Missouri Civil War Museum

 – Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Missouri was the most populous state west of the Mississippi River, making it one of the most popular and historically relevant, and it was part of the eight upper South states that joined to form the Confederate States of America. The Civil War in Missouri began with Wilson’s Creek, one of the first battles fought in the nation’s American civil war. Over a thousand battles took place in Missouri, making it a state where lots of blood was shed – including many along the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. Wilson’s Creek was a prime spot for a battle because it allowed Confederate forces to join people on both sides of the river.

Missouri was the only slave-holding state in which the Union, under Abraham Lincoln, where the heartland formed a secessionist government and seceded from the United States. This state had a unique battle and war experience that altered the brutal course of the American Civil War. Secessionist leaders formed a provisional government and wanted to form their own state army, but they were ultimately unsuccessful. 

 – A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The Complete History of the Missouri Civil War covers all aspects of this bloody and burtal war and conflict, from the secession of Missouri from the Union to its eventual return in 1865. The war began with the secession of Missouri from the Confederacy and escalated into a brutal bloody border war between North and South. This “Border War” was exacerbated by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, which opened up a violent and bloody civil confrontation between pro-slavery battle forces and anti-slavery war forces. As a result, both sides fought for control of Kansas and Missouri as part of their respective poltiical agendas. The war raged for four years, with both sides engaging in violent and macabre guerrilla warfare, small yet bloody skirmishes, and battles that culminated at Wilson’s Creek in August 1861. This engagement was pivotal as it showed that a small, yet bloody, civil war could be fought even on American soil.

 – Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

The Missouri Civil War is remembered for some of the most barbaric encounters during the conflict. Union raiders and Confederate guerrillas pursued one another in an effort to control the state, resulting in some of the bloodiest scenes of the entire Civil War. The conflict not only divided Missourians over slavery and civil liberties but also caused deep social rifts within congregations, families and towns. The fate of Missouri’s western front was at stake as Union and Confederate forces clashed across towns, church congregations and other states. In all, over 70 battles were fought in Missouri during the war resulting in tremendous bloodshed; it remains one of the bloodiest scenes on America’s battlefields.

 – Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Missouri’s war chronology is divided into two main periods:

  • The first of which was June 17, 1861 when the Battle of Boonville was fought, claiming the first encounter in what was to become a major land battle. This marked the beginning of a long and bloody conflict that would span over four years. The most famous Confederate guerrilla, Jesse James, also made his mark on this period of history.
  • The second period began on August 10, 1862 with the Battle at Kirksville and culminated with the major Union victory at Westport on October 23, 1864. This battle was one of the largest Civil War engagements west of Virginia’s First Manassas and marked the end of significant fighting in Missouri for good.

Matthew 24:6-7 – And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.   

The Civil War in Missouri was far more than a mere extension of the American Civil War; it was a seeming war within a war, with no single battle determining its outcome. In the early days of the conflict, Confederate forces made an effort to put Missouri into the Confederacy. However, they were unable to hold their gains and fight off Union troops.

The state saw divided military actions across all three phases of the war: early bushwhacking guerrilla warfare, riverine strategy on the Mississippi River near Kansas City, and major battles fought in northern Missouri during 1864.

 – Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

The largest battle west of Virginia’s First Manassas took place on August 10th & 11th, 1861 near Wilson’s Creek in southwestern Missouri. Union Major General Nathaniel Lyon led 11,000 men against Confederate General Sterling Price’s 5,400 troops. After two days of fighting, Lyon’s army had been defeated and he had been killed. Further south along the Mississippi River at Island No. 10 some weeks later in April 1862 put an end to Confederate efforts at putting the riverine strategy into effect and secured Union control over the river for good.

 – For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, fought in southwest Missouri near present-day Springfield, was the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River and was critical to preserving Union control over the state. This decisive battle became known as one of the most important engagements ever fought on Missouri soil. It was here that Union forces made a stand against Confederate troops, who had taken control of much of Missouri. The battle marked a shift in Union strategy in that it enabled Washington to take control of Missouri and cut off Confederate supply lines from Texas and Arkansas. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is now a National Park Service site that commemorates this important battle and its impact on the Civil War.

 – (A Psalm of David.) Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: