|A State Divided: Missouri Goes to War|
|At the beginning of the Civil
War Missouri had a newly-elected governor named Claiborne Jackson, who
was an ardent rebel. In May of 1861 he assembled the Missouri
State Guard in St. Louis, ostensibly for training but in reality with a
view to capturing the St. Louis Arsenal. The plan was foiled when
Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon captured the State Guard camp.
Jackson then refused Lincoln's order for Missouri to supply troops for Union forces. Lyon then marched on Jefferson City. In July the pro-Union Missouri State Convention declared the governor's office vacated and Jackson, with his loyal State Guard units, fled to the southern part of the state. After Confederate victories at Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861 and at Lexington (the "Battle of the Hemp Bales") on September 18-20, 1861, Jackson met with pro-rebel state congressmen at Neosho to sign articles of confederacy. Though not technically legal, as there was not a majority of the state congress present, the CSA accepted Missouri as a member on November 28, 1861. For the duration of the war Missouri had two governments, with representation in both congresses and armed forces supporting both sides.
Missouri Civil War has a great site, though it can be frustrating. The biography section has a wonderful selection of period portrait photographs that you can click on for biographies, but there's nothing to tell you who is who until you click the picture!
Visit the Missouri Civil War Museum for more pictures, maps and articles.
The Missouri Park Board has a lot of information on the Battle of the Hemp Bales.
This MOMOLLUS site has a lot of general information on the war and a good selection of links, though it hasn't been updated for years so don't expect them all to work! (MOLLUS stands for Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. It is a military heritage organization like Daughters of the American Revolution.)
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