Ozark County History
MOGenWeb Site, Johnna Quick -- Coordinator
Civil War, 1861-1865
When the southern states began to secede from the Union, there was some question as to whether Missouri would join them or remain loyal. Governors Claiborne Jackson and Sterling Price fought for secession; and Francis P. Blair, Jr., a congressman, journalist, and strong antislavery supporter, took the lead in declaring for the Union. In January of 1861 the General Assembly of Missouri called for an election of delegates to a state convention to decide the issue. The delegates were elected February 18, the day Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederacy; and the ninety-nine convention delegates, three of whom were elected from each senatorial district, met in their first session at the Cole County courthouse February 28, 1861. Preston Todd, a former resident of Ozark County who lived in Douglas County and who later became associated with Sterling Price in his support of the Confederacy, was chosen as a delegate from the south-central Missouri district. The convention delegates elected Price as their president. The delegation met in the Cole County courthouse because the legislative chambers were then occupied by the General Assembly. When the courthouse proved inadequate as a meeting place, and as many convention members feared that the delegation might fall under the sway of the pro-secession elements in the capital, the convention voted to remove to the chamber of the Mercantile Library Association in St. Louis. There, much to the chagrin of the proslavery sponsors of the convention, the Unionist line of thinking remained predominant, despite the fact that all but seventeen of the delegates were natives of slave states. The delegates refused to vote for secession. The Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861. The Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, notified Governor Jackson that Missouri was expected to supply 4,000 men to help put down the rebellion. Jackson refused to send the troops and later made an unsuccessful attempt to seize the Federal arsenal in St. Louis. By the early summer of 1861, the state government was in flight from Jefferson City, pursued by Captain Nathaniel Lyon and his Union troops. Missouri was thus kept in the Union; but, unfortunately, the people of the state were left bitterly divided.
The internal upheaval which accompanied the American Civil War was not entirely a new experience to the residents of Ozark County, because they had been living with civil conflict in the form of a family feud for several years. Not much is known about this feud, the Alsup-Fleetwood War, but the casualty list verifies the fact that in reality it was not a humorous occurrence. The feud began around 1820 with a killing and continued with sporadic outbreaks of violence until the Civil War. Approximately two hundred persons were killed over the forty year period. About a year before the Civil War began, the Alsups and the Fleetwoods, having become tired of their feud, agreed to a final battle, with the condition that the losers would leave the county (then Douglas County). The battle which was to have been decisive was fought in October, 1860, on a level plateau between Bryant Fork and Fox Creek, in a post-oak flat. The fight lasted all day and probably would have continued on the next day had not non-partisans intervened and called a draw. The matter was then taken before a special grand jury which promptly indicted approximately fifty Fleetwood men and fifty Alsup supporters for murder. The men were to have been brought to circuit court trial the next spring, but the Civil War interrupted the turn of events. When the American civil conflict erupted, the Fleetwoods, some of whom were slave owners, joined the Confederacy, the Alsups joined the Union; and at the end of the war the Alsups boastfully but truthfully stated: “There is nary a living Fleetwood in Douglas County.” If there was anything good that came out of the Civil War, as far as Douglas and Ozark counties were concerned, it was the ending of the Alsup-Fleetwood feud. There are those, however, who would question whether this was a good result; because the surviving Alsups were able to dictate the nominations at the Douglas County convention called at the end of the war to nominate candidates for county offices. Thus, they gained complete control of the county government; and they maintained that control, unpopular though it soon became, for several years. It was only after more killings had taken place that Alsup rule was overthrown.
In Ozark County the ill effects of the American Civil War placed the problem of the Alsup-Fleetwood feud into the category of insignificance. The county played a small part in the Civil War, but due to its location on the Arkansas border, it became a “No Man’s Land”, engulfed by guerrilla warfare and lawless violence. Outlaw bands found easy refuge in the weak and broken settlements located along the streams. It was estimated that by the end of the war three-fourths of the population had evacuated, moving to more thickly populated portions of the state for protection from guerrillas and undisciplined soldiers thus adding to the state’s refugee problem. Neighboring counties found themselves in the same predicament. Only about one dozen families remained in Howell County; and in Oregon County there was said to be less than two hundred families, half of them without a male head.
Most residents of Ozark County were hill people from the middle states who opposed slavery, and they remained loyal to the Union. The census reports show that an extremely small number of settlers owned slaves. It is not known how many citizens held proslavery sentiments, but a conflict in sympathies was present. Some residents joined the Confederate forces. In writing of the Civil War in the south-central Missouri counties, Haswell remarked:
“It is true that many other regions were swept by large bodies of troops, and were the theaters of greater battles, but for the kind of warfare that sets fathers against sons; brother against brother; that transfers lifelong friends and neighbors into deadly and active enemies, it is doubtful if any other part of the entire country suffered as did this.”
Ozark County was surrounded by Confederate military posts at the beginning of the war; and Batesville, Arkansas, as well as the regions south of the White River, remained in the hands of the Confederates until near the end of hostilities. West Plains was made the headquarters of one of the nine Confederate military districts created in Missouri by Governor Jackson on May 10, 1861. James H. McBride, who was made brigadier-general by Jackson, was placed in command of the post; and Confederate troops from all the southern and south-eastern Missouri counties and the northern Arkansas counties were concentrated there. William Monks, the man referred to earlier as the author of the book A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, a collection of reminiscences of the Civil War period, was a colonel in the Union army at the time. He described what happened:
General McBride made an order to gather all the arms, ammunitions, and horses that were fit for the service, as speedily as possible and the report was put in circulation that he had given the county [Howell County] over to the leading rebels, who resided in it, whose action, whatever they did touching the Union men, would be indorsed and carried out by General McBride. The leading rebels of the county at once sent word that they were going to take all the arms, ammunition and available horses from the Union men and that McBride required each and every one of them to report and take the oath at once, and if they failed to comply with said order, speedy action would be taken against them.
They would either be arrested, imprisoned, or forced into the Confederate army to fight and their leaders would be hung.
….About two-thirds of the men who had been open and avowed Union men saw the danger that confronted them, and joined the Confederate army and claimed that they would be loyal to its cause. The remainder of the Union men were disarmed at once, except those who kept themselves concealed in the mountains and hills.”
After the Union defeat at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in August, 1861, the federal forces retreated to Rolla, the terminus of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. Springfield also became a Confederate stronghold. The Confederates then issued an order that all families of federal connections would have to leave their homes in Howell and surrounding counties. The heads of the Union families were in the service, in many cases, and could not go to their aid. Monks described the hardships this placed on the women and children.
“The suffering that followed the women and children is indescribable. They had to drive their own teams, take care of the little ones, travel through the storms, exposed to it all without a man to help them, nor could they hear a single word of comfort. On reaching Federal lines, all vacant houses and places of shelter were soon filled, and they were known and styled as refugees. Many went into soldier huts, where the soldiers had wintered and covered the tops of their huts with earth. They had to leave home with a small amount of rations, and on the road the rebels would stop them and make them divide up the little they had. On reaching the Federal lines they were all but destitute of food and were very scantily clad.
….Winter came on and they underwent untold suffering: diseases of smallpox and measles, and hundreds of them died for want of proper care….”
Near the beginning of the war the Union men of Ozark and Douglas counties formed Home Guard units in defiance of the orders of General McBride and swore allegiance to the United States government. Douglas County was soon to be called “Old Loyal Douglas County”. John S. Upshaw organized his Independent Cavalry unit in Douglas County to help hold that area loyal and to disarm disloyal citizens. Residents there were expecting an imminent invasion from the south. That invasion was not long in coming, for in the summer of 1861, a Confederate force of 250 men from Howell County and Fulton County, Arkansas (Baxter County was not organized until 1873), invaded Ozark County, marching north to Bryant’s Fork of White River. Here they attacked a small Union force of Home Guard units from Ozark and Douglas counties, consisting of sixty men armed with squirrel rifles, who had been informed of the Confederate approach and had barricaded themselves in a house. After one hour of fighting, the Confederates retreated leaving one dead and one wounded. During the same summer, the Douglas County Home Guard was attacked by Freeman at Bryant’s Fork, at Wilson’s Mill near Vera Cruz. Several Union men were killed and others were taken as prisoners by the “rebels”. In August of 1861, 350 Confederates, mostly from Oregon County, made a reconnaissance into Ozark County. Upon reaching the North Fork of White River, the group went into camp at the Jessee James Mill. They arrested James, “a man by the name of Brown,” both of whom were cutting saw logs in the pinery at the time, “an old man named Russell, and several others.” James, “a man about 55 or 60 years of age, as good a man as resided in Ozark County, was charged with grinding grain for Union men and their families.” Monks wrote:
“They took Brown and James about 300 yards from the house, procured a rope, hunted a long limb of a tree, rolled a big rock up to the first rope where it was tied to the limb, placed the noose around James’ neck, stood him on the rock, rolled the rock from under him and left him swinging, rolled the rock to the next rope, stood Brown on it, placed the noose around his neck, rolled the rock out and left Brown swinging in the air, went to the third rope, placed Russell on the rock, and just as they amounted to adjust the noose, word came that the Home Guards and Federals were right upon them. They fled leaving Russell standing on the rock and both Brown and James dangling in the air. Their wives and two other women dug graves under them and cut them loose.”
Brutality was a part of the Civil War in Ozark County as this incident and the repercussions from it bear out. One citizen carelessly referred to the James-Brown hanging as “murder”; and as a result, 25 Confederates, led by a Dr. Nunly and William Sapp, “killed him and cut his ears off and his heart out.”
During a reconnaissance from the Union post at Lebanon into Laclede, Wright, and Douglas counties, 42 Union men of Company E, Missouri Cavalry, under Captain Ludlow, encamped, March 6, 1862, on Fox Creek in Douglas County, seven miles southeast of Vera Cruz. At daybreak on March 7, the cavalry unit was attacked by a body of riflemen concealed in the brush. The cavalry detachment formed under a steady fire and made a charge at the Confederates who eluded them “by retreating through the wood trails.” One Union man was killed, five were wounded, and several horses were killed. The cavalry unit returned to Hartville where it was re-inforced by fifty men under Captain Heiden, Company F, 4th Missouri Cavalry, accompanied by Captain Wuerpel, assistant provost-marshal. Ludlow sent Captain Heiden’s force to Vera Cruz “having received information of the presence of a considerable body of marauders at Vera Cruz or its vicinity.” On March 8 Ludlow learned that the same party of men that had attacked him near Vera Cruz was at Mountain Grove and led his cavalry unit toward that town, re-inforced by Home Guard reconnoiterers and eighteen of Bowen’s Cavalry, under Lieutenant Flint from the post at Marshfield. They reached Mountain Grove on March 9 and engaged the bushwhackers in house to house fighting. Several Confederates were killed, and twenty-one were taken as prisoners. Among the prisoners was Preston Todd, a former Ozark County resident, and J. C. Campbell, a justice of the peace from Wright County. The following document was found in Campbell’s possession:
Headquarters M.S.G., February 7, 1862.
Authority is hereby given to J. C. Campbell to organize all the men that he can recruit for that purpose into companies, to operate as a guerrilla force in the Sixth and Seventh Military Districts. He is instructed to disarm all Home Guards and other hostile organizations in those districts, and to place the arms thus taken in the hands of his own forces. He will at the same time embarrass the enemy as much as possible by cutting off their re-enforcements, scouting parties, and supplies. He is particularly instructed to prevent depredations upon private property, the unnecessary disturbance of any person whatever, either by the men under his own command or by others, and he will report his actions to this army.
By order of Major-General Price:
F. O. Gray,
Acting by Special Authority.
Colonel George Waring, Jr., commander of the 4th Missouri Cavalry, wrote on March 12 to Major-General Halleck, then commanding the Missouri Department of the Army, as follows:
“There was also found on him (Campbell) a memorandum book, containing various notes of camp guards, expenses for provisions, lists of ammunition, pressed horses, arms, etc. One of the gang was one Preston Todd, who was a “Union” candidate for the State Convention. The Seventh District [Howell and surrounding counties] referred to in the commission under which the gang assumed to act, comprises eighteen counties in the southern portion of the State hereabouts, including Springfield and Rolla. For the past fortnight these men have been seizing horses, wagons, arms, and other private property, and a portion of the plunder has been sent down to Arkansas….I respectfully suggest, if their case is to be disposed of by a military commission, that such court convene here as soon as possible, that the example of punishment may have its greatest effect.”
By this time Price’s Confederate force had been driven out of Springfield by the Union army, under the command of Major-General Samuel Curtis; and the Confederates had barely escaped encircling Union troops at West Plains, abandoning that town and leaving it deserted. The counties of south-central Missouri were still in a precarious position, however, especially Ozark County which was sandwiched in between the Confederate stronghold of Fulton County, Arkansas, on the south, and “Old Loyal Douglas County” to the north; and the Union families that remained in residence there, did so at great risk. The raid on Clark’s Mill near Vera Cruz in Douglas County in November on 1862 and General John Marmaduke’s raid on Springfield in January of 1863 illustrated the uncertainty of their position.
The raid on Clark’s Mill took place November 7, 1862. On that date it was reported to the commander of the Union post, Captain H. E. Barstow, Company C, 10th Illinois Cavalry, that from 300 to 400 Confederates were in Gainesville robbing Union families. A short time later he received word that seven bushwhackers had captured and killed one of his men about four miles east of the post. Thinking that there was a group of bushwhackers trying to pass his camp in two divisions north and east of the post, Captain Barstow sent J. A. McClure with twenty men in the direction of Gainesville. At the same time the Captain took eighteen men to reconnoiter to the south. About five miles north of Rockbridge on the Vera Cruz road, Captain Barstow came into contact with a Confederate advance guard; and he immediately charges, driving them back about 300 yards and killing nine of their men and several horses. The Union loss was two men killed, two wounded, and eight horses “badly shot”. Captain Barstow immediately returned to camp and dispatched a messenger to Lieutenant McClure and another to Lawrence Mills and Marshfield. The Marshfield messenger was fired on from a corn field by a large body of Confederates approaching from the northeast, and he returned shortly to report the matter. Upon the receipt of this news, Barstow immediately planted his two-pounder artillery on both roads to receive the attack and prepared his two companies, consisting of about fifty men from the 10th Illinois Cavalry and about fifty men from the Missouri State Militia, for battle. In about ten minutes the Confederate force, consisting of 1,750 cavalry and infantry under the command of Colonel J. Q. Burbridge, opened fire. The fire continued for five hours, and at 5 p.m. the Confederates sent a man with a white flag to the fort demanding surrender, promising to parole all of the Union men and to allow them to keep their private property. Captain Barstow consulted with his officers, and they decided that they could not possibly hold out more than one hour. They had been reduced to only twenty-three rounds of canister for their artillery, and most of the men were armed only with Colt revolvers. The Confederates, on the other hand, were armed with revolvers, rifles, carbines, and four six-pounders. The Union men believed that retreat was suicidal, and thus they surrendered the post. The Confederates occupied the block houses long enough to put them to the torch, and breaking their promise not to take personal property, took the horses and other personal belongings of the Union men. They left “double-quick, up what is known as Bryant, in a southerly direction,” leaving thirty-four killed and a number wounded. The Union loss in the raid was seven killed and two wounded. Captain Barstow explained his decision to surrender and how he had gotten trapped by the Confederates in a report to Colonel D. Wickersham, commander of the Union post at Marshfield, in a letter dated November 10, 1862. He wrote:
“All avenues of escape were cut off, and knowing they had 10 men to my 1, I considered it suicidal to attempt a retreat with my command. At the time I sent the messenger to Lawrence Mills and Marshfield I had no intimation that there were over 400 of the enemy, and had no intimation that they had any artillery until they fired on us. I then sent out feelers to learn, if possible, their strength, and in the course of an hour ascertained that they were not less than 1,000 strong, and had their men so posted as to cut off our retreat. If I had known at the outset that they had artillery of that size I should have abandoned the post when I returned from driving in their advance.”
William Monks gave an account of the raid on Clark’s Mill which perhaps should be questioned as it conflicts on certain points with the official records of the War Department. Monks wrote that the military post was established at the mill in 1863. He stated that General Joseph Shelby was in command of the Confederate force and that it contained 500 men. He wrote that Captain Lock Alsup was in command of the Missouri State Militia (the official records did not state who their commander was) and that it contained from 250 to 300 men, all Douglas County citizens. He also stated that when the Union forces were ordered to stack their arms and march out of the block-houses, Captain Alsup refused to follow the orders, led his men in a bold dash out of the fort, taking the rebels by surprise, and retreated up Bryant’s Fork. Monks wrote:
“Captain Alsup and his brave men should be held in memory by all comrads, especially by the loyal people of Douglas and Ozark counties, for their heroic action in charging through the rebel lines and making their escape, after the post commander had attempted to deliver them into the hands of the rebels.”
The military post at Clark’s Mill was never rebuilt after the raid. The Union men of Ozark, Douglas, and Wright counties built a temporary fort, named Camp Baker, near the center of Douglas County; and “old and young organized themselves into companies.” Monks wrote:
“They appointed a few of their men as scouts, while the others worked in their fields. The scouts were out night and day along the side line; and if a rebel scout attempted to raid the companies, notice was given all along the line, and the men were all up in arms and ready to get the raiders.”
Many Union families had left the Arkansas border counties by this time, but some remained in hiding because they were too destitute to travel or did not have any place to go. Some families whose men were in service perhaps stayed because they thought it to be more dangerous to travel than to remain. In the fall of 1862 approximately fifty Union men, acquiring arms at a Federal military post, traveled to the western part of Howell County, still a “No Man’s Land”, giving families notice to keep themselves in hiding but to get ready to evacuate. About twenty families were assembled; but before they could begin their dangerous journey, they were caught under the fire of a surprise “rebel” attack. The Union men held the Confederates at a distance by returning the fire, while the families started the wagons moving toward Ozark County. The Union men retreated with the moving train, exchanging fire with the pursuing Confederates. One Union man deserted in the process. When the wagons crossed the Big North Fork of White River in Ozark County, they were caught in mid-stream by heavy Confederate fire from the river’s bluff. Although some of the women and children were slightly wounded, the wagons reached the other side of the river with no serious loss. The Confederates pursued the wagon train until it reached the Douglas County line. The refugee families stationed themselves near Federal military posts, entirely destitute of food and clothing and relying entirely for their preservation upon the small amount of help they received from the government. A short time later, a number of Union men made an expedition into Fulton County, Arkansas, to help more destitute families move to Federal territory; but they were discovered by the rebels and had to leave without helping any of them. The Union men retreated northward into Howell County, crossed over into Ozark County, and went into camp at the head of Lick Creek, near Gainesville. Here they were caught by a Confederate surprise attack and were forced to scatter, one being killed and several wounded. By the time they reached a Federal outpost, they were exhausted.
By the end of 1862, the war in Missouri had gone against the Confederacy; and although there was still a good deal of guerrilla warfare and lawlessness, the state was garrisoned and held firmly by the Federal forces. Hamilton Gamble held the office of provisional governor. Missouri had been divided into military districts by the Federal authorities; and Springfield, which was used as a base for the operations of the Army of the Frontier in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, was the headquarters of the Southwestern Division, under the command of General Egbert B. Brown. South Missouri was garrisoned with Federal troops at all strategic points.
Meanwhile, the Confederacy had placed Lieutenant General Theophilus H. Holmes in command of the Trans-Mississippi Department to succeed Major General Thomas C. Hindman who was placed in command of the military division of northwest Arkansas. By December, 1862, Hindman was being pushed southward toward Van Buren by Brigadier General James G. Blunt who was in temporary command of the Army of the Frontier. Unable to withstand the Union advance, General Hindman ordered Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke’s Fourth Division, First Corps, to fall back on Lewisburg, Arkansas, and acting under the orders of General Holmes, withdrew his troops to Van Buren on the Arkansas River. Later, in an attempt to force Blunt to withdraw his troops to Missouri, Hindman ordered Marmaduke to move north from Lewisburg and to strike the enemy in the flank and rear. After getting permission from Holmes to use the Confederate troops stationed at Pochahontas, Arkansas, who were under the command of Colonel Joseph C. Porter, Marmaduke moved out from Lewisburg toward Missouri on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1862. Apparently because of poor communications, Colonel Porter, who formed Marmaduke’s right column, did not leave Pochahontas until January 2, 1863. Marmaduke’s immediate command, the left column of the expedition, contained about 2,000 men. It consisted of Colonel Joseph C. Shelby’s Brigade, Missouri Cavalry; Colonel Emmett MacDonald’s Regiment, Missouri Cavalry; Captain W. C. Quantrill’s partisan company; and a detachment of artillery.
Considering the season of the year, the rugged terrain to be crossed, and the nature of the mission, Marmaduke’s column was not in the best of condition for the expedition. The force was inadequately armed and equipped. There were no baggage wagons or cooking utensils, and many of the men were without shoes and horses. They took only the provisions they could carry and hoped to acquire supplies from the country side through which they passed--”a poorly developed and sparsely populated area.” Two days after their journey began, they were forced to march through a cold January rain which continued for three days. Brigadier General Paul Robinett, author, historian, and lecturer, described Marmaduke’s handicap:
“The physical condition of the command, the inadequate planning and preparation, the lack of adequate information of the terrain and the enemy, the possibility of severe weather, lack of communication, poor logistical support, and indefinite objectives seemed to doom the operation from the very beginning.”
Marmaduke’s command marched by way of Lewisburg-Clinton-Yellville-Fort Lawrence on Beaver Creek-Ozark-Springfield-Marshfield-Hartville. Before reaching Yellville, Shelby executed a surprise attack on one hundred “jayhawkers”, killed a large number, and captured twenty-seven. On January 5, Colonel MacDonald’s command, acting under the orders of Marmaduke, destroyed Fort Lawrence on Beaver Creek, Missouri, capturing 20 prisoners, 130 horses, 5 wagons, and 300 stands of arms. Shelby executed a similar maneuver at Ozark, Missouri, where a slightly larger Federal garrison had been erected.
Meanwhile, Colonel Porter’s command, which consisted of 825 men, was marching toward Hartville. His route of march was Pocahontas-Gainesville-Rockbridge-Red Bird-Hartville. Robinett described the lack of communication that existed between Porter’s column and Marmaduke:
“The terrain through which both columns advanced was difficult, but the route of Porter’s column was extremely rugged, wooded and sparsely populated. Inasmuch as communication between columns was limited to mounted messengers in an unmapped country provided with only rudimentary roads, it is obvious that neither column would know anything about the progress of the other until contact could be made somewhere in the vicinity of Hartville.”
Leaving Pocahontas on January 2, Porter marched almost due west to a point near the northwest corner of Fulton County, Arkansas. He apparently planned to travel by way of West Plains from this location, but he received word that a considerable Union force was stationed at Houston, in Texas County, Missouri, north of West Plains, and as a result, altered his plans and marched farther to the west to the Gainesville-Cotter road, a point almost due south of Hartville. Here he sent 125 of his men back to the base camp, because of the bad roads and the impossibility of having horses shod en route, and began marching northward with his reduced force of 700 men. Porter noted:
“No incident of importance occurred worthy of note up to this time, save that my men were so well behaved that I was enabled to surprise all citizens along the road, and enabled me to capture some or the worst jayhawkers that invested the country.”
Although he had received no word from Porter, on January 7 Brigadier General Marmaduke decided to attack General Brown at Springfield. He had been informed by reconnoiterers that the city was weakly garrisoned. Although there was still no news from Porter, the attack was made on January 8. After an all day battle, involving some house to house fighting, Brown’s veteran troops beat off the attack. The Confederates had the advantage of superior numbers, but Brown’s effective artillery fire was the decisive factor. The Confederate casualties were 150 with 19 killed, 105 wounded, and 26 missing. The Union loss was 165, with 14 killed (including General Brown), 146 wounded, and five missing.
Marmaduke marched toward Lebanon on January 9 on the Rolla road. The Federal garrison at Lebanon was alerted to the possibility of attack. After traveling about twenty miles on the Rolla road, Marmaduke turned southeastward instead and advanced on Marshfield which had been abandoned by a Federal garrison earlier. On the same day Porter reached Hartville, taking the Federal post there without firing a shot, and finally made contact with Marmaduke a few miles east of the town. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Fitz Henry Warren, the Union commander of the post at Houston, received a telegram informing him of Marmaduke’s advance on Springfield and ordered Colonel Samuel Merrill with about 700 infantry and artillery to march to Springfield to reinforce the Federal garrison there. Merrill’s command, reinforced by about 180 cavalry, came into contact with Marmaduke at Hartville on January 11. The Battle of Hartville lasted from mid-morning until mid-afternoon, and afterward Marmaduke led his troops southward. His loss was 12 dead, including Colonel MacDonald, and 96 wounded, including Colonel Porter. The Union loss was 7 killed and 64 wounded.
Marmaduke traveled unmolested to the junction of the Big North Fork of the White River and Indian Creek in Douglas County and set up bivouac near the James Mill. Here he paroled and released his prisoners. From the bivouac he marched southward through Ozark County, following closely the Big North Fork, reaching Batesville, Arkansas, on January 25, 1863. Of the journey to Batesville, Daniel O’Flaherty, the biographer of Shelby, wrote:
“The march to Batesville was one of intense suffering, and by the time Shelby’s men reached the White River Valley, they were so desperate for food that they no longer cared whether the settlers were loyal Confederates or not--if there was any food left on the farms of this desolated region, they took it, despite Shelby’s stern orders against looting.”
Marmaduke described the trip as follows:
“The march was a long and trying one, over rough, rock roads, through rain and snow and icy mountain streams, and a country laid waste by the Federals, furnishing neither food for man nor horse…. At least 200 of the command abandoned their horses on the roadside to die, and waded many a weary mile through the snow and deep mud, some barefooted, yet they encountered every danger willingly and endured all fatigues cheerfully.”
Fortunately, the townspeople of Batesville welcomed them with open arms, giving them food and clothing and nursing the sick. O’Flaherty wrote:
“Best of all, of course, were the pretty girls. In Batesville were charmers as beautiful as any in all Arkansas, which is to say as in all the world. Those of Shelby’s soldiers who were not sick were soon lovesick. His camp, pitched among giant oaks on the south side of the river, was named Camp Nannie Wilson “in honor of one of Batesville’s most lovely daughters,” and as soon as the huts and barracks had been built, the men found a gay social life in the town, for the next two months.”
Although Marmaduke’s expedition into Missouri has been considered little more than a raid, it did have repercussions of some importance. General Samuel Curtis, commander of the Missouri Department of the Army, did withdraw important elements of the Army of the Frontier from northwest Arkansas to Springfield. The campaign carried the war into Federal territory and caused a concentration of Federal troops in Springfield. It also added impetus to the movement among Federal authorities to remove General Curtis from his position.
Ozark County continued to be hit by Federal and Confederate raids through 1863. In the summer of that year, a regiment of Federals reinforced by Douglas County Home Guards from Camp Baker, commanded by Colonel Holland, marched southward by way of Ozark County to destroy the nitrate plants on the White River in Fulton County, Arkansas. They were met by a small group of Confederates at Three Brothers. After a short skirmish, the Federals took 25 prisoners and captured 25 stacks of arms. By this time West Plains had been completely evacuated. Mrs. Alice Risley, a late resident of Howell County wrote: “Dabner Pennington says that he was in the town in the summer of 1863, and the only living thing he saw was a cat. The doors of the tenantless houses swung idly to and fro; the curtainless sashes rattled in the breeze; tall weeds filled the streets.” Colonel Tracy made a raid from Fulton County, Arkansas, into Ozark and Douglas counties in the fall of 1863, looting and burning houses and killing everyone he captured. He re-entered Fulton County near Bennett’s Bayou. About this time three or four guerrillas, led by a man named Watson burned West Plains. “Not a house was left standing.” Companies of the 16th Regiment of Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, garrisoned military posts in Ozark, Douglas, and other counties sometime in 1863. The men remained, acting as reconnoiterers until 1864 when they began to participate in the important battles between the Missouri River and the Arkansas line. Apparently, they did little to alleviate guerrilla warfare, because on December 17, 1863, the Missouri General Assembly enacted the following law:
“That hereafter it shall be lawful for the several County Courts and also the Circuit Courts for the counties of Wright, Douglas, Ozark, Jasper, and Vernon, to adjourn to and be held at any place in their respective counties when deemed necessary for safety during the unsettled state of affairs in said counties.
That is shall be lawful for the clerks of the County and Circuit Courts of the said counties of Wright, Douglas, Ozark, Jasper, and Vernon, at any time when deemed necessary for safety, to remove from their several offices in said counties to any place in this State all books, papers and records belonging to said offices.”
By this time mail delivery had virtually stopped, and news from the state capital was very slow in arriving. The news of the passage of this particular act apparently arrived too late to be of any benefit (perhaps the law was passed too late); because in a law to furnish certain books to the counties of Wright, Douglas, and Ozark counties, passed by the General Assembly on January 26, 1864, it was stated that the books, papers and records belonging to the circuit and county clerk’s offices had been destroyed or carried away during “rebel raids.” It was stated in the Ozark County Times recently that the county court met in the home of Grancer Upton during the war.
There is little record of military activity occurring in Ozark County during 1864 and 1865. The official records of the War department do contain reports of reconnaissances made during June of 1864 and February and June of 1865. Captain Jacob Cassairt, commander of Company I, Eighth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, stationed at Forsyth, made a reconnaissance into Ozark County and Fulton County, Arkansas, in June of 1864. He made the following report to Lieutenant W. D. Hubbard, acting assistant adjutant-general, at Springfield in a letter dated June 12:
“Sir: I have the honor to report as directed: I started on the march June 5, 1864, seeing considerable signs of guerrillas in the vicinity of Beaver and Big Creeks and Little North Fork. At Mountain Home I captured 2 prisoners and 2 others escaped. Seven miles south of Mountain Home I captured 2 others…. On my return on the night of the 10th of June, during a heavy shower of rain, 2 prisoners attempted to escape from the guard, when 1 of them was killed and the other escaped. While the guard was firing on these 2 that attempted to escape another of the prisoners was accidentally wounded and was left on Little North Fork. I arrived at Forsyth on the 12th instant.”
Guerrilla activity continued through 1864 as the following incident described to S. C. Turnbo by William Looney, son of Elisha Looney, reveals:
“The Civil War was awful. Several men were killed in our settlement [ten miles northeast of Gainesville] as well as a number of dwellings being burned. This was done by guerrillas of both sides. How well I remember that dark period of our history! Our family suffered in common with others in our section, but our greatest suffering was after our dwelling, including the contents, was burned on the 24th of December, 1864, and 600 bushels of corn. The party that destroyed the house consisted of 12 men who came up from Arkansas and killed a few men and burned 4 houses. I was about 12 years old and how well I remember our distressed condition while our house and household goods went up in flames, but I did not fully realize it until we were face to face with cold and hunger. Though father was almost blind yet he escaped being killed by getting to a place of concealment before the men reached the house. The men loaded our wagon with part of the best of the household goods and some of the men went up the creek a short distance to hunt our oxen to pull the wagon away but they did not find the cattle and as soon as they came back to the house they slashed the wagon wheels to pieces with axes and set the corn crib on fire. My sister Meelee was just four months old. My mother had put a feather bed down on the ground and laid the infant on it, but the guerrillas would not permit the child to rest but a moment when they took it up from the bed. They picked up the bed and threw it into the roaring flames.”
Company H of the 46th Regiment of the Missouri Infantry Volunteers at Camp Baker, Douglas County, acting under the orders of Captain Moses L. Alsup and led by Lieutenant Alsup, executed operations in Ozark County on February 6, 7, and 8, 1865, and came into contact with guerrillas. Captain Alsup wrote the following report of the operations in a letter to Brigadier General J. B. Sanborn, commander of the Southwest Missouri Division at Springfield, dated February 12:
“GENERAL: I have the honor to state to you, general, that on the morning of the 6th I started a detachment consisting of twenty-three men, under command of Lieutenant Alsup. On the night of the 7th he camped at the residence of James Martin, in Ozark County, Mo. On the 7th he fell in with two of Tracy’s and one of Elliott’s guerrillas, who were immediately placed in horse combat. We found in their possession one Savage revolver, one single-barrel shotgun. They all had bountiful supplies of subsistence, which we effectually destroyed. Our pickets were fired on the same night, but with no effect. On our return on the 8th we were fired on from the brush by one man. Owing to that region infested by straggling bands of guerrillas I shall start another scout immediately. Lieutenant Alsup reports finding the remains of three citizens of Ozark County, captured in November by guerrillas and supposed to have been murdered by them. Their names were James Martin, Sr., John Allcorn, and John Coil, all good loyal men and too old for the service….”
Captain William J. Piland, commander of Company I, 46th Regiment of Missouri Volunteer Infantry, made a reconnaissance into Ozark County in February, 1865. In a letter written at Davis’ Mill, Ozark County, to General Sanborn, dated February 17, Captain Piland wrote:
“GENERAL: I have the honor to communicate to you the following report: I can inform you that there is living in the vicinity of the country a band of lawless men who are roaming through the country, making expeditions into Arkansas and the southern parts of this county, taking the property of individuals and converting the same to their own use. They also destroy the property of women and orphan children. They report to me that they have verbal orders to do these things. I can say to you that if such conduct is allowed that this country is bound to be evacuated, for they do not seem to make any distinction between loyal and disloyal citizens. I desire that you will inform me what I must do in the present condition of things, as there are daily complaints made to me by good, loyal citizens of this county of the bad conduct of these men….”
In the third week of February, 1865, Captain James H. Sallee, commander of Company B, 16th Missouri Cavalry Volunteers, Lebanon Missouri, acting under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel John F. McMahan, made a reconnaissance into Ozark County and Marion County, Arkansas. In a letter dated February 22, Captain Sallee reported to Captain William F. Kitteredge, assistant adjutant general at the headquarters of the Southwestern Division, Springfield, the following:
“….I left this place on the morning of the 16th instant, with fifteen days’ rations, and proceeded to Little North Fork, in Ozark County, Mo. Here I met with four citizens of Douglas County, Mo., viz, Isham Lamar (sic.), Johnson Lamar (sic.), William Lamar (sic.), and George Lamar (sic.), who reported to me that they had been to White River, near Widow Magness’, and found some rebels in a cave and wanted assistance to catch them. I immediately started in search of the cave, the Lamars (sic.) accompanying me as guides. On arriving at the cave I found three bushwhackers, viz, Williams and Riddle, one unknown, who on our approach started to run, but Williams was killed and the others wounded, who made their escape in the bluffs and brush. After this affair I prepared to move on down the river and did so, but the Lamars (sic.) would not go any farther, and on the day following they were seen driving twelve head of cattle up the Little North Fork through a Union settlement. I mention this, as I am reliably informed that these men are in the habit of driving off stock from that county and converting it to their own use…”
By 1865 Ozark County was impoverished. Guerrillas or bushwhackers, many of whom had no military alliance, had stolen or killed much of the livestock and burned many of the homes. The drouth of 1865 caused crop failures, and food was scarce. Salt, too, was hard to obtain; and the dirt floors of smokehouses were boiled down for that purpose. Venison and wild turkey were the only meats available. Unfortunately, ammunition needed to kill wild game was scarce. William Lane described to S. C. Turnbo the hardships his family encountered:
“During the latter part of the Civil War my family and myself were in sore distress for food. We were without means to procure food, and we went hungry quite often. One side or the other of the combatants swept everything away in the line of provisions…. Bread was a rarity. There was scarcely any labor done on the farm in the greatest heat of the war….. A few men who were lucky enough to be allowed to stay out of the fight, dared not remain home any length of time. Deer and wild turkeys were plentiful, and those who could be at home for a short while, could support their families on wild meat as long as they stayed -- if they had ammunition. Powder and lead were nearly as scarce as bread. Then, again, it was dangerous to life to be out hunting, for the report of a rifle would attract scouting parties, and a hunter was liable to get shot, and his body left in the woods….”
The news of General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April, 1865, and the re-establishment of civil law in Missouri in July, 1865, must have been received gratefully in Ozark County. Unfortunately, these events did not erase the physical scars left by the war, nor did they erase the enmities. After the Civil War, bloodshed from bushwhacking produced a reign of terror. An incident which caused much speculation, for example, was the killing of Leroy Upshaw at Rockbridge in 1876. He had gone there to mill and was tying up his horse, when he was shot from ambush. Although it was claimed that the assailant was known, nothing was ever done to punish the offender. Fortunately, normalcy had returned to the county by the 1880s, and it could be safely said that the area was well on the road to a brighter and more prosperous period in history.
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