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TIMELINE OF
THE CIVIL WAR IN BARRY COUNTY, MISSOURI

 

Except as noted, the following timeline is based on The War of the Rebellion:  a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, commonly referred to as the “OR”.  Dates shown as links lead to original sources describing the events.  For anyone who wants to dig deeper, the entire OR is now online in a full-text, searchable form: The OR Online.

1861

April 12, 1861.  The Civil War began with an attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

Late April or early May.  The Stone Prairie Home Guard, Barry County's first Union military organization, was formed under the command of Captain John Sexton Jr.  The link leads to a history and roster.

June 11, 1861.  Under Union pressure, Missouri's pro-Southern government fled Jefferson City and moved to Southwest Missouri.  There Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Missouri State Guard, commanded by General Sterling Price, planned to join forces with the Arkansas troops of Confederate General Ben McCulloch.

Summer and Fall, 1861.  Charles Bird, Isaac Bledsoe, Joseph Peevy and Ennis Dixon organized local Confederate groups which attacked Union men in Barry and surrounding counties.

Prior to July 5, 1861.  According to Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County, a Captain Mitchell organized a company of Confederate cavalry in Barry County.  This unit participated in one of the skirmishes at Dug Spring in Christian County (either July 25 or August 2, 1861).

July 5, 1861.  Battle of Carthage, Jasper County.  Overmatched Union forces retreated to Mt. Vernon in Lawrence County during the night.  For detailed accounts of the Battle of Carthage, see the OR, Series I, Volume 3, beginning at page 14.

July 6, 1861.  The Stone Prairie Home Guard was formally enrolled as a Union military organization by Colonel Franz Sigel at Mt. Vernon.

July 25 to August 4, 1861.  Confederate forces moved through Barry County on their way to the Battle of Wilson's Creek.

August 10, 1861.  Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Greene County.  Defeated Union forces retreated to Rolla in mid-Missouri, essentially abandoning Southwest Missouri to the Confederates for the next several months.  For detailed accounts of the Battle of Wilson's Creek and retreat to Rolla, see the OR, Series I, Volume 3, beginning at page 53.

August 20, 1861.  The Stone Prairie Home Guard was formally disbanded at Rolla.  Many of its members joined the 24th Missouri Infantry on the spot (especially Company F), but others eventually joined the 14th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, the 6th Kansas Cavalry and other Union military organizations.

October 31 to November 7, 1861.  The pro-Southern portion of the Missouri General Assembly met in the court house at Cassville and conducted much business.  Except for organizing Confederate forces, however, its work had little practical meaning, since the Union controlled Missouri for most of the war and established its own provisional government.

Fall, 1861.  With the Confederates in control, many Union loyalists fled Southwest Missouri.

1862

Mid-February, 1862.   As Union forces moved back into Southwest Missouri and pushed the Confederates toward Arkansas, they skirmished with the Confederate rear guard from Flat Creek to Cross Timbers in Barry County.  The page includes a detailed account of the Confederate retreat by a soldier of the First Missouri Confederate Brigade. 

Mid-February, 1862.  Union troops from the 36th Illinois broke into a Cassville drug store and mistook an emetic for baking powder, leading to an adventure in cooking.

Late February, 1862.  While the Union army was camped near Pea Ridge in Arkansas, its supply lines in Barry County were continuously harrassed by Confederate "knights of the shotgun."

February 25, 1862.  Skirmish at Keetsville.  The 6th Texas Cavalry (Confederate) attacked part of the 6th Missouri Cavalry (Union) under Captain Montgomery.  This series of reports gives some idea of the scope of the effort to supply the Union army as it moved into Northwest Arkansas, soon to clash with the Confederates in the Battle of Pea Ridge. "There is a great set of rogues about Keetsville . . ."  The name of Keetsville was changed to Washburn after the war.

February-March, 1862.  While serving as quartermaster for General Samuel R. Curtis, future cavalry great Philip H. Sheridan stopped at Cassville to put the local mills to work grinding grain for the Union army.  Along with Grant and Sherman, he became one of the three great Union generals of the Civil War.

March 3-7, 1862.  Reconnaissance through Barry County to Berryville, Arkansas, by the 1st Missouri Cavalry (Union).

March 7-8, 1862.  Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.  The Union victory established formal Union control of Southwest Missouri and ended Confederate hopes of taking the state, but years of raids and guerrilla warfare followed.  For detailed accounts of the Battle of Pea Ridge, see the OR, Series I, Volume 8, beginning at page 189.

March 8-9, 1862.  After the Battle of Pea Ridge, Union troops chased defeated Confederates toward Keetsville.

March, 1862.  After the Battle of Pea Ridge, Cassville became a hospital ward for the wounded.  Two weeks later, a representative of the Western Sanitary Commission arrived there and found 400 wounded from the battle "lying in the clothes they fought in, stiff and dirty with blood and soil."  For a list of the soldiers who died and were buried at Cassville, see the MoBarry site at Rootsweb:  Union Soliders Buried At Cassville.

April, 1862.  Cassville controlled the Wire Road into Northwest Arkansas, and after Springfield, was the most important Union garrison in Southwest Missouri early in the war.  In April, 1862, Springfield's garrison had 1,250 men present while Cassville's had 1,069.  The next largest garrison was Forsyth with 320.  At the time, Cassville was the only Union garrison between Springfield and Fort Scott, Kansas.  OR, Series I, Volume 13, page 368.

April 6, 1862.  A month after the battle of Pea Ridge, Union families in Barry County feared the area would again be abandoned by Union troops.  As noted below, by August 1, this fear had come true.

April 9, 1862.  Union scout by the 6th Missouri Cavalry through Gadfly in Barry County and Granby, Newtonia and Neosho in Newton County.  "There is a horrible state of affairs in that corner of the state."  The name of Gadfly was changed to Corsicana after the war.

June 11, 1862.  Skirmish near Cassville.  Two wagons of the 37th Illinois Volunteers (Union) were ambushed.

June, 1862.  The Confederacy began a draft, which caused many Union loyalists to flee Northwest Arkansas.  If able-bodied refugees wanted to be fed, the Union commander in Southwest Missouri required them to enlist in the army.  Cassville became a recruiting center for Arkansas units and was later garrisoned by the 1st and 2nd Arkansas Cavalry (Union).  Several Barry County men joined these units. 

June 27, 1862.  Report of three Union scouts from Cassville into Northwest Arkansas.  Many similar scouts were launched from Cassville over the next few years.  The scouts described in this report were made by the 3rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry, the 1st Missouri Cavalry and the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry.  About 100 recruits for the 1st Arkansas Cavalry (Union) returned to Missouri with them.

Late June or Early July 1862.  Skirmishes at Gadfly in Barry County and Jollification in Newton County involving the 4th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union).

July 28, 1862.  Skirmish at Cross Timbers, Missouri.  The OR lists this skirmish in its chronology but doesn't include a report.  Cross Timbers was a hollow on the Wire Road between Keetsville and Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

August 1, 1862.  Concerned by threats of a Confederate invasion from Arkansas, the Union abandoned its post at Cassville. 

Mid-September, 1862.  One Turner, a "notorious jayhawking preacher" from Gadfly, was killed near Mt. Vernon by a Union spy.

September 21, 1862.  Skirmish at Cassville. The 1st Arkansas Cavalry (Union) raided Cassville, now held by Confederates. 

October 12, 1862.  After the Battle of Newtonia in Newton County, Union forces returned to Cassville and Keetsville.

October 14, 1862.  Skirmish at Hazel Bottom.  No report.  Hazel Bottom was an area west and slightly south of Cassville near the Barry/McDonald county line.

November 17-18, 1862.  Operations near Cassville and Keetsville.  The 14th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union) captured isolated Confederates near Roaring River and Keetsville.

December 7, 1862.  Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.  Another Union victory in Arkansas that quashed any lingering Confederate hopes of taking Missouri.  For detailed accounts of the Battle of Prairie Grove, see the OR, Series I, Volume 22 (Part I), beginning at page 67.

December 23-31, 1862.  Operations in the Sugar Creek Hills by the 8th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union).  Construction of a fort at Newtonia.

Late 1862 or Early 1863.  William Ray organized a company of Union militia in Barry County, Company L of the 76th Regiment of Enrolled Missouri Militia ("EMM").  Ray later organized Company G of the 7th Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia ("PEMM") and Company G of the 15th Missouri Cavalry.  Roster, Company L, 76th EMMRoster, Company G, 7th PEMMRoster, Company G, 15th MO Cavalry.

1863

December 31, 1862 to January 25, 1863.  Marmaduke's Missouri expedition.   Confederates led by General Marmaduke make a swift strike out of Arkansas and tried to capture the Federal supply base at Springfield.  They were repulsed in a sharp fight there on January 8, then retreated into Arkansas.  For detailed accounts of Mamaduke's expedition, see the OR, Series I, Volume 22 (Part I), beginning at page 178.

April 5-17, 1863.  Report of a Confederate scout into Southwest Missouri, including an account of the killing of Asa Chilcut and others in Barry County by Union Lt. Robert H. Christian.  A note includes Goodspeed's references to these killings and to the subsequent revenge killing of Christian.

April 17, 1863.  Skirmish on White River involving troops of the 7th Missouri Cavalry (Union) stationed at Cassville.  The report mentions that the telegraph line along the Wire Road was sabotaged almost daily.

May 21-30, 1863.  Union scout from Cassville, through Northwestern Arkansas, into Newton and Jasper Counties, Missouri, including skirmishes at Bentonville and near Carthage.  Report by an officer of the 2nd Kansas Cavalry.

July 4, 1863.  Skirmish at Cassville.  No report of the skirmish itself, but a report of the 1st Arkansas Cavalry (Union) on July 2 suggested Cassville was threatened by Confederate forces.

July 18-26, 1863.  Union scout from Cassville to Huntsville, Arkansas.  Report by an officer of the 26th Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union).

July 27, 1863.  Affair near Cassville.  Report by an officer of the 26th Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union).

July 28-30, 1863.  Union scout by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Elm Springs, Arkansas, and skirmishes.

September 5, 1863.  Union scout by the 1st Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Maysville, Arkansas, and skirmishes.  About one-third of the Union troops were drunk when they left Cassville.

September 22 to October 26, 1863.  Shelby's Raid.  In the fall of 1863, Joseph Shelby led a month-long raid which passed through Neosho and reached as far north as Marshall, Missouri. For detailed accounts of Shelby's Raid, see the OR, Series I, Volume 22 (Part I), beginning at page 621.

September 26, 1863.  Skirmish at Cassville. No report.

October 2-4, 1863.  Shelby's Raid.  As the raid developed, Union troops rushed to defend Cassville, then immediately countermarched toward Newton County. This march-and-countermarch confusion among Union forces was typical of every Confederate raid into Missouri.

October 4, 1863.  Shelby's Raid.  While Union troops, their artillery and ammunition train were rushing to Cassville, the Confederates burned Neosho and captured the Union garrison there.

October 15, 1863.  Skirmish at Cross Timbers.  Confederates ambushed a Union supply train to Fayetteville.  The Union forces involved were the 1st Arkansas Cavalry, the 18th Iowa Infantry and Stark's battery.

December 24-29, 1863.  Union scout by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to McDonald County, including an account of the killing of John Roller and a search of Roller's Ridge in Barry County.  A note includes Goodspeed's references to Civil War killings on Roller's Ridge.

1864

January-February, 1864.  Captain Ritchey's Company K, 7th PEMM was moved from Newtonia to Keetsville to guard the telegraph line to Fayetteville.

April-May, 1864.  Captain Ray's Company G, 7th PEMM was stationed at Gadfly and made a scout to Bentonville, Arkansas and Pineville in McDonald County, Missouri.

June 9-14, 1864.  Union scout by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Cross Hollow, Arkansas.  The telegraph line had been sabotaged at numerous places, in some instances by Confederate women.

June 20-24, 1864.  Union scouts by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Cross Hollow, Arkansas, including an account of the killing of the Todds in Barry County.  A note includes Goodspeed's references to these killings.

July 1, 1864.  The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry at Cassville was ordered to break up a ring of deserters who were stealing horses in Missouri and trading them for cattle in Arkansas.  This sort of theft, often referred to as "jayhawking," was very common in Southwest Missouri during the war.

August 23-28, 1864.  Union scout by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Fayetteville.

September 27 to October 31, 1864.  Price's Raid.  General Sterling Price led a sweeping cavalry raid through Missouri, entering the eastern part of the state from Arkansas, moving north to the Missouri River, then west to Kansas City, then back south to Arkansas along the Missouri-Kansas border.  Defeated in several battles, what was left of Price's army retreated through Newton County on October 28, 1864.  For detailed accounts of Price's Raid, see the OR, Series I, Volume 41 (Part I), beginning at page 304.

October 8, 1864.  Skirmish Barry County.  No report.

October 18, 1864.  Skirmish Barry County.  No report.

October 27, 1864.  Price's Raid.  When Price made his turn south, Cassville was briefly abandoned, but the main body of Price's army made its escape to Arkansas to the west, through Newtonia and Pineville.

October 29, 1864.  Price's Raid.  Skirmish at Upshaw's farm. The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry and 15th Missouri Cavalry (7th PEMM) fought one of the scattered detachments from Price's army.

November 5-16, 1864.  Union scout by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then to Springfield.

November 11-21, 1864.  Union scout by the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry from Cassville to Huntsville and Yellville, Arkansas, and then to Springfield.

1865

February, 1865.  Wild Bill Hickock was at Cassville, scouting Confederate positions in Arkansas and the Indian Territory and trying to keep warm.  "It was cold; I returned back."

March 8, 1865.  Captain William Ray was designated to organize a volunteer militia company for Barry and McDonald Counties.  If a company was actually formed under these orders, it was ordered disbanded July 6.

May 2, 1865.  War refugees were reported starving between Cassville and Fayetteville.

May 22, 1865.  Many Confederates were surrendering at Cassville, but one bloody band still terrorized Southwest Missouri.

May 30, 1865.  Major James M. Moore of the 15th Missouri Cavalry at Cassville negotiated an armistice with one of the last Confederate groups in Northwest Arkansas.
 

Timeline of the Civil War in Newton County, Missouri.

Home:  Historical Items from Barry & Newton Counties, Missouri.

This site created by Bob Banks.  Comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome.

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