Missouri State Militia (Union)

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The Missouri State Militia was a federally funded state militia organization of Missouri conceived in 1861 and beginning service in 1862 during the American Civil War. It was a full-time force whose primary purpose was to conduct offensive operations against Confederate guerrillas and recruiters as well as oppose raids by regular Confederate forces. The MSM at one time numbered more than 13,000 soldiers, but this force was reduced to 10,000 soldiers, by the United States government.

Background[edit]

Original Missouri state militia (pre-Missouri State Guard)
Prior to the Civil War, Missouri had a system of state-regulated local militia companies organized as the official Missouri Volunteer Militia (MVM), that could be called up by the governor for emergencies or annual drill. During the secession crisis Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson used the MVM covertly as secessionist tool until the majority of its members in eastern Missouri, and almost all the state's arms, were captured during the Camp Jackson Affair in St. Louis. The events in St. Louis prompted the Missouri legislature to pass Governor Jackson's "Military Bill" reorganizing the state militia into the Missouri State Guard.

Home Guard
In Missouri at the beginning of the Civil War, volunteer Unionist Home Guard regiments were formed with the support of Federal authorities to oppose secessionist Governor Claiborne Jackson's efforts at organizing secessionist strength, and his efforts to prevent Missouri enlistments into Federal service. Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon was given authority by the War Department to organize the Home Guard units throughout Missouri on June 11, 1861.[1]

Six-month militia
By late 1861 most of the Home Guard regiments had been disbanded. They were replaced by a smaller Six-month militia under state rather than Federal control. This force was too expensive for the cash-strapped Provisional Government of Missouri to maintain. It was also too small to be effective.[1] In all five regiments, eleven battalions, and ten companies were formed as six-month militia. (Although the financial burden for this organization during the war was paid by Missouri, the state was finally reimbursed following the United States Congress April 17, 1866 passage of "An act to reimburse the State of Missouri for moneys expended for the United States in enrolling, equipping, and provisioning militia forces to aid in suppressing the rebellion."[2]

Creation of the Missouri State Militia[edit]

On November 6, 1861 Provisional Missouri Governor Hamilton Rowan Gamble reached an agreement with United States President Abraham Lincoln to form a new full-time state militia equipped and financed by the United States but under control of the Missouri governor with officers appointed by him.[3] The new Missouri State Militia would cooperate with Federal commanders but would not be subject to service outside the state except when necessary to directly defend it. The Six-month militia was disbanded by General Order No. 2 of the Missouri Adjutant General on January 14 and effective January 25, 1862.[1][4]

The new Missouri State Militia (MSM) was primarily a mounted force active throughout the remainder of the war. Cavalry were necessary to pursue and confront fast moving mounted guerrillas, recruiters, and raiders. By April 1862 the Missouri State Militia consisted of fourteen cavalry regiments, three cavalry battalions, two light artillery batteries, an infantry regiment and several independent companies of various types.[1][5][6] On February 13, 1862 however, the United States Congress limited the size of the force to 10,000 in an effort to control expenses.[7] The exigencies of war produced delay by the Federal War Department in complying with this law—primarily through attrition. Eventually the militia would be reorganized into nine regiments of cavalry and one of infantry. This was accomplished through General Order Number 5 by the Missouri Adjutant General which broke up the 3rd, 5th, and 12th Missouri State Militia Cavalry regiments and distributed them among other regiments. The 2nd Battalion Missouri State Militia was also disbanded and the 11th regiment and 1st battalion had been consolidated within the 2nd Missouri State Militia Cavalry earlier.[8]

History of the Missouri State Militia[edit]

As the Missouri State Militia began organizing and training in early 1862, the warming weather also increased guerrilla activity. Confederate recruiters infiltrated the state and began organizing new commands to be sent south. This accelerated the learning curve for the new militia cavalry.[9] Despite setbacks and a surge in Confederate activity even north of the Missouri River, the militia cavalry proved to be an effective offensive force in confronting guerrillas, recruiters, and raiders within the state during the Summer of 1862.[citation needed] By Fall the recruiters had been driven from the state.[citation needed] Although guerrilla activity would remain a constant nuisance in much of the state, and raids would continue south of the Missouri River, the militia cavalry established Federal control of Missouri throughout the remainder of the war.

There were three unusual aspects of the militia cavalry compared to conventional cavalry.  The first was the frequent integration of light artillery into regimental or battalion level actions. The additional firepower was often effective against guerrillas or raiders with no artillery of their own.[10][11] The second was that cavalry soldiers were required to provide their own horses, and were paid for this periodically.  Thirdly, the militia served primarily in their own state, aside from limited periods in Arkansas and Kansas.

There was considerable controversy surrounding the actions and officers of men of the Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Several officers were charged with inefficiency or worse during operations, particularly during Sterling Price's 1864 Raid. General Alfred Pleasonton relieved General Egbert Brown and John McNeil for "failure to obey an order to attack."[12] Also relieved by Pleasonton in the same action was Colonel James McFerran of the 1st Missouri State Militia Cavalry "whose regiment was straggling all over the country, and he was neglecting to prevent it."[13] Colonel Henry S. Lipscomb of the 11th Missouri State Militia Cavalry was relieved for not pursuing Joseph C. Porter more vigorously during the summer of 1862[14][15][16] and the regiment was consolidated with the 2nd.

With Confederate General Sterling Price openly supporting guerrilla activity in Missouri, on March 13, 1862, the Union head of the Department of the Missouri, Henry Halleck, issued orders stating that such activity was "contrary to the laws of war" and directing that such combatants "will be hung as robbers and murderers."[9] The following month, Confederate President Jefferson Davis legitimized guerrilla warfare by authorizing bands of "partisan rangers" to be formed to operate behind Federal lines.[9] As the primary force to confront such activity in Missouri, the Missouri State Militia hierarchy shortly afterwards issued a controversial order declaring the partisans to be "robbers and assassins" and directing that they "be shot down on the spot."[9] The order further offered the partisans an out, stating that they would be spared should they surrender to Federal authorities and take an oath of allegiance and be placed on parole.[9] Some militia commanders were afterwards accused of atrocities in carrying out the counter-guerrilla tactics, including conducting drum-head courts martial, or sometimes not court martial at all then executing suspected guerrillas or Southerners who had violated their paroles.[9] There were also several examples of execution of prisoners in retaliation for the deaths of Union/militia soldiers or citizens. (See the Palmyra Massacre for a notorious example.)

In contrast to these controversies, Governor Hamilton R. Gamble, praised the Missouri State Militia as "very efficient." In speaking of the Missouri State Militia, General John M. Schofield claimed that "these troops will compare favorably with any volunteer troops I have seen," specifically complimenting the Missouri State Militia in regard to drill, discipline and efficiency. Schofield subsequently became General-in-Chief of the United States Army after the war.[1][17]

Militia cavalry units participated in most of the significant engagements in the state of Missouri from 1862 to 1864. They were eligible for re-enlistment and, unusually for militia, were eligible for Federal pensions.[1] The Missouri State Militia participated in the Battle of Westport, one of the largest battles west of the Mississippi, and the Battle of Mine Creek, the largest cavalry battle west of the Mississippi river, involving approximately 10,000 troops.

In 1864, a large number of soldiers in the Missouri State Militia were recruited to US cavalry regiments, with bonuses given for their enlistment. This greatly reduced the number of soldiers in the ranks.

Weapons of the Missouri State Militia[edit]

The Missouri State Militia were recruited from the state of Missouri, but armed by the Federal Government. As many other western military units, they were often armed with quality weapons later in the war than eastern armies. Their weapons included both US and foreign made weapons. This resulted in a large variety of weapons, even within a single regiment (unit of approximately 1000 men or less) As an example, the 10th Missouri Cavalry (a United States unit, not militia), were uniformly armed with GIbbs' carbines by December 1863 or earlier, and the 11th Missouri Cavalry was armed with Merrill's and Sharp's carbines, all breech loading weapons. At that same time, the 1st Missouri State Militia was still armed with 2 calibers of Austrian rifles, and a third caliber of Enfield rifles, all of which were muzzle loading weapons.[18]

The cavalry specifically had a number of foreign weapons, including the French LeFaucheux military pinfire revolver.[19] The 1st through 10th, 12th and 13 regiments were partially armed with Austrian weapons.[20]

The 1st through 9th, and 14th regiments were partially equipped earlier with the Savage & North Navy (.36) revolver.[21]

In September 1864, the 1st Missouri State Militia unit had 'sixteen different patterns of breech loaders, nine different types of muzzle loaders, and a few double barreled shotguns. Some of the Missourians were armed with nothing but revolvers.' [22]

The 3rd Missouri State Militia unit in July 1863 had Colt Navy (.36 caliber) and Army (.44 caliber) revolvers, receiving 10,000 Navy and 14,000 Army cartridges in that month.[23] For long arms, they carried .69 caliber conversion musket (US M1816/22, US M1842, etc.), .58/.577 caliber rifle-musket (US M1861, British Pattern 1853 Enfield, Austrian Lorenz, etc.), Halls Rifles and Colt Revolving Rifles (possibly .52 cal)[24] along with Wesson carbines.[25] In September 1864, they carried an assortment of weapons including Starr Double Action Revolvers, Savage Figure 8 Navy Revolvers, Colt Revolving Rifles, and at least one Wesson Rifle.[26]

The 5th Missouri State Militia unit, in December 1863 had 633 Austrian rifles, 633 revolvers (primarily Lefaucheaux, Pettengill, Savage and Starr, with a few Colt Army revolvers), 320 sabres, 25 pistol carbines (most likely Colt), 202 pairs of holster pistols (commonly referring to the Colt Army Revolver of 1848), and 50 cavalry musketoons.[27] By the end of the war, some units were also equipped with Wesson carbines (erroneously called 'Smith and Wesson rifles' in one source).[28][29]

The 5th continued to possess Austrian rifles or carbines as late as September 1864. At that time, they possessed Colt Army (.44 cal), Pettengill, Savage, Starrs (in both Army and Navy calibers) and .36 caliber 'Beals' (Remington Beals) revolvers[30]

The 8th carried Savage Revolvers, as well as some Colts Army revolvers.[31]

Specific Weapons[edit]

Wesson carbines: the 3rd Missouri State Militia had 500, the 6th had 132, and the 8th had 60 in their regimental inventories in 1864.[32] The 5th had 300. Most or all of these were privately purchased, and do not show up on government records.

The following weapons were inventoried in 1865, by the Quartermaster General of the state of Missouri.[33] These weapons would have been available to the Missouri State Militia, the Provisional Missouri Militia, or the Enrolled Missouri Militia. Those weapons identified with specific regiments were found in the Summary Statements of Quarterly Returns of Ordnance...

Carbines[edit]

  • Austrian carbines, muzzle loading, cal .70 and .71 (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th)
  • Burnside cal .54 (1st, 6th)
  • Cosmopolitan cal .52 (4th)
  • Frank Wesson Military Carbine (3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th)
  • Gallagher cal .54 (4th, 40 of 82 'unserviceable')
  • Halls cal .52 (3rd, 6th 65 'unserviceable', 8th)
  • Musketoons,  muzzle loading, cal .60 (2nd, 5th)
  • Pistol carbine (5th)
  • Sharp (3rd, 6th)
  • Smith cal .50 (7th)
  • Starr cal .54 (6th)

Muskets[edit]

  • Austrian muskets, cal 58 (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th)
  • Austrian muskets, cal 69
  • Dresden muskets
  • Enfield muskets, cal 58
  • Enfield S.B. muskets, cal 58
  • French muskets
  • United States, cal .54 (1st)
  • Rifled Muskets, cal. 58
  • Springfield Musket cal .58 (1st)
  • United States muskets, cal 58
  • United States muskets, cal 69 (1st)
  • Prussian muskets, cal 72
  • Tower muskets

Rifles[edit]

  • Austrian rifles, cal 54
  • Austrian rifles, cal 71
  • Breech-loading rifles
  • Colt revolving rifles (3rd)
  • Enfield rifles cal .577 (1st, 6th)
  • French, Light cal .577 (3rd, 6th)
  • German rifles
  • Squirrel rifles
  • Garibaldi rifles
  • Sharp's rifles
  • U.S. Rifles model 1860, cal .54 (1st)

Revolvers and Pistols[edit]

  • Allen army revolver cal .44 (3rd)
  • Beal's Remington, navy and army (5th)
  • Colt army revolvers cal .44 (2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th)
  • Colt navy revolvers cal .36 (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th)
  • Lefaucheaux army cal .44 (3rd)
  • Manhattan revolvers
  • Pettengill cal .44 (3rd, 5th)
  • Remington army revolvers (2nd, 3rd, 6th)
  • Remington navy revolvers (3rd)
  • Savage revolvers cal .36 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 14th)
  • Starr revolvers cal .45 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th)
  • Pistols, all kinds (this is a separate entry)
  • Pistols, smooth bore, model 1822 and 1840, cal .54 (1st, 3rd)
  • Holster pistols (separate entry)

Shotguns[edit]

  • Double barreled shot guns
  • Single barreled shot guns

Sabers[edit]

The same source shows the following ammunition for weapons not specified above, indicating other weapons were also in use.

  • Spencer cartridges
  • Metallic cartridges, 44 (possibly for Frank Wesson carbines)

See also[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ross, Kirby, "Federal Militia in Missouri", http://www.civilwarstlouis.com/militia/federalmilitia.htm
  2. ^ Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1902, page 20
  3. ^ Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Volume 5, "Order Approving the Plan of Governor Gamble of Missouri", pages 15-17, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=lincoln;rgn=div1;view=text;idno=lincoln5;node=lincoln5%3A40
  4. ^ Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1902, pages 19-20
  5. ^ Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1902, page 47
  6. ^ Dyer's Compendium, Part 3, "Missouri Volunteers"
  7. ^ Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1902, page 27
  8. ^ Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1902, pages 30-1
  9. ^ a b c d e f Nichols, Bruce, Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1862, McFarland & Co., 2004, pages 60-62
  10. ^ Nichols, Bruce, Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1862, McFarland & Co., 2004, pages 102,111,113,118 (illus),134,136,138, etc.
  11. ^ The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume XIII, page 184-189, 225
  12. ^ Warner, Ezra, Generals in Blue, Louisiana State University Press, 1964/2002, page 48, 306
  13. ^ The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume XLI, page 337
  14. ^ Nichols, Bruce, Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1862, McFarland & Co., 2004, page 130
  15. ^ The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume XIII, pages 427,467
  16. ^ Mudd, Joseph A, With Porter in North Missouri, Press of Camp Pope Bookshop, 1909/1992, pages 408-9
  17. ^ Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1902
  18. ^ U.S. Archives "M1281", December 1863, sheet 97
  19. ^ "LEFAUCHEUX MILITARY PINFIRE REVOLVER IDENTIFIED TO PRIVATE B. F. MILLER, 9TH MISSOURI CAVALRY", http://www.horsesoldier.com/products/identified-items/firearms/5191
  20. ^ Dixon, Don, "Federal and Confederate Units Armed with Austrian Weapons", http://www.n-ssa.org/vbforum/showthread.php?301-Federal-and-Confederate-Units-Armed-with-Austrian-Weapons
  21. ^ "Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record", http://ww2.rediscov.com/spring/VFPCGI.exe?IDCFile=/spring/DETAILS.IDC,SPECIFIC=9555,DATABASE=objects,
  22. ^ Bilby, Joseph G., Civil War Firearms, Their Historical Background, Tactical Use and Modern Collecting and Shooting, Combined Books, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1996, page 143
  23. ^ transcription Walter E. Busch, Site Administrator, "Colonel Richard Goodrich Woodson Papers, Fort Davidson Collection", http://mostateparks.com/sites/default/files/colwoodson4.pdf
  24. ^ https://sites.google.com/site/marmadukesraid150th/u-s-guidelines
  25. ^ http://www.yourbook.com/DisplayArea/IP11959-04.pdf
  26. ^ Busch, Walt, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks, http://www.arcadiavalley.biz/reenactorinfopack2010.pdf
  27. ^ Ament, J.P., Public Printer, "Appendix to the House Journal of the Adjourned Session of the Twenty Second General Assembly of Missouri, 1863", page 308, http://books.google.com/books?id=KelKAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA309&lpg=PA309&dq=633+austrian+rifles&source=bl&ots=O5lJHt5Ww6&sig=fDYgFJ5fym9dB-5EZHsnTNZ5tsE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=umu5UIaWIKWxywHmhYHwDw&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
  28. ^ Annual Report of the Adjutant General of Missouri, Missouri Office of the Adjutant General, page 486, http://books.google.com/books?id=SAFAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA478&dq=5th+regiment+missouri++arms&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gVq9UKrwFqvYyAHth4Ew&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=5th%20regiment%20missouri%20%20arms&f=false
  29. ^ McAulay, John D, Carbines of the Civil War 1861-1865, PIONEER PRESS, Union City, TN, 1981
  30. ^ "Summary Statements of Quarterly Returns of Ordnance and Ordnance Stores on Hand in Regular and Volunteer Army Organizations, 1862 - 1867, 1870 - 1876", (National Archives Microfilm M1281, rolls 2 and 3)
  31. ^ The History Museum for Springfield, http://www.springfieldhistorymuseum.org/archives/detail.php?AccessionNumber=1998-440-1&Q=Hickory%20Barren
  32. ^ McAulay, John D, Carbines of the US Cavalry 1861-1905, PIONEER PRESS, Union City, TN, 1997
  33. ^ Annual Report of the Quartermaster General of the State of Missouri, pp. 134-136 https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=g6MQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&authuser=0&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA134

External links[edit]