Author Archives: Kristen Pawlak

“A Power for Good” – The St. Louis Ladies’ Union Aid Society

In the midst of the chaotic fall of 1861 in Missouri, one woman in St. Louis took time to write to her sister back home in Brooklyn, New York. “I feel it my duty to present the claims of the … Continue reading

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A Member of the 8th Missouri Infantry Reflects on Why He Enlisted

One of the most thorough and remarkable diaries I have come across from a Missouri soldier is from a non-commissioned officer in the 8th Missouri Infantry. A German immigrant and Peoria, Illinois resident, Phillip A. Smith joined the “American Zouaves” … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources, Trans-Mississippi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

The Conundrum of Missouri Guerrilla Flicks

Gettysburg, Gone with the Wind, Lincoln, Shenandoah, and Glory are some of the quintessential flicks we tend to think of when picturing famous Civil War films. We see the large-scale, bloody engagements that we learn about in history class, witness … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Union Warriors of the Trans-Mississippi West – The Indian Brigade

Particularly in the Trans-Mississippi West, Native American loyalty and animosity was quite a complex issue. Frustrations with white settlers had simmered for approximately two centuries by the time of the Civil War and Native Americans in the west were forced … Continue reading

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“But with blood” – John Brown, Violence, and Abolition in Kansas

On a cold December morning in 1859 in a jail cell in Charles Town, Virginia, John Brown reflected on his role in the desperate fight for abolition. Less than two months prior, he had led a small army of 21 … Continue reading

Posted in Personalities, Slavery | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Surviving Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence

August 21 marked the 156th anniversary of Missouri guerrilla chieftain William C. Quantrill’s infamous Raid on Lawrence, Kansas – one of the bloodiest and most significant irregular attacks against civilians during the American Civil War. A center of abolition and … Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: Trust Launches Campaign to Save 128 Acres at Perryville

If you take a look at a modern map of the Perryville battlefield and overlay it with the troop movements from the battle in 1862, you will see a gaping hole at the center. That hole – 128 acres in … Continue reading

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Giving No Quarter – How the 39th Missouri Lost the Highest Percentage of Men Killed in a Single Engagement of the Civil War

Ever since the guns went silent in 1865, there has always been a debate about casualty rates for Civil War units and battles among historians and enthusiasts alike. The regiments who sustained these enormous casualty rates have been immortalized in … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Emerging Civil War, Memory, Trans-Mississippi | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

From West to East – John Pope and Counter-Insurgency, Part II

(Part II in a series) In June 1862, John Pope assumed command of the Eastern Theater’s newest army made up of disparate forces – the Army of Virginia. Unfortunately, Pope’s strong ego and dislike for the Army of the Potomac’s … Continue reading

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From West to East – John Pope and Counter-Insurgency, Part I

“I have come to you from the West,” declared Major General John Pope, as he addressed his new Army of Virginia. The new commander continued, “we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an army whose business it … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments