History of the Missouri
State Guards


The following article is excerpted from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_State_Guard).

The Missouri State Legislature passed the "Military Bill" on May 11, 1861, in direct response to the Camp Jackson Affair in St. Louis the previous day. The law authorized the Governor of Missouri, Claiborne Fox Jackson, to disband the old informal Missouri State Militia and reform it as the Missouri State Guard to resist a feared invasion by the Union Army. It also outlawed or prohibited other militia organizations except those authorized by MSG district commanders. This prohibition included the predominantly unionist German Home Guard units that had not been Federalized. The law did allow for formation of new local Home Guards under the auspices of the MSG, but these were limited to 14-17 and 45+ year olds. It also specified that the language of all spoken commands was to be English.

The act divided the state into nine Military Districts based on the Federal Congressional Districts and made men ages 18 to 45 eligible for MSG service unless exempted due to occupation, office or other reasons. While the act termed each district a "division", they were organized along brigade lines. The actual forces of a district consisted of all the regiments, not of brigades of these regiments. Each district's division was to be commanded by a brigardier general who was a resident of the district, and elected by the commissioned officers of the district. The act provided for a commander-in-chief; the first commander was Sterling "Pap" Price, the popular former governor and one of the most influential men in Missouri.

Recruits for the MSG began to quickly assemble in Jefferson City in mid May. However, after an agreement on May 20 between Price and the Federal department commander Harney, the call up was halted. On May 30, Harney was relieved and Lyon took command of the department. On June 11, a meeting to resolve some disagreements resulted in the collapse of the Price-Harney Agreement. Price and Jackson fled St. Louis for Jefferson City. The next day Governor Jackson called for 50,000 volunteers to defend Missouri from the Union army; thousands of men answered the proclamation and enlisted in their respective districts/divisions.

The embryonic Missouri State Guard suffered a serious initial setback in a skirmish at Boonville on June 17 and began a retreat toward extreme southwestern Missouri. Two days later the MSG's path was cleared when a local MSG infantry and cavalry battalion under Lt. Col. Walter S. O'Kane decisively defeated and captured the Benton County Home Guard at Cole Camp. Another victory on July 5 at the Battle of Carthage bought time for Price to begin training and organizing his raw recruits, many who had reported for military duty carrying only farm implements or antiquated hunting weapons.

Price, along with Confederate regulars and members of the Arkansas State Guard, then defeated a Union force under Nathaniel Lyon at Wilson's Creek on August 10, killing Lyon and driving back his army. Price, with 10,000 men, defeated Kansas Senator James Lane and his "Jayhawkers"" at Big Dry Wood Creek on September 12, and then captured 3,600 Federal troops in the First Battle of Lexington (Battle of the Hemp Bales) in mid-month. As Fremonts' Union army finally advanced toward Springfield the MSG withdrew. A bold dash by Major Charles Zagonyi's mounted vanguard routed some local MSG troops waiting in ambush on October 25, 1861 at the Battle of Springfield I, but it was a small affair.

A rump session of the exiled (and replaced) Missouri legislature convened and voted to secede on October 31st, 1861. While in winter camp, Price began enrolling many of his men into the regular Confederate service. On March 17, 1862, he merged the Missouri State Guard into the Army of the West. MSG troops were to make up the core of Price's Army of Missouri which attempted Price's Raid offensive in 1864 to recapture the state. A small number of MSG units remained independent until the end of the war in 1865, seeing action at Elkhorn Tavern and other engagements in the Trans-Mississippi Theater under generals Mosby M. Parsons and James S. Rains.

Raids and recruiting efforts for the MSG were made throughout the war. It is estimated that 15,000-30,000 Missourians served in the MSG at one point or another during the conflict.

County List for MSG Districts

First District/First Division: St Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Perry, Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Madison, Iron, Wayne, Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi, New Madrid, Butler, Dunklin, and Pemiscot.

Second District/Second Division: Scotland, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Shelby, Marion, Monroe, Ralls, Pike, Audrain, Callaway, Montgomery, Lincoln, Warren, and St. Charles.

Third District/Third Division: Putnam, Schuyler, , Sullivan, Adair, Linn, Macon, Chariton, Randolph, Howard, and Boone.

Fourth District/Fourth Division: Gentry, Harrison, Mercer, Grundy, De Kalb, Daviess, Livingston, Clinton, Caldwell, Ray, Carroll, and Worth.

Fifth District/Fifth Division: Atchison, Nodaway, Holt, Andrew, Buchanan, Platte, and Clay.

Sixth District/Sixth Division: Saline, Pettis, Cooper, Moniteau, Cole, Osage, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Morgan, Camden, Pulaski, and Phelps.

Seventh District/Seventh Division: Dallas, Laclede, Texas, Dent, Reynolds, Shannon, Wright, Webster, Greene, Christian, Stone, Taney, Douglas, Ozark, Howell, Oregon, Carter, and Ripley.

Eighth District/Eighth Division: Jackson, Lafayette, Cass, Johnson, Bates, Henry, Benton, Hickory, Polk, St. Calir, Vernon, Cedar, Dade, Barton, Jasper, Lawrence, Newton, McDonald, and Barry.

Ninth District/Ninth Division: St. Louis, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and Crawford.


Parrish, William E., A History of Missouri: Volume III, 1860 to 1875 (2001) ISBN 0-8262-0148-2.

"An Act to Provide for the Organization, Government, and Support of the Military Forces, State of Missouri." 21st General Assembly, Jefferson City, 1861

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