CIVIL WAR - "PRICE'S RAID"
In the years preceding the Civil
War there was much dissension in Washington about slavery and
related political questions.
Here, as elsewhere, families were divided on these
The old American pioneers were
largely from the south, and many of them were slave owners.
Most of the German settlers had joined the Democratic Party
because they were strongly in sympathy with the principles it
affirmed. Slavery was
abhorrent to them, however, so the majority eventually sided with
This shift is readily apparent
in the balloting for presidential elections.
In 1860, the county was strongly Democratic, and Lincoln
received 494 votes to 888 for Douglas.
In 1864, however, Lincoln received 1717 votes, more than
four times the total for McClellan.
In 1860 the Missouri State
Legislature voted to call a convention on February 28, 1861 to
determine whether Missouri should join the Southern Confederacy.
The counties of the State were to elect delegates to this
convention on February 18.
A mass meeting to sound out the
voters’ sentiments was to be held in Washington, on February 11.
In began on time, but nothing was accomplished except the
introduction of two resolutions, one in favor of secession, and
the other against it.
On the next day another meeting
was held at Union, and the wrangling began again.
The secessionist element was extremely active, and while
some of the leading Republicans were at dinner, they organized a
meeting, selected Edward J. Goode, a Southern sympathizer as
chairman, and appointed twelve others of like views as a committee
When the absent Republicans
learned of this action, they came into the courthouse, and four
Republicans were added to the committee.
After a stormy session of two hours, a resolution was
tendered in favor of secession, but a ringing minority report in
favor of the Union was given by Sheriff A. W. Maupin.
The vote on the resolutions was
so evenly divided that the chairman called for those in favor of
the Union to go to the west side of the room, and those for
dissolution to the east side.
At this critical juncture, James White, an office boy at
the courthouse, jerked a small flag from a door, and running back
up the stairs, handed it to Sheriff Maupin.
The Unionist greeted the banner
with loud “Hurrahs!” From
the Secessionists came shouts of “Down with the flag!” –
“Take the flag away!”
Sheriff Maupin, grasping the
flag in his left hand and a cocked revolver in the right, told the
Secessionists to come and get the flag if they wanted it, but that
the first man to lay a hand on it would be a dead man.
No one tried it.
Evening came on, and many more
men, called by Maupin’s friends to help, arrived to take their
place around the flag and its custodian.
The Secessionists grouped themselves on one side of the
room, the Unionists on the other, the space between being
Then this call came from the
is not a traitor, and wants to remain loyal to our flag, come to
Men who had been timid and
irresolute came over to the Union side, and only a few determined
leaders of the Secessionists remained steadfast.
In the election held on February
18, this district gave an overwhelming victory to the Union
ticket. The state
convention met at Jefferson City on February 28, and later
adjourned to St. Louis. After
a debate lasting for several months, Missouri decided to stay out
of the Confederacy, the only “slave state” to remain loyal to
Squads of Secessionists and
Union sympathizers began drilling in Franklin County at the
beginning of 1861. In
the middle of April, Union men were advised that the arsenal in
St. Louis was in danger. In
a few hours a company of men, under Captain David Murphy, took the
train at Washington, and by special arrangement with the
conductor, the train was stopped at Twenty-second street.
The company stole their way, one by one, until they reached
the arsenal unobserved, and were the fourth company in the state,
outside of St. Louis, to reach the arsenal.
A regiment was formed, and
placed under the command of Colonel James W. Owens, whose
residence on the bluffs near Washington was used for headquarters.
They drilled secretly for some time, and then Colonel Owens
and A. W. Maupin applied to St. Louis for arms and ammunition.
Two hundred and fourteen muskets were sent out to
Washington on the night of June 11, and with these, two companies
were armed. One,
under the command of Captain Francis Wilhelmi, immediately took
possession of Washington, and the other, led by Captain Maupin,
marched to Union.
Very little of the actual
suffering and privation of the Civil Was was felt in this part of
Missouri, but many citizens of Franklin County were in the
Confederate and Union armies.
It is estimated that about 600 served with the Southern
forces, and more than 3,000 in the United States Army, including
members of the Home Guard and the Missouri Militia.
The Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth
regiments of the Militia were raised in Franklin County.
The twenty-four companies had a roster of 2,200 men.
They became United States forces by an order of 1861, but
they were organized for state defense, and were not mustered into
military service of the United States.
The twenty-Sixth Regiment of
Infantry of the United States Army was composed in the
main of Franklin County recruits, as were Companies C and K
of the Eleventh Regiment, G and H of the Thirteenth and B and D of
the Forty-Seventh. Men
from this locality served in many other regiments, also, such as
the Thirty-First, Thirty-Third and Fortieth Infantry.
At one period during the war
several companies of the Home Guard were encamped in the meadow
north of Main Street, between Jefferson and Lafayette.
Some veterans of the battle of Shiloh were quartered in the
Boley Building on Jefferson Street for a time, and local Southern
sympathizers were also imprisoned there.
Washington’s most exciting
event of the war was the Confederate raid in 1864.
Although it was known as “Price’s Raid,” there is no
evidence that General Price himself ever entered the town of
In the late summer of that year
Generals Marmaduke, Price, Shelby and Caball led a wing of the
Confederate Army from Arkansas into Missouri.
They camped at Sullivan on September 30, and the citizens
of Washington were warned of their approach.
Breastworks were hastily thrown up along the ridge near
Fifth street, but since the Confederate forces were numerous and
well equipped, it was evident that the company of Militia at
Washington could not hope to defend the town.
The people made frantic
preparations for the raid. Valuables
were buried, or hidden in cisterns and under refuse of various
kinds. Some of the
women baked bread and pies and left them for the raiders.
Most of the residents were loaded into farm wagons, and
were ferried across the river, where they were cared for by the
farm families in that locality.
The members of the militia, under the command of Colonel
Dan Gale, were also ferried to the other side of the river, and
the two ferryboats were taken to St. Charles.
Some of the refugees huddled in
the old covered bridge, at “Quackenbrueck,” as it was called.
The Confederates fired at them, and some of the bullets
lodged in the bridge, but no one was injured.
They could see the burning stations at Washington and South
Point, and doubtless expected to find their homes in ruins on
The raiders ransacked stores and
homes. They helped
themselves to food, and clothing, and it was said that they went
marching down the street with the hair ribbons they had purloined
from the stores tied to their bayonets.
They even took such bulky articles as spinning wheels and
destroyed much food, clothing and furniture either through
maliciousness or in their frenzied search for valuables and gold.
Fortunately the Confederates
stayed in Washington but a single day.
The damage to property was great, almost, every sound horse
in the community was confiscated, and two lives were taken – one
a man named Uhlenbrock, and the other young boy name Bartsch.
The youngster was shot down when he turned and started to
run away to tell his parents of the approach of the Army.
A very interesting account of
this raid was discovered by the late Herman Kiel, in the report of
Brig. Gen. John Clark, Jr:
“We arrived at Union, Franklin County, Oct. 1; found a
small body of the enemy, some 200 strong, posted in the town to
dispute our entrance. Dismounting
my command, and opening my artillery, I moved forward rapidly to
the attack, routing the enemy, killing 32, and capturing seventy
prisoners. At twelve
o’clock that night, Lawther’s regiment of my brigade was sent
forward in the direction of Washington as an advance.
I was ordered to join him with the remainder of my command,
and did so at 8 o’clock the next morning, one mile from
enemy having fled the night before, took possessions of the town
without opposition, destroying a bridge on the Pacific railroad,
two miles below town.”
”On the 3rd of October, captured a train at Miller’s
a large amount of clothing and 400 Sharp’s rifle.
Same evening captured Hermann after a slight engagement
with the enemy, Green’s regiment in advance, which captured one
12-pounder gun. The
train captured at Miller’s Station was run up to Hermann, where
stores, arms, etc., were distributed.”
On the day when Confederates
were in Washington, General Clark wrote the following brief
October 2, 1864, 8:15 a. m.
Maj. Ewing, Assistant Adjutant General.
Major: My troops have
just taken possession of Washington.
The enemy crossed the river.
The ferryboat was sent to St. Charles last night, the
JOHN B CLARK, JR.
The following account of the
“Washington Navy” was given by Colonel James W. Owens, who
signed his report as “Judge Owens”:
St. Charles, October 2, 1864.
Maj. Gen. Rosecrans:
I left Washington, Franklin County, Mo., this morning at
daybreak, in charge of two ferryboats; arrived here 4:30
Gale with his command was ferried across the river last night, as
he was unable to defend the town or railroad.
H has bout 600 men, well armed, but with no commissary
stores. He intends
marching to St. Charles. As
we passed South Point, two miles below Washington, rebel cavalry
fired into us about 75 shots.
Fortunately, only one man was wounded.
We could see the depot at South Point and Washington in
flames. From the best
information I could get they have about 1500 in Franklin County;
five pieces of artillery.
JAMES E. OWENS,
Judge of Ninth Circuit.
Captain John Maupin was
stationed at Augusta at this time, and reported hearing heavy
cannonading in the direction of Hermann.
He estimated Price’s forces at from 10,000 to 15,000
cavalry, and six batteries of artillery.
He reported that six men of the Militia, including Major
Wilson, were shot or hanged near Union by the Confederates.
Washington was alarmed at other
times by reports that Indians or the dreaded “Bushwhackers”
were coming, but the town was not further molested during the war.