Note: This article first appeared in the Boone's Lick Heritage, Volume 5, Number 4, December 1997. Permission was granted for the Howard County MOGenWeb Project to reprint this article by the authors, Mr. William D. Lay, Mr. Bob Dyer, and the Boone's Lick Heritage.
CIVIL WAR INCIDENTS IN HOWARD COUNTY
PART I: 1861-1863
You may click on an event number on the map to take you to the incidents that happened there.
EDITOR'S NOTE- The following list of Civil War incidents in Howard County during the years 1861-1863 is keyed to the map on the opposite page. The numbering system used here works as follows: The first number relates to the year of the war in which the incident occurred, thus I = 1861, 2= 1862, 3= 1863. The second number relates to the chronological sequence of the incident during the course of that year, thus 11 describes the first action or incident chronologically in the year 1861; 21 describes the first incident chronologically in the year 1862; 31 describes the first incident chronologically in the year 1863. Several unnumbered items are also listed to provide a context for local events. A few items (19, 22, and 36) have their numbers repeated on the map co cover related incidents. Sources are cited completely the first time they are mentioned and abbreviated hereafter. The citation 'OR,' refers to the War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (1880-1902). Those desiring a more comprehensive listing of Civil War incidences throughout the state should consult The Civil War in Missouri Day by Day, Carolyn Barrels (Two Trails Press, Independence, 1992).
The second part of this two part piece will be published in the next issue of Boone's Lick Heritage. It will cover The year l864, a very active year for Civil War incidents in Howard County and central Missouri. If any of our readers have documents or other pertinent information related to any of the incidences please contact us.
Howard County was an enclave of Southern sympathy in central Missouri during the lime of the Civil War and a center of increasing guerrilla activity as the war progressed. It is, of course, difficult to isolate actions in Howard County from actions in the surrounding counties but for the most part this article and the one to follow focus on Howard County incidents. Incidents in Boonville (Cooper County), Rocheport (Boone County), Arrow Rock (Saline County) and southern Randolph County are listed when they closely relate to activities in Howard County, but it will be left to another series of articles to deal more completely with Civil War activities in the surrounding counties.
Although Union troops were stationed in most central Missouri towns at one time or another throughout the Civil War, the main Union strongholds affecting activities in Howard County were in Columbia, Boonville, Glasgow, Fayette and Arrow Rock. Arrow Rock, however, became the stomping grounds of various guerrilla hands as the war progressed (as did Rocheport). Federal Capt. (later Major) Reeves Leonard (I 839-1878) of Gen. Orion Guitar's 9ch Missouri Cavalry, son of the prominent Whig politician Abiel Leonard, who died in Fayette March 28, 1863, was particularly active in the Fayette area in 1863. His sister, Kate, married Gen. Guitar, in December of 1865.
Much of rural Howard County (especially the river hills of southern Howard County and the areas around Lisbon and Boonsboro) were strongholds of Southern sympathies. This was also true of the rugged Perche /Callahan Creek area (sometimes referred to as the 'Blackfoot' country) of northwestern Boone County and the so-called 'Terrapin Neck' area of Boone County bordering the Missouri River south and east of Rocheport.
The two most significant actions in the area in 1861 were the battles fought at Boonville on June 17 and September 13, but the actions of Capt. James Cason in the Richland Bocroms of Howard County near Lisbon formed an important prelude co later guerrilla activities in the area, and skirmishing in the vicinity of Glasgow later in the year focused the attention of Federal authorities on the tactical importance of that Missouri River town.
Following the defeat of Confederate forces at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in March 1862. Gen. Thomas Hindman, Commander of the Confederate District of Arkansas, sent a number of officers into Missouri to officially commission guerrilla leaders and organizations and to engage in recruitment activities. Two of these men, Col. Joseph C. Porter and Col. John A. Poindexter, were especially active in northeastern Missouri in 1862, Poindexter being most active in the Howard County area. In response to Confederate recruitment activities in Howard County Federal authorities set up a headquarters in Glasgow with a secondary outpost at Fayette and began a policy of administering loyalty oaths to vouchers, attorneys and local officials. Both Porter and Poindexter were pursued with vigor throughout the summer of 1862; Poindexter was defeated and captured in August and Porter was driven south of the Missouri River in October.
During 1863 Confederate Col. (later Brig. Gen.) Sidney Jackman, Maj. John F. Rucker, and guerrilla leaders Clifton Hotzclaw and William Stuart were especially active in the area. The most notable action of the year in central Missouri was Shelby's raid in October. Although he did not enter Howard County, he briefly occupied Boonville and fought a running battle with Federal troops near Marshall in Saline County before heading back South. The year 1863 was, however, only a prelude to more deadly guerrilla activities in Howard County in 1864.
The so-called "First Battle of Boonville" (sometimes derisively referred to as the "Boonville Races) was
fought about six miles east of Boonville along the Rocheport Road on this date between Gov.
Claiborne Fox Jackson's State Militia troops under the command of Gen. Sterling Price (though Price
left due to illness prior to the actual battle and Gov. Jackson made Col. John S. Marmaduke field
commander), and Federal troops from St. Louis under the command of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon. It was the
first battle of the Civil War in Missouri. In the battle (actually it was more like a skirmish) the largely
untrained and poorly armed State Militia troops were routed in short order and there were only minor
casualties. It was, however, a significant battle because it gave the Union army an early victory, drove
the State Militia into southern Missouri, and the tactically important Missouri River for the Union.
(Numerous accounts of this "battle" have been published, but for local history references see History of
Cooper County, Levens and Drake, 1876, pp, 96-101; History of Saline County, 1881, pp. 279-280;
History of Howard and Cooper Counties, 1883, pp. 759-762; Boonville: An Illustrated History, Robert
Dyer, 1987, pp. 107-113. There is also a good account of the battle by Paul Rorvig in the January 1992
Missouri Historical Review.)
July 5, 1861-Battle of Carthage, Mo.( Jackson's Mo. State Guards defeat Federal
Col. Franz Siegel)
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Capt. James Cason operated in Howard county during July and August of 1861. According to John Newman Edwards in Noted Guerrillas (1877), pp. 302-303: "He was an intrepid man, full of enthusiasm and enterprise. Whenever the enemy came upon him they had to fight him. Unostentatious, clear-headed, vigilant, and thoroughly in earnest, he always got close enough before he fired to hurt somebody. His first encounter (12) was with Major Hunt, of Merrill's Horse, in the Boonslick hills, near Lisbon, on the Missouri River. Hunt was on a horse-pressing expedition of a bright summer day. Cason had with him H.A. Ballew, John A. Cason, John G. Ballew, John M. Taylor, old Tom Childres and his son young Tom Childres, Lt. B.H. Shipp, E.P. DeHart, and Calvin Sartain. The men formed an ambuscade, fired five volleys into Hunt's detachment, killing nine, wounding twenty-two and scattering the balance of the sixty in every direction....
"Capt. Cason's second fight (13) was with eight hundred Federals having two pieces of artillery. This column he ambushed for nearly an entire day, killing thirty-five and wounding fifty-two. He had with him only John A. Cason, Calvin Sartain-who was captured and shot afterwards Green Wisdom, Tom Childres, Jr., Lt. Ben Shipp, Wat Shiflett, Ab and James Bobett, E.P. DeHart, John and Martin Ballew, Ed and Crat Wilson, John M. Taylor, John Wills, and Harrison Burton....
"On the seventeenth of August 1861 (14) Capt. Cason had word... that two steamboats [the White
Cloud and the McDowell] loaded with troops were coming down the river en route to St. Louis. An
ambuscade was... formed on the Howard County side, and almost... opposite Saline City. Here the
current of the river sweeps very near to the shore.... Unsuspicious of danger and crowded with a human
freight ... the boats... swept swiftly along. A sudden flame leaped out from the bushes ... and then on
the crowded decks were terror, confusion, bleeding men and dead men. For nearly an hour Cason
fought the boats thus, making of every embankment and earthwork, and of every tree a fortress. Finally
a landing was effected and two pieces of cannon hurried ashore, and used for shelling the timber which
concealed the Guerrillas. Cason held on. As the infantry advanced he fell back; as the infantry retired he
advanced.... Night alone ended the savage duel, the Federal loss being about sixty-two killed and nearly
a hundred wounded.' Edwards adds that following the above activities Capt. Cason went South with
most of his men. (See also the History of Howard and Cooper Counties, P. 284)
August 10, 1861-Battle of Wilson's Creek (Oak Hills) near Springfield, Missouri.
(Gen. Lyon killed)
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On Wednesday, August 28, 1861, a squad of State Troops under Captain J.A. Poindexter of M.E.
Green's regiment arrested Mr. Adam Hendrix, Cashier, and Mr. Robert T. Prewitt, one of the Directors
of the Fayette Bank, and Weston F. Birch, President of the Bank of Glasgow at Allen, which is about 5
miles east of Huntsville, Missouri, on the North Missouri Railroad. Hendrix and Prewitt had several
hundred thousand dollars of the funds of the Fayette Bank and were en route for St. Louis and
Poindexter seized the money with the intention of taking it to General Sterling Price. (Columbia
Statesman, August 30,1861, P. 2, col. 6)
September 11-20, 1861-Battle of the Hemp Bales at Lexington (Gen. Sterling
Price defeats Col. James Mulligan)
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Before Gen. Lyon left Boonville on July 3,1861, he organized two companies of Home Guards commanded by Joseph A. Eppstein and they fortified themselves at the old Fair Grounds in the river hills on the east edge of town. By the beginning of September they had formed themselves into a battalion consisting of two infantry companies and a half company of cavalry. Not long after this battalion was formed, word was received of a planned attack on Boonville by Confederate troops in the area, perhaps related to the reported movement of Gen. Sterling Price's troops from the south toward Lexington. Col. Eppstein then ordered the arrest of several prominent Southern men in Boonville to be held as hostages in case of an attack.
Early on the rainy morning of September 13, the breastworks were attacked by a force of about 800
men under the command of Col. William B. Brown of Saline County along with his brother Capt.
Mason Brown and Capt. J. A. Poindexter. The attack, locally known as the 'Second Battle of
Boonville- (16), was repulsed by the Home Guards who lost only one man, Adjutant John A. Hayn.
During the battle, however, both Col. Brown and his brother were killed. An armistice was arranged by
one of the hostages and Poindexter withdrew, hoping to be reinforced by the troops of Col. Colton
Green who was reportedly in the vicinity of Glasgow (17). Federal Col. Jefferson C. Davis sent three
Indiana regiments to Glasgow on four steamboats (the War Eagle, the Iatan, the White Cloud, and the
Des Moines) to find and capture Poindexter. The troops were, however, split into two details that
became disoriented in the darkness as they moved toward Glasgow and ended up firing into each others
ranks resulting in a number of men being killed and wounded (18). (see Levens and Drake, pp. 103-105;
History of Howard and Cooper Counties, pp. 764-765; Dyer, pp. 114-116; and OR, Series 1, Vol. 111,
October 27,1861-The Columbia Statesman, November 1, 1861 (P. 2, col. 1) reported that Federal
troops and Home Guards at Boonville have been 'quarreling and fighting among themselves." An
incident occurred on October 27 in which Col. Logan, commandant of the Federal troops at Boonville,
accused the Home Guards of taking government supplies without authorization. Logan and some of his
men then went to Thespian Hall and tried to arrest Capt. Eppstein, commander of the Home Guards,
but Eppstein's men "presented bayonets' and charged Logan, wounding him in the face. Logan then
drew his sword and fired his pistol, slightly wounding one of the Home Guards. They returned the fire
and wounded several of the Federal soldiers. Logan then withdrew to the Fairgrounds and sent word
that he intended to bombard the Hall and "clean out" the Home Guards. The Mayor and others,
however, went to Logan and persuaded him not to carry out his threat.
December 3-12,1861-After Price withdrew to the southwest following the Battle
of Lexington, the Second Missouri Cavalry Volunteers, sometimes called [Col.
Lewis] Merrill's Horse, made an appearance in Saline County. According to the
1881 History of Saline County (p. 281) these were the "first Federal troops
to invade the county.' They crossed the Blackwater at the Napton bridge, passed
by Arrow Rock, went north to Waverly, then to Marshall, and returned to Sedalia.
The History of Saline County says that during this scouting expedition "there
was no disorder or lawlessness on the part of the soldiers,' and that "the appearance
of Col. Merrill's men in the county was regarded with much interest by the citizens,
many of whom beheld Federal soldiers for the first time. They were well armed,
mounted, and clothed, and in these particulars made a much better appearance
than had the southern troops that had been in the county."
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19. December 6-7, 1861
The Columbia Statesman, December 13,1861 (p. 2, col. 3), reported that Capt. (Robt. W.) Sweeney and 35 of his men were captured December 7 opposite Glasgow by a small number of Federal soldiers under Maj. (George C. ) Marshall
"[After Sweeney was informed that he was about to be attacked he] 'skeddadled' to Glasgow and hastily crossed the river where the Federal net was spread for him. He and thirty-five of his men entered it and surrendered ... without firing a gun. Several of his men dropped their arms and took to their heels; the Federals fired a few shots at them to bring them to a halt, but nobody was hurt. Several stolen horses were recovered.
"Since the above was in type we have learned that on Friday last [December 6], as Sweeney was on the march to Glasgow, he stopped ... at the residence of Mr. Wm. Wallace, a Union man and brother-in-law to the editor of this paper. Mr. Wallace resides four miles east of Glasgow, but he and his wife were absent in town when Sweeney called; nevertheless, the gallant Captain took two of his best horses, two saddles and one bridle.... Resuming his march to Glasgow, he met Mr. Wallace and wife, stopped them in the road, and took from them one of the best horses they were driving in their buggy, leaving one of the horses they had taken at the farm. After the capture of Sweeney Mr. Wallace recovered one of his horses."
In the same article it was also reported that on Saturday night, December 7 a young lady was
accidentally shot and killed near Judge Wade M. Jackson's residence in Howard county. The
circumstances were as follows:
"At Landmark Col. Morse divided his command, dispatching about thirty cavalry
to Judge Jackson's under Lieut. Weatherby.... [Pickets were put out because
of apprehensions] of an attack from a secession camp which was reported not
far distant. About twilight in the evening two of the pickets, stationed several
hundred yards from Jackson's house, saw several persons on horseback approaching
them.... Not knowing but that they were the advance pickets from the secession
camp, and, as we are assured, having no thought of ladies being of the party
approaching, when about one hundred yards distant called them several times
to hall Knowing nothing of Federal soldiers in the neighborhood and supposing
that the calls to halt were made by some of Jackson's family in sport, neither
of the two ladies nor the young man who was with them paid any attention to
the command ... [and] continued to approach in a fast trot, and the pickets,
after three calls to halt fired and retreated to camp. Immediately Lieut. Weatherby,
supposing the enemy was upon him, formed his men for battle and sent forward
a scouting squad to discover what was impending. This squad to their astonishment,
ascertained that two inoffensive and innocent ladies and a young man were the
persons fired upon, and that one of the ladies, Miss Kitty Spillman, was mortally
wounded.... Lieut. Weatherby thought it his duty to report the facts at once
to Col. Morse, then at Fayette, ten miles distant.... Hearing of the lamentable
affair, Col. Morse the next morning returned to Judge Jackson's with the coroner
and several prominent citizens, Union men and Secessionists, for the purpose
of having an investigation and the facts published to the world over their signatures.
But when Morse and the citizens reached Judge Jackson's we are informed that
the Judge, thinking no good would result from it, objected to the investigation
and it was not entered upon.'
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The Columbia Statesman, January 17,1862 (p. 1, col. 4), and January 24,1862 (p, 2, co[. 4), reported details of the Battle of Silver Creek at Roan's Tanyard about seven miles south of Huntsville and seven miles west of Renick, near the residence of Joel Smith in Randolph county just north of the Howard County line. According to the person who reported the battle to the newspaper: "Major Hubbard of the Missouri First Cavalry, with a battalion or detachment of his regiment, assisted by Major Hunt of 'Merrill's Horse' and Major Torrence of the Iowa Cavalry, making in all about 560 mounted men, left the camp near Fayette on the morning of the 8th, taking the road to Roanoke; after reaching which place, they took the road to Renick up Foster's Prairie to Dr. Walker's a distance of 7 miles, thence turning due north about one mile and a half, found Col. Poindexter with from 1,000 to1,200 rebels encamped in a very strong position on the Silver Creek, at Roan's Tanyard.... 'Their location was in a bend of the creek in a small valley surrounded by high bluff is densely covered with bushes, one of the best natural positions in the world for infantry.
"Major Hubbard found them about five o'clock in the evening dismounted about 200 of his men, those armed with carbines and pistols assaulted the camp, forded the creek and routed the camp in fifteen minutes, the rebels fleeing in every direction, leaving a part of their dead and wounded upon the field.
"Major Hubbard captured in the fight 16 prisoners, 165 horses, about 70 wagons, about 100 tents, some 80 kegs of powder, about two hundred guns and pistols, harness, thousands of blankets, overalls, &c., &c. After the fight was over the rebels sent in a flag of truce to get their dead and wounded which were scattered through the woods in every direction. After they had gone five of their dead were found by the Federals. Major Hubbard thinks the rebel loss about forty killed and seventy-five wounded.
'His loss, 2 killed, 3 mortally wounded (since dead), and twenty-one others wounded, all of whom he
January 23,1862-In a letter from Brig. Gen. Jno. Pope, Headquarters, Central District, Missouri, Otterville, Mo., on this date to Maj. Gen. H.W. Halleck, Commander of the Department of Missouri, St. Louis (OR, Series I, Vol. VIII), Pope says: "I receive frequent letters from Glasgow in relation to posting troops at that place. Unless the system of occupying every considerable or inconsiderable town in the State is to be adopted I do not see that Glasgow has any claims not advanced by Lexington, Booneville [sic], &c. Glasgow is important in some respects as a military position, but I think not as much so as Brunswick. As neither place, however, is within the limits of my command, I can only refer the matter for your consideration.
'Posting troops in towns has very much the same effect as issuing sugar and
coffee to Dutch and Irish soldiers: what they never felt the want of before
immediately becomes a necessity, and cannot possibly be dispensed with. Once
station troops in these towns and it becomes nearly impossible to get them away
for any service without great clamor from the inhabitants, who profit in more
ways than protection from their presence."
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Just a week after the above letter was sent, Pope seems to have changed his tune considerably and sent this communication to the Commanding Officer of Merrill's Horse (OR, Series 1, Vol. VIII): "You will cross the river at Booneville [sic] and march to Glasgow with your whole command. It is reported that young Price and Colonel Jackson are recruiting in that neighborhood. As soon as you are satisfied that you have broken up all such parties in [the] vicinity of Glasgow you will establish five companies of your command in comfortable winter quarters at that place, using such public buildings, store-houses and stables as are best adapted for that purpose. Your other four companies you will in like manner post at Fayette. A train of wagons will be at Booneville [sic] on the 5th of February, on which day you will have at least one company on the opposite side of the river to receive and escort the train to Glasgow.
"You will establish your headquarters at Glasgow, Fayette being considered
an outpost of your command. The train will carry you supplies for one month-
You will move as rapidly as possible to Glasgow, as the presence of forces is
much needed there.'
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On this date James P. Morrison, who lived at Lilac Hill" just south of Fayette
was "persuaded' by Capt. J. B. Mason of "Merrill's Horse' to execute a loyalty
oath, swearing that he will 'support, protect and defend the Constitution and
Government of the United States against all enemies whether domestic or foreign."
Morrison did not, however, serve with the Union army, but paid an exemption
tax of $90.10 on May 7, l863, which excused him from service. This was only
one of numerous loyalty oaths required of voters, attorneys, lawyers, etc.,
that were required by law in Missouri beginning about February 1862.
March 6-9-Battle of Pea Ridge, Ark. (Elkhorn Tavem). Generals Van Dom and Price defeated by Gen. Curtis.
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24. March 25, 1962
A Baptist preacher named [Rev. Wm. G.] Caples, a prisoner on parole, in the area of Glasgow, is
restrained by Federal authority from preaching the gospel because it has been learned that his teachings
have been making trouble in Chariton, Saline and Howard counties. (Bartels, P. 35)
Summer of 1862
Col. Jos. C. Porter is in northeast Missouri and Col. John A. Poindexter is in central Missouri under orders from Confederate Gen. Thomas Hindman, who had succeeded Gen. Van Dom as Commander of the District of Arkansas following the Battle of Pea Ridge, to recruit troops for the Confederate army. As Richard S. Brownlee explains in Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy (Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1958), pp. 76-79:
"Toward the first of July, 1862, Gen. Thomas C. Hindman [a believer in the military value of guerrilla wazfare] ... activated strategic plans which were...intended to set the border ablaze with guerrilla organizations, and to explode occupied Missouri in Gen. Schofield's face....
"Jefferson Davis did not believe in guerrilla warfare ... (and) had not in any way approved of Gen.
Price's use of the guerrillas in Missouri in the summer and fall of 1861.... However, in an act approved
April 21, 1862, by the Confederate Congress, President Davis was authorized to commission officers
with authority to form bands of partisan rangers.... The Confederate Partisan Ranger Act was just what
Gen. Hindman needed for his district... [He then] proceeded to select the officers he wanted to send to
Missouri to start guerrillas activities. Among those he chose were Col. Upton Hays, Col. John T.
Hughes, Col. Joseph C. Porter, Col. J. Vard Cockrell, Col. John T. Coffee, Col. Gideon W.
Thompson, Col. Warner Lewis, Col. J.A. Poindexter, and Capt. Joseph 0. Shelby. These men were to
commission guerrilla officers and organizations wherever possible. Singly, or with small commands,
they passed through the Union lines and made their way into Missouri during the summer of 1862.'
July 28, 1862-Battle of Moore's Mill, near Fulton, Callaway County (Col. Odon Guitar defeats Col. J.C. Porter)
August 6, 1862-Battle of Kirksville (Col. John McNeil defeats Col. J.C. Porter)
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The Columbia Statesman, August 8, 1862 (p. 3, col. 1) reported that 'one day last week J.F. Rucker, of
Rocheport, a Major from Price's army, who escaped from the Military Prison in St. Louis, boarded the
steamer H.D. Bacon at the Rocheport Landing and demanded whatever government horses or stores
there were on the boat- Being convinced that the horses belonged to private patrons and that there were
no government stores aboard, the boat was permitted to go on up the river.... A few nights previous
some forty armed men entered the town and jayhawked the citizens indiscriminately of fire arms. They
also took 15,000 percussion caps from the store of Harris & Hubbard...... Several other incidents of
thievery in the area were also reported, including some plundering by Poindexter's men who are noted as
being 'camped on the Moniteau [Creek] in Howard County, near the residence of Judge Wade M.
Jackson." The comment is made that "these rebel guerrillas in this mode of 'fighting for their rights' are
doing a land office business.' On October 3, 1862, the Statesman reported (P. 3, col. l) that Major
Rucker and his men had crossed the Missouri river eight miles below Rocheport and were heading
southwest to join the main rebel army there.
August 8-August 13, 1862 Gen. Orion Guitar's troops pursue Col. J. A. Poindexter's
troops through Chariton and Carroll counties, defeating them at Yellow Creek
in Chariton County and later taking Poindexter prisoner.
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26. September 6, 1862
"One battle was fought on September 6, 1862, on the old Fristoe farm about four miles northwest of Armstrong. Fourteen rebels were on their way from Macon to join Price's army. They were attempting to miss Glasgow, but someone reported them to the Federal soldiers stationed there. The rebels stopped at the old Fristoe home and went to the woods for dinner. While two of the group were gone to the well for water the Federal soldiers charged on to the other soldiers from out of a cornfield.
"The rebel captain offered to surrender but Captain Beard [Capt. J. W. Baird] of the Federals said. 'We take no prisoners.' The group from Glasgow included 40 Federals under Beard and about 40 of the state militia under Morgan. When Beard ordered the charge the rebel leader said for each to care for himself. All ran for cover except two who stood their ground. The name of one of these men was George Teeters [from Randolph County and only 17 years old at the time]. The Federals started firing and shots flew thick and fast for a few minutes. The rebel who stood with Teeters wounded Captain Beard and then the two gave up. The Federals fatally wounded Teeters and would have shot his companion if Morgan had not refused to do so. The Federals also captured the two men who had gone to the well. Beard was taken to the Fristoe house, where he soon died.
"Teeters body was not touched until permission was obtained from Glasgow to
bury him. With $40 obtained from his pockets and some money that they contributed,
the neighbors bought a suit of clothes and a casket and buried him. When the
battle site was examined soon afterwards many shots were discovered high up
in the trees on the opposite bank of the small creek. Many thought these shots
were fired by Morgan's men, many of whom were really southern sympathizers forced
to fight in the state militia." (Article by William A. Markland in the Bicentennial
Boonslick History, Boonslick Historical Society, 1976, p. 96)
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An example of continuing Confederate recruitment activity in Howard County after the defeat of Poindexter is contained in the following order found hidden in the wall of the old Captain William G. Edward's house at 321 Edwards Street in New Franklin in January 1990 by the owner Kenneth Isle (Owen Collection): Camp of Confed Troops, Howard Co. Mo. Sept 25th 1862, Ist Lieut. R.S. Leveridge---
You are authorized to raise, muster, or swear into the service of the Confederate State, one company of soldiers, to be sworn infor the term of three years or during the war. You will do this acting under atuthority from Mqior Gen. Hindman, Commanding Forces, Mississippi Dept. of the Confed States of America.
H.H. Hughes, Major C.S.A.
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On October 8, 1862, Brig. Gen. Odon Guitar sent the following communication
to Maj. George M. Huston, Assistant Adjutant-General (OR, Series I, Vol. XIII,
p. 314): "I have this moment received a dispatch from Major Draper, at Fayette,
advising me that Lieutenant Street, Company A, Ninth Cavalry, Missouri State
Militia, with 40 men and 20 Enrolled Missouri Militia, attacked a camp of 75
rebels, near New Franklin, Howard County, at daylight on the 7th instant, completely
surprising and routing them, killing 3 (left dead on the field), wounding a
number, capturing 25 horses, 14 guns, 3 sabers,...& c. Our loss, I horse
killed. The rebels were completely scattered and dispersed. They were under
the command of Captains Cameron and Singleton."
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Jazaleel Maxwell farmed southeast of Fayette not far from Salt Creek. Jazaleel was a Southern sympathizer, often helping the boys who wanted to join the Confederate forces cross the Missouri River. Tipped off by a Union informer, Union troops descended on his farm in the spring of 1863 and told him he was under arrest and that they were going to put him in jail. Jazaleel asked time to get his affairs in order, and immediately joined Col. Sid Jackman, who had been commissioned by the Confederates to make recruiting missions in central Missouri north of the Missouri River. Later, however, he decided he wanted to return to his home and he and Jackman came up with a plan to accomplish this. The plan involved abducting General Bartholow and then securing from him a promise not to harm or harrass Maxwell further. This led to the following incident:
From the Howard County Advertiser, April 30,1863 (see also History of Howard and Cooper Counties, p. 286): 'On Wednesday night last, Brigadier General T.J. Bartholow, commanding the eighth military district of Missouri, was taken from bed at Glasgow, Missouri, by Jackman's guerrillas, and was not heard from till yesterday. There was a company of enrolled militia in the town, but the general, having recently lost by death his wife and , was staying for the night at his mother's late residence, situated on the outskirts of town. During the night the guerrillas entered and carried him away. Yesterday, however, (word was received] from General Bartholow (stating that he had been released by Jackman and had returned to headquarters].'
The newspaper article reporting this incident contains the further information that while General
Bartholow was a captive he 'proposed to Jackman that in consideration of his release he would give
protection to the person and property of a man named Maxwell, of Howard County, at whose house a
party of Jacknvm's men were captured last winter [1862/63], in consequence of which Maxwell left
home to avoid arrest, as he was under oath and bond. General Bartholow having learned that Maxwell
did not willingly harbor those men, but begged them to leave, stating that he was under bond and would
suffer if they were known to have been at his house. This statement was corroborated by Jackman and
his men. Jackman accepted the proposition, and General Bartholow was released.'
On May 1, 1863, the Eighth Military District Headquarters was moved from Glasgow
to Macon. Col. Clark B. Green was placed in command of the Glasgow post. A few
months later General Bartholow resigned his commission and went to Mexico in
search of silver.
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The History of Howard and Cooper Counties (p. 284) notes that while Colonel Sidney D. Jackman was on a recruiting expedition in Howard county in the neighborhood of New Franklin, his company, consisting of about twenty men, was attacked by a detachment of Federals under Captain Samuel Steinmetz, from Glasgow. The account goes on to say: "The guerrillas had taken a strong position in a ravine, and after pouring a single volley into Steinmetz's ranks, the latter scattered in every direction, and did not halt until they reached Fayette. Major Reeves Leonard, commander of the post at Fayette, and a member of Colonel [Odon] Guitar's regiment, aroused at the signal failure of Steinmetz to break up Jackman's recruiting camp, hurried out himself at the head of sixty picked troopers. A combat ensued, brief but savage. Jackman and Leonard met face to face and fought a single-handed fight. Leonard was wounded severely in the leg. Jackman and his men retreated."
Further clarification of this incident can be found in a report sent by Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Bartholow
on June 2,1863, to Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, Commander of the Department of the Missouri (OR,
Series 1, Vol. XXH, Part I-Correspondence, p. 343):
"I received the following dispatch from Col. Clark H. Green, commanding the post at Glasgow, at 10
o'clock last night.
Glasgow, Mo., June 1, 1863 Captain Steinmetz, with 15 men, ran into a camp of bushwhackers 3 miles north of Rocheport at sunrise this morning. The rebels fired upon them, and a short skirmish ensued, our men getting scattered, and were driven within 3 miles of Fayette. Four of our men are missing. John Vance was captured. William Hensley is supposed to have been killed. Captain Steinmetz came to Fayette, got help, and has gone back. Jackman, Pulliam, Todd, and Rucker were with the rebels, having about 60 men.
"I immediately telegraphed to Mexico and Sturgeon, ordering a force from each place to move forthwith in the direction of Rocheport, directing the officers to act in conjunction with the troops moving from Fayette, and not to return until this band of marauders was broken up or as long as they could learn of an armed rebel in that section. I also had a messenger dispatched to General Guitar, at Columbia, requesting him to send a force from Columbia. I ordered Colonel Green to arrest Jackman's family and hold them for the safety of Sergeant Vance, reported captured by the band. I also sent an order by the early train this morning to Captain Skinner, at Renick, who has a company stationed there, to march immediately in the direction above indicated with all the available forces he could spare. Thus, by moving detachments from five different points, I hope by tonight to have the section invested by these rebels so surrounded that their escape will be cut off and the band effectually broken up. This band is the same which, under Pulliam, lately committed the depredations in Pike and Lincoln Counties. A few have doubtless joined them since they came into Howard. I have just received information that the forces from Mexico and Sturgeon are on the march.
"Captain Steinmetz, at the head of 13 men, had moved from Glasgow on Saturday night, with the view of endeavoring to effect the capture of Jackman, who was known to be in the neighborhood of Rocheport, he not knowing that Pulliam had got into the vicinity with the men who were bushwhacking under him in Pike and Lincoln. I will keep you advised regarding this affair.'
This incident was also reported in the Columbia Statesman, Friday, June 5, IW (p. 3, cot. 1), under the headline--Rebel Camp Routed in Howard County (see also Columbia Statesman, Friday June 12, 1863, P. 1, cot. 7):
"On Monday morning last Uune lst] a squad of Militia from Glasgow, numbering 16, came upon a rebel camp on the farm of John L. Jones, about 2 miles north of Rocheport, in Howard County. The camp contained, reports say, from 40 to 50 rebels who were under command of Jackman, Pulliam and Rucker. The rebels fired upon the militia from the bushes, mortally wounding two of them and slightly another, taking one prisoner. The militia finding themselves greatly outnumbered, retreated to Fayette, the rebels pursuing them within a short distance of that place. In the pursuit the rebels came upon Martin Calvert, a citizen of Howard County, on his way to the Howard Circuit Court, whom they fired upon, the shot taking effect in his back, four balls passing through his body. His wounds were mortal, and he has since died. Calvert, though a secessionist, was regarded as an honorable and respectable man by his neighbors. The rebels soon returned to their old camping ground and were followed by Capt. [Reeves] Leonard of the 9th Cav. M.F.M. from Fayette. Capt Leonard whilst reconnoitering the camp and moving his men to an advantageous position was fired upon by the rebels from the bushes. The Federals returned the fire and charged upon the camp, completely routing the rebels, who scattered in every direction. Three of Capt. Leonard's men were slightly wounded: the Captain himself was wounded slightly in two places. Two rebels were left dead on the spot, and 6 more wounded. Among the captures made were 6 horses, 10 guns, a keg of powder, Jackman's powder flask with a bullet hole through it, a warm and nicely prepared dinner, and lastly a negro man whom the rebels had taken from a farmer in Monroe county.
"Capt. Cook of the 9th Cavalry, M.S.M., arrived on the ground from this place just in time to make pursuit after the fleeing rebels. Had he been a few minutes sooner the camp could have been surrounded and the whole band destroyed. He pursued a portion of them far up the Perche among the hills of that region until they scattered and all trace of them became lost."
John Newman Edwards also describes this incident in Noted Guerrillas, pp. 304-305, adding a somewhat more dramatic account of the wounding of Jackman and Leonard:
"A bloody combat ensued-brief, savage, exterminating. Jackman and Leonard met
face to face and fought a single-handed fight. Leonard was hit once in the head
and twice in the side, and Jackman was wounded severely in the leg. When Leonard
fell his men shamefully abandoned him and dashed away, as Steinmetz's men had
done, without drawing rein, until they too reached Fayette, panic-stricken and
exhausted. Leonard and two of his wounded soldiers, fell alive into Jackman's
hands, who treated them with marked consideration, releasing them finally, and
permitting them to be carried to their homes. Several severe skirmishes followed
this bloody little fight, in all of which Jackman was victorious....'
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The Missouri Statesman, July 3, 1863 (P. 3, cot. 1), contained the following account of a Militia attack on a Howard County guerrilla camp on the Rawlings farm June 18, 1863:
'Another fight between Jackman and Rucker's men and a squad of Guitar's regiment from Fayette, under Lieutenant Boller, took place this morning two miles from Rocheport, on the farm of Commodore Rawlings. The Federals had, by putting on butternuts, gotten into the confidence of a rebel farmer, who was up to the ropes, and finding out from him what they wanted, made him show them the camp, upon which they came before daybreak .
'After the first volley, which took the rebels by surprise, they rallied and returned a deadly fire, killing one and slightly wounding two others. 'the rebels retreated in good order. One of their officers was seen lifted on a horse, and Jackman wounded. Two physicians from Rocheport were sent for, and dressed his wounds in the brush. One prisoner was taken, and one horse. The Militia are still in pursuit." (see also OR, Series 1, Vol. X)W, Part I-Correspondence, pp. 373-374)
An interesting sidelight on this incident involves C. Percy Rawlings who owned the farm on which the fight took place. This information comes from P. 45 in Michael Feilman's Inside War (1989) and is derived from Provost Marshal Charges of Disloyalty File 2792, Record Group 393, National Archives, Washington, D.C., United States vs. C. Percy Rawlings, St. Louis, July 3, 1863:
"In 1863 C. Percy Rawlings, a forty-six-year-old Howard County farmer, was
arrested after hauling corn to William Jackman's guerrillas. Although he deposed
that he had only aided the guerrillas because he 'was compelled to do that'
(the usual defense of arrested guerrilla abettors), Rawlings refused when asked
to make the usual stock acknowledgment of Unionist sympathies. 'I am a Southern
sympathizer,'he declared. 'I do not desire to see the South put down in the
rebellion nor do I desire to see the authority of the U.S. Government reestablished
over the South. I have one Negro. I have some nephews in the southern army.'
Rawlings was exceptional in professing southern loyalties under such circumstances.
Almost every guerrilla and sympathizer became a verbally loyal Unionist when
asked those same questions while under Union arrest."
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The Howard County Advertiser, Septeniber 9,1863 (p. 2, col. 1), contains the following article: l
"On Tuesday last [September 6], a detachment from this post, went in pursuit of one Captain (Clifton, sometimes rendered as or Clifford or Cliff] Holtsclaw [sic], who, it is said, has recently returned from Price's army, and who is at the head of a band of guerrillas now operating in this County. It was first reported that Captain Holtsclaw had taken prisoner, a man by the name of Bullock, belonging to Guitar's regiment, and that he, Holtsclaw, intended to kill him. This caused the detachment to be sent out, they went to the house of James Holtsclaw, the father of the reported Captain, and told him that he must pilot them over the country. They all got ready, and were in the act of starting, when one of the soldier's guns was accidentally discharged, the contents entering the head of the old man, killing him almost instantly. This was indeed a sad occurrence, and none seem to regret it more than Lt. Street, who was in c at the time the accident occurred.'
Carolyn Bartels, in her book Civil War Stories of Missouri, pp. 133-134, gives another version of this story, though she wrongly attributes the incident to the year 1862:
'In 1862 the militia, led by Lieutenant Street killed his (Clifton Holtzclaw's] father in the latter's barnyard. Then with no feeling at all, left the body for the hogs to devour. Mr. Holtzclaw's young daughters finally discovered his body and rescued their lifeless father. The charge against the elder Holtzclaw was that he fed and harbored bushwhackers. By Union rules all Missouri State Guard men were considered bushwhackers and guerrillas. Clifton set about making his father's life one that was not lived in vain for naught.'
And here is John Newman Edwards' description and interpretation of the same incident in Noted Guerrillas (pp. 303-304)along with some background information on the Holtzclaw family:
"Captain Clifton Holtzclaw led the first Guerrillas Howard County produced. [His brother,] Capt. William Holtzclaw of the first companies that was raised for Price's army in the State.... Clifton was a lieutenant in the company, and his brothers, James, Benjamin, and John were privates. William was killed at Corinth, John and Benjamin at Vicksburg while James and Clifton survived the war. Here were five brothers who were brave alike, who fought side by side, who were renowned for personal prowess and personal courage, and who sacrificed everything they possessed for the cause and the Confederacy. A tragic circumstance called Capt. Clifton Holtzclaw back to Missouri. His aged father and mother, together with three sisters, had been robbed of everything they possessed, horses, household effects, clothing, even bread. Yet the old patriarch's spirit remained all unsubdued and undaunted. As far advanced as he was in life, and as little fitted for warlike operations, he nevertheless secreted several kegs of powder against a day when they might be worth their weigh in gold. Some of this powder became damp [and] old Mr. Holtzclaw attempted to dry it before a fire. There was a terrible explosion, one sister was killed and the two others dreadfully burnt. To care for and protect these, and his two aged parents, Capt Cliff Holtzclaw hurried home after the Corinth battle, where a gallant brother had been killed, and sought to be at peace and to rest in quiet. Such things in those savage days were impossible things. Several efforts were made to capture and kill him. Four or five scouting parties went to his house, insulted his parents, abused his sisters, and made all sorts and kinds of terrible threats against his own life. In self-defense he organized speedily a splendid company and fought a desperate Guerrilla fight all through the summer of 1863 and 1864.
"But did he not have terrible provocation? In the summer of 1863, Lieutenant Jo Streff [sic] of Guitar's
regiment-went to Capt Holtzclaw's house, took the aged father from the arms of his aged wife and
remorselessly killed him. The son avenged him. He fought thereafter as some savage wild beast. He
killed by day and by night. He never took a prisoner. As desperate as Anderson, as unforgiving as
Todd, as untiring as Taylor or Jesse James, the timber sent him forth as a scourge and received him back
again as though he was a part of its solitude.' (Edwards, pp. 303-304)
September 11, 1863 On this date the Columbia Statesman carried an article (p. 3, col. 3) from the St. Louis Union purporting to be an appeal from Col. J. A. Poindexter (in the St. Louis County Jail) addressed to his "fellow citizens of Northwest Missouri' admonishing them to renounce their support of guerrilla warfare. Here are some excerpts from this interesting document, apparently written by Poindexter as one of the conditions to secure his release from prison (along with a $10,000 bond and an agreement not to leave Randolph County):
'I write you from this gloomy prison with the hope that the few suggestions I may make may deter some at least from engaging in an enterprise which must bring .. devastation and ruin upon their country....
"Is it reasonable to suppose that the Federal authorities will stand idly by and permit a few hundred poorly armed bush whackers, guerrillas, or partizan rangers (it matters not by what name they may call themselves) to hold undisputed possession of North Missouri? Certainly not. Is there any man in Missouri fanatical enough to think that a few hundred or even a few thousand men could sustain themselves for any length of time north of the Missouri river? I think not. Then what can you expect to accomplish?
"...Guerrilla warfare can have no impression on the final result of the struggle now going on between the two contending powers. Its only fruits will be desolation, devastation and death. All history has proven that in all countries where this system of warfare has been permitted, they seldom get rid of it. The very worst men in the country engage in it for predatory purposes-and after the restoration of peace, they still follow their nefarious designs, for the same selfish ends. True, some good men blindly engage in it but by associating with desperadoes, they too become contaminated, and in nine cases out of ten come to some bad end....
'I would not have it understood, as some may erroneously suppose, that this article is written for the purpose of creating a sympathy in my behalf, pending a trial for treason next month. It is written for no such base purpose. I write ... believing that if guerrilla warfare is longer tolerated the whole State must soon become as desolate as the Desert of Saharan, and believing it to be the duty of every lover of good order to everything that 'in him lies' to put a stop to everything of a deleterious character that is calculated to destroy the peace and prosperity of this country.
'With the hope that reason may soon resume her sway-that the bickerings and
political jealousies that have so long divided and distracted our people may
be forgotten that the unpleasant memories of the past may soon find everlasting
resting place in the gulf of oblivion and peace and quiet may be speedily restored
to our bleeding country, I submit myself, your well-wisher and fellow-citizen,
J. A. Poindexter'
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'Capt. William Jackson, a son of Governor C.F. Jackson, met..Captain John Tillman
in Richland bottom opposite Saline City, and whipped him badly. Jackson had
five men and Tillman sixteen. When the fight was done, Jackson had four men
and Tillman eight. The balance might have been found among the dead.' (Edwards,
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Shelby's famous fall 1863 raid into Missouri reached Boonville on October 11, 1863. A description of his movements as he approached and entered the town appears in the 1876 History of Cooper County, pp. 112-113. This account also appears word for word in the 1883 History of Howard and Cooper Counties, pp. 770-772:
'General Joseph Shelby ... passed through Otterville on the night of the 9th (of October], and burned the Pacific railroad bridge near that town. On the night of the 10th he camped near Bell Air, in a pasture belonging to Mr. Nathaniel Leonard, and on the next day he marched to Boonville. His movements becoming known in Boonville the night before [several of the citizens crossed the river into Howard County concluding that discretion was the better part of valor, and], a meeting of the citizens was called by Mayor McDearinon. After some delay, the conclusion was reached that the only alternative was to surrender the city to General Shelby....
'Just as General Shelby marched into Boonville from the south, Major [Reeves] Leonard, with about 250 Federal troops, appeared on the north side of the river and commenced crossing his men. The first boat load had almost reached the Boonville shore, when some one called to those in the boat that the town was full of Confederates, and that they had better retreat. The pilots immediately turned the boat around and made for the Howard shore. At this time some of Shelby's men appeared and commenced firing upon the boat with muskets. But the boat, having gotten out of reach of this fire, the Confederates brought up some artillery and opened fire upon the boat, two shots striking it before it reached the shore. As soon as Major Leonard landed his forces, the artillery was turned upon them, and they were soon forced to retire beyond the reach of the shells....
'General Shelby remained in Boonville the balance of the afternoon of that day, and encamped for the night west of the city on the Georgetown road. He came here to obtain supplies, such as clothing and provisions, which they found in great abundance, and which they took, wherever found. M.J. Werthiemer, and Messrs. Lady & McFadden were the greatest sufferers, each losing about $4,000 in clothing. The Confederate troops did not molest any person during their stay, not a single man was killed or wounded, and they were very polite and gentlemanly to every person.'
George T. Ferrell, one of Boonville's veteran newspaper men, was a boy when Shelby marched into Boonville on October 11 and he described his memory of the event in a story for the Boonville Advertiser, February 23, 1894, entitled 'IMys with Shelby':
"It was a bright, bracing autumn Sunday morning when the head of the gray troopers made its appearance upon the crest of Trigg's Hill-the southern extremity of Main street. Church congregations were just starting home from the morning service, as the gallant troopers rode boldly down the main thoroughfare....
"The small garrison had fled and scattered without resistance. The welcome Shelby and his men received was a happy one, and kisses and caresses were showered upon the veterans, many of whom were residents of Cooper county and had not met their loved ones since the beginning of the war.
"[But] the invaders did not tarry long, and if they were greeted upon their
advent by such demonstrations as those mentioned, they had to fight their way
out of the town and out of the state.'
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