The Enrolled Missouri Militia, 4th Military District


The Enrolled Missouri Militia, 4th Military District, Order Book

On August 17, 1861 Missouri Governor Hamilton R. Gamble ordered a proclaiming establishing the Missouri State Militia for defense of the State against guerrilla activity. Gamble soon realized the need for additional troops, and on July 22, 1862 he issued General Order Number 29 organizing the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM). General Colley B. Holland assumed command of the 4th Military district, consisting of the counties in southwest Missouri, on October 30, 1862. Based in Springfield, Missouri, roughly 2,500 men reported for duty, operating under the jurisdiction of the State of Missouri.

Organization and supplying the men who occupied the hostile territory of the Ozarks was not an easy task. Many supplied their own rifles and horses, while others relied on the Quartermaster for munitions. The Quartermaster, however, had limited equipment and provisions available to him, and thus depended on confiscated property to help bolster their supplies.

…a Captain has not right to appropriate arms captured to his individual use…(and) must turn them over to the Q.M. with all other captured property. …No property will be taken from loyal men except for subsistence, in which case, proper vouchers must be given, but you will always if possible subsist on the property of Rebels or Southern Sympathizers.
Charles Sheppard to Lt. N. Dinwiddie in Dade County, November 16, 1862

Management of rebel civilians became a difficult issue for Enrolled Missouri Militia and Holland. Holland issued General Orders No. 4, which required all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 55 years, residing in the Springfield area, to report for work on fortification and other necessary duties for the EMM. “All able-bodied men” did not discriminate among political affiliations and oaths of loyalty. Captured rebel prisoners began work on fortifications, a pragmatic use of idle manpower. Claims of maltreatment from rebel civilians by the Enrolled Missouri Militia reached Holland and General Egbert B. Brown, in which Holland responded,

Many complaints are made to me by persons who admit they have been active rebels, or that they sympathize with those in rebellion. They complain of depredations on their property by the Enrolled Militia. In many cases I find the complaints groundless…In some instances it is true property has been wrongfully taken and destroyed; men and women have been killed; all this is deplored by all good men: But Union men have the same right to complain; they are suffering all these hardships. Do the sympathizers of the Rebellion complain of the conduct of their friends to Union men? Have they done anything? Are they even willing to resist the military in their efforts to put a stop to the murders and robberies which are daily committed in the name of the rebellion?

If any class of citizens are more to blame than others for all the evil consequences flowing from its exciting trouble it is those who have commenced the war. How can they complain of that which is only the legitimate result of their own madness and crime? If they complain that their property has been taken, they cannot with truth say that they did not first take from Union Men: If they complain that their houses have been invaded, they should recollect that Union men were first disarmed, their houses invaded and plundered. If they say some of their friends have been killed in a manner contrary to the wages of civilized warfare; let the Union dead, men and women who have been shot from the brush; at their own doors; in their houses; and after being taken prisoner, cry out from a thousand graves. You killed us first. It is to be expected under all these circumstances that we can properly restrain our men?

As long as our Union men are Killed and murderd by those who have no military organization, and who escape punishment after arrest by taking an oath, which they never intend to regard – so long there will be retaliation – If it can not be done under military organizations, it will be done outside of them, under the natural right of self defense.
Colley B. Holland to Egbert B. Brown, December 15, 1862

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