1863 War Events in Monroe County

Civil War historian Bruce Nichols mapmaker3@aol.com – “The year 1863 witnessed far fewer events in Monroe County than had 1862, but 1864 would bring a renewal of violence to the county on a scale that would parallel 1862”.  Once again, thanks Bruce!


Union Troop Dispositions

Location: Monroe County area

Date: 28 Feb 1863

Source: "O.R." series 1, vol. 22, part 2, p. 131

Description: With the departure of the numerous Confederate recruiting commands the previous autumn and the degradation of some of the southern guerrilla bands in northeast MO during the 1862 fighting, there was not as much need for Union troops there, either.

The Union military troop report at the end of February 1863 stated that there were only 26 officers, 635 enlisted men, and two pieces of artillery in the entire District of Northeast Missouri.  Of these, those closest to Monroe County were only a detachment of cavalry at distant Palmyra in Marion County and the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, also known as Merrill's Horse, at Warrenton, Warren County.


Guerrilla Depredations

Locations: in Carroll, Chariton, Howard, and Randolph Counties

Dates: late April to early May 1863

Source: Norton, "Behind Enemy Lines," (memoirs of General Sidney D. Jackman), 1997, pp. 161-5

Description: Confederate Colonel Sidney D. Jackman disregarded the fate of most of the Rebel recruiters of the previous year in this region and returned to carry out a very clandestine but successful recruiting campaign for many weeks.  Jackman's operations evidently reached only as close to Monroe County as Randolph County to the west, but he left a profound, chilling impression particularly on the local Union militia.  To ensure the security of his recruiting and his very survival, Jackman intimidated and even recruited many of the officers and men of some of the Enrolled Missouri Militia in the region.  He protected his plans from detection by establishing an extensive network of informants who kept him apprised of every move the Union military made.


Guerrilla Depredations

Location: in Monroe County

Date: 11 Jun 1863

Source: St. Louis's "Daily Missouri Democrat," article of 15 Jun 1863

Description: In the style of COL Jackman not far away, on 11 June three daring southern guerrillas kidnapped Monroe County's commander of the 70th Enrolled Missouri Militia, COL William B. Okeson, thoroughly frightened him, convinced him how vulnerable he was to their violence, and forced him to swear an oath to the Confederacy before they

released him.  The intimidated colonel allegedly reported the southerners showed him official Confederate recruiting papers.  No part of the 70th EMM was on active duty at this time and its members including the colonel were living at home pursuing their civilian callings.


Union Troop Disposition

Location: Mexico, Audrain County

Dates: 19 Jun 1863

Source: "O.R." series 1, vol. 22, part 2, on pages 329 and 348

Description: According to this partial Union troop disposition report, some of the closest troops to Monroe County at this time were 740 picked members of the EMM detailed into the new 1st Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia under command of COL Joseph B. Douglass garrisoned at Mexico, Audrain County, to the south.  The Provisional EMM was intended as a sort of "super EMM" to overcome the obvious shortcomings of the amateur, poorly funded EMM forces by handpicking the very best of them into select units.  The experiment lasted most of 1863 with some success, but local and state politics

particularly between the appeasement-mindedness of the moderates and the hard-core attitudes of the radicals spread from the "regular" EMM into the Provisional EMM and crippled the new force.  Particularly harmful but invisible to the 1st Provisional EMM at nearby Mexico was Confederate Colonel Jackman's earlier intimidation of several of the officers and men.  By the end of the year the Provisional EMM project sputtered to a stop, and the Provisional EMM members reverted back to their former EMM assignments.


Union Regular Troop Disposition

Location: closest to Monroe County

Date: 30 Jun 1863

Source: "O.R." series 1, vol. 22, part 2, pp. 342, 343

Description: This troop report states that near Monroe County were stationed four companies of 9th Cavalry Missouri State Militia at Mexico, Audrain County, to the south and two companies of the same regiment at Sturgeon, north Boone County, to the southwest.  The 9th was an active duty unit experienced by one and a half years of combat experience in this region.  Their presence in this area shows the renewed Union concern in the face of returned southern irregular activity in northeast Missouri.


Presence of Large Rebel Recruiting Body

Locations: in Randolph and Howard Counties

Date: mid August 1863

Source: St. Louis "Daily Missouri Republican," of 21 Aug 1863

Description: This newspaper article quotes a letter from Huntsville, Randolph County, stating that Confederate Major Caleb Perkins had a command of 80 Rebels in the

vicinity and was actively recruiting more.  The article also stated other recruiters were active nearby and had amassed between two and three hundred southern men in all.


Guerrilla Raid and Skirmish

Location: in and near southeast Randolph County

Date: 11 Sep 1863

Sources: "Daily Missouri Democrat" of 12 Sep 1863 and the "Daily Missouri Republican" of 13 and 14 Sep 1863, as well as "O.R." series 1, vol. 22, part 2, p. 526

Description: Rebel recruiter or guerrilla chief Thomas or Bob Hunter with eight to ten men shot at a railroad train near Sturgeon, north Boone County and then raided the village of Renick in the southeast corner of Randolph County near the Monroe County line, robbing two stores.


Guerrilla Depredations

Locations: near Centralia, north Boone County and in the southwest corner of Monroe County

Dates: 28 and 29 Sep 1863

Source: "Daily Missouri Republican," 7 October 1863

Description: Ten guerrillas or Rebel recruits were seen in the village of Centralia, north Boone County, the night of 28/29 September and later took horses, firearms, bedding, and the like in southwest Monroe County from the farmsteads of J. C. McBride, Samuel

H. Brown, a Peru, a Pelsus, and a Goodrich.  Such actions were typical of southern recruits equipping themselves to go to war in this area.


Union Depredations

Location: in Monroe County

Dates: October 1863

Source: Farthing, "Chronicles of Monroe County," p. 66

Description: This account tells about members of 1st Provisional EMM who came to Paris, county seat of Monroe County, on 23 September and committed some depredations over the next several days.  Particularly, they forced a local man identified as Ownby to guide them in the countryside then shot him to death.


Union Troop Dispositions

Location: in the Monroe County area

Date: 31 Dec 1863

Source: "O.R." series 1, vol. 22, part 2, pp. 758-767

Description: The only Union troops near Monroe County at that time were various companies of the 9th Cavalry MSM stationed in Boone, Howard, and Macon Counties. With the advent of winter, most of the Rebels that had been in northeast MO had ridden south to warmer weather as they had the previous winter.  Therefore, the Union military did not need as many troops in the region and could more comfortably garrison them in buildings in the larger towns.  Guerrilla activity dropped off dramatically but would recur as it had the year before in the spring with the return of warmer weather.