Union Soldiers In Missouri
In April of 1861 Missouri received word that it would be expected to fill four regiments of infantry as part of President Abrham Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops to suppress the rebellion that started at Fort Sumter. Then governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, refused to fill the order. Missouri politician, Frank Blair, Jr. telegraphed the war department that if they would accept independent companies for service, General Nathaniel Lyon in St. Louis should proceed with enlistment. On April 21, 1861, the War Department authorized Lyon to begin raising the four regiments for defense of St. Louis and the arsenal there. Lyon raised more than the required number for service by Lincoln's April 15 proclamation. These men were considered obligated for three months service.
The Missouri State Militia
On August 24, 1861, under newly appointed Governor Gamble (the elected government was run out of Jefferson City), called for 42,000 militia men to serve six months. Militia units were then given the option of enlisting for three years service. Most chose not to enter three year service with the U.S. government. In late 1861 and early 1862 a new organization, the Missouri State Militia, was formed. Realizing that the cost and time was not worth the effort, the six months militia was disbanded on January 25, 1862. On November 25, 1861, General Orders No. 96 was issued that authorized the official organization of the Missouri State Militia, which would fall under the command of Major-General Henry Halleck, then commander of the Department of Missouri. Brig. Gen. John M. Schofield was appointed a brigadier-general of the Missouri State Militia, which placed him in direct command of the organization.
The nearest town or county authorized to raise troops for the Missouri State Militia was Greenville, Missouri, authorized to raise two companies of infantry. Having enlisted three thousand more than the ten thousand authorized, a reorganization took place to allow for twelve companies per regiment instead of the usual 10. The MSM was authorized fourteen regiments, 3 battalions, and one independent company of cavalry, two batteries of light artillery, one regiment of infantry, and one company of sappers and miners.
The Enrolled Missouri Militia
In order to better combat the problem of guerrilla bands operating in nearly every corner of the state, General Schofield issued orders to recruit a new militia organization called the Enrolled Missouri Militia. Every able bodied male was to enroll in the organization if not already in service. The complete number of those enrolled in the EMM is unknown but the numbers added up from official returns put it at 85 regiments, 16 battalions, and 33 independent companies were formed with a total of around 52,000 men. Failure to enroll in the EMM would result in a $10 fine or prison. Due to the nature of the how the EMM was organized it was inevitable that people of less than stellar character would likely enlist, and many did. In some instances, most of those who were forced to enlist were former Confederates causing problems within the organization. The EMM operated much closer to their home counties than the Missouri State Militia which often fought far from their home counties and could even be seen fighting in other neighboring states such as Arkansas. Another difference between the two organizations was that in the EMM men were expected to furnish their own horses, weapons, and ammunition. EMM units were often called up for service and then released to go back home once the threat had left their region, whereas the Missouri State Militia remained in constant service throughout their time of enlistment. The EMM was finally disbanded on March 12, 1865.
A Note On Stoddard County & Union Units
Stoddard County and a lot of Southeast Missouri is unique when it comes to doing research on the Civil War. It is probably one of the only regions in the country where it is easier to do research on the Confederate related topics than it is on Union related topics. The late (and great personal friend) Civil War historian, Jim McGhee put the number of Union soldiers from Stoddard County as high as 200. Thus far I have found no single company sized Union contingent made up primarily of Stoddard Countians. Even going through the official history of the Missouri State Militia and Enrolled Missouri Militia, I found no reference to a company raised in Stoddard County. The men of Stoddard County overwhelmingly chose the Confederate side during the war, the rest either left the county, managed to hide from recruiting authorities, left the county and joined in other places, or joined when units from other areas happened to be Stoddard County (for a fact, there were Stoddard Countians who joined the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry and 2nd Missouri State Militia). When looking at independent Enrolled Missouri Militia companies, they can be found in nearly every Southeast Missouri county except Stoddard and Dunklin. We managed to find another document that actually mentioned the Dunklin and Stoddard County "unit" of the Missouri Militia (authorized January 30, 1865) actually merged together and still only mustered 11 members (commanded by Cpt. J. C. Thompson)! Adding to the further chaos and confusion of Missouri militia units, there is another Missouri Militia company listed as commanded by 1st Lt. Louis (Lewis) M. Ringer. In conclusion, researching and studying Union organization in Southeast Missouri is a minefield of contradictions and misnomers that make research very difficult.
Stoddard Countians Hard to Enroll
In the August 14, 1863 edition of the Charleston Courier (Mississippi County), an explanation as to why Stoddard and Dunklin Counties had yet been able to form a company of Enrolled Missouri Militia, can be found. Col. Deal, in charge of enlisting Southeast Missouri into the EMM for Mississippi County (later joined the 79th EMM), found that recruiting in Dunklin and Stoddard Counties was hard, "Col. Deal did not go to Dunklin County, as he was informed that Col. Burbridge, of the C.S.A., was in that County enforcing the Southern conscript law. We thought that Gen. Davidson was to attend to matters down there, but juding from the action of Burbridge in Dunklin and Stoddard Counties, and the burning of a train between Bloomfield and the Cape, the General's movements have not availed much towards protecting South-Eastern Missouri."
2nd Missouri State Militia Cavalry
3rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry
12th Missouri State Militia Cavalry
Other County Units (under construction)
56th Enrolled Missouri Militia
64th Enrolled Missouri Militia
68th Enrolled Missouri Militia
Companies F, G, & K
Companies F, G, & K