Other Names: The Centralia Massacre

Location: 60 miles north of Jefferson City (Audrain County)

Campaign: Control of Central Missouri

Date(s): September 23, 1864

Principle Commanders:  Major A.V.E. Johnston [US], “Bloody Bill” Anderson [CS]

Description: At about 3:00 p.m., Union Major A.V.E. Johnston, with 155 men of the newly formed 39th Missouri Infantry Regiment (Mounted), rode into Centralia. The townspeople warned him that Anderson had at least 80 well armed men, but Johnston nevertheless led his men in pursuit. The Union soldiers soon encountered the guerrillas, and Johnston decided to fight them on foot. He ordered his men to dismount and form a line of battle. He then reportedly called out a challenge. Anderson’s men replied by making a mounted charge. Armed with muzzle loading Enfield rifles, the Federal recruits were no match for the guerrillas with their revolvers. Johnston’s first volley killed several guerrillas, but then his men were overrun. Most were shot down as they attempted to flee. According to Frank James, his younger brother Jesse fired the shot that killed Major Johnston. Of the 155 men in blue, 123 met their death.

Result: Confederate victory


Other Names: The Skirmish at Sunnydale Creek

Location: About 60 miles north of Jefferson City (Audrain County)

Campaign: Control of Central Missouri

Date(s): April 12 – 14, 1862

Principal Commanders: John Hammerstein [US], Brig. Gen. Richard Adern [CS]

Description: Angered by the Battle of Centralia, Confederate troops were camping near was then called “Sunnydale Creek” (now called Moniteau Creek), when Union forces lead by John Hammerstein attacked.  Due to the many hiding places in the area, the battle was a standstill for two days.  Occasionally a man would be shot because he ventured to far from his group, but they mainly kept hidden.  After a few days, a truce was signed in the Centralia Courthouse.  The Union called for the stand down of all Confederate Militia, and for everyone to go to their homes and “Prevent further bloodshed”.

Result(s): Truce but considered Union Victory

Other Names: Bull Run of the West

Location: 12 miles Southwest of Springfield

Campaign: Control of Southern Missouri

Date(s): August 10, 1861

Principal Commanders: Franz Sigel [US], Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon [CS]

Description: At the beginning of the war, Missouri declared that it would be an “armed neutral” in the conflict and not send materials or men to either side. On April 20, 1861, a secessionist mob seized the Liberty Arsenal increasing Union concern in the state. The neutrality was put to a major test on May 10, 1861 in what became known as the Camp Jackson Affair. Governor Claiborne F. Jackson had called out the state militia to drill on the edge of St. Louis in Lindell Grove. The governor had clandestinely obtained artillery from the Confederacy and smuggled it into the militia encampment–referred to as “Camp Jackson.” Capt. Nathaniel Lyon was aware of this shipment and was concerned the militia would move on the St. Louis Arsenal. He surrounded the camp with Union troops and home guards, forcing the surrender of the militia. He then blundered by marching the militia men through the streets to the arsenal. A crowd gathered, some angry and pressing against the procession. Taunts and jostling eventually led to gunfire and many deaths, mostly civilians but also including several militia and soldiers. A day later, the Missouri General Assembly created the Missouri State Guard to defend the state from attacks from perceived enemies, either from the North or South. The governor appointed Sterling Price to be its general.

Result(s): Confederate victory

Other Names: Battle of the Hemp Bales

Location: Lafayette County

Campaign: Operations to Control Missouri (1861)

Date(s): September 13-20, 1861

Principal Commanders: Col. James A. Mulligan [US]; Maj. Gen. Sterling Price [CS]

Forces Engaged: Garrison (approx. 3,500) [US]; Missouri State Guard (12,000) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,874 total (US 1,774; CS 100)

Description: Following the victory at Wilson’s Creek, the Confederate Missouri State Guard, having consolidated forces in the northern and central part of the state, marched, under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, on Lexington. Col. James A. Mulligan commanded the entrenched Union garrison of about 3,500 men. Price’s men first encountered Union skirmishers on September 13 south of town and pushed them back into the fortifications. Price, having bottled the Union troops up in Lexington, decided to await his ammunition wagons, other supplies, and reinforcements before assaulting the fortifications. By the 18th, Price was ready and ordered an assault. The Missouri State Guard moved forward amidst heavy Union artillery fire and pushed the enemy back into their inner works. On the 19th, the Rebels consolidated their positions, kept the Yankees under heavy artillery fire and prepared for the final attack. Early on the morning of the 20th, Price’s men advanced behind mobile breastworks, made of hemp, close enough to take the Union works at the Anderson House in a final rush. Mulligan requested surrender terms after noon, and by 2:00 pm his men had vacated their works and stacked their arms. This Unionist stronghold had fallen, further bolstering southern sentiment and consolidating Confederate control in the Missouri Valley west of Arrow Rock.

Result(s): Confederate victory

Other Names: Pilot Knob

Location: Iron County

Campaign: Price’s Missouri Expedition (1864)

Date(s): September 27, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. [US]; Maj. Gen. Sterling Price [CS]

Forces Engaged: Garrison [US]; Army of Missouri [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,684 total (US 184; CS 1,500)

Description: In September 1864, a Confederate army under Maj. Gen. Sterling Price crossed into Missouri with the goal of capturing St. Louis. Union Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing moved with reinforcements down the railroad to Ironton to retard Price’s advance. On the morning of September 27, the Confederates attacked, driving the Federals back into their defenses anchored by Fort Davidson. In the late afternoon, Price unsuccessfully assaulted the fort repeatedly, suffering heavy casualties. Price, considering the possible time involved, had dismissed the possibility of mounting guns on the high ground to compel the fort to surrender or to shell the garrison into submission. During the night, the Federals evacuated the fort. Price had paid a high price in lives and gave Union forces the necessary time to concentrate and oppose his raid.

Result(s): Union victory

Back during the civil war, there were several skirmishes in Missouri. This site is dedicated to spreading the knowledge of Missouri’s rich history