Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Civil 150 — Battles in Missouri

Battle of Springfield Oct. 25, 1861

Right in Ed and Jennifer's back yard.

This was a Union victory one of the very few in this area of Missouri:

In mid-November, after Frémont was sacked and replaced by Maj. Gen. Hunter, the Federals evacuated Springfield and withdrew to Sedalia and Rolla. Federal troops reoccupied Springfield in early 1862 and it was a Union stronghold from then on. This engagement at Springfield was the only Union victory in southwestern Missouri in 1861, and the Confederates had general control of the area.

To get a detailed description of the battle follow this link.

Battle of Belmont
Nov. 7, 1861.

This shifted the area of operations away from the are around Springfield to the near the Illinois border. This sees the first major action of Ulysses S. Grant. He strikes from Cairo, IL into Missouri:

On November 6, 1861, Brig. Gen. Grant left Cairo, Illinois, by steamers in conjunction with two gunboats, to make a demonstration against Columbus, Kentucky. The next morning, Grant learned that Confederate troops had crossed the Mississippi River from Columbus to Belmont, Missouri, to intercept two detachments sent in pursuit of Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson and, possibly, to reinforce Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s force. He landed on the Missouri shore, out of the range of Confederate artillery at Columbus, and started marching the mile to Belmont. Fighting opened at 9:00 in the morning. The Federals routed the Confederates out of their Belmont cantonment and, lacking the means to haul things away, destroyed the Rebel supplies and equipment they found.

Meanwhile the scattered Confederate forces reorganized and received reinforcements from Columbus. Counterattacked, the Union force withdrew, re-embarked, and returned to Cairo. Grant did not accomplish much in this operation, but, at a time when little Union action occurred anywhere, many were heartened by any activity.

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