Andrew Tinkham’s Drawing of Springfield, Missouri, 1861 Image courtesy of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Andrew Tinkham enlisted May 25, 1861, as a private in Company F of the First Kansas Infantry, which was organized at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, between May 20 and June 3, 1861. Unlike other volunteer troops which fought at Wilson’s Creek, the […]
Collections in the Linn Category
“Old Age,” written by Clinton Owen Bates in 1949, reflects on the life of a young boy growing up in Arkansas during the Civil War, and his career as a teacher. Bates was born in 1857, and grew up on a farm in Fayetteville. The Bates family had split loyalty among the North and South, and even as a young child, Bates remembered the tension that the War brought into their home. Bates recalled the bloody conflict along the border of Missouri and Kansas, encounters with runaway slaves, and various Trans-Mississippi Theater battles. After the War, Bates began his career as a teacher. He taught at the Cherokee Headquarters on the Tahlequah Indian Reservation and later held a position in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
In March 1828, Hamilton Schooley was born in New York, and by 1855, he was living in Mound City, in Linn County, Kansas, with his wife, Polly Ann, and their son, Willie. Schooley and his family had survived through the “Bleeding Kansas Era” and hoped all the violence and trouble was finally coming to an end. Schooley wrote his parents and sister in New York, about the large number of people traveling through Kansas, that were headed West in search of gold. Although Schooley was asked to go on several expeditions, he believed most people, including himself, would be disappointed in their venture.
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.
John Dryden wrote his wife while on a cattle drive on the Miami Indian Reserve in Linn County, Kansas in July 1863. Dryden noted in his letter about the large band of bushwhackers in Harrisonville, Missouri and how the Union troops along the Missouri-Kansas border retreated to Paola, KS. Dryden was not tied to either military, although the language he uses in his letter suggests he was a loyal Unionist.
John S. Gray enlisted in the 1st Light Artillery (Kansas) on July 24, 1861. In March 1863, Gray wrote a friend in Springfield, Missouri, describing conditions in the area. Gray observed that the threat of guerrilla attacks had diminished greatly. Although a number of Native American soldiers were deserting the Confederate cause and joining the Federals, Gray complained they were of little use to the Union cause. Gray also described how 87 Confederate prisoners escaped from Springfield and headed back to Confederate lines. Finally, Gray expressed hope that General James G. Blunt would soon be transferred to Missouri.
Joseph H. Trego, a Lieutenant in the 5th Kansas Cavalry, wrote his brother Thomas Trego about his experiences around Kansas City in early October 1861. The 5th Kansas Cavalry was organized on July 12, 1861, and many of its companies were stationed along the Kansas and Missouri border. Trego made several remarks about the poor leadership and judgment of Samuel D. Sturgis, and at one point humorously called him “Prince Sturges.” Trego provided accounts of Union forces raiding civilians in Missouri, and of a Confederate spy who destroyed an ordinance wagon in their camp. Trego informs his brother that he might be marching south again to protect southern Kansas from invading Missouri and Cherokee soldiers. This single letter exemplifies many of the hardship that faced civilians in Missouri and Kansas during the Civil War.
In September 1857, the Kansas Constitutional convention met in Lecompton, determined to make Kansas a slave state. The Lecompton Constitution included a provisional article that guaranteed a slaveholder’s right to retain ownership of their slaves currently living in the territory, but it also prohibited future importation of slaves to Kansas. Heated debates took place in the Senate over the admission of Kansas, under the proslavery. This collection contains speeches from Missouri Senator, Trusten Polk and Illinois Senator, Steven A. Douglas on the admission of Kansas to the Union under the Lecompton Constitution.
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.
Partheny Horn was a strong southern supporter who in 1863, who along with a group of other Missouri women left the state seeking refuge in Texas. Partheny and her family lived in Cedar County, Missouri before the war. She recalled her brother’s departure into service and the trials she and the other woman faced on their harrowing journey to Texas. Horn’s memoir provides a fascinating account of their experiences and documents the physical and mental strength of women during the War. Horn authored the memoir fifty years after the war ended, thus her description are not entirely historically accurate. The memoir does, however, offer a very unique and invaluable perspective of the war’s impact on southern women in Missouri.