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Civil War loyalties

At the outset of the Civil War, St. Louis was a deeply divided city within a divided state. Slavery was an important economic issue to pro-Southern St. Louisans. Other residents, including many local German Americans, were Union supporters and figured prominently in the struggle to keep St. Louis and Missouri in the Union.

Lincoln and citizens' rights in Civil War Missouri : balancing freedom and security
Dennis K. Boman.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c2011.
  1. Includes bibliographical references and index.
  2. The secession crisis and Missouri -- The command of John C. Frémont -- General Henry W. Halleck and the law of war -- Military government and civil liberties -- The struggle for Missouri and martial law -- Civil liberties under General Samuel R. Curtis -- Radical policies and the removal of General Samuel R. Curtis -- Emancipation and civil liberties -- Lincoln's showdown with the radicals -- General William S. Rosecrans and Price's raid -- Lincoln and the return to civilian rule in Missouri.
     
On slavery's border : Missouri's small-slaveholding households, 1815-1865
Diane Mutti Burke.
Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, c2010.
On Slavery's Borderis a bottom-up examination of how slavery and slaveholding were influenced by both the geography and the scale of the slaveholding enterprise. Missouri's strategic access to important waterways made it a key site at the periphery of the Atlantic world. By the time of statehood in 1821, people were moving there in large numbers, especially from the upper South, hoping to replicate the slave society they'd left behind.   Diane Mutti Burke focuses on the Missouri counties located along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to investigate small-scale slavery at the level of the household and neighborhood. She examines such topics as small slaveholders' child-rearing and fiscal strategies, the economics of slavery, relations between slaves and owners, the challenges faced by slave families, sociability among enslaved and free Missourians within rural neighborhoods, and the disintegration of slavery during the Civil War. Mutti Burke argues that economic and social factors gave Missouri slavery an especially intimate quality. Owners directly oversaw their slaves and lived in close proximity with them, sometimes in the same building. White Missourians believed this made for a milder version of bondage. Some slaves, who expressed fear of being sold further south, seemed to agree.   Mutti Burke reveals, however, that while small slaveholding created some advantages for slaves, it also made them more vulnerable to abuse and interference in their personal lives. In a region with easy access to the free states, the perception that slavery was threatened spawned white anxiety, which frequently led to violent reassertions of supremacy.
     
Portraits of conflict : a photographic history of Missouri in the Civil War
William Garrett Piston, Thomas P. Sweeney ; with a foreword by the general editors, Carl Moneyhon and Bobby Roberts.
Fayetteville : University of Arkansas Press, 2009.
A deeply divided border state, heir to the “Bleeding Kansas” era, Missouri became the third most fought-over state in the war, following Virginia and Tennessee. Rich in resources and manpower, critical politically to both the Union and the Confederacy, it was the scene of conventional battles, river warfare, and cavalry raids. It saw the first combat by organized units of Native Americans and African Americans. It was also marked by guerrilla warfare of unparalleled viciousness. This volume, the ninth in the series, includes hundreds of photographs, many of them never before published. The authors provide text and commentary, organizing the photographs into chapters covering the origins of the war, its conventional and guerrilla phases, the war on the rivers, medicine (Sweeny’s medical knowledge adds a great deal to this chapter and expands our knowledge of its practice in the west), the experiences of Missourians who served out of state, and the process of reunion in the postwar years.
     
Missouri's war : the Civil War in documents
edited by Silvana R. Siddali.
Athens : Ohio University Press, c2009.
Civil War Missouri stood at the crossroads of America. As the most Southern-leaning state in the Middle West, Missouri faced a unique dilemma. The state formed the gateway between east and west, as well as one of the borders between the two contending armies. Moreover, because Missouri was the only slave state in the Great Interior, the conflicts that were tearing the nation apart were also starkly evident within the state. Deep divisions between Southern and Union supporters, as well as guerrilla violence on the western border, created a terrible situation for civilians who lived through the attacks of bushwhackers and Jayhawkers. The documents collected in Missouri's War reveal what factors motivated Missourians to remain loyal to the Union or to fight for the Confederacy, how they coped with their internal divisions and conflicts, and how they experienced the end of slavery in the state. Private letters, diary entries, song lyrics, official Union and Confederate army reports, newspaper editorials, and sermons illuminate the war within and across Missouri's borders. Missouri's War also highlights the experience of free and enslaved African Americans before the war, as enlisted Union soldiers, and in their effort to gain rights after the end of the war. Although the collection focuses primarily on the war years, several documents highlight both the national sectional conflict that led to the outbreak of violence and the effort to reunite the conflicting forces in Missouri after the war.
     
General Sterling Price and the Confederacy
by Thomas C. Reynolds ; edited by Robert G. Schultz.
St. Louis : Missouri History Museum : Distributed by University of Missouri Press, c2009.
Sterling Price served as a Confederate major general, leading by example and sharing hardships with his men. However, Reynolds, who traveled with the men, was furious that Prices raid failed to bring Missouri into the Confederacy. Reynolds began writing his version of events, and for the first time, the entire, although unfinished, manuscript is available, showcasing Reynoldss views of the inner workings of the Confederate government. This gold mine of information is especially important because Prices personal papers were lost in a fire in the 1880s.
     
The flags of Civil War Missouri
by Glenn Dedmondt.
Gretna, La. : Pelican Pub., c2009.
Flags stir the most noble emotions within the human heart. This fascinating book features color illustrations of Missouri Civil War-ear flags, along with brief text about the history of each unit and its flags.
     

In early 1861, pro-Southern Governor Claiborne Jackson called a convention to consider taking Missouri out of the Union. But, those at the convention voted to stay in the Union. Jackson organized a pro-Southern militia that drilled at the western edge of the city at a place called "Camp Jackson". He prepared the militia to seize the federal arsenal in St. Louis.

Approximately 31,000 German immigrants served in Missouri Union regiments. Most of these came from St. Louis. At least six regiments were entirely German.

(from Missouri Civil War Museum)

Pro-Union forces also geared up for war. Captain Nathaniel Lyon recruited several regiments organized by German Americans in St. Louis. Lyon then moved to capture Camp Jackson. First, he disguised himself as a woman (complete with shawl and dress!) to inspect the camp. The next day, May 10, 1861, his forces surrounded it. Jackson's troops surrendered. Lyon then marched the POWs through St. Louis, but pro-Southern St. Louisans rioted, resulting in the deaths of soldiers and civilians.

After his victory in St. Louis, Lyon went on to win political control of the state. But Union forces didn't command allegiance from all Missourians. Many St. Louisans and Missourians continued to support the Confederacy throughout the war.

The hard feelings that resulted continued long after the Civil War. It was only many years later that St. Louis-- and Missouri-- bridged the divide of hatred left by the sad legacy of the war.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff