective and prospective. No man could take it without perjury, who by word or act had been in the past, was in the present, or should be in the future, disloyal to the government of the United States. It not only prohibited one who could not subscribe to it from voting, but also from holding any government office of whatever grade, teaching in any school or preaching the gospel. And to make sure that the fountains of justice should be freed from every suspicion of disloyalty, the Convention vacated the offices of the judges of the Supreme Court, circuit and county courts, and special courts of record throughout the State, and of all clerks of courts, county recorders, and circuit attorneys and their assistants, and “empowered and directed” the Governor of the State to fill these offices so vacated by his appointment. Since most judges and subordinate officers of the courts were unable to subscribe to the oath of loyalty without perjury, the Convention was determined that court officials should be appointed that could. And thinking it unsafe to wait for the slow process of a popular election and probably fearing, if they should, that the elections might not go according to their liking, they took a short cut to clean the Augean stables. It looked like revolution. At all events the Convention went to the full limit, if not beyond the limit, of its powers. The judges of the Supreme Court resisted what they regarded a gross usurpation of authority; but their resistance was vain. They were arrested and tried before the City Recorder as disturbers of the peace, and so sank from public view.

While the Convention designated the oath the “Oath of Loyalty”; the people, seizing upon its exact intent, called it the Test Oath. Its object was to test the loyalty of those who were required to take it. But the oath was too indiscriminate. It did not sufficiently recognize different degrees of guilt. Many in our city and State who were at first swept by the excitement of the hour into the ranks of the secessionists, soon saw their error and thereafter loyally supported the Federal government. Others had at times expressed their sympathy with secessionism, but in all their overt acts had been faithful to the Union. It would naturally have been expected that ordinarily wise and humane legislators would have provided for the full, unconditional pardon of such men. But no; this oath of loyalty was pitiless. It made not the slightest provision for the penitent. The majority of the convention seem to have proceeded on the assumption that men who had been guilty of rebellion in any degree, if they had but expressed a sympathetic emotion in its behalf, were unfit either to vote or teach or preach.

And, for a decade, the most genuine and heart-felt repentance would be altogether vain; since the Convention provided, in the 25th section of the second article of the Constitution, that the General Assembly of the State might repeal the provisions of the oath, so far as the affected voters, after 1871, but so far as they pertained to lawyers, school teachers and ministers not till after 1875. Therefore irrespective of the degree of his guilt, to the attorney, the pedagogue or the preacher, these astute constitution-makers, with a scent for disloyalty keener than that of a hound, for ten long years, granted “no place of repentance,” even though he should seek it “diligently with tears.”

* * *

But after the Emancipation Act was passed, the Convention, having, against the earnest protest of some of its own members, doggedly set itself to the work of making a new Constitution, lost, to a large extent, the confidence of many of the best loyal men of the State. Even a goodly number of the delegates that composed it became to the extent of their power obstructionists. Absenteeism grew apace, and only by the rigid enforcement of the rules could the Convention be saved from disastrous disintegration. Some of its members fell into a vein of ridicule and one of them offered a string of satirical resolutions, which, though unmitigated balderdash, the Convention complacently spread on its minutes.

Most of the constituents of the Convention, while generously recognizing the great merit of much of its work, were often ashamed of what it did and said. In fact its debates were never published, beyond the brief and imperfect reports of them in the daily papers. In explanation of this curious fact, it was hinted that the leaders of the Convention were so mortified by them, that they managed to suppress the whole, both good and bad together.

* * *

But blessed be the Supreme Court of the United States! About three years after the new Constitution had been ratified by the people, it declared by barely one majority that the notorious test oath was unconstitutional. A multitude in our State ever after held in grateful memory that one Federal judge, who tipped the scales against the oath that had too long been a thorn in the body politic.

Blair and Lyon Save the Union

illustration from “Struggle for Missouri” by John McElroy, 1909 “Rather than concede to the State of Missouri for one single instant the right to dictate to my Government in any matter however unimportant, I would  see you, you, you and every man, woman, and child in the state dead and buried.

“This means war.”Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon

to Claiborne Jackson, Sterling Price, and Francis P. Blair, Jr. at the Planters House in St. Louis, Missouri, June 1861

by G. E. Rule

Further Reading: Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon
by Christopher Phillips

Frank Blair: Lincoln’s Conservative by William Earl Parrish

In January of 1861, Frank Blair’s Unionist cause in Missouri was sorely beset by a host of problems.  The incoming governor of the state, Claiborne Jackson, was a known secessionist. So was a majority of the state legislature.  “Unconditional Union” men made up a small minority of the population of the state, and an even smaller minority of the ruling class.  The Union commander of the tiny force guarding the vitally important St. Louis arsenal was politically unreliable and prepared to hand over the arsenal to the commander of the Missouri State Guard should the latter demand it on authority of the state government.  It appeared highly unlikely that Missouri, and vital St. Louis, could be kept in the Union.

Yet by June, a mere five months later, St. Louis was secure, and the 60,000 muskets in the arsenal were denied to the Confederacy by the fiery new Union commander, Nathaniel Lyon. Commanding regiments largely raised by Blair, Lyon put Governor Jackson and the secessionist members of the state legislature to flight from the state capitol never to return, and Union control—though shaky at times and tenuous in some sections of the state—was never again seriously threatened in Missouri.

It is hard to overestimate the importance this victory had on the course of the war.  The 60,000 muskets in the arsenal would have increased the number available in the entire Confederacy by over one-third at a time when each one was practically worth its weight in gold.  Control of St. Louis for the CSA would have meant control of the Missouri River and a connecting of the heavily pro-confederate population north of that river with the rest of the south.  The industry of St. Louis would have been a huge addition to the lightly industrialized Confederacy, and the further choking of the Mississippi river very possibly may have given critical mass to the idea of a CSA-friendly “Northwest Confederacy” of the states of what we today would call the Midwest.  Such a movement, had it come to fruition, would clearly have made it impossible for the rest of the northern states to prosecute the war with any hope of success.

While Grant and Sherman are often given enormous credit for winning the war for the Union in 1863-1865, it is perhaps not unfair to say that Frank Blair and his champion Nathaniel Lyon saved the Union in the early months of 1861.


For an opposing viewpoint see “Securing Missouri for the Union” (off-site)


Governor of Missouri, Claiborne Fox Jackson

When asked by Lincoln to supply four regiments to the Union Army, Governor Jackson said, “Your requisition, in my judgment, is illegal, unconstitutional, and revolutionary in its objects, inhuman and diabolical, and cannot be complied with.”

Frank Blair raised seven regiments for the Union in St. Louis when the governor refused the Federal call for troops from Missouri to put down the rebellion

After the war, Major-General Frank Blair –who had done more than all of Missouri’s Radical Republicans combined to keep her in the Union when the issue was in doubt in early 1861– declined to take the Oath of Loyalty in 1866 and was refused the right to vote.  When asked why he would not take the Oath, Blair cheerfully explained that while he would gladly take an Oath professing his loyalty to the Union and Missouri going forward, the fact of the matter was that he had taken up arms against the government of Missouri in May and June of 1861 and hence could not meet the draconian terms of the current Oath.

Cross Purposes

by G. E. Rule

Jeff Davis and Sterling Price disliked each other from the start. The starchy Confederate President distrusted Price’s conversion from “Conditional Unionism” and his efforts in the spring of 1861 to buy time for the Missouri State Guard to organize by negotiating with Union General Harney. Further, when Price became a hero across the south after the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, some pushed Price as a possible successor to Davis. The galling fire kept up by Price’s editorial crony, Joseph W. Tucker, on CSA policy towards Missouri also soured Davis’ opinion of the Missouri hero. But worst of all was Price’s incessant badgering of Davis for more men and resources to reclaim Missouri from the Union or, failing that, at least allowing the Missouri Confederates to try to retake the state on their own.

For Sterling Price, it was Missouri above all else. He became a good Confederate, but only because he felt the Union had abused his beloved state at Camp Jackson. Price and most of the Confederate Missouri leadership never fully trusted the CSA government at Richmond. They felt Missouri was being neglected for the benefit of other theatres, and too many of her finest sons were spilling their blood on the wrong side of the Mississippi River. More seriously, Price was deeply concerned that when push came to shove, if the CSA government were offered a deal that gave independence to the South but continued Missouri in the Union, they would accept it.

Further Reading: General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West
by Albert E. Castel

It was felt a unified North would never accept Missouri as part of the Confederacy. The importance of St. Louis as “the Gateway to the West”, and its sizable pro-Union German population, would lead them to insist on keeping Missouri above any other state. Perhaps, went the argument, the North could eventually be forced to allow the Deep South its independence, but never Missouri.

Enter the Order of American Knights. OAK was born in St. Louis to encourage the creation of a “Northwest Confederacy” (today’s Midwest). Should the Northwest Confederacy be formed, the remaining northern states would no longer have the strength, nor the geographical consanguinity, to insist on keeping Missouri. Sterling Price was its military head, and Clement Vallandigham its civil one.

OAK engaged in conspiracy, sedition, and sabotage towards this end. Price lieutenants like Tucker, Courtenay, Grimes, and Louden were prominent participants. While the success of OAK and the Northwest Confederacy would have benefited the entire CSA, there is no doubt that the primary beneficiary was always intended to be Confederate Missouri.

John Charles Fremont – Bio

A bio of John Charles Fremont

Fremont


Fremont, John C., major-general, was born in Savannah, Ga., Jan. 21, 1813 and was educated at Charleston college, from which he was expelled before graduation, although subsequently, in 1836, he was given his degree by the college authorities. He became teacher of mathematics on the sloop-of-war “Natchez” in 1833, on which he took a two-year cruise, and, on returning, passed the necessary examination and was appointed professor of mathematics in the U. S. navy.

He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the U. S. topographical engineers in 1838, while engaged in exploring the country between the Missouri and the northern frontier, and in 1842, having suggested a geographical survey of all the territories of the United States, he was sent at the head of a party of 28 men to explore the Rocky mountain region. In accomplishing this he ascended the highest peak of the Wind River mountains, which was afterwards known as Fremont’s peak. He next explored the territory between the Rocky mountains and the Pacific, then a region almost unknown, and early in 1843 started with a party of 39 men, and, after a journey of 1,700 miles, reached Great Salt lake. It was his report of this region which gave to the Mormons their first idea of settling in Utah. He proceeded thence to the tributaries of the Columbia river and in November started upon the return trip, but, finding himself confronted with imminent danger of death from cold and starvation, turned west, and, after great hardship, succeeded in crossing the Sierra Nevada range and in March reached Sutter’s fort in California. His return journey was conducted safely by the southern route, and he reached Kansas in July 1844.

He went on another exploring expedition in 1845, spending the summer along the continental divide and crossing the Sierras again in the winter. Upon refusal of the Mexican authorities to allow him to continue his explorations, he fortified himself with his little force of 64 men on a small mountain some 30 miles from Monterey, but when the Mexicans prepared to besiege the place he retreated to Oregon. He was overtaken near Klamath lake, May 9, 1846, by a courier with dispatches from Washington, directing him to watch over the interests of the United States in the territory, there being reason to fear interference from both Great Britain and Mexico. He promptly returned to California, where the settlers, learning that Gen. Castro was already marching against the settlements, flocked to his camp, and in less than a month Northern California was freed from Mexican authority. He received a lieutenant-colonel’s commission, May 27, and was elected governor of the territory by the settlers July 4. Learning on July 10 that Com. Sloat, commanding the American squadron on the Pacific coast, had seized Monterey, Fremont joined him and, when Com. Stockton arrived with authority to establish the power of the United States in California, Fremont was appointed by him military commandant and civil governor. Near the end of the year Gen. Kearny arrived with a force of dragoons and said that he had orders also to establish a government. Friction between the two rival officers immediately ensued, and Fremont prepared to obey Stockton and continued as governor in spite of Kearny’s orders. For this he was tried by court-martial in Washington, and, after a trial which lasted more than a year, was convicted, Jan. 31, 1847 of “mutiny,” “disobedience to the lawful command of a superior officer,” and “conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline,” and was sentenced to dismissal from the service. President Polk approved of the conviction for disobedience and mutiny, but remitted the penalty and Fremont resigned.

In Oct., 1848, Fremont started on an independent exploring expedition with a party of 33 men, and reached Sacramento in the spring of 1849 after more severe sufferings than those experienced on any of his earlier expeditions. He represented California in the United States senate from Sept., 1850, to March, 1851, and in 1853 made his fifth and last exploring expedition, crossing the Rocky mountains by the route which he had attempted to follow in 1848.

FremontFremont’s known opposition to slavery won him the presidential nomination of the Republican party in 1856, but in the election he was defeated by Buchanan, who received 174 electoral votes to Fremont’s 114. Soon after the beginning of the Civil war Fremont was appointed major-general in the regular army and assigned to command the newly organized Western Department with headquarters at St. Louis. Soon after the battle of Wilson’s creek, Aug. 10, 1861 he proclaimed martial law, arrested active secessionists, suspended the publication of papers charged with disloyalty, and issued a proclamation assuming the government of the state and announcing that he would free the slaves of those in arms against the Union. This proclamation he refused to withdraw, and on Sept. 11, the president annulled it as unauthorized and premature.

Fremont was relieved of his command, Nov. 2, 1861, many complaints having been made of his administration, but in March, 1862, he was placed in command of the Mountain Department of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Early in June he pursued the Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson for 8 days, finally engaging him at Cross Keys, June 8, but permitted him to escape with his army.

When the Army of Virginia was created June 26, to include Gen. Fremont’s corps, with Pope in command, Fremont declined to serve on the ground that he outranked Pope, and for sufficient personal reasons. He then went to New York where he remained throughout the war, expecting a command, but none was given him. He was nominated for the presidency, May 31, 1864, by a small faction of the Republican party, but, finding but slender support, he withdrew his name in September.

He subsequently became interested in the construction of railroads and in 1873, was prosecuted by the French government for alleged participation in the swindles connected with the proposed transcontinental railway from Norfolk to San Francisco, and was sentenced on default, to fine and imprisonment, no judgment being given on the merits of the case.

Gen. Fremont was governor of Arizona in 1878-81, and was appointed major-general on the retired list by act of Congress in 1890. He died in New York City, July 13, 1890.

The Union Army A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-65

Federal Publishing, 1908