Missouri and the American Civil War

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Article Tags:

Civil War , Historic Sites / Civil War , historic , Historic Sites , State Historic Site , State Parks and State Historic Sites
An American Experience
Author: H&L Partners

Missouri played a significant role in the Civil War. With some Missourians fighting for the Union and others aligned with the Confederacy, the war made a huge impact on the state and divided towns and even families. Learn about this fascinating history when you plan a trip to Missouri.

To get started, visit MoCivilWar150.com, an information-filled website that commemorates the sesquicentennial of the war, which ended in 1865. Learn about the battles fought in Missouri. Understand more about the lives of the soldiers and their leaders. Discover all of the places in Missouri where you can find Civil War battle fields, reenactments, memorials and museums. Looking for even more trip ideas? Check out the VisitMO Pinterest boards to find dozens of recommendations.

VisitMO.com offers plenty of excellent vacation itineraries, including a tour of Civil War sites and museums in Southeast Missouri. In Arcadia, the Iron County History Museum features an extensive array of Civil War artifacts. See the Union battle flag that flew over the Battle of Pilot Knob. Visit the place where the battle itself was fought: Fort Davidson State Historic Site, in Pilot Knob, where Union forces defeated the Confederate troops after two days of intense fighting.

As you continue your Southeast Missouri Civil War tour, visit the Cape Girardeau Common Pleas Courthouse. This stately building once jailed Southern sympathizers and, rumor has it, Confederate soldiers. A memorial to Union soldiers stands on the west side of the courthouse.

In Dexter, stand in the place where military units once camped and recruited soldiers: the Frenchman’s Spring Historical Marker. In July 1861, approximately 2,000 Missouri soldiers convened at this spring and formed the First Division of the Missouri State Guard.

In Bloomfield, visit the Bloomfield Civil War Cemetery and pay homage to 150 soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. The cemetery contains markers for each soldier, along with the story of when, where and how that soldier died.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, 12 miles south of downtown St. Louis, is the final resting place for many men and women who served in battles ranging from the War of Independence through the present conflicts.

Jefferson City plays a significant role in history. As the capital, Jefferson City hosts the state legislature and is the headquarters for the Missouri National Guard. Discover more at Lincoln University and the Soldiers Memorial Plaza. Tour the university, founded in 1866 by the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries for the benefit of freed slaves. An impressive statue and monument, in Soldiers Memorial Plaza on campus, honors these infantrymen and the university’s founders.

Ten miles north of Kahoka, history echoes throughout the Battle of Athens State Historic Site, where Union troops were victorious over the pro-South Missouri State Guard in the northernmost battle of the Civil War. Uncover the past when you take a history tour. Spend the day at the site; facilities include camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking and boating.

About nine miles southwest of Butler, the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site commemorates the first time African-American troops fought in the Civil War – nearly a year before the battle depicted in the movie, Glory. This historic site is built on the ground that once held Camp Africa, where the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry camped in 1862 before battling pro-Confederate forces.


 Iron County History Museum
The museum is housed in the restored 1941 Ironton-Arcadia Depot. It contains an extensive collection ...

 Fort Davidson State Historic Site
The Civil War Battle of Pilot Knob was fought here when Confederate troops attacked the earthen fort ...

 Cape Girardeau Common Pleas Courthouse
The Common Pleas Courthouse was completed in 1854. It sits high atop a hill, overlooking downtown. It ...

 Frenchman's Spring Historical Marker
During the War Between the States, this spring served as a natural gathering place for soldiers. The ...

 Bloomfield Civil War Cemetery
This cemetery holds 150 markers of soldiers who died during the Civil War. Each marker includes a brief ...

 Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Designated a National Cemetery in 1866, the 331-acre site is still in use. Burials from the War of Independence ...

 Lincoln University and the Soldiers Memorial Plaza
Lincoln University, one of the first historically black colleges in the United States, was founded in ...

 Battle of Athens State Historic Site
At this site, Union troops defeated the pro-south Missouri State Guard in 1861; it was the northernmost ...

 Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site
The Battle of Island Mound marked the first time that African-American troops were engaged in Civil ...