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Trans-Mississippi Musings

Sterling Price Invades Missouri

Posted by The Muse (themuse) on Sep 19 2013
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In the Summer of 1864, things are definitely not going well for the Confederacy. Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant has General Robert E. Lee bottled up and under siege in Petersburg, Virginia. Major-General William T. Sherman has Lieutenant-General John Bell Hood bottled up in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. GrantGeneral Robert E. Lee

Major-General William T. ShermanLieutenant-General John Bell Hood

Out in the Trans-Mississippi, Major-General Sterling Price has convinced the Confederate Commander, Lieutenant-General Kirby Smith, to let him lead a cavalry raid into Price’s home state of Missouri. Sterling Price will be at the head of three cavalry divisions. His commanders will be Major-General James F. Fagan, Major-General John S. Marmaduke, and Brigadier-General Jo Shelby.

“Make Saint Louis The Objective”

Lieutenant-General Kirby SmithOn August 4, 1864, Sterling Price received the go ahead from Kirby Smith to launch the invasion into Missouri: [1]

You will make immediate arrangements for a movement into Missouri, with the entire cavalry force of your district … Rally the loyal men of Missouri, and remember that our great want is men, and that your object should be, if you cannot maintain yourself in that country, to bring as large an accession as possible to our force … Make Saint Louis the objective point of your movement, which, if rapidly made, will put you in possession of that place, its supplies, and military stores … Should you be compelled to withdraw from the State, make your retreat through Kansas and the Indian Territory, sweeping that country of its mules, horses, cattle, and military supplies of all kinds.

On September 19, 1864, Major-General Sterling Price sent the following message back to Confederate headquarters in Arkansas: [2]

To-day we have entered the State of Missouri with our forces in fine health and spirits. We found the roads very rough and bad, but have not suffered much from that cause. Our strength is nearly 8,000 armed and 4,000 unarmed men--Fagan's division much the largest, Marmaduke's next, and Shelby two brigades. Parties of Federals were encountered by our advance, who are now pursuing them.


Major-General James F. FaganMajor-General John S. MarmadukeBrigadier-General Jo Shelby

Image Credits

Sterling Price, Library of Congress

Ulysses S. Grant, Library of Congress

Robert E. Lee, Library of Congress

William T. Sherman, Library of Congress

John Bell Hood, Library of Congress

Kirby Smith, Library of Congress

James F. Fagan, WICR 31441 in the collection of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, image courtesy of the National Park Service.

John S. Marmaduke, Library of Congress

Jo Shelby, WICR 31493 in the collection of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, image courtesy of the National Park Service.

[1]OR Series 1, Volume 41, Part 2, 1040-1041.

[2]OR Series 1, Volume 41, Part 1, 623.

Last changed: Sep 19 2013 at 12:33 PM