Etna was the site of a small skirmish during the early days of the American Civil War. On July 21, 1861, the 1st Northeast Missouri Home Guards under Colonel David Moore with assistance of additional units from Iowa and Illinois attacked pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard (MSG) forces at Etna. The action was part of General Nathaniel Lyon's efforts to clear "rebels" from rural Missouri. After a brief battle the MSG forces, mostly lightly armed cavalry, were driven from the town and surrounding areas of Scotland County and Moore's unit returned to its main base at Athens, Missouri.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Etna, Missouri
- "Scotland County Place Names, 1928–1945". The State Historical Society of Missouri. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
- Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 362.
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