Archive for the ‘Newton’ Category

16th Missouri Cavalry Equipment Reports

Monday, February 8th, 2010

The 16th Missouri Cavalry was organized in Springfield on November 1, 1863 from the 6th Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia. They were attached to the District of Southwest Missouri until April 1865, and then the District of North Missouri until July 1, 1865 when they were mustered out.

The 16th Missouri Cavalry scouted and patrolled routes across the Ozarks, seeing action in Wright, Dallas, Texas, Ozark, Laclede and other Missouri Counties. They also participated in the Battle of Mine Creek and other engagements during Sterling Price’s 1864 expedition into Missouri. During their time in service one officer and twelve enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded. One officer and thirty-one enlisted men succumbed to disease. In total, 16th Missouri Cavalry lost forty-five men.1

This collection contains three equipment reports from the 16th Missouri Cavalry outlining the use of supplies and their value. Researchers are encouraged to consult other equipment and supply ledgers located in the Community & Conflict collection to study the war’s impact on distribution of goods, demand and market value in the Ozarks.

Contributed by Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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  1. Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion vol 2, (Dayton: Broadfoot Publishing Company Morningside Press, 1994), 1311.

Asbury C. Bradford Journal

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Captain Asbury C. Bradford kept this journal of enrolled soldiers, equipment and actions of Company E, 2nd Regiment, 8th Division, Missouri State Guard. The 2nd Regiment was organized in July 1861, and Bradford recorded company notes and journal entries from August through November 1861.

The Eighth Division, under the command of Gen. James Rains, participated in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10, 1861. Wilson’s Creek was the second major battle of the Civil War. Union troops under Nathaniel Lyon marched from Springfield, Missouri to engage the Confederates encamped along the creek. Completely surprised by the attack, the Confederates were able to hold their ground and repel the Union advance. Gen. Lyon was killed during the battle, and Union forces retreated to Rolla, MO. Bradford sketched part of the battlefield noting the location of the Sharp house, Sterling Price’s headquarters at the Edwards’ farm and the Gibson’s Mill.

Bradford’s Map of Wilson’s Creek

After the Battle, Bradford’s company marched north with Price and participated in the Battle of Lexington between September 18 and 20, 1861. Price mobilized roughly 7,000 men on his march to Lexington. The town was held by Col. James A. Mulligan and his force of 2,700 Federals. Southerners flocked to Price, and by September 18 his army had grown to nearly 10,000 men.

Mulligan fortified his position in the Masonic College on the north end of town. Rains and his men, which included 3,052 guardsmen and two batteries of artillery, took a position to the north and east of the college. Mulligan launched an unrelenting artillery barrage into the approaching Confederate line. The Rebels captured Oliver Anderson’s house, which at the time was being utilized as a Union hospital. This enraged Mulligan, and he quickly ordered a counterassault to reclaim the building. The order resulted in heavy casualties, and the Federals only held the Anderson home for a short period before the Confederates overpowered them again.

On September 19, the guardsmen encircled the college, and the federals eventually exhausted their supplies. The Union men, surrounded by enemy troops, were forced to endure the battle and heat without water. On September 20, the Confederates discovered a large quantity of hemp bales stored in a nearby warehouse. The guardsmen rolled the bales onto the battlefield slowly charging the Union trenches. The bales provided ample protection for the men; even the Union cannons could not penetrate the dense hemp. Finally, the guardsmen advanced close enough to charge the Union line. Hand-to-hand combat erupted, and soon Mulligan realized surrender was his only option. Price captured several pieces of artillery, 3,000 rifles and 750 horses.

In his journal, Bradford recorded the names of his men who fought bravely at Lexington. He then made a list of those who did not answer the call of duty.

The following list of names are those who stood bneath the enemies grape and muskets for 60 hours at Lexington Mo and won for themselves never dying glories

The following list of names are those who did not go to the brest works oposite these names are there and by excuses for them1

Price reported 25 killed and 72 wounded for the three day engagement. Rains reported only two men were killed from the 8th Division and twenty wounded. Bradford offered the following tribute to his fallen comrades.

So Sleep the brave who sink to res with all there countrys’ wishes best

Asbury C. Bradford journal – n.d.

While Confederate troops clinched victories at Carthage, Wilson’s Creek and Lexington, Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson prepared the political stage for Missouri admission to the Confederacy. The General Assembly elected to remain in the Union in early 1861, but Jackson was determined to cut ties with the United States Government. Days before the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Jackson issued a “Proclamation of Independence,” which declared Missouri a sovereign and independent state. He cited atrocities committed by Union forces, who repeatedly violated Missouri’s rights and liberties. Two weeks later, the Confederate Congress passed a resolution admitting Missouri to the Confederacy, but technically Missouri had not seceded from the Union.

The momentum built from the victories on the battlefield gave Jackson the opportunity to achieve his goal. In September, Jackson called the General Assembly back into session, and asked them to meet at the Newton County Courthouse in Neosho on October 21. On October 20, Bradford’s men marched towards Neosho to protect the legislators as they gathered to solidify Missouri’s future with the Confederacy.

Sunday 20 marched to Neosho

Sunday 27 yet at Neos.

Monday 28 a fine day News confirmed that the Fedrals are in Springfield Also the Legislature in Neosho assembled ratified the Proclamation of the Govens delivered at Newmadrid

Asbury C. Bradford journal – October 20 – 28, 1861

Bradford served in the Missouri State Guard for six months. On March 1, 1862, he was transferred to the 5th Missouri Infantry, C.S.A. According to his service records, Bradford participated in the Battles of Carthage, Wilson’s Creek, Dry Wood, Lexington, Pea Ridge, Fort Gibson, Champion Hill and Vicksburg. Bradford left the service on furlough in August 1863. His records state he was last heard from on December 22, 1863, when he reported that he was extremely sick and did not expect to live. Bradford resided in Bolivar, Missouri.

Contributed by Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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  1. Asbury Bradford, Journal, 1861. WICR 30060. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic, Missouri, 49-52.

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

Thursday, June 11th, 2009


The Enrolled Missouri Militia, 4th Military District

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 covered 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.

Colley B. Holland was made captain of Company D, in the famous Phelps Regiment, organized in the summer of 1861. He took part in the Battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, the heaviest battle west of the Mississippi. Holland was promoted to the position of lieutenant colonel of the reorganized Phelps Regiment, and in the fall of 1862 he aided in recruiting the Seventy-second Regiment, of Missouri State Militia, and was commissioned colonel of that organization, his commission bearing date of September 9, 1862.

Holland’s control over southwest Missouri was tested early as Gen. John. S. Marmaduke led confederate troops from Arkansas and assaulted Springfield on January 8, 1863. Marmaduke had hoped to surprise Springfield’s garrison, but Union Captain Milton Burch’s Company H, 14th Missouri State Militia Cavalry Regiment, while scouting near Dubuque, Arkansas, on January 6, 1863, detected Marmaduke’s movements. Burch then retreated with his company to Lawrence’s Mill in Douglas County, Missouri, before daylight of January 7. Captain Burch then sent a warning message: A Confederate force, estimated between 4000 and 6000 strong, was moving toward Springfield. This was alarming news for Union Brigadier General E. B. Brown’s Springfield & Ozark garrisons, whose commands included only 1,343 veteran soldiers. With suggestions from militia officers Holland, Henry Sheppard, and Doctor Samuel Melcher, General E. B. Brown called upon all available Enrolled Missouri Militia commanders to concentrate their regiments immediately at Springfield.

After fighting Union soldiers for several hours, Marmaduke realized that his force was too small to capture the Union garrison. He disengaged his Confederate forces about 11 p.m, and retreated from the battlefield on the morning of January 9. The Union won a major tactical victory since they successfully held onto the town and saved the Union Army of the Frontier’s winter supplies.

After the defeat at Springfield, General Marmaduke turned his sights towards Hartville. Marmaduke’s men were able to bypass the Union forces on the road and enter Hartville. Union troops raced to Hartville and formed a battle line on the high ground west of the courthouse. The Union forces had almost no time to prepare their position before Colonel Joseph Shelby and Colonel Joseph Porter’s commands engaged them in battle.

As the Confederates discovered the precise location of the Union battle line, they began concentrating their fire from the buildings in town. A portion of the Union line began to break and elements retreated, including the Union’s artillery. Confederate commanders noted the Union withdrawal, and presumed victory. The Union position west of the courthouse, however, was covered by ample brush and trees. While some Union forces indeed retreated from the battlefield, the 21st Iowa Infantry did not receive the order to retreat, so they held their ground in the bush. As Colonel Porter and his column reached the courthouse they realized their mistake as the enemy, only 50 yards away from his men, opened fire. Porter was wounded in the leg and hand.

Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Dunlap, of the 21st Iowa Infantry, extended his line of defense and increased his regiment’s rate of fire to mask his weakness from the Rebel forces. The Confederates made three additional advances before sundown, all of which were repelled. Dunlap later reported, “My men all acted finely, and were cool and active when they learned that they were left alone in front of a rebel horde of 5,000 men.”1 After darkness, Dunlap retreated with the other Union forces toward Lebanon.

Along with calling upon men to fight in combat, General Holland’s responsibilities also included protecting the citizens of Southwest Missouri from guerrilla fighters as Col Henry Sheppards replied to General Holland the need for mounted men was great, “ It is mounted men that are wanted, to distribute them in the Counties of Newton, Jasper, Lawrence, Dade, Cedar, and Barton in the West, and in Christian Stone and Taney in the South, for in many localities in the counties named are bands of Guerrillas. Unless the loyal citizens in those Counties have some protection, they will be overrun and driven from their homes; and have their property destroyed.”2

Management of rebel civilians became a difficult issue for the 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… I am ready to sustain all measures which you may consider necessary for the public good; and to have maintained in the Enrolled Militia the strictest discipline. To disarm and disband any portion, because of alleged misdemeanors or crimes, is in my judgment not only irregular, but will tend to destroy all military discipline.
Colley B. Holland to Egbert B. Brown, December 15, 1862

By the end of the war, over 52,000 men were mustered into 70 regiments of the EMM. While plagued with a stereotype created by its notorious elements, many Enrolled Missouri Militia regiments “became professional in their demeanor and execution, defended their home areas with distinction, even won acclaim for occasional combat, and often performed these feats with their own private weapons, clothing, and horses.”3

This collection represents the bureaucratic task of organizing, supplying, training, disciplining, and maintaining a military presence in the Ozarks.


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  1. U. S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume XXII, Part 1 (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901), 193.
  2. Order Book Enrolled Missouri Militia, 4th Military District, pg 5.
  3. Bruce Nichols, Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1862 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2004), 103.

George Falconer & Albert Ellithorpe Diary

Monday, December 7th, 2009


George Falconer & Albert Ellithorpe

This extraordinary diary contains entries written by both Union and Confederate soldiers. It originally belonged to George Falconer, enrolled in Col J. J. Clarkson’s Confederate Cavalry. During the Battle of Locust Grove, 3 July 1862, Falconer was taken prisoner, and Maj. Albert Ellithorpe, Indian Home Guards, 1st Kansas Infantry, captured the diary. Most of the entries are written by Ellithorpe, who described engagements with Confederate soldiers, Kansas politicians and bushwhackers. Ellithorpe participated in several battles including Locust Grove, Cane Hill, Prairie Grove and a smaller engagement with Thomas Livingston’s bushwhackers.

Contributed by Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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Isely Family Papers

Monday, April 11th, 2011


Christian Isely
Marie Elizabeth “Eliza” Dubach Isely

Christian and Marie Isely Family
Image courtesy of John Mattox

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. 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.

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. Eliza’s in-laws did not share the same religious or political views as she and Christian, so they often belittled and berated her in German. She expressed to Christian in her letters the difficulties she faced living alone in such a hostile environment and her desire to return to the life they had prior to the war.

The collection also consists of Christian’s correspondence with other prominent individuals, such as, Edmund R. Colhoun, U.S.N., and William H. Smallwood, who became Kansas’ Secretary of State from 1871 – 1875.

Only a portion of the correspondents have been digitized, and researchers are encouraged to contact Wichita State University to view the entire collection.

Contributed by the Wichita State University Special Collections and University Archives.

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John Henry vs. William Gullet, et. al. – 1865

Monday, March 7th, 2011

John Henry was a resident of Van Buren in Newton County, Missouri in 1860.1 Henry worked as a farmer and was a supporter of the Union during the Civil War. In July 1865, he filed a lawsuit against 26 men, whom he claimed falsely imprisoned him for one month in October 1862 and threatened to kill him for his loyalty to the Union. Eventually Henry was able to escape from his captors, but the events surrounding his escape are unknown. Henry asked for $20,000 in damages.

During the war Newton County was subject to extensive guerrilla warfare. Both armies came to Granby for lead to make ammunition. The “Neosho Company” was organized in October, 1860, and later joined the Missouri State Guard under Captain Henderson Jennings. Newton County residents were divided between the Confederacy and the Union, though there were few abolitionists in the area. The County saw several battles which resulted in a vast depopulation of the area and destruction of Newtonia.

Although never specifically identified as bushwhackers or guerrilla fighters, the men who kidnapped Henry were most likely part of a guerrilla band. The defendants denied having taken part in the Henry’s imprisonment and harassment. In September 1866, the court dismissed defendants Daniel Hutchison, William Tilton, William Humphrey, Sanford Hutchison, Asberry Bright, and Samuel Reynolds. After a series of replication motions and continuances, the defendants were granted a change of venue to Greene County, Missouri. The final ruling of the case is unknown, but it represents the various types of violence committed throughout the region and how civilians were left to recover their losses. Due to the vicious nature and predominance of the guerrilla warfare in Missouri, many county court rooms were filled with civilian claims of restitution in the post-war years.

Contributed by the Greene County Archives and Records Center

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  1. 1860 United States Federal Census; Census Place: Van Buren, Newton, Missouri; Roll: M653_636; Page: 999; Image: 491; Family History Library Film: 803636.

The Lyman Gibson Bennett Collection

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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.

This collection consists of three diaries:

August 19 – December 20, 1861
December 21, 1861 – April 4, 1862
January 1 – October 4, 1865


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Missouri Senate Journal

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Missouri became a political battleground with her admission into the Union as a slave state in 1821. Missouri’s petition to join the Union threatened the equal balance of free and slave states in the United State Senate. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 promised to repair the cracks in the Union, but in reality laid the foundation for future strife. Under the compromise, Missouri became a slave state while Maine entered the Union as a free state. To prevent future conflicts, new states south of Missouri’s southern border would be slave, those north of it would be free states. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 however, eliminated the Missouri Compromise in favor of Popular Sovereignty, or letting the settlers decide. Settlers flocked into the Kansas Territory and violence erupted along the border.

Abraham Lincoln’s victory in the 1860 presidential election created even more sectional tensions. With Southern state already leaving the Union, Missouri held a secessionist convention three weeks after his inauguration. The convention, however, was dominated by Missouri Unionists who elected to remain in the Union. Missouri’s pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson was disappointed with the result of the convention, but did not give up hope of secession. His goal was merely postponed.

After the attack on Fort Sumter, President Lincoln called for 75,000 militia volunteers to confront the rebellion. Missouri was asked to supply just over 3,000 men. Governor Jackson, famously replied, “Sir – Your requisition is illegal, unconstitutional and revolutionary; in its object inhuman & diabolical. Not one man will Missouri furnish to carry on any such unholy crusade against her Southern sisters.”1

Jackson declared Missouri in a state of armed neutrality, committed to the Union, but ready to defend itself against federal abuse. He authorized 669 militia men to train in Lindell Grove outside of St. Louis. This gathering of pro-Confederate militia, named their camp after the honorable Missouri Governor. St. Louis was the home of the largest arsenal west of the Mississippi River, storing approximately 36,000 muskets.2 Union Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, aware of the potential threat to the arsenal, relocated the arms to Illinois and strengthened the arsenal’s defenses. He then marched his command of 6,500 mostly German troops to Lindell Grove and demanded the militia’s surrender on the morning of May 10.

An angry crowd gathered as Lyon marched his prisoners through the streets of St. Louis and back to the arsenal, which instigated a riot. The Union men failed to restore order to the crowd, and shots were exchanged between both civilians and soldiers. Twenty-eight civilians were killed, another seventy-five wounded in the melee. Two Union soldiers and three militiamen also died.

Lyon’s rash actions and unfortunate loss of life was precisely the event Governor Jackson had been waiting for. Jackson left St. Louis immediately for Jefferson City, where the legislature was debating a military bill that would prepare Missouri for war. The bill had encountered heavy opposition, but news of Camp Jackson broke the legislative standoff and it passed in fifteen minutes. The bill reorganized the state militia into the Missouri State Guard. Sterling Price, a former governor and president of the secession convention took command of the new force. The legislature even gave Jackson control of the state’s railroads and telegraphs.

Lyon’s federal forces advanced on Jefferson City, causing Jackson and legislators to flee south. A provisional pro-union government was established, as Jackson’s administration seemed to have abandoned their position. Jackson left the state seeking support for Missouri’s admission into the Confederacy. He met with Arkansas’s Governor, Confederate General Leonidas Polk, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Congress. Jackson returned to Missouri in early August 1861. In New Madrid, Jackson issued a “Proclamation of Independence,” on August 5, which declared Missouri a sovereign and independent state. He argued Union forces had repeatedly violated Missouri’s rights and liberties. Two weeks later, the Confederate Congress passed a resolution admitting Missouri, but technically she had not seceded from the Union.

After victories at Wilson’s Creek and Lexington, the Confederates had built a large support base and gained the political momentum. In September, Jackson issued another proclamation, which called the General Assembly into session. Legislators were asked to gather at the Newton County Courthouse in Neosho on October 21. There they would solidify Missouri’s future with the Confederacy, by formally seceding from the Union.

The gathering at Neosho was surrounded with controversy. The legality of the assembly, and thus, its resolutions, hinges on the presence of a quorum. The debate cannot be resolved conclusively with the conflicting evidence available. Only this Senate Journal survives, and it does not include a roll of members present. On October 21, M. C. Goodlett, Senator representing the 15th District (Jefferson, St. Genevieve and St. Francois Counties) and later Colonel in the Missouri State Guard, motioned to dispense with the call of roll. Furthermore, the only motions the following day were to fill vacancies in committees. Certainly it is unlikely a quorum was present on October 21. The legislature spent a full week organizing itself, no doubt trying to assemble enough members to make their proceedings legal while failing to record the call of roll. Their success; or failure remains unknown, depending on one’s sympathies.

John W. Fisher, a soldier in Price’s Missouri State Guard at Neosho wrote in his diary the legislators had a quorum on October 25. Confederate Military History declared, in 1899, “In every particular it [the legislature] complied with the forms of law . . . There was a quorum of each house present . . . The ordinance [secession] was passed strictly in accordance with law and parliamentary usage . . .”3 In the eyes of the United States government, the Neosho legislature was a non-issue. The legislature had been dissolved and the governor removed from office. They had no legal standing and could pass any resolutions they pleased, though it must be remembered the Confederate Congress ultimately accepted its authority.4 Noticeably absent of course, was a vote of the people. Neither the Provisional Government, nor the Neosho Secession Ordinance was approved by Missourians at the ballot box.

The most important task facing the legislature was passing an ordinance of secession. This was accomplished on October 28. The senate listed many constitutional violations committed by Union authorities which made secession necessary:

Men, women and children, in open day and in the public thoroughfares, were shot down and murdered by a brutal soldiery with the connivance of Government officers. Our citizen soldiers were arrested and imprisoned, State property was seized and confiscated without warrant of law, private citizens were insecure in there persons and property; the writ of Habeas Corpus had been nullified and the brave Judges who had attempted to protect by it, the liberties of the citizens had been insulted and threatened and a tyrant president revealing in unencumbered powers had crowned all these acts of unconstitutional aggression by declaring war against a number of the States comprising the former Union.
Claiborne Fox Jackson – October 28, 1861

Union actions made reconciliation impossible, but the legislators were determined to take Missouri into the Confederacy. Jackson declared, “It is in vain to hope for a restoration of amicable relations between Missouri and the other United States of America under the same government, and it is not desirable if it could be accomplished.” By the end of the evening, both the House and Senate passed a bill entitled, “An Act to declaring the political ties heretofore existing between the State of Missouri and the United States of America dissolved.”

They also passed “An Act to provide for the defense of the State of Missouri,” and “An Act ratifying the Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America.” The legislature also elected representatives to the Confederate Congress before it adjourned. The paperwork was quickly sent to Richmond, and on November 28, Missouri formally became the twelfth state to enter the Confederacy. Jackson’s efforts had paid off and upon he hearing the news he declared, “God be praised. This is the happiest moment of my life.”5

Contributed by Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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  1. Christopher Phillips, Missouri’s Confederate: Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Creation of Southern Identity in the Border West (Columbia: University of Missouri, 2000), 245.
  2. Randy R. McGuire, “Solving The Mystery of the Arsenal Guns,”
  3. Clement A. Evans, ed., Confederate Military History: a Library of Confederate States History, written by Distinguished Men of the South, Vol. IX (Atlanta, Georgia: Confederate Publishing Company, 1899), 69.
  4. Arthur Roy Kirkpatrick, “The Admission of Missouri to the Confederacy,” Missouri Historical Review 55 (July 1961): 383-84.
  5. Phillips, Missouri’s Confederate, 269.

Ozias Ruark Collection

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The Ozias Ruark collection contains correspondence and a diary detailing the service of a captain in the 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Throughout his diary, Ruark comments on four underlying themes: the impact of the war on civilians, foraging, engagements with guerrillas and the daily routine of camp life. He also notes weather, towns and the Ozarks landscape. Ruark’s perspective as a soldier provides a valuable portrait of military life in the region.

Ruark begins his diary encamped on Hay Creek, escorting civilian refugees to Springfield, Missouri. The women and children were almost completely naked and some were barefoot as they traveled across the snowy, rough terrain.

We left camps… and traveled late at night it grew very dark we could not see our hands before us in heavy pine forest… women and children suffer dreadfully The snow fell thick and heavy Men and Angels pity thy poor suffering women and children
Ozias Ruark – February 27, 1864

Once they reached Springfield, Ruark’s company began to scout across southwest Missouri. They foraged in Lawrence, Newton and Jasper Counties with little success. The men found some cattle, but Ruark refused to take any provisions from the countryside as it would have starved the women and children in the area.1 He noted that the women and children he protected were Rebels.

Perhaps the lack of food, combined with Ruark’s refusal to take from Rebel civilians, led to dissention among the ranks. The following day, Ruark’s men filed a petition for his resignation. Ruark noted in his diary that he would comply with their request if one third of the company signed the petition. Ruark filed his resignation with Gen. John Sanborn on March 12, 1864, and retreated to his father’s home. Resignation truly saddened Ruark, but on March 21 he received a letter from Sanborn refusing his resignation.

Disapproved and respectfully returned to Captain Ozias Ruark 8 Msm Cavalry who will immediately forward to these Head Quarters a list of the names of all the enlisted men of his Company who signed the petition for him to resign.
John Sanborn Letter to Ozias Ruark – March 17, 1864

Reunited with his men, Ruark commenced expeditions across southwest Missouri searching for bushwhackers. He recorded several engagements between the 8th Missouri State Militia and guerrillas. Captain John R. Kelso, Company M, 8th MSM, served along side Ruark. Kelso was known as a bloodthirsty killer and patriotic crusader for the Union. Kelso hunted bushwhackers without mercy, and Ruark noted his success. “Capt kelso and Lt Hunter returned from Springfield Killed 4 Bushwhackers took 4 horses.”2 The roads between Springfield and Forsyth, MO were one of Kelso’s favorite bushwhacker hunting grounds.3 Ruark’s diary is an important reminder that not all Union soldiers embraced the increasingly harsh anti-guerrilla tactics. Thus, his service with the infamous Kelso draws interesting comparisons.

Bushwhackers openly attacked both civilian and soldiers. Their tactics of theft, arson and murder did not discriminate between age, gender and race. Ruark helped bury one victim in Springfield, and wrote, “The wailing and weeping of the widow were heart rending.”4 The stability of the region was greatly compromised, and subduing guerrilla warfare became a priority for Union forces. Through his papers, Ozias Ruark offers an interesting perspective of the War in the Ozarks. He documented his daily activities as a soldier hunting bushwhackers, while reflected on how the course of the War impacted the lives of civilians in the region.


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  1. Ozias Ruark. Diary, 1864-1865. C2651. The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER -Columbia , 6.
  2. Ruark, 25.
  3. Elmo Ingenthorn. Borderland Rebellion: A History of the civil War on the Missouri-Arkansas Border. (Branson, Missouri: The Ozark Mountaineer, 1980), 298.
  4. Ruark, 27.

Peter Wellington Alexander Papers

Friday, April 6th, 2012


Peter Wellington Alexander
Thomas C. Hindman

The Peter Wellington Alexander papers contain an array of documents related to the Civil War. Alexander was a correspondent for the Savannah Republican and other Southern publications during the war. His papers consists of letters, telegrams, business records, and newspapers related to Alexander’s career as a lawyer and journalist. After the Civil War Alexander began collecting official Confederate documents, at took a particular interest in the Trans-Mississippi Theater. Alexander acquired a significant collection of Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s papers. Hindman assumed command of the Trans-Mississippi District on May 31, 1862. His collection of papers includes order books, telegrams, correspondence, military reports, and other documents surrounding Hindman’s military service from 1862-1863.

Only a portion of Hindman’s papers have been digitized and made available through Community & Conflict. Researchers are encouraged to Contact the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University to view the rest of the collection.

Collection Contributed by Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University in the City of New York

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Rebecca Stirman Davidson Family Papers

Friday, June 12th, 2009


Erasmus Stirman

The Stirman Davidson Collection is a spirited group of letters written to Rebecca Stirman Davidson, of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The bulk of the letters are from her brother Erasmus “Ras” Stirman, while serving in the Civil War. The letters tell the story of Erasmus service in the Confederate Army, his fears and doubts about winning the War, and leading his company of sharpshooters into certain death. Erasmus loved meeting new women, and his letters to Rebecca are full of candor and humor, often telling a larger tale of the social and cultural customs of the era to which he opportunistically flaunted. Erasmus’ successes in the military, coupled with his family’s access to political and societal privilege, combine to tell a wonderful story of upper class life in the Civil War of the Ozarks.

Contributed by the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections
Manuscript Collection MC 541


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Southwest Missouri Medical Society Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The Southwest Missouri Medical Society organized to encourage the development and unity of the medical profession in the region. They hoped to restrict the practice of medicine to educated and properly qualified men, develop talent, and stimulated study and inquiry in the field of medicine. The group organized in May 1874, holding bi-annual meetings in the spring and fall. The group’s membership consisted of physicians from Carthage, Springfield, Neosho and beyond. At their meetings, members presented unusual cases and papers on medical techniques. The group then discussed these cases, best practices, and ethical issues surrounding each topic. The meeting minuets for the Southwest Missouri Medical Society not only document the organization of physicians and medical practitioners in region, but the development of medical practices and thinking in the years after the Civil War.

Contributed by the Greene County Medical Society

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State of Missouri vs. James Hamilton-1866

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Elisha Estes and his family lived in Newton County, Missouri before the war. Elisha and his wife, Elizabeth had two children Henry and Mary. Martha Estes, presumably Elisha’s mother, also lived with the family. Elisha owned $4,000 worth of land, which he worked as a farmer. During the war Newton County was subject to extensive guerrilla warfare. Both armies came to Granby for lead to make ammunition. The “Neosho Company” was organized in October, 1860, and later joined the Missouri State Guard under Captain Henderson Jennings. Newton County residents were divided between the Confederacy and the Union, though there were few abolitionists in the area. The County saw several battles which resulted in a vast depopulation of the area and destruction of Newtonia.

Estes claimed that in August 1863 James Hamilton, also a resident of Newton County, came to his home and the home of James Kelly and stole a large quantity of personal property. He listed 100 lbs of wool, a set of blacksmith tools, ten head of cattle, a set of plow gears, and a pair of stretchers taken from the two estates. Estes and Kelly asked for $467.50 in compensation for the lost property.

The reasoning behind the theft is unknown, as is the verdict of the case. After his property was stolen Estes joined the 45th Missouri Infantry, a Union regiment. Differences in political loyalties could have caused Hamilton to steal the property, but more research is required to draw any further conclusion. This case represents the various types of depredation committed throughout the region and how civilians were left to recover their losses. Due to the vicious nature and predominance of the guerrilla warfare in Missouri, many county court rooms were filled with civilian claims of restitution in the post-war years.

Contributed by the Greene County Archives and Records Center

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Tallman-Brown Family Papers

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In 1859, 64-year old Matthew Brown brought his wife, Nancy Tate Brown, and their six children from Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, to Miller County, Missouri.1 Matthew became a merchant in Richwoods, Missouri. Brown was followed to Missouri by William and Susan Tallman and their five children along with William’s brother, Charles, and his wife, Isabella, and their seven children. The three families had been neighbors in Pennsylvania, and were among the many families who migrated from Pennsylvania to Missouri prior to the war.2 William and Charles Tallman began farming when they arrived in Richwoods, located in Miller County, Missouri.

Being from Pennsylvania, it was natural that the Tallman and Brown boys served in the Union Army. William Tallman’s son, John B. enlisted in 1861, at the age of 22, in the Osage County Regiment, Missouri Home Guard. His cousin Jeremiah “Jerry” C. Tallman also joined the same regiment. In mid-1862, John B. joined the 8th Missouri Cavalry as a sergeant and was later promoted to adjutant. John B. Tallman’s brother, Jeremiah “Jerry” W. Tallman, joined Capt. Cary Gratz’s Co. F. 1st Missouri Infantry Volunteers in 1861, which was reorganized as the 1st Light Artillery Missouri Volunteers. Jerry W. later joined the 48th Missouri Infantry and then the 50th Missouri Infantry in 1864, along with his cousin William B. Tallman. That same year, their youngest brother, Robert Thomas “Tom” Tallman and their cousin Charles W. Tallman, joined the 47th Enrolled Missouri Militia in April 1864, and then the 48th Missouri Infantry in August 1864.3

Matthew Brown’s son, John D., also enlisted in the Union Army. John D. Brown served with Jeremiah “Jerry” W. Tallman in Capt. Cary Gratz’s Co. F. 1st Missouri Infantry, which would later become the 1st Missouri Light Artillery Volunteers. John though had to be admitted to the Insane Hospital in Washington D.C. on September 24, 1863.4

The 1st Missouri Light Artillery Volunteers had been involved in numerous large campaigns prior to John D. Brown’s hospitalization. They participated in the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee (April 6–7, 1862), the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi (April 29 – May 30, 1862), the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi (May 18 – July 4, 1863), and then they repulsed Confederate General Theophilus Holmes’ attack on Helena, Arkansas in August 1863.5

John D. Brown and the 1st Missouri Light Artillery Volunteers had endured hard service and witnessed horrific scenes of death, which was perhaps more than John’s mental capacity could handle. He received a medical dis¬charge in July 1864, and returned to Miller County, Missouri.6 Apparently, his condition improved, because he married July A. in 1866, and had four children, Bell, Mary E., Marcus W., and Frank R. by 1880.7

Handwritten letters were the main form of communication between soldiers and their relatives during the Civil War. Letters from this time read as long, continuous conversations between the two parties, always hoping for a rapid reply from the addressee. However, due to the inefficiencies in the mail system, relatives would often repeat the same information in several letters, because they did not know which, if any of their letters, had made it to their loved ones. In 1862, Martha Tallman wrote to her brother, John B. Tallman, on the subject of letters.

My dear brother Hanna [Hannah M. Brown] came up this afternoon she had just received your letter & a note from John [D. Brown], your cry seems to be letters from home, well it is strange you don’t receive them for I assume you have written Father [William Tallman] & Tom [Robert T. Tallman] have written & I can’t tell how often I have. I wrote you last day before New Years, John [B. Tallman] too has, I don’t suppose they will reach you,
-Martha Tallman letter to Jeremiah Tallman – January 9, 1862

Soldiers became desperate to hear from their families and for news from home. They even gladly read each other’s letters just to hear about familiar places and everyday situations; anything to take their mind off the war and their struggles. Robert T. Tallman, wrote to William Brown, with an interesting suggestion as a possible means to encourage more communication.

I have not had a letter for two weeks what is our folks doing. tell them I am dead and mabe they will send for my bounty and wages, and I will hear from them that way if no other.
Robert T. Tallman letter to William Brown – February 11, 1865

John D. Brown’s letter to his sister, Hannah, in August 1862, held a lot of information regarding his location and the route which his unit was taking. “We are on the Fayetteville road, 26 miles south of Springfield, but I don’t know how long we are to stay out. I think not very long though, as we did not fetch a large supply of provisions with us. I am sorry that we did not stay at Springfield longer”8

While letters were the soldiers’ primary source of information on their home towns, families, and friends; newspapers helped to keep the soldiers abreast of current events. John D. Brown informed his sister, Hannah, “I am going to send tomorrow for theTribune and Harpers Weekly. I will have them sent in my name to Rolla”.9 He asked Hannah to make sure to “Save all the papers, Tribune Harpers. I want to look at them when I get home.” 10 He also expressed his frustration about the postal delivery problems in a letter to his sister on October 13, 1862. “The Tellegraph is in operation between here and Springfield, so I think if they can keep that from being cut, they can take letters through safely.”11

Both John D. Brown and Jeremiah “Jerry” W. Tallman were engaged in serious combat and recorded their experiences in battle through their letter to their sisters.

The Kansas troops had a fight on the 30th of Sept at Newtonia about 18 or 20 miles south of here. We were camped about two miles north west of this place when the battle commenced we could hear the artillery quite plain. We hitched up immediately and our whole brigade was ready in a short time. It consited of the 2nd & 3rd [Missouri] militia 1st Arkansas [Cavalry], one battallion of the 1st Mo. Cavalry, & one of the 6th Mo Cavalry. Also our battery. [1st Missouri Light Artillery] Orders soon came to move and away we wint, five or six miles on the road. There was orders from the front not to be in a hurry, then soon again to push forward. We got within a mile or so of the battle field & were ordered to comp, but no sooner in parke, than ordered to the field, that the enemy were advancing. Away we dashed to the prairie come up in battle line. The enemy were already in line about 1 ½ miles distant. We could just see them. it was getting dark. They did not advance on us, but soon opened a brisk fire on us from a battery, doing us but little injury oweing to the darkness. Only one man wounded, he belonged to the third militia. We then opened & fired twelve rounds. Then our men fell back through the woods to another prairie about five miles distanct, lay there till morning then come to where we are now to await reenforcements. Gen. [John M.] Schofield & [James] Totten have arrived with several thousand & more are said to be comeing.
-John D. Brown letter to Hannah M. Brown – October 3, 1862

After the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, in December 1862, the 1st Missouri Artillery won the commendation of General James Blunt for its effective service. Soon after this, the battalion was ordered to St. Louis, Missouri, where it renewed its equipment, after which it was sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where they remained until the its surrender on July 4, 1863.12 After Vicksburg, the companies were dispersed, with Company F being sent to Texas and Louisiana, where they remained for the next year.

Constant violence and guerrilla warfare made Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas some of the most dangerous territory in the entire country. Charles Tallman told his brother Jeremiah that “There are plenty of Bush-whackers in the County, Killing & Robbing the Loyal Citizens frequently.”13 And this kind of violence did not end even after the War was over as J.R. Moore wrote to Hannah Brown warning her to keep an eye out for a fugitive who was a “notorious Ladie Killer.”14

In the middle of the collection appears a letter from Jane Brown, Hannah and John Brown’s sister. Jane was a student in Jefferson City, Missouri, and reported about her school activities and the daily appearance of soldiers in the city. Jane Brown witnessed the War through a different lens than her brother or sister. She did not face as many hardships and the threat of guerilla warfare was almost non-existent since the Federals held control of the city. She stated in her letter that she saw, “The Soldiers march up and down street every evening I saw a couple of canon and a pile of canon balls for the first time in my life.”15 Jane would go on to marry Robert T. Tallman after the war ended.

Life seemed to return to normal rather easily for the families after the War ended in 1865 and they seemed to prosper during Reconstruction. However, Jeremiah “Jerry” C. Tallman struggled to find his purpose in life once the War ended as he remained in Tuscumbia, Missouri, in 1868. For many men, when they returned to their hometowns, they returned to nothing. Their homes burned, property stolen, and loved ones dead. Life after the War for many young men was as bleak as the War itself.

The Tallman and Brown families were brought together with the marriage of Jeremiah W. Tallman to Hannah M. Brown in 1869. Their union is the reason this collection of correspondences exists. According to the 1870 census, Jeremiah and Hannah, along with their six-month old son were residing in Equality Township in Miller County, Missouri. Tallman was active politically and served terms as Miller County treasurer, sheriff, and probate judge. The Tallman family moved to Crocker in Pulaski County, Missouri in the 1890s where Jeremiah engaged in the furniture business. Hannah died in 1878 and by 1910, Jeremiah had moved back to Miller County.16


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  1. Year: 1860; Census Place: Richwoods, Miller, Missouri; Roll: M653_633; Page: 392; Image: 397; Family History Library Film: 803633.
  2. Tallman family.Tallman-Brown families, letters, 1861-1868. The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA, accessed 8 November 2010,
  3. Missouri Digital Heritage, Missouri Office of the Secretary of State, Missouri State Library, Missouri State Archives, Soldiers’ Records: War of 1812 – World War I, The State Historical Society of Missouri, (c) 2007-2011,
  4. Ibid.
  5. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., accessed July 5, 2011,
  6. Tallman family.Tallman-Brown families, letters, 1861-1868. The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA , accessed November 8, 2010,
  7. Year: 1880; Census Place: Richwoods, Miller, Missouri; Roll: 703; Family History Film: 1254703; Page: 226C; Enumeration District: 106; Image: 0455.
  8. John D. Brown letter to Hannah M. Brown, Aug. 22, 1862, Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA .
  9. John D. Brown letter to Hannah M. Brown, Apr, 19, 1862, Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA .
  10. John D. Brown letter to Hannah M. Brown, Apr, 19, 1862, Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA .
  11. John D. Brown letter to Hannah M. Brown, Oct. 13, 1862, Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA .
  12. The Union Army, vol. 4, p. 279, Historical Data Systems, comp. American Civil War Regiments [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999.
  13. Charles Tallman letter to Jeremiah W. Tallman. Oct. 14, 1864. Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA .
  14. J.R. Moore letter to Hannah M. Brown. Mar. 19, 1867. Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA.
  15. Jane Brown letter to Hannah M. Brown. Sep. 21, 1862. Tallman-Brown Family Collection, 1861-1868, R447, The STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of MISSOURI RESEARCH CENTER – ROLLA .
  16. Hannah Brown Tallman, Find A Grave,

Thomas L. Snead Collection

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Thomas L. Snead was a soldier and a politician during the Civil War. In 1860, Snead worked at the St. Louis Bulletin, and was intimately involved in Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson’s election. He stood next to Jackson during his Inaugural Address, and served along side him at the Battle of Carthage and Boonville. Eventually, Snead was appointed Acting Adjutant General of the Missouri State Guard, and served under Sterling Price through 1864. He left the army for a seat in the Confederate Congress, as a Representative from Missouri. In 1886, he wrote The Fight for Missouri which chronicles the events in Missouri from the 1860 election to the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

The Thomas Snead collection consists of several letters written about The Fight for Missouri. Most of these letters contain praise for Snead’s accomplishments, and note his ability to write a full and unbiased history of the events that unfolded. The collection includes correspondence from John F. Snyder, R. Ira Holcombe, N. L. Norton, Charles D. Drake, and Franz Sigel. These five authors provide critiques of Snead’s book and in some cases personal narratives of the events. Only six letters from the collection were selected for digitization. Included are the above mentioned correspondences and a single letter from Snead inquiring about a report of Price’s 1861 actions. These letters were selected because of their personal insight to the events and provided enriched context beyond the thank you letters in the collection. The remainder of the collection is available for research at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Museum.

The value of these letters lies not only in the candid dialogue regarding pivotal events in Missouri history, but the perspectives of the authors. Charles Drake wrote that he holds no ill will against those who served in the Confederacy. Yet in 1865 he encouraged the passage of the “Iron Clad Oath,” disenfranchising anyone with ties to the Confederacy. Franz Sigel wrote to Snead in 1886 to clarify statements published in his book. Sigel has been accused of a lack of tactical skill on the battlefield and is known for fleeting retreats when facing overwhelming odds. In his letter, Sigel explains his decisions and actions, providing a detailed description of how he slipped through enemy pursuit after the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. This collection is a valuable compendium to The Fight for Missouri, providing interesting insight to Missouri soldiers and politicians as they reflect on the war 20 years later.

Contributed by Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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Thomas Murray Collection

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The Murray Collection contains 16 letters detailing the activities of the 20th Iowa Infantry as they marched through the Ozarks. The letters are addressed to Thomas Murray from his brother William Murray and his cousin, Thomas Murray, serving in the 20th Iowa. William wrote the bulk of the wartime letters, offering his perspective of the Ozarks and the events that unfolded in the region. The 20th Iowa marched through St. Louis, Rolla, and Springfield. They camped at Newtonia in early October 1862. William reported to his brother about the 1862 Battle of Newtonia that took place there only a few days before his arrival. In December of 1862, the 20th Iowa then participated in the Battle of Prairie Grove in Arkansas. William was severely wounded in the Battle, and died shortly after. The collection contains three post-war letters, in which Thomas inquires about his brother’s grave in Arkansas. Thomas Murray continued to write his cousin, as the 20th Iowa traveled to Mississippi and participated in the Siege of the Vicksburg.


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Thomas R. Livingston Collection

Monday, October 26th, 2009


Thomas R. Livingston

The Thomas R. Livingston Collection consists of three civil law suits related to the estate of the notorious Confederate soldier. These suits include depositions from several of Livingston’s friends and family members. Livingston and his band of Confederates conducted raids throughout the Ozarks to contest the Union’s control of the region. Livingston was known for committing acts of arson, murder, robbery, and disrupting Union supply lines. His ruthless tactics outraged Union officials and civilians. Before the War, Livingston had been a successful and prominent business man. He owned a general store, hotel, saloon, real estate in three counties, and actively traded livestock. His assets were sought as restitution for his actions.

Livingston’s notoriety made him a prime target for Union men. Several of the collections within Community & Conflict discuss Livingston and his men. Researchers are encouraged to search all of the collections for their connection to Livingston.

Contributed by the Jasper County Records Center

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United States Colored Troops 79th Infantry Order Book

Friday, February 19th, 2010


1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry

1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Flag
Image courtesy of Kansas Memory

The 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry was one of the earliest African-American regiments organized during the Civil War. This regimental order book documents correspondences, general orders and special orders between 1863 and 1864. During this period the 1st Kansas Colored was stationed in southeastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri, western Arkansas and Indian Territory, Oklahoma.

In October 1862, soldiers from the regiment engaged Rebel troops at the Battle of Island Mound in Bates County, MO. This skirmish earned them the distinction of the first African-American troops from a northern state to see action as soldiers. The 1st Kansas Colored became seasoned veterans by the end of the war, participating in several battles and engagements. On December 13, 1864, the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry was re-designated as the 79th U.S. Colored Troops.

Original Documents Retained at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Photocopies Contributed by Mine Creek Battlefield, Kansas State Historic Site.

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