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!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Civil War Photo Friday: Union camp in Missouri

Despite the Union defeat at Wilson's Creek on 10 August 1861, the North was still firmly in control of much of Missouri. St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City were all in Union hands, although the retreat from Springfield after the battle was a serious blow.

General John Fremont commanded the Western Department, which included Missouri, and this image shows his huge camp near the state capital of Jefferson City. The city, along with the Missouri River, were captured in the first battle in the state, the Battle of Boonville. Controlling the Missouri river cut the state in half, making it very difficult for rebels north of the river to join the main Confederate armies to the south. In fact, there would be few major operations north of the river at any time during the war.

The Confederates only briefly occupied central Missouri. After Wilson's Creek, General Price's army marched up to the Missouri river town of Lexington and took it, but soon had to retreat south in the face of superior forces. Price came back again in 1864 and marched through the entire state. That campaign is the setting of my Civil War novel, A Fine Likeness. As is reflected in the novel, by this time virtually all of Missouri was controlled by the Union, but rebel guerrillas called bushwhackers prowled the countryside. They'd never get near big camps like this one, though!

1 comment:

  1. I should take some time to study up on the geography east of the Mississippi. Your mix of history into your work is pretty neat. Unfortunately I know the geography of China better than I do the Eastern US.


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