The Civil War in Callaway County

By Mark Douglas

One hundred and thirty five years ago, in mid April, the War Between the States began for Callaway County. Two Westminster College students were studying in the science building, when another student rushed into the room and breathlessly told the two students that war was declared and there was a rally at the Courthouse. The two students rushed to the Courthouse square, leaving their books open on the table.

Missouri, and the nation, were in turmoil. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20th, 1860 and rapidly other southern states were following. In February of 1861, a state convention had been called in Jefferson City, and later moved to St. Louis, to decide Missouri’s position in the conflict. On March 4, 1861 the convention published it’s results and found there was “No adequate cause to impel Missouri to dissolve her connection with the Federal Union.”

Callaway County was pro-Southern in nature and was decidedly against war. Mass meetings had been held all over the county since President Lincoln’s election in November of 1860. The outcome of all of the meetings was that while no one wanted to see the Union divide, if the South seceded, we should let them go without military intervention.

Lincoln responded to Fort Sumter being fired upon by South Carolina forces on April 12, 1861, by calling for 75,000 troops to put down the secessionist forces. War had begun.

Missouri Governor C. F. Jackson refused to send troops to the Federal Government. He called for an army to be raised to resist Federal forces. The rally at Fulton’s town square was called in response to the Governors call. The two Westminster College students, Daniel McIntyre and Joseph Laurie, arrived at the courthouse square to find a crowd of agitated men. Many speeches were made and the overwhelming sentiment was that we could not support the Union in attacking the South and that we would defend our own state from Federal intervention.

A call was raised to form a company of men. Sixty men volunteered. They came from all walks of life and economic levels. Most were the sons of everyday farmers. The Westminster student, Daniel McIntyre, was elected Captain and the company named itself the Callaway Guards.

Perhaps the most fortuitous volunteer was a stranger to Callaway County by the name of John S. Hoskins. Hoskins was a soldier of fortune. He had served with the American mercenary William Walker in his seizure of Nicaragua in 1855. Walker’s men fought many battles where they were greatly outnumbered. Only well disciplined and well trained men could have, and did survive these battles.

Hoskins volunteered his services as drill-master to the company and was gladly accepted. According to John Bell, a surviving member of the Callaway Guards, “He (Hoskins) was a soldier and nothing more….His energy, capacity and enthusiasm were soon communicated to every member of the company, and the rapid development of the men and boys into well-drilled soldiers was the pride not only of the members of the company, but of the citizens of the community as well.”

The company equipped itself the best it could and left without fanfare to report to Governor Jackson in Jefferson City. Arriving at the Capital City, the Callaway Guards went to the fairgrounds to drill with the other companies arriving in Jefferson City.

Two companies were judged the best in appearance and drill, the Callaway Guards and the Warsaw Gray’s. Their reward was two weeks of guard duty at the Capitol building, which was served uneventfully.

Meanwhile, two distinct forces were at work in Missouri. General Harney, the Federal Commander of Missouri, was meeting with President Lincoln and the War Department in Washington, D.C. His adjutant, Nathaniel Lyon, feared the secessionist forces forming in St. Louis would capture the arsenal. Lyon, with a clever ruse, saved the 60,000 stand of arms therein, and shipped the arms to safety.

On May 10th, Lyon and the staunch Unionist troops of St. Louis county surrounded the secessionist camp, Camp Jackson. It was a bloodless capture. Lyon marched the captured troops through the city which enraged the pro-Southern crowds forming on the streets. Strong words were exchanged, and subsequently, some by-standers began to pelt the Federal troop with bricks and various objects. The Federal troops opened fire upon the crowd killing 28 men, women and children and wounding many more. The Camp Jackson Massacre was the opening volley of the war in Missouri.

Governor Jackson and the State Legislature were incensed by the actions of Lyon in St. Louis. They rushed a War Powers Act through the State Legislature including a Military Bill allowing the formation of a new state army to be called The Missouri State Guard. They appointed ex-Governor Sterling Price to Major General and Commander in Chief of the Missouri State Guard. The Callaway Guards would be one of the first companies to be sworn in.

General Harney, commander of the Federal forces in Missouri, returned from Washington and sought to repair the damage done by the Camp Jackson Massacre and Lyon’s strong-arm tactics. General Harney recalled the troops surrounding St. Louis and negotiated a compromise with General Sterling Price to allow Missouri to stay out of the war if Missouri did not officially participate.

With tensions easing, Governor Jackson ordered the pro-Missouri troops in Jefferson City to return to their home counties, but to stand ready if hostilities occurred. The Callaway Guards returned to Fulton and drilled and practiced with their weapons at the fairgrounds west of Fulton (now Priest Field at Westminster College.)

Nathaniel Lyon seized the command of the Federal Forces away from General Harney with the political help of Francis Blair. Blair’s brother, Montgomery, was one of Lincoln’s cabinet members. Lyon, now a Brigadier General, called for a meeting with Governor Jackson and General Price.

They met at the Planter’s House, a fashionable hotel in St. Louis on June 11th. Lyon wanted only concession, not negotiation, and at the end of a long diatribe declared “I would see you… and every man, woman, and child in the state, dead and buried.” He then declared war on Missouri and gave the Governor and his party an hour to leave.

Governor Jackson and General Price returned to Jefferson City. In the early hours of June 12th, Missouri was voted by the legislature to be at war. The Government of Missouri then evacuated Jefferson City, and headed to Boonville which they thought was easier to defend. General Lyon was quick to follow with troops, and captured Jefferson City on the 14th.

When the news had reached Fulton, it was too late for the Callaway Guards to join General Price at Jefferson City. On the morning of the 16th, the Callaway Guards received a benediction from Dr. Samuel S. Laws, D.D., President of Westminster College. They marched out of Fulton on the Columbia Road (now State Road F) toward Boonville to the beat of their young drummer, Frank Brewer. They were accompanied out of town with the playing of a fife by Charles Hill, a local veteran of the Mexican War.

By the time the Callaway Guards reached Columbia, they could hear the booming of the cannons at Boonville. Delayed by the presence of Federal troops at Glasgow, their crossing point of the Missouri river, the Callaway troops missed the first major battle of the war in Missouri, the Battle of Boonville.

The Callaway Guards joined the Missouri State Guard on it’s march to the southwest corner of Missouri from Boonville. On July 4th, 1861, The Callaway Guards formed with four other companies to become Colonel Burbridges Regiment. The next morning, July 5th, they fought in their first engagement, the Battle of Carthage.

The Callaway Guards was officially designated as Company A, 1st Regiment (Burbridges), 3rd Division, Missouri State Guard. They would fight in every western engagement thereafter of the Missouri State Guard in 1861. They served with honor and bravery befitting troops better equipped and trained. Their tenacity was astounding by todays standards.

At the Battle of Oak Hill (Wilson’s Creek), the Callaway Guards fought at the center of the battle on Bloody Hill. The 1st Regiment suffered 50 percent casualties that day. The Callaway Guards had it’s Captain severely wounded by a musket ball. 1st Lieutenant Hoskins assumed command and was cut in two by a cannon ball while trying, in vain, to save a group of men entrapped behind a tree.

Their last battle as the Callaway Guards was at Lexington, Missouri, the third week of September, 1861. They fought alongside of eight other companies that were from Callaway County. Four of the eight companies were cavalry and four were infantry. The “Callaway Infantry” was noted in General Thomas Harris report to General Price for it’s “gallant and distinguished services” at Lexington.

Mid-October brought the end of the six-months enlistments for the men of the Callaway Guards. Many survivors returned home to check on the “old folks”, only to find martial law in effect. All of the Callaway Guards names had been published in the May 31st, 1861, edition of the Fulton newspaper, THE MISSOURI TELEGRAPH. They were wanted men by the Federal authorities.

Those unable to serve further, from wounds or illness, were required to take an oath of loyalty to the Union and post bonds for their freedom. Some went to southern Missouri to winter with the Missouri State Guard troops. A large number stayed to hide out in the woods, and fight as partisans locally. They served in Jefferson Jones’ army in the standoff with General Henderson which created the Kingdom of Callaway.

Federal forces negated the compromise worked out by Jones and Henderson by invading Callaway county. This infuriated the local partisans and they began a campaign of guerrilla warfare in concert with partisans in other counties. Their prime target was the North Missouri Railroad that ran through Audrain County. In late December 1861 they wrecked the tracks at Jefftown (now Benton City,) and burned bridges and tore down the telegraph lines.

Federal troops began a rout of Southern sympathizers in retaliation. Orders were issued to kill all guerrillas on sight and to confiscate their property. Numerous Federal troops, including “Kreckle’s Dutch” who were stationed in Fulton, viewed the orders as a license to burn, loot, and arrest indiscriminately. These actions forced many neutral men to take up arms and go to Arkansas to join the Southern army in the spring of 1862.

A large number of the remaining able-bodied men, in early July of 1862, joined Colonel Joseph Porter’s NE MO Cavalry and fought in northeast Missouri. On July 28, 1862, one-half mile south of Moore’s Mill (now Calwood) they fought in the only major battle in Callaway County. In October they crossed the Missouri river, with Captain David W. Craig, and went south to serve in Army of the Confederacy.

Captain Daniel McIntyre survived his wounds at Bloody Hill and led his troops through their remaining battles. He was captured at Milford, Missouri, in December 1861, and was made a prisoner of war. Paroled from a prison camp in Sandusky, Ohio, he was sent south where he served with distinction throughout the war and become Attorney General of Missouri after the war.

Tyre Harris Jameson, was Jefferson Jones’ brother-in-law. He assumed command of the company, at the Battle of Oak Hills (Wilson’s Creek), after Captain McIntyre was wounded and 1st Lieutenant Hoskins was killed. In October of 1861 he carried the communications back and forth between Colonel Jefferson Jones and Brigadier General John B. Henderson, U.S., that would make Callaway County the Kingdom.

Dr. Samuel S. Laws, D.D., was arrested and tried for treason. He was convicted on the evidence that he sanctified the Callaway Guards and that he conferred degrees on Daniel McIntyre and Joseph Laurie. McIntyre and Laurie had both left Westminster College before graduation. Dr. Laws was banished from the United States as punishment. He spent the rest of the war teaching in Europe.

Charles Hill, who played the fife while the Callaway Guards marched out of Fulton, was a “strong Union man.” Hill was arbitrarily murdered by Union troops, along with William and David Givens, a father and son, in September of 1862 at the “Prairie Grove Massacre.”

The youngest member of the Callaway Guards, at age 16, was James Snedicor, who, less than a year after joining the Callaway Guards, was arrested by his older brother, Provost Marshal Isaac D. Snedicor. James Snedicor was tried and sentenced to death for his participation in “guerrilla” activities in Callaway County.

Many of the founding families of Callaway County were represented by sons in the Callaway Guards or the Callaway Infantry. If you had family in Callaway County before 1870 you can probably trace your family lines to one of it’s soldiers. The only known surviving muster list of any of the companies is of the Callaway Guards. It is listed here as it appeared in the May 31st, 1861, MISSOURI TELEGRAPH.

The Callaway Guards
Captain – Daniel H. McIntyre; 1st Lt. John S. Hoskins; 2nd Lt. Henry Willing; 3rd Lt. T. H. Jameson; Commissary Sgt. Joseph Laurie; Orderly Sgt. James Stewart; 1st Sgt. S. E. Shoemaker; 2nd Sgt. James K. Wells; 3rd Sgt. Samuel Champlin; 1st Cpl. F. W. Payne; 2nd Cpl. John A. Craighead; 3rd Cpl. W. Sing. Duncan; 4th Cpl. Nick P. Craighead; Drummer Frank A. Brewer.

Privates: W. S. Austin; R. S. Bagby; J. D. Bartley; J. P. Bell; Henry T. Blow; James W. Boulware; T. C. Boulware; Geo. S. Collier; Geo. W. Davis; John W. Davis; Joseph B. Davis; Wm. H. Dawson; R. M. Douglas; John Dunlap; A. G. Fisher; Jesse Garner; James L. Grant; Benjamin Griggs; W. H. Hall; E. Hansard; B. S. Hite; James T. Jameson; J. L. Jones; Thomas S. Kames; A. W. King; F. W. Knight; Sanford Langley; James McClanahan; George McIntire; J. M. Meadows; E. M. Morris; S. W. Mosley; D. H. Muir; J. Muir; Chas. Prentice; J. W. Russell; Lucian Shotman; Thomas Shotman; James P. Snedicor; Robert H. Taylor; H. T. Terrell; Isaac S. Terrill; B. A. Walter; E. B. Walton; F. M. Warner; J. C. Watkins.

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