1861 War Events in Monroe County

A very special thanks to Civil War historian Bruce Nichols at mapmaker3@aol.com for researching and creating our event listings!


Skirmish at Florida

Location: Monroe County, MO

Date: 8 or 9 Jul 1861

Source: Frederick Dyer's "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion," (hereafter called Dyer's "Compendium") vol. 2, p. 797

Description: Dyer listed only the Union units involved as the 16th Illinois Infantry and 3rd Iowa Infantry Regiments; no casualties were mentioned. 
Southern Sabotage of Salt River Railroad Bridge

Location: near Hunnewell, Shelby County, MO

Date: about 10 Jul 1861

Sources: "The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion," published Washington, D. C. 1881-1902 (from here on I refer to this set as "O.R."); series 2 Prisoners of War, vol. 1, pp. 389-402

Notes: This lengthy narrative is the tribunal record of the trials of Dr. Thomas S. Foster, a Ragsdell, and CPT Grimshaw. There was lots of war activity in that corner of southeast Shelby County, and I will include it for you since that is so close to Monroe County. 

Battle of Monroe Station

Location: Monroe Station, Monroe County, MO

Dates: 9-11 Jul 1861

Sources: 1884 History of Monroe County, pp. 229-233; 1884 History of Marion County, pp. 381-389; Dyer's "Compendium," vol. 2, p. 797; Moore, editor, "The Rebellion Record," vol. 2 (of 12), p. 270; Richard Brownlee, "Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy," 1957, p. 33; Broadfoot Publishing Company, "Supplement to the 'O.R.'", Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Company (hereafter called "Supplement to the 'O.R.'") (This particular reference is for volume 19, 3rd Iowa Infantry, pp. 491-493. This set in part 2 "Records of Events" contains itineraries of nearly all Union and Confederate units in the war and is vital to Civil War research.)

Description: This was a battle between Rebel Brigadier General Thomas Harris and 1600 of his men versus BG John Pope and his besieged elements of 16th Illinois Infantry, 3rd Iowa Infantry, and Hannibal Home Guards. 

Guerrilla Train Shooting

Location: Near Hunnewell, southeast Shelby County, MO

Date: Night of 16/17 Aug 1861

Sources: 1884 History of Shelby County, p. 720; 1884 History of Marion County, pp. 407, 410; "O.R." series 1, vol. 3, p. 460; series 1, vol. 8, p. 135; series 2, vol. 1, pp. 105, 211, 213; "Supplement to the 'O.R'" part 2, vol. 9, 16th Ill Infantry, p. 207

Description: My records show that Rebels shot at trains this night both near Hunnewell and also near Palmyra, east Marion County, so some of these references may be for one or the other or both shootings. The Illinois troops were moving by train from Marion City to Hudson and were fired upon at both places as the train traveled west. At both occasions, the train stopped, the Yankees deployed against the shooters and the snipers dispersed. Railroad executive J.T.J Hayward wrote of this on 17 August that one ball passed by the conductor's head, and Hayward felt the shooter deliberately aimed at the conductor. One soldier was killed, one was slightly wounded in the foot and five Rebels were killed.  

Paris Skirmishes

Location: in or near Paris, Monroe County, and others

Dates: 2 and 3 Sep 1861

Info Sources: The 1884 history of Shelby County, pp. 707-708; St. Louis newspaper "Daily Missouri Democrat," 9 Sep 1861; Farthing and Bodine, "Chronicles of Monroe County," 1993, p. 6.

Description: A Union expedition of Col Williams and Major Cloud and elements of 2nd Iowa Infantry and 2nd Kansas Infantry moved quickly to Paris hoping to seize the bank assets. As they entered town at 4pm they captured three or four Rebels and chased others. There was no money in the bank, so after a hard rain that night the Federal column headed back toward their garrison at Hannibal via Shelbina near where they probably got on a train. Near Otter Creek, hidden Rebels shot and killed one of the Union pickets and nearby citizens told the northern soldiers that local secessionists under CPT Grace or Brace were gathering to attack them. Near Clinton, Federal cavalry (I have not identified) chased 15 southern horsemen five miles and captured one of them. Among the three or four Rebel prisoners were Lieutenants Edwards and Smith probably of that area. 

Union Depredations

Location: near Madison, Monroe County

Date: October 1861

Source: "Chronicles of Monroe County", p. 10

Description: When German-American Yankee troops made a local man named Ownby guide them to the reported site of a Rebel camp they shot him to death when they found no enemy there. 

Southern Depredations

Location: near Santa Fe, southeast Monroe County

Date: late December 1861

Source: newspaper article "News From the NM [North Missouri] Railroad," "Columbia Missouri Statesman," of 3 Jan 1862

Description: Four southerners killed a northern sympathizer named Townsend, and a Union unit nearby sent troops to the Santa Fe area to try to find the guilty men evidently without success.

Notes: I looked in the 1860 MO Census Index prepared by the LDS church and located: Major Townsend, p. 296, South Fork Township, southeast Monroe Co; S. A. Townsend, p. 195, South Fork Township, southeast Monroe Co.