Chariton County during the Civil War

The Civil War

During the Civil War it is estimated that six hundred or seven hundred men in this county enlisted in the Confederate army. The first company was organized at Brunswick and enlisted as as Missouri State Guards, with the following officers: Captain, E. W. Price; first lieutenant, H. L. Gaines; second lieutenant, R. A. Dickey; jun. 2nd lieutenant, J. O. Patterson. The officers of the second company were: Captain, Thomas H. Price; First lieutenant, John Barr; second lieutenant, John Crowder; jun. 2nd lieutenant, William McAshan. These companies were composed of about eighty-five men each.

Another company composed of men from the forks of the Chariton enlisted in Company B, Third Missouri State Guard, with the following officers: Captain, T. H. Walton; first lieutenant, John Lampkin; second lieutenant, William Ewing; jun. 2nd lieutenant, John Taylor. This company was composed of eighty-five men and reenlisted in 1862 in the Confederate army, remaining in the service until the close of the war and was mustered out at Shreveport, Louisiana, in June, 1865. Captain T. H. Walton was promoted to the rank of major and belonged to General Elliott's battalion of General Joe Shelby's brigade.

In October, 1862, two companies. Company A., Third Regiment Missouri State Guard, and Company I, Eighth Battalion Missouri Infantry, consolidated and formed Company E, Eighth Regiment, C. S. A., of which regiment R. H. Musser was lieutenant-colonel and p. L. Gaines major. The following officers were elected in Company I, Ninth Regiment: Captain, James C. Wallace; first lieutenant, G. T. Vaughan; second lieutenant, J. N. Thompson; junior 2nd lieutenant, F. F. Weed. This company was made up of men from Chariton County and participated in the engagements at Carthage, Drywood, Springfield, Lexington, and Elk Horn. At Elk Horn Captain Wallace was severely wounded in the right thigh. Among other engagements in which this company participated were at Cypress Bend, Little Rock, Gaines' Landing, Jenkins Ferry, and Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. Captain Wallace was again wounded in the knee at Jenkins Ferry. He surrendered his company May 10, 1865, at Shreveport, Louisiana.

Several companies of Union soldiers were organized in Chariton County and entered the Union army in 1861.

The officers of Company B, Eighteenth Missouri Infantry, were: Captain, Peter R. Dolman; first lieutenant, Fred Partenheimer; first lieutenant, J. J. Hersel, resigned; second lieutenant, J, J. Abrigg. Captain John A. Vance organized a company of Home Guard Militia, composed of Germans living in the southeastern part of the county.

 Captain Buckshardt organized another company of Home Guard Militia composed of Germans and were stationed in the Bowling Green prairie south of Dalton. Quite a number of men in Chariton County enlisted in Companies E and H of the Ninth Regiment of Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, known as Colonel Guitar's regiment.

The officers of Company H, Missouri State Militia, were: Captain, H. S. Glaze; first lieutenant, T. A. H. Smith; second lieutenant, J. A. Donahoe; first sergeant, J. X. Mitchell; second sergeant, J. Shaw; third sergeant, F. O. Boomer; fourth sergeant, Monte Lehman; fifth sergeant, John S. Foggin.

During the last year of the Civil war there were enacted in Chariton County some of the darkest deeds of cold-blooded murder that were ever perpetrated in any civilized community by men who seemed to be possessed of the instinct of the savage instead of that of civilized beings. Old men who had borne the burdens of the early pioneer in this county and whose gray hairs and tottering forms entitled them to more humane treatment were shot down by the roadside by these creatures in human form for the sole reason that they were accused of being southern sympathizers. On the other hand, there were roving bands of guerillas scouting over the country, many of them not connected with any military organization, who retaliated by killing inoffensive Union men who were non-combatants and had taken no part in the war. The Union men as well as the southern sympathizers who remained at home to care for their families suffered more from these atrocities than those who enlisted in either army.

Among those who were thus shot by the militia in 1864 was Moses Hurt, who had been a Union man all during the war. He was taken a short distance from his home and killed by the roadside.

Abner Finnell, one of the pioneer school-teachers in Chariton County and a captain of the state militia in 1838, was taken from his home by the same crowd and shot by the roadside a few hundred yards from his front gate.

James Stark, Sr., living in the same neighborhood with Moses Hurt, was given the alternative of going in the militia or going to prison. Being a Southern sympathizer, he declined doing either and so remained away from home. A captain of militia, with some thirty men, went to his home to arrest him. He was not there and they told his son, James Stark, Jr., to tell them where his father was or they would hang him. But none of the family could tell anything of his whereabouts. They then took James, Jr., a boy only sixteen years old, to the woods and hung him several times to the limb of a tree, while the boy protested his inability to tell where his father was. They finally hung him to a limb and rode off and left him hanging. His body was found some days later and given decent interment by his neighbors. The writer of this sketch was a schoolmate of a sister of James Stark, Jr., for several months during the summer of 1864 and often heard her tell the story of the brutal murder of her little brother.

Horatio Philpott, one of the pioneers of Chariton County, who came to the county in 1837 and opened a mill on the east fork of the Chariton, was known as a southern sympathizer, as were many of his neighbors. In October, 1864, he was taken from his home by a company of militia under the command of Captain Trueman and this aged pioneer, seventy-five years old, was shot a few hundred yards from his home. When found by his family he had on his person five gunshot wounds and two bayonet thrusts. Two of the gunshot wounds were in the head and the others, with the bayonet thrusts, were in the breast.

Dr. James Brummall, living in the same neighborhood, was killed the same day by the same company of militia. It is said that among the soldiers who committed the bloody deeds were one or two of his neighbors who boasted that they had killed old Dr. Brummall. Jesse Rogers, an old man of more than seventy years of age, was shot the same day by the same soldiers after they had partaken of his hospitality and they refused to permit the family to bury him. As a result, his body lay two or three days before it was buried. He was a quiet, peaceable citizen and a most humble and devout Christian, whose only crime was that he was a southern sympathizer. Theophilus Edwards, aged seventy years, was another victim of this same lawless band, who left a trail of blood along their line of march through the county.

One of the most brutal and cowardly deeds committed by men claiming to be soldiers was the wanton murder of John W. Leonard a boy only fifteen years of age, by the militia stationed at Brunswick. He was arrested by John Cox, who was raised on an adjoining farm and who had gone to school with young Leonard. Leonard was brought to Brunswick January 4, 1865, and placed in the guard house. At night he was taken out by a squad of militia and taken to the Missouri River, where a hole was cut in the ice, and, while he was pleading for his life, he was thrust in the river and held until life was extinct. The charge against him was that it was reported by some neighborhood spy that he had been active with bushwhackers and for this without trial, he was made to forfeit his young life to gratify the lust for blood. The writer of this sketch knows that the charge that John Leonard was ever a bushwhacker was a falsehood, for he boarded with the boy's mother, ate at the same table and slept in the same bed with him from February, 1864, until late in August of the same year and knows positively that he was never a member of any company of guerrillas. The boy's mother, accompanied by a neighbor woman, came to Brunswick in an ox wagon a few days after her son's arrest and tried to find out the fate of the boy. She was informed that he had been sent to the military prison in St. Louis. The aged mother died a few years afterward in the asylum at St. Joseph. Her mental trouble was caused by grief for her devoted son.

Among others who were killed in Brunswick were Judge J. J. Flood, who was shot in his own house; John T. McAshan, who was shot and his body thrown in the Missouri River; an old man by the name of Pixley, who was shot and his body left in the road near Brunswick, was partially eaten by hogs; a man by the name of Franklin, who was shot and his body thrown in Clark Applegate's yard.

Among the Union men who were killed by the guerillas, in retaliation for those killed by the militia, were Senstra Coleman, Mr. Partenheimer, Charles Jensin, and James Bittinger.

On September 22, 1864, the town of Keytesville was taken by Captains Todd and Threldkill and their men and about fifty militia, under Captain Berry Owens, surrendered. Robert Carmen and William Young were taken prisoners and Senator A. Mackay plead with Todd to save the life of Carmen, as he was the sheriff of the county and a quiet, peaceable citizen. But they were taken outside of the town and killed.

After General Price's raid many houses were burned by the militia, among them the fine residences of John D. Locke, Green Plunkett, Capt. William Herryford, Martin Hurt, and the John Moore tavern in Old Chariton. A. Kennedy's warehouse in Brunswick, together with a large quantity of furniture and tobacco and several pianos, was also burned. The loss was more than $30,000 as the building contained the property of citizens who were leaving for St. Louis and other cities to escape the horrors of the Civil war.  


© Missouri American History and Genealogy Project
Created August 16, 2017 by Judy White

Source: History of Northeast Missouri, edited by Walter Williams, Volume I, Lewis Publishing Company, 1913