Civil War in Callaway County

During the Civil War

A large number of men from Callaway County were engaged in the Civil War, the estimate being from 800 to 1,100 on the Confederate side, and 350 on the Union side. Accurate records were not kept, and probably the names of many persons from the county who enlisted in the conflict have been lost forever. The first company to leave the county was organized by Capt. Daniel H. McIntyre, afterward attorney-general of Missouri, in response to the call of Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson. Captain McIntyre was a student in his senior year at Westminster College when he left in April for the war, and though absent from commencement in June, 1861, the faculty granted him his degree. His company contained five students of the college.

At least fourteen other companies of Confederates (not all of them full, however) left the county during the war, their captains being I. N. Sitton, David Craig, Milton Scholl, Henry Burt, Thomas Holland, Creed Carter, George Robert Brooks, Thomas Hamilton, Jefferson Gibbs, Robert M. Berry, Preston Wilkerson, George Law, W. P. Gilbert, and Charles Austin Rodgers. In addition to these companies, a large number of men were recruited during the war for the Confederate service.

Capt. William T. Snell, Henry Thomas and J. J. P. Johnson raised companies for the Union, while many men from the county enlisted for service in companies which were organized elsewhere.

Fulton was occupied during the greater part of the war by Union soldiers and militia, and Southern sympathizers were in constant fear of imprisonment and death. A number of non-combatants were killed in the county by soldiers, most of the crimes being committed by "Krekel's Dutch," as the troops under the command of General Arnold Krekel, of St. Charles County, were called.

The name, ''Kingdom of Callaway," came to the county during the Civil war through a treaty negotiated by Gen. John B. Henderson, representing the Union, and Col. Jefferson F. Jones, representing the people of Callaway County. In October, 1861, General Henderson, with a considerable force of militia, started from Louisiana, in Pike County, to Callaway, intending to invade the county and bring its citizens under subjection to the Union. Hearing of the project, Colonel Jones assembled three or four hundred men and boys and went into camp at Brown's Spring, on Auxvasse creek, east of the present Mexico road crossing. After drilling his men a few days. Colonel Jones on the morning of Sunday, October 27, sent an envoy under a flag of truce into Wellsville, where Henderson and his men were located, and that day a treaty was made whereby General Henderson agreed not to attempt to invade Callaway County, and Colonel Jones agreed to disband his force. Both sides kept the agreement, and thereby the county obtained a name which probably will last through the ages. The terms of the treaty were especially fortunate for the force under Colonel Jones, for his men were inexperienced in war and armed only with rifles and shotguns, and in an engagement probably would have been routed, for Henderson's men were drilled and well equipped. Part of the equipment of the force under Colonel Jones consisted of two homemade cannons, one of which was made of wood and was bound with iron hoops.

The only battle fought in the county during the war was at Moore's Mill, one and one-half miles south of Calwood, on Monday, July 28, 1862, between forces under Col. Joseph C. Porter, Confederate, and Gen. Odon Guitar, Union. The engagement lasted from a little before noon until late in the afternoon. The Confederates lost six men and had twenty-one wounded, while the Federals lost thirteen men and had fifty-five wounded. The battle was not decisive. Porter had about 280 men, and Guitar about 680.

Overton Run

Overton Run, a small engagement on the Overton farm, about two miles southwest of Fulton, on the morning of July 17, 1861, resulted in the killing of George Nichols, of Callaway county, who was with the Confederate force, and several Federals. Hearing that Caldwell's men, of Jefferson City, were about to invade the county, a force of several hundred men and boys was organized to meet the enemy. The home guards camped in brush on the Overton farm, and when the Federals came in sight, fired once at them and then ran. The Federals also fired once and ran. The affair has always been the subject of jest.



© 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