Corp. James O. Slightom


Donated by:

Cindi Slightom Grim

Corp. James O. Slightom

62nd Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia
of Macon and Linn Counties


In researching my family history, I was having a terrible time finding information on the my second great-grandfather's military exploits during the Civil War. A posting on a message board was answered by a generous man named Bruce Nichols. Mr. Nichols has studied guerrilla warfare in Civil War Missouri for the past 15 years as a hobby, and found that these seventy-odd Union units in which tens of thousands of Missouri men served during the Civil War are not well documented, and little in the way of concise unit histories exist. In that time, has combed many sources for all material pertaining to the EMM. Using those sources, and the information from copies of the military cards of my ancestor, James Oliver Slightom (obtained from the Missouri State Archives), he graciously prepared this report for me, and has given his kind permission to post it on this website. Thank you, Bruce.

Corporal James Oliver Slightom served in Company B, 62nd Regiment EMM; Company I, 2nd Provisional Regiment EMM and Company M, 1st Provisional Regiment EMM.


The Enrolled Missouri Militia was Missouri's emergency army conceived during the summer of 1862 by the governor's office and the Missouri Union military command because 1) many regular federal troops were being sent from Missouri to hotter war theaters, 2) Missouri was being overrun by literally scores of guerrilla bands and Confederate recruiting commands, and 3) the state's few regiments of active-duty state troops (the Missouri State Militia or MSM) were not enough to hold Missouri in the Union without help. The Union high command had ordered disbanded ALL local home guard units the previous winter as being unmanageable, prone to commit depredations, and in direct competition with other recruiting efforts of the Yankee army. This time the EMM home guards were set up as a combined state and federal program with the hope that they may activate when a local need arises and handle local southern threats until the MSM could ride to the rescue.

One of the most controversial aspects of General Order Number 19 in mid-July 1862 which established the EMM was that it required ALL able-bodied Missouri men betweenages of 17 and 45 to enroll at their local enrollment station or face severe penalties including imprisonment. The thought behind this was that local enrollment officials would enroll everyone but never call into service men known to be disloyal.

Part of the result by the deadline in early August 1862 was that tens of thousands of Missouri men from all walks of life found themselves still at home and working at their jobs but part of an old-style universal militia as seen in colonial times in which they could be called from home to active duty any time. Another result of this mass enrollment was that hundreds and perhaps thousands of men chose to leave Missouri rather than serve. Hundreds actually hid out in the wilds until the whole thing would fall apart or blow over, and thousands flocked to the scores of guerrilla bands and Confederate recruiters already active in the countryside. In other words, after July 1862 no Missouri man could remain neutral in this civil war.

Part of the law setting up the EMM was that assessment and seizure of assets of known southern sympathizers would pay for the program. In short, the law brought about pandemonium across Missouri. What kind of army could be created this way? Most of those of both sides already inclined by strong sympathy had already joined the active military of their choice earlier in the war and were not available to the EMM program. This left the EMM as a force composed of "jerks and clerks" as some have criticized, although unfairly. The officers were generally men of standing and responsibility in the local community--doctors, lawyers, merchants, town leaders, but all too often somebody's brother-in-law or political appointee.

The rank and file were of all sorts including many good men of northern sympathy, but all too often including the town bully and the ne'er-do-well. Many EMM units included returned Rebel soldiers who supposedly had taken an oath to support the US and/or had paid bond that they would no longer fight against the US. Depending on local politics, many EMM units contained lots of men of varying levels of southern sympathy. The EMM were generally not given uniforms, not paid, and had to drill on occasion or guard railroad or road bridges or other installations in their own clothes using their own horses for transportation. Their firearms, if they were issued any, were to be kept in some central, designated makeshift armory such as a county courthouse or jail to keep them falling into the hands of Rebel recruiters and bushwhackers. Many EMM merely used their own firearms or forcibly took them from local people of southern sympathy.

Some aggressive EMM units committed depredations against known or suspected southerners especially after some local act of violence against northerners. Some EMM refused to aid nearby regular Union troops and Missouri State Militia and claimed they were exempt from obeying laws of warfare that applied to other combatants. For some, this stance was a defense mechanism to prevent local guerrillas and Confederates from killing them at will. There are many instances of Confederate recruiters and guerrillas terrorizing and killing local EMM officers and men for various reasons; including enhancing their own prestige among local southern men. Many EMM units served as local guides to other Union troops operating in their area and served alongside these other troops in patrols and even fighting.

Several EMM units took part in the vigorous Union defense against raids into Missouri by Generals Marmaduke and Shelby during 1863 and even against General Sterling Price's invasion of Missouri during fall 1864. Besides guarding, handling prisoners, and local patrolling many EMM carried out the directions of the local Union provost marshal who served in Missouri as a sort of secret police during the Civil War when most civil law was unable to function and martial law was in effect. All in all, the EMM units ran the gamut from despicable to exemplary, sometimes even in the same regiment.


I refer to the "Report of the Missouri Adjutant General For the Year 1865" which gives an annotated officer roster for the 62nd Enrolled Missouri Militia Regiment on pages 589-591. Based on the dates the officers assumed their duties in the regiment I can conclude the 62nd EMM was formed in Linn and Macon Counties in late July 1862 as the entire EMM structure was formulated statewide. The regimental commander was Colonel R. J. EBERMAN from 3 September 1862 until the unit was dismantled 12 March 1865 (the same date as the other EMM units across the state). Several of the other regimental staff officers were installed in September and October that year, indicating to me that there was some difficulty filling these positions among the large populations of southern sympathizers of those two counties located just outside of the region of Missouri still referred to as "Little Dixie."

The Company H commander was CPT Thomas MOODY and I found households listed under Thomas Moody in both Liberty Township in the central part and Jackson Township in east-central Macon County. I think I found 1LT John VAIL listed in LaPlata Township in northeast Macon County. Also in the roster is 2LT John HUBBARD, and although there were lots of Hubbards across all of neighboring Linn County, the only one I found in Macon County in the 1860 census was the household of Robert Hubbard in Dallas Township. Unfortunately, Dallas Township seems to have been renamed just after the Civil War and none of my lists show which of the townships it was. It is hard to guess from these few clues, but I would hazard a guess that Company H was mostly from the northeast part of Macon County. All three took their positions (probably elected by the men) as of 12 Aug 1862 and were confirmed by the State on 23 October 1862.

The initial slate of three officers of Company B took their positions 16 August 1862 and these men were voted to their responsibilities by a democratic vote of the company members--which was common in the EMM as a throwback to colonial times--then were backed by commissions from the state government on 13 October later that year. These were: Captain J. D. BANTA (a household under that name found on page 44 of 1860 Census of Callao Township in southwest Macon County); 1LT Nimrod LYNCH (a household under that name found on page 134 of 1860 Census of Walnut Creek Township in northwest Macon County, near the village of Elmer); 2LT John MOOTT (I couldn't find him in the 1860 Missouri Census index.).

Lieutenants Lynch and Moott, as well as the three officers named above from Company H, were ordered out of their positions in spring and early summer 1864 by the controversial Special Order #126 for "being too hard on rebels," if you believe that! This was a strange outcome of the intense fight in state politics by the radical and the moderate northern elements.

The moderates imposed this purging of the EMM officer ranks in order to remove large numbers of radical Union officers and improve the moderate power base statewide. Just in the 62nd EMM alone, fourteen officers were eliminated this way including a major, the regimental adjutant (or personnel guy), the surgeon and a number of company officers. As a result, the entire EMM apparatus across Missouri had to scramble to elect new officers to replace those ejected and reestablish new leadership before the next crisis came along.

In Company B, 1LT Lynch was replaced by Lewis KYTE (nothing in the 1860 Census Index) and 2LT John Moott was replaced by 2LT John R. MOOTT (I don't know if this is the same guy or a relative, but I could not find a household by this name in the Macon County region in the 1860 Census index.). Both these new officers and Captain Banta served out the war in their positions until the entire EMM system was dismantled for good on 12 Mar 1865 with the return of civil law.

Because the records of James Oliver Slightom state he was enrolled in Callao and the 1860 Census that states Captain Banta came from that same township and 1LT Lynch lived in Walnut Creek Township also in west Macon County, I conclude that Company B seems to be composed of men from west Macon County.

I don't know why James O. Slightom was transferred to Company I in March 1863, but perhaps as a corporal of a few months experience his leadership was needed more in Captain Thomas Gilstrap's company. The 1865 Missouri Adjutant General's Report for the Year 1865 lists only two officers in Company I, which lends credence to the above theory that it was short on leadership. Both Captain Thomas GILSTRAP and 2LT John YOUNGBLOOD took their positions on 12 August 1862 and their commissions were approved at the state level on 13 October 1862, just as had those of Company B above. I couldn't find households in either man's name in the 1860 Missouri Census Index, but there were five Gilstrap households in East Chariton County (southwest Macon County), one in Liberty Township in the central part, and four more in West Richland Township in northwest Macon County. These were not conclusive enough for me to estimate where Company I was formed.

Gilstrap was also removed by the strange S.O. #126 in spring or early summer of 1864. I wonder if that company continued throughout the rest of the war with only one lieutenant in command. That seems to be what the "Missouri Adjutant General's Report for 1865" seems to say. That also seems to make any Non-Commissioned Officer such as a sergeant or corporal (such as Corporal Slightom) even more important.

Notice from Corporal Slightom's service record that he spent considerable time for both companies on active duty in late 1862 and early 1863 in the county seat of Macon City, probably

1) performing administrative work and perhaps
2) drilling,
3) guarding the regiment's weapons (the men were generally not permitted to take them home where they could be taken from them by bushwhacker bands),
4) guarding the vital St. Joseph and Hannibal Railroad that crossed Macon County and through the town of Macon City (and also Callao), and also
5) limited patrolling.

I will note that the regional EMM structure thought enough of the 62nd EMM Regiment to select Linn County Companies A, C, D, F, and G and Macon County Companies I and L to be detailed in March 1863 to the new more-or-less active duty 1st Provisional EMM Regiment that served this region.

This new regiment was commanded by Colonel Joseph B. Douglass, whose name appeared on James O. Slightom's record the following year. All the Provisional EMM regiments (about eleven of them statewide) were dismantled in November and December of 1863 as a result of intense conflict inside northern state politics at the state level between the radicals and moderates. From what I read in the record you provided, your ancestor's Company M of 1st Prov EMM had in early 1863 been part of the nearby 2nd Prov EMM Regiment, but I doubt that Corporal Slightom served in the 2nd Regiment.

Specifically, Corporal Slightom served in Company M, 1st Prov EMM between 1 May and about 1 July 1863. During that period some men of this regiment while riding on the train 8 June near Mexico, Audrain County, recognized and captured Confederate Colonel Clinton Burbridge prewar of Pike County. Burbridge had been a regular Rebel officer but may have been acting as a secret recruiter when captured and sent into confinement. As of 15 June and probably before, COL Douglass had his regimental headquarters at Mexico and nearly the whole of 1st Prov EMM (740 men in all) there with him. As of 30 June or before COL Douglass detailed 50 men of the regiment to a detail at Brunswick, southwest Chariton County, but as of that date he had a total of 966 men in the regiment all on active duty. Therefore, we can conclude Corporal Slightom served much of his 61 days probably at Mexico (I would guess helping to guard the St. Joseph and Hannibal Railroad).

Undoubtedly, the 1st Prov EMM saw some limited guerrilla action during this period especially in Boone and Howard Counties against secret Rebel recruiters COL Sidney Jackman, J. Drury Pulliam, Reverend Tom Todd, James Rucker, and others active then in that area. In fact, these leaders and their recruits mauled a patrol of 1st Prov EMM of Company C on 1 June 1863 near Rocheport, killing one militiaman and wounding 7 more.

I have no idea if your ancestor experienced a shot fired in anger during his 1863 tour of active duty. I seriously doubt he experienced any during his early 1862 tour.

For 1864, the Provisional EMMs were dismantled and those men reverted to their former EMM units. The regimental commander COL Eberman appealed to the Missouri Department Commander, Major General Rosecrans, for weapons and blankets for two of his companies, but doesn't tell which companies those were. At that time, regional EMM director Brigadier General Joseph Douglass gave the order for Macon and Linn County men of 62nd EMM to be activated, probably to deal with the increased guerrilla gang threat that had been growing since spring. Those activated in Macon City on 19 July 1864 had to include Corporal Slightom.

The region around Macon and Linn Counties was awash then with roaming southern guerrilla gangs who were better mounted, armed, and experienced than any of the EMM units. These guerrillas were also not hesitant to kill militiamen and issued warnings from time to time what they would do with any militiamen that fell into their hands. The chief guerrilla bands that frequented this region were led by "Bloody Bill" Anderson and his brother Jim, John Thrailkill, Clifton Holtzclaw, and former Quantrill lieutenant George Todd, among others.

By late September, the tempo of guerrilla fighting had reached a high frequency as these southerners had been told to anticipate and assist softening Union resistance for Major General Sterling Price's long awaited great Missouri raid with 11,000 regular Confederate troops. All remaining EMM units were activated and all played a part in the eventual defeat of this "liberating" force, even if only the role of guarding vital facilities to free other troops to go to fight.

The shameful incident 27 September 1864 (detailed below) of men running away from their own comrades of the 17th Illinois Cavalry near Laclede seemed to only involve Linn County men of the 62nd EMM. Likewise, the efforts to control panic in the ranks of the regiment on 4 October seemed to be a Linn County problem.

On 27 September 1864 LTC Hynes and his command of his own 17th Illinois Cavalry and 1st Iowa Cavalry (federalized regular units experienced at fighting bushwhackers) encountered LTC Hamilton DeGraw and 40 men of the 62nd EMM drawn in battle formation five miles from their post at Laclede, Linn County, thinking the approaching Union troops were guerrillas (who also commonly wore Union uniforms at this stage of the war in this region). As LTC Hynes disgustingly reported afterwards, the militiamen broke and ran before one shot was fired and before the approaching Yankees could identify themselves. Hynes refused to give back the flag the 62nd EMM abandoned in their flight and called them "cowardly poltroons." An investigation revealed LTC DeGraw himself ordered the retreat over the disagreement of a number of his subordinate leaders present on the battle line, and that his men only reluctantly obeyed his repeated orders to retreat.

LTC Hynes recommended that the EMM structure take away LTC DeGraw's commission. Evidently, these particular 62nd EMM troops included Company A under the command of Captain Robert W. Holland who had at first refused LTC DeGraw's order to retreat. This account is in "O.R." Series 1, volume 41, Part 3, page 424. At this time Major General Sterling Price was leading 11,000 Rebel soldiers in a long-anticipated invasion of Missouri from Arkansas and was at this time heading north and west toward the Missouri capitol at Jefferson City and in the direction of Linn and Macon Counties. Price had sent staff officers to Missouri earlier that summer that organized the various guerrilla bands and gave them instructions to disrupt Yankee communications and railroad facilities. Many of these guerrillas were former Confederate soldiers who were only too happy to comply with Price's instructions which, after all, gave them more of an official status than that of renegades and robbers.

In this same reference on page 621 an active Federal officer, Captain Eli J. Crandall commanding elements of his own 38th and 62nd EMM at Brookfield, wrote his superiors October 4 of appealing to EMM officers to attempt to stop widespread panic among their men. He reported that some of these EMM officers refused to take action upon Crandall's order stating that the Rebels would kill them if they caught them in service. Crandall called them "miserable cowards" hiding in their houses. You should keep in mind that at this very time the roaming guerrilla bands were murdering militiamen in Carroll, Ray, and Clay Counties nearby whether they found them in uniform or not. At this time General Price's army was approaching Jefferson City and parts of it were branching out to attack smaller Union army positions, including the garrison at Glasgow, Howard County.

On October 10 in the same reference on page 761 Captain Crandall reported that 200 of 62nd EMM were then stationed at Brookfield nearly all unarmed and he asked permission to arm them. I believe their panic was partly understandable considering they had little means to defend themselves against guerrillas who would readily kill them as they proved in the region repeatedly.

The Linn County men of the 62nd should be forgiven if they showed reluctance and nervousness, for they had good reason. Based on my amateur research, Linn County had a larger percentage of southern men than did Macon County. Between 15 and 22 November, parts of the 62nd probably mostly of Linn County men took part in two skirmishes with Rebels or southern guerrillas while operating in a large sweep across Chariton, Howard, Randolph, and Macon Counties. One or two on each side were killed in these actions. I don't know if your Corporal Slightom was still on active duty during this time (his record is not clear on when his fall 1864 service ended--most EMM ended active service in November or early December 1864) or if he was riding along and witnessed or participated in these actions. I suppose it is possible he was there, but don't bet the farm on it.

According to his record, Corporal Slightom not perform any active duty after fall 1864 and the defeat of Price's great Missouri raid, and therefore performed no active duty at all in 1865.

A Union military troop disposition report on 31 October 1864 in the same reference states that Captain Holland, with one company of the 62nd EMM (probably his own Company A) was stationed at Laclede, Linn County. By this time Major General Sterling Price's Missouri invasion was thoroughly defeated in the Kansas City area and retreating south back to Arkansas along with many of the guerrilla bands.

On 7 November 1864 Captain Crandall with some companies of the 62nd EMM were still on duty in Brookfield with the notation that Crandall was using them to restore order in the area according to "O.R." Series 1, Vol. 41, Part 4, page 480. The last functions of the 62nd EMM I can detect took place between 15 and 22 November according to the "O.R." in which CPT Crandall took parts of the 38th and 62nd EMM on operations in Chariton, Howard, Macon, and Randolph Counties looking for the remnants of the bushwhackers and straggling and renegade Confederate troops left over from Price's invasion. These troops fought two skirmishes in these counties in which one or two on each side was wounded. Evidently, some time after 22 November 1864 elements of 62nd EMM were restored to inactive service since there seemed to be no more need of them in that region of north Missouri. They remained on inactive status until the unit apparatus was dismantled in March 1865.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Ernie Miles