On August 17, 1861 Missouri Governor Hamilton R. Gamble ordered a proclamation 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. Holland’s documented all activities related to his command in the enrolled Missouri Militia order book for the 4th Military District in Southwest Missouri, from November 1862 through May 1863. His reports cover the Battles of Springfield and Hartville and also include details about depredation in Southwest Missouri and the extensive guerrilla activity that took place in the region.
Collections in the Laclede Category
Ephraim Fauquier enrolled as a Private in Company “C”, 3rd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry Volunteers on September 2, 1861 at Keokuk, Iowa, for three years service. His letters to his wife Margaret and their children – Charles, Lizzie and Thomas – span his service in the Union Army, across the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.
The Isely Family Papers contain correspondence and other documents dating from the late 1850s through the 1930s. A significant portion of the collection consists of letters written during the Civil War between Christian H. Isely and his wife, Marie Elizabeth “Eliza” Dubach. Christian served in the 2nd Kansas Cavalry and they traveled throughout Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma; which was then Indian Territory. During the war, Eliza went to live with Christian’s parents in Ohio, rather than stay with her father in Willow Dale, Kansas, due to the unstable conditions in the Kansas-Missouri border region. The Isely’s were a profoundly religious family and their correspondences depict the deeply rooted connection between religion and political convictions and how their beliefs often divided their family.
The Lizzie Gilmore collection is a series of letters written by Elizabeth C. Gilmore, primarily to her cousins in Crittenden County, Kentucky. Through her letters, “Lizzie” notes political differences among her family, guerrilla warfare in Missouri and Kentucky, and the hardships she faced in Laclede County. She commented on the fears of living among the war split community of Lebanon and the nature of co-existence. Lizzie declared her loyalty to the Union, but she specifically states, “but that is as far as I go.” It is unknown if she was opposed northern aggression, advocated for states rights, or supported slavery. This collection provides a glimpse of life for a Laclede County citizen facing the struggles of war and reconstruction in the Ozarks.
Lyman Gibson Bennett enlisted in the 36th Illinois Infantry in 1861. Prior to the War he trained as a surveyor and civil engineer, working for the railroad. The military utilized Bennett’s skills as a cartographer, and assigned him to survey battlefields, road systems, and fortifications. Bennett’s diaries document his daily duties as both a soldier and an engineer for the military. His regiment participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge, which he describes in vivid detail. Bennett was discharged from the military in August 1864.
In 1865, Bennett joined the engineering department of General Samuel R. Curtis as a civilian. He mapped the 1864 battlefields of Sterling Price’s Missouri Expedition. Bennett was then assigned to survey fortifications in Nebraska and Colorado, and eventually served as an engineering officer on the Powder River Expedition of 1865. Bennett’s diaries provide colorful insight to his perception of the Ozarks and its inhabitants.
The Moses J. Bradford collection consists of forty letters written to his wife, Malissa Jane, and family. Bradford joined the Missouri State Guard under General James H. McBride, and later served in the 10th Missouri Infantry (CSA). In July of 1863, Bradford was captured in Helen, Arkansas. Bradford was incarcerated with other Confederate officers at five different Union prisons: Johnson’s Island in Ohio, Camp Hammond in Maryland, Fort Delaware in Delaware, Morris Island in South Carolina, and Fort Pulaski in Georgia. Bradford wrote ten letters while in the Missouri State Guard and 10th Missouri Infantry. The remainder of the collection was written from the prison. These letters tell of the worsening conditions Bradford faced as a prisoner of war, and the resolve of his dedication to the Confederate States of America.
The Robert Carnahan Letters consists of two correspondences written by Carnahan to his wife in November of 1861. Carnahan enlisted as an officer in the 3rd Illinois Cavalry at Camp Butler, Illinois in August of 1861. The 3rd Illinois Cavalry first served as part of John C. Fremont’s campaign to capture Springfield, Missouri. The first letters is written from Springfield, and the second is from Lebanon as the 3rd Illinois Cavalry marched to Rolla.
The Sarah Jane Smith collection consists of documents related to her imprisonment for guerrilla activity in Southwest Missouri. Sarah destroyed the telegraph line between Rolla and Springfield twice in 1864. Sarah and her noted guerrilla cousins destroyed three to four miles of telegraph wire and cut down several telegraph poles outside of Springfield in May 1864. In August 1864, she was paroled in Rolla. She destroyed another section of telegraph wire outside of Rolla in September of 1864. After the second incident, Sarah was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the War, and sent to Alton Military Prison in Illinois.