On Father’s Day my husband, daughter and I visited Jefferson Barracks Civil War Museum. It contained a wealth of artifacts and information regarding Missouri’s role during this turbulent time period of American history.
Little did I know that Missouri ranked 3rd for most causalities during the war and over 1000 battles were fought on this soil. The entire experience was quite sobering. My fascination of this era has further whetted my appetite for this time period’s medical knowledge and plan gaining more material for a project I have in mind
Below are some interesting facts regarding Missouri’s role during the Civil War:
- Missouri was the only state in history, when proclaiming to be part of the United States, where the U.S. Army declared a state of war existed between it and the Federal government. The initial war declaration occurred at the Planters House Hotel in St. Louis in May 1861 between Federal commander Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson.
- The first military action of Missouri state forces occurred with the seizure of the Federal arsenal at Liberty, Mo. on April 20, 1861.
- The first skirmish between Missouri State Guard and Federal forces occurred at the Battle of Boonville, June 17th, 1861. It was a Union victory.
- Gov. Claiborne Fox Jackson is the only elected functional governor in United States history to have commanded troops in combat. In this case, he led the Missouri State Guard troops against Federal forces.
- St. Louis was frequently inundated by wounded soldiers arriving from the battlefields aboard hospital steamboats. Sometimes 800 wounded soldiers or more would arrive in a single day. The city’s streets were filled with walking sick and wounded from “the levee on Chestnut Street up to the Planters House [Hotel] on 4th Street.” Early in the war, the Confederate wounded POWs arriving on steamboat went to the Sisters of Charity Hospital and the Union wounded were sent to the City Hospital. A number of other hospitals were also used. In 1862, Jefferson Barracks was converted into a military hospital with more than 3,000 beds for Union soldiers. At times during the war, Jefferson Barracks cared for more wounded soldiers than any other hospital in both the North or the South. This is what ultimately caused Jefferson Barrack to become a National Cemetery, due to the large amount of deaths that were occurring at the post’s hospitals. Where there was a large amount of death, there was an immediate need for a burial place. Benton Barracks located in north St. Louis provided a 1,000 bed convalescent hospital and actually opened a segregated black hospital in April of 1864 for colored soldiers and sick contraband slaves.
- Missouri had two state governments during the Civil War, one seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy in 1861, and the other remained loyal to the Union.
- Missouri supplied 110,000 troops for the Union and a minimum of 40,000 troops to the Confederacy (the actual number of Missouri Confederates is unknown as many Missourians joined non-Missouri units).
(source click here)