Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Civil War heats up in the Trans-Mississippi

The Civil War Sesquicentennial is well underway, and with the notable exception of the Battle of Bull Run, many of the biggest anniversaries have been west of the Mississippi. I've already discussed the first Confederate invasion of the North all the way over in New Mexico Territory, and this past week has seen several 150th anniversaries in the Trans-Mississippi.

On 31 July 1861, a state convention in Missouri elected Hamilton Gamble as provisional governor of the state. The actual governor, Claiborne Jackson, was in the southwest of the state after his rebel forces got defeated at the Battle of Boonville back on June 17. This was one of the first battles of the war and the first really significant one, since it gave the Union control of the Missouri River and central Missouri. For the rest of the war Missouri would have two governors and two state governments. The Confederate government was based first in Arkansas, then Marshall, Texas, after the Union took much of Arkansas.

On August 1, Confederate Colonel John Baylor, who had taken Mesilla in the southeastern corner of New Mexico Territory, declared all of that territory south of the 34th parallel to be the Confederate Territory of Arizona. He declared himself governor. The name Arizona, of course, later became used for a state, but in the former western half of New Mexico Territory, not the northern half. During the war the rebels never really controlled their new territory except for one brief and ill-fated foray in 1862. More on that at a later time!

Meanwhile back in Missouri, Union and Confederate forces were gearing up for a showdown in the southwestern portion of the state. Skirmishes at Dug Springs on August 2 and Curran on August 3 were both minor rebel defeats. The armies were sizing each other up for the epic Battle of Wilson's Creek On August 10. I'll be talking more about that when the date rolls around.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! I always learn something after visiting your blogs.
    donna v


Got something to say? Feel free! No anonymous comments allowed, though. Too many spammers and haters on the Internet.