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BULLET Missouri Civil War Union Militia Organizations
 

During the Civil War, the state of Missouri had many types of Union military organizations. This document discusses each type. A bibliography, provided at the end of this document, lists all sources consulted. The primary source consulted was Organization and status of Missouri troops, Union and Confederate, in service during the Civil War (United States Record and Pension Office, 1902). Copies are available at Central Library. (Call number: 973.74).

 

Notes:

  • Many Missouri men served in more than one type of military unit during the four-year conflict. Men serving in short-term militia units organized shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, for instance, later often enlisted in Missouri Volunteer Regiments or in Enrolled Missouri Militia units.
  • Some men even served in units on both sides of the conflict during the war (in some cases, men detained in prison camps volunteered to serve in the enemy army in order to avoid the possibility of dying due to diseases contracted while being held prisoner).
  • Missouri Civil War Union soldiers would be eligible to receive a postwar federal military pension and benefits if the units in which they served had been sworn into federal service, if the units in which they served were formally recognized by the War Department as having been at some point in the service of the United States, or if they had been disabled by wounds or other injuries incurred while their unit "was temporarily cooperating with a unit of the military forces of the United States," and had filed a pension or benefit claim based on that wound or injury prior to July 4, 1874.

Citizen Guards

  • Raised by company in late 1863 in those counties which had been affected by General Thomas Ewing's General Order No. 11 (which forced residents to evacuate certain counties in western Missouri which had been host to prior activities of rebel guerrillas).
  • Men who agreed to serve in these Citizen Guard companies were allowed to move back into their homes in the affected counties. These men were to be furnished pistols and rifled muskets, and were to be issued rations and be paid when called to active duty. 20 companies of Citizen Guards were known to be formed in the affected counties. Companies were also formed in some unaffected counties, but these initially had no legal status as military organizations.
  • During Confederate General Sterling Price's invasion of Missouri in late 1864, some 5,000 men who had previously been exempted from militia service were enrolled in five regiments, two battalions, and approximately 115 independent companies of Citizen Guards.
  • Service in a unit of the Citizen Guards did not qualify a man to receive a postwar federal military pension and benefits.

Enrolled Missouri Militia

  • Raised in late summer and fall of 1862. All able-bodied Missouri men between the ages of 18-45 who were not already in a state or federal military organization were required to enroll (although an annual $10.00 exemption fee could be paid by men not wishing to serve). Men in EMM units were to be used to fight rebel guerrillas operating in the local area.
  • The men supplied their own horses, guns, and ammunition, and were instructed during their first year of existence to "subsist on the disloyal population." They were later furnished surplus uniforms, and allowed to draw rations and forage when on duty. The men could be called out for up to 30 days active duty at a time.
  • At its height in 1863, the EMM consisted of 89 regiments, 16 battalions, and 42 independent companies, which were all disbanded by March 12, 1865.
  • Service in a unit of the EMM did not qualify a man to receive a postwar federal military pension and benefits (except for three companies of the 1st Regiment EMM, and four companies of the 63rd Regiment EMM that were sworn into federal service for 30 days during Price's invasion of Missouri in fall 1864).
  • Note: Enrolled Missouri Militia members who were disabled by wounds or other injuries received while "temporarily cooperating with a military unit or units in the service of the United States" were entitled to receive federal military pensions and benefits if they had initiated a claim for such pensions and/or benefits prior to July 4, 1874).

Fremont's Marine Corps (three-year)

  • Raised by General John C. Fremont, apparently on his own initiative, in August 1861. Its members were to have served enlistment terms of three years. The men were organized in three companies (called corps), each consisting of approximately 50 men and officers.
  • The organization, however, was dissolved in December 1861 by General Henry W. Halleck, who ruled that it had never existed as a legally constituted military unit. The men of the corps were therefore paid as if they had been civilian employees of the Quartermaster's Department, and were not eligible after the war to receive a federal military pension and benefits.
  • A later investigation of Fremont's Marine Corps by the War Department called it one of the "many peculiar and illegal organizations formed by Major-General Fremont."

Home Guards

  • Raised in June-December 1861. The men were to be armed by the federal government, but would only be paid if called to active duty. Several thousand were called to three months active duty during Union General Nathaniel Lyon's advance on Springfield, Missouri in late summer 1861.
  • At its height, the Home Guard organization consisted overall of approximately 19,000 men who served in approximately 240 companies during the war.
  • Men who served in the Home Guards were eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits if the units they served in had been recognized by the Hawkins Taylor Commission as having been "called out or accepted by proper authority." The Commission bestowed that distinction upon six regiments, 22 battalions, and 49 independent companies of Home Guards.
  • Men who had served in the Home Guards in units recognized by the Hawkins Taylor Commission were authorized in 1886 by the Secretary of War to receive certificates of honorable discharge from military service from the War Department.

Mississippi Marine Brigade (three-year)

  • Consisted of one regiment of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, and one battery of light artillery. The men were enlisted for three-year terms of service.
  • Although it was organized at St. Louis, it had few men from Missouri in its ranks, and was not recognized as a Missouri military organization by the War Department.

Missouri Militia (three-month)

  • Raised in April 1861. Consisted of five regiments of infantry, one battalion of light artillery, and one company of pioneers, all of which were mustered out July 1861.
  • Men who served in three-month Missouri militia units were eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits.

Missouri Militia (six-month)

  • Raised in fall 1861 in the seven military districts into which Missouri was divided. Men enlisted in these units were armed and paid by the state, and would serve when called to active duty by the governor.
  • At its height, the Missouri six-month militia consisted of five regiments, 11 battalions, and eight independent companies of infantry, and one company each of cavalry and artillery (approximately 6,000 men and officers total).
  • These units were disbanded on January 25, 1862, to make way for the Missouri State Militia, which was then being organized.
  • Service in a six-month Missouri militia unit did not qualify a man to receive a postwar federal military pension or benefits.

Missouri Militia (1865)

  • Organized in 1865 according to the provisions of the Missouri Militia Act of February 10, 1865. By December 1865, there were 84 regiments and six battalions of Missouri militia, which had been raised according to the provisions of the Missouri Militia Act.
  • None of these units, however, appear to have been called into either state or federal service during the Civil War. Service in one of these units did not, therefore, entitle a man to receive a postwar federal military pension or benefits.

Missouri State Militia (three-year)

  • Raised in Missouri in December 1861-April 1862. Men who enlisted in these units were to serve within state boundaries. The MSM consisted initially of one regiment of infantry and one company of sappers and miners; two batteries of light artillery; and 14 regiments, three battalions, and one independent company of cavalry. All MSM enlistees were mustered out by July 1865.
  • Men who served in Missouri State Militia units were ruled eligible in March 1873 to receive a federal military pension and/or benefits if they had been disabled by wounds or injuries incurred or diseases contracted while their MSM unit "was cooperating with United States forces."
  • In February 1895, officers and men of the MSM were ruled eligible to receive federal military pensions authorized under the pension act of June 1890 if they had served for ninety days or more, and if they had been honorably discharged from the MSM.

Missouri Volunteers (six-month)

  • Raised in Missouri in fall 1861, and again in the fall of 1864. Consisted in 1861 of one small regiment of infantry, and in 1864 of ten regiments of infantry.
  • Men who served in Missouri six-month volunteer units were eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits.

Missouri Volunteers (one-year)

  • Raised in Missouri February-April 1865. Consisted of one regiment of infantry (the 51st Missouri Volunteer Infantry).
  • Men who served in this Missouri one-year volunteer regiment were eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits.

Missouri Volunteers (three-year)

  • Raised in Missouri during the war. These men enlisted in regiments, which were sworn into federal service and employed wherever needed.
  • Most Missouri volunteer regiments served in the Western Theater- that is, west of the

Appalachian Mountains and east of the Mississippi River.

  • Initially there were 41 regiments and one battalion of infantry; four companies of miners, sappers, and pioneers; two regiments and six batteries of artillery; and 15 regiments, ten battalions, and two independent companies of cavalry.
  • After reorganization and consolidation, there were 23 regiments of infantry; two regiments of artillery; 13 regiments of cavalry; and one regiment of engineers.
  • Men who served in Missouri three-year volunteer units were eligible to receive postwar federal pensions and benefits.

Provisional Companies of Enrolled Missouri Militia (one year)

  • These units were formed in late summer and fall of 1864, but only in counties considered "disloyal." Such counties could form one or two such companies. These companies were to be armed and paid by the state, but were to be clothed and provided subsistence by the federal government.
  • 62 provisional companies of Enrolled Missouri Militia were formed in this way; all were mounted except for four companies that were used to protect vital bridges. These companies had all been disbanded by the end of July 1865.
  • Men who served in Provisional Companies of Enrolled Missouri Militia units were not eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits.

Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia

  • Raised in spring and summer of 1863 from men who had been in units of the Enrolled Missouri Militia. Intended to serve as a smaller, more permanent version of the Enrolled Missouri Militia. These men were uniformed, and all the men in a unit were issued weapons of the same caliber.
  • These units performed at a less than desired rate of effectiveness, however, and were disbanded gradually as the need for them appeared to have abated.
  • At its height, the PEMM consisted of 11 regiments (which generally served, however, in units called battalions, which consisted of four companies each). The last remaining PEMM companies disbanded on March 12, 1865.
  • Men who served in Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia units were not initially eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits (except for the 6th and 7th Regiments of the PEMM, which were sworn into federal service for periods of 20 months each).
  • In 1873 a federal law granted pensions and benefits to those members of the PEMM who had been disabled by wounds or other injuries incurred while their units were "temporarily cooperating with units in the military service of the United States."
  • In February 1895, entitlement to a federal military pension and benefits authorized by the pension act of June 1890 was extended to any officer or enlisted man of the PEMM who had served at least 90 days on active duty and been honorably discharged.

United States Reserve Corps (three-month)

  • Raised in St. Louis in May 1861. The men were to serve only in St. Louis County.
  • This organization consisted initially of five regiments of infantry and one company of cavalry.
  • Men who served in three-month U.S. Reserve Corps units were ruled eligible in an 1897 decision by the Assistant Secretary of War to receive federal military pensions and benefits as authorized by the pension act of June 1890.

United States Reserve Corps (three-year)

  • Raised in August & September 1861 from members of the United States Reserve Corps (three-month). These men were to serve without geographic restrictions, but many believed that their service would be within Missouri's boundaries only.
  • This organization consisted initially of five regiments, three battalions, and two independent companies of infantry; one battalion of cavalry; and one regiment of artillery.
  • Men who served in three-year U.S. Reserve Corps units were eligible to receive postwar federal military pensions and benefits.

Sources:

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Missouri for the Year 1863. St. Louis, MO, 1864. Central-HG 353.9

Listings by regiment usually include a list of officers of the regiment by company, plus an "Historical Memorandum" which recounts the activities of the regiment for the past year by company. Occasionally includes other information.

Annual Report of the Adjutant General of Missouri for 1864. Jefferson City, MO: W. A. Curry, Public Printer, 1865. Central-HG 353.9

Sections on each Missouri Union military organization in existence during 1864 usually includes a list of officers of the unit by company, plus an "Historical Memorandum" which recounts the activities of the regiment for the past year by company. Occasionally includes other information.

Annual Report of the Quartermaster General of Missouri for For the Year 1865. Saint Louis, MO: R. P. Studley & Co.,  Printers & Lithographers, 1866, pp.149. Central-HG 353.9

Includes for some Missouri Union militia organizations a list of small arms furnished to or turned in by one or more companies of the organization during the past year. Occasionally includes other information.

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, compiled and arranged from official records of the Federal and Confederate armies, etc. Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Co., 1908, 3 vols., pp. 1339. Central-HG 353.9

Volume 3 has brief histories by state of Union military organizations, including many militia units. Histories, which vary in length from one line to one page, include information on a regiment’s organization and the commands it was attached to, with a chronology of its wartime activities.

Fannin, William. Defenders of the Border: Missouri's Union Military Organizations in the Civil War. Jefferson City: Mid-Missouri Genealogical Society, 1982. Central-HG 973.741

A reprinting of an article which originally appeared in Pioneer Times magazine (vol. 6, no. 3- July 1982).

Hamilton, James A. "The Enrolled Missouri Militia: Its Creation and Controversial History." Missouri Historical Review 69 (July 1975): 422-432. Central-HG-L P

An article on the complicated history of the Enrolled Missouri Militia.

Supplement to the Official Records of the Union & Confederate Armies, volume 36, serial no. 48, Part II- Record of Events-Missouri Troops (Union). Edited by Janet B. Hewitt. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1996, pp.3-77. Central-HG 973.74

Chronologies by company of the wartime activities of Missouri Union Civil War military organizations .

United States. Record and Pension Office. Organization and Status of Missouri Troops (Union and Confederate) in Service During the Civil War. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1902. Central-ST 973.74

Listings of Missouri Civil War military organizations, with historical sketches and determinations as to whether men of a particular organization were eligible for post-war military pensions and benefits.

War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union & Confederate Armies. Published under direction of Elihu Root, Secretary of War. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. Central-HG 973.74

This book set includes numerous after-action reports and other information about various Civil War regiments (Union and Confederate), including some Missouri militia units


Compiled by Thomas A. Pearson
Special Collections Department
St. Louis Public Library
May 2001



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