Monthly Archives: August 2011

August 22, 1861: Affairs in Illinois

Prices are depressed in rural Illinois, presumably because of the uncertainty of shipping. Volunteers for military service are plentiful, though. From the New York Times: CHICAGO. Thursday, Aug. 22, 1861. I believe, according to all accounts which I read in … Continue reading

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August 21, 1861: Jeff Thompson reads them the riot act

Missouri would be the scene of atrocities committed by both sides during the war, and the secessionist troops, untethered to any formal Confederate command, were often the worst. However, Jeff Thompson was having none of this lawless private feuding, and … Continue reading

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August 20, 1861: Union retakes Commerce

It’s a little hard to sort out, considering the self-serving nature of accounts on either side. It looks to me like Thompson’s venture to Commerce was a raid; he never had the troops he’d have needed to hold it. A … Continue reading

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August 19, 1861: Swamp Fox takes Commerce, MO

1853 map of the region Making good on his plans from the day before, the “Missouri Swamp Fox” Jeff Thompson took the town of Commerce (while all the local men were hiding out on the Illinois side of the river). … Continue reading

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August 18, 1861: The Swamp Fox plans a little trick

Pillow wrote to Polk that he had driven the Union troops out of Southeast Missouri all the way up to Cape Girardeau — a claim that may have been slightly exaggerated. He also claimed that Fremont was pulling back to … Continue reading

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August 17, 1861: Confederate delays in Swampeast Missouri

1853 railroad map of the region As mentioned yesterday, General Polk ordered Pillow to fortify Island #10 opposite New Madrid, MO. He then released Pillow to move north toward Cape Girardeau, a strategically important river port. Pillow, on the other … Continue reading

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August 16, 1861: Polk orders Pillow to take Island #10

1862 Map of New Madrid and vicinity. Captain Gray of the CSS Mohawk reports that Island #10, opposite New Madrid, MO, would make a good site for controlling river traffic. Apparently his report convinced General Polk, because shortly thereafter Polk … Continue reading

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August 15, 1861: Affairs at Cairo

From the New York Times: Correspondence of the Cincinnati Commercial. CAIRO, Thursday, Aug. 15 — 4 A.M. When I left Cape Girardeau yesterday noon, the force of four companies of infantry under Lieut.-Col. ERWIN, and one piece of CAMPBELL’S Artillery, … Continue reading

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August 14, 1861: More correspondence in SE Missouri

Jeff Thompson’s men, sent out yesterday, came back to report a strong concentration of Union forces in Bird’s Point. Thompson appealed to Pillow for help in taking Commerce. As the furthest south high ground on the Mississippi in the state, … Continue reading

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August 13, 1861: The Swamp Fox maneuvers in SE Missouri

1853 map showing railroads in region Jeff Thompson, the “Missouri Swamp Fox”, fired off several dispatches on this date from his hideout in wilds of Southeast Missouri. His notes are datelined “Camp Sikeston” — Sikeston, MO was a small village … Continue reading

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