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!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Columbia, Missouri

It's the third day of the April A to Z challenge. Today's letter is C and so I'm picking Columbia, Missouri, one of my many hometowns. I went to university here. When I was a university student I made the smart move of making friends with lots of so-called "townies". Unlike Tucson, another of my hometowns, my circle of friends hasn't scattered to the four winds. I even set my Civil War novel A Fine Likeness in and around Columbia with a bunch of inside jokes only my Missouri friends will catch.

Like most people who have lived there, I have mixed feelings about Columbia. It's one of Missouri's liberal flight towns and has a great community of artists and thinkers, yet on the other hand it has some serious racial issues most people pretend don't exist. One of my friends, Tyree Byndom, is tackling these issues and it's hard going. Like his Facebook page. He'll challenge your thinking and won't mind if you challenge him right back.

So what was Columbia like during the Civil War? It was a Unionist oasis in a secessionist countryside and that was not a very comfortable thing to be! A Union blockhouse was placed at the intersection of 8th St. and Broadway and a local militia constantly guarded the town. In my novel I add a fictitious militia company led by the equally fictitious Captain Richard Addison so I can have them go of on adventures that aren't found in the history books. Addison makes damn sure there's no written record of some of the things he sees and does!

The real Columbia didn't see much action during the Civil War, except for a raid by some Confederate bushwhackers to bust a comrade out of jail. There are also plenty of local ghosts stories involving Civil War soldiers and a few period homes like this cabin.

Photos courtesy Horncolumbia via Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Looks outwardly like so many other small towns! I'm hoping to visit all the blogs on the A-Z Challenge in April.

  2. Being from Missouri, just about two hours south of Columbia, I totally understand what you are saying and will totally like your friends page as soon as I get home (can't get on FB at work!)

    Thanks for the info! :D

    1. I've never been to Lebanon, Missouri! The state has so many towns with so much history. Lebanon was occupied for most of the war by Union troops protecting the telegraph line (not always successfully). I think there was a skirmish or two outside of town. I'm traveling right now but I'll look it up when I get home in a couple of weeks.

  3. Hi Sean, first time visitor and great to meet you! I do love the Civil War so thanks for the posts.

    Stephen Tremp
    Co-host A to Z Challenge

  4. Hi Sean,I've been to Columbia. Missed your post yesterday, but read it today. Bushwackers an interesting and nefarious bunch.

    You asked at my site about the picture. Yes, I took it. It is on my island St.Croix. Carambola Resort Beach to be exact.

    I'll be back.

  5. Cool! I went to university there, and lived there for three years afterward. I didn't know this historical bit about the town. Thanks for sharing!


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