Wednesday, August 10

The Show-Me State

Well, two important dates in Missouri's state history have certainly shown me not to judge too quickly.

On Aug. 10, 1821, Missouri entered the United States as the 24th state as part of the Missouri Compromise. Forty years later, on Aug. 10, 1861, the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River was at Wilson's Creek, Mo.

The Missouri Compromise was an agreement between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30' north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri.

During the Civil War, Missouri was a border state that sent men and supplies to both sides, had its star on both flags, had separate governments representing each side, and endured an internal war that pitted neighbor-against-neighbor.

Though Confederate troops staged some large-scale raids into Missouri
during the Civil War, the fighting in the state was primarily guerrilla warfare by "citizen soldiers" such as Frank and Jesse James.

By the end of the Civil War Missouri had supplied nearly 110,000 troops to the Union and about 40,000 troops for the Confederate Army. There were more than 1,200 battles and skirmishes in all areas of the state. Only Virginia and Tennessee exceeded Missouri in the number of clashes within the state boundaries.

As one of the border states, Missouri was exempt from President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation decreeing the freedom of slaves in Confederate
territory. Governor Thomas C. Fletcher ended slavery in Missouri on Jan. 11, 1865, three months before General Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865.

Missouri, I thank you. I did not know.

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