Missouri Volunteer Militia

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The Missouri Volunteer Militia (MVM) was the state militia organization of Missouri, before the formation of the Missouri State Guard in the American Civil War.[1]

Prior to the Civil War, Missouri had an informal state militia that could be called up by the governor for emergencies or annual drill "in accordance with the Missouri State Statutes of 1854." [2] Larger militia elements, such as brigades or the element employed in the 1860 Southwest Expedition, were composed of independent regularly drilling volunteer companies, such as the St. Louis Grays, the National Guards, and the Washington Blues. (Each of these companies wore its own distinctive, and highly ornate, uniform. Antebellum esprit de corps was enhanced by drill competitions among the independent companies.)

During the 1861 secession crisis, pro-secession Missourians sought to use the state militia to bring about secession. On 13 February, General Daniel M. Frost formed five new MVM companies composed entirely of pro-secessionist "Minutemen".

On 21 March, the Missouri Constitutional Convention voted against secession, killing any possibility of secession by political action.

Governor Claiborne Jackson, a crypto-secessionist, then called up part of the MVM under Frost, and posted them just outside St. Louis, with the intent of seizing the city by force. This plot was thwarted on 10 May, when the MVM force was surprised and captured by unofficial Unionist "Home Guard" militia led by U.S. Army regulars.

This shocking act prompted the Missouri legislature to pass the "Military Bill" proposed by Governor Jackson, which gave the governor near-dictatorial control over the militia, and reorganized it into the Missouri State Guard.

See also[edit]

Missouri State Militia (Union)
Missouri State Guard
Home Guard (Union)
Enrolled Missouri Militia
Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia


  1. ^ Field, Richard; Hook (2008). The Confederate Army, 1861-1865 (6) Missouri, Kentucky & Maryland. New York: Osprey Publishing. pp. 3–6. ISBN 9781846031885. 
  2. ^ Richard C. Peterson, James E. McGhee, Kip A. Lindberg, Keith I. Daleen, Sterling Price's Lieutenants, Revised Edition, Two Trails Publishing, 2007, page 1 footnote 1