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In 1863, prominent pro-Southerners are banished from St. Louis

A street battle erupted between Union soldiers and Southern-sympathizing civilians on May 10, 1861, on Olive Street near Garrison Avenue. It was the bloodiest of three violent clashes in the city on May 10-11, which ripped open the city's deep division at the outbreak of the Civil War. In the end, St. Louis backed the Union, and some prominent citizens with pro-Southern sympathies were put out of the city in 1863. Missouri History Museum image

ST. LOUIS • A wagon escorted by Union soldiers pulled up to a fashionable home on Chestnut at Seventh streets. Ten women climbed on board for a clattering ride to the steamboat landing.

Among them were the wife of a Confederate general and the lady of the house, which had been converted into a prison for women accused of being disloyal. By Union decree, they were being banished to the Confederacy.

At the landing, soldiers marched them and 13 like-minded men onto the packet Belle Memphis on May 13, 1863, for a trip down the river. One month before, President Abraham Lincoln approved instructions for banishing civilians whose public sympathies were too comforting to the rebel cause.

Since before the Civil War, St. Louis, a city in a slave state, had been a stew of opposing political passions and armed marching societies. Union forces prevailed, but only after bloody street clashes and the jailing of some pro-Southern citizens. Many prominent St. Louisans traced their heritage to Southern culture and bitterly resented the Union officers and German immigrants whose muskets had preserved the city for Lincoln.

Rebel sympathizers sometimes ended up in a medical college renamed the Gratiot Street Prison or in Bernard Lynch’s former slave pen. The house on Chestnut was a recent addition to the political penal system.

It was the city home of Margaret McLure, whose politics became fearless after her son was killed in Confederate service in 1862. Union leaders suspected that Pine Lawn, her country estate on Natural Bridge Road (and inspiration for the suburb by that name), was a communication post for rebels. McLure was put on the Belle Memphis.

With her was Eliza Frost, well-to-do wife of rebel Gen. Daniel Frost. Two years before, he had surrendered the pro-Southern Missouri militia in St. Louis to Union Capt. Nathaniel Lyon on the site of today’s St. Louis University. Moments later, 28 civilians and seven Union soldiers were killed in a riot on Olive Street. Frost headed south.

Also on the Belle Memphis was Lucie Nicholson, a proud secessionist who wrote, “God only knows what is before us, but the minds of all Southerners are made up to endure everything with cheerfulness, except defeat.”

The Missouri Democrat, a pro-Lincoln local newspaper, published her words on banishment day. It also praised the forced removal of prominent people “who have persisted in cherishing the most bitter hostility to the Government.”

The banished ones debarked at Memphis and were taken to the Confederate line at Holly Springs, Miss. They rode in Union ambulances stained by blood.

After the war, McLure returned to St. Louis and became a founding leader of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Frosts also came home, but Eliza died in 1872. Frost remarried and had a daughter, Harriet, who donated $1 million to St. Louis University in 1960.

That same year, a statue of Capt. Lyon was banished from what became the university’s “Frost Campus” east of Grand Boulevard. The statue is now in Lyon Park, near the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

From: STL Today

A Copperhead on the War


A Copperhead on the War.

Published: July 3, 1864

Col. T.H. SEYMOUR, of Connecticut, in a letter to the Kentucky Democratic Convention, expressed his views as follows:

"It is owing, then, to a departure from correct principles that we have got this war upon us -- a war that might and ought to have been avoided. And it should have been avoided by throwing the heresy of coercion to the winds, and submitting for brute force the wise and humane policy of conciliation, on the basis of equal and exact justice -- 'to all their rights.' The latter course would have saved our free institutions, and no doubt saved the Union; the former, only powerful for evil, finds its main satisfaction in presenting us with daily spectacles of slaughtered countrymen, whose lives have been uselessly sacrificed.

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The Picket Guard


The Nov. 30, 1861, issue of Harper’s Weekly featured a poem destined to become one of the essential texts of the Civil War, Ethel Lynn Beers’s “The Picket-Guard.” Beers, a 34-year-old native of Goshen, N.Y., said later that she wrote her only famous work in a single morning, after a boardinghouse breakfast at which one of her fellow residents relayed a newspaper report of “all quiet along the Potomac, as usual.” Beers had answered by reading aloud the sub-headline, “except a poor picket shot.” Her versified elaboration on the dispatch, in which a lonely guard is killed by a sniper early one morning, posed moral questions about the culture of war-making that have proved far more durable than her sentimental literary style.

Continue reading "Picket Lines," by Thomas J. Brown at the NY Times

The Picket Guard
Ethyl Lynn Beers

``ALL quiet along the Potomac to-night!"
Except here and there a stray picket
Is shot, as he walks on his beat, to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in the thicket.
'Tis nothing! a private or two now and then
Will not count in the news of a battle;
Not an officer lost, only one of the men
Moaning out, all alone, the death rattle.

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Vandals Represent P.C. Double Standard


The following story was submitted by a user of semissourian.com. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
User-submitted story by Clint E. Lacy

 The Tuesady, October 11, 2011 Southeast Missourian at the following URL


carried a story about Cape Girardeau's Confederate monument being vandalized. In it Scott House stated, "The war has been over for almost 150 years. People should get over their hate issues on whatever side they have. It's hard to tell why somebody would do something like that."

Mr. House and I happen to be in disagreement on many issues concerning the Civil War, this might just be the one thing he and I agree on.

The article also quoted Cape Girardeau County public works director Don McQuay who stated, "I don't understand why somebody would want to tear up public property. It's their property. They're destroying their own property."

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Civil War Confederate shrine at Cape Girardeau courthouse vandalized



Cape Girardeau County public works director Don McQuay makes a phone call to Liley Monument Works Tuesday morning after vandals spray painted graffiti on the Civil War monument in the courtyard of the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau. The removal of the graffiti will cost between four and six hundred dollars. (Laura Simon)

By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian

A Civil War monument on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau was struck by vandals who spray-painted both sides of the shrine with apparent pro-Union sentiments, nearly 150 years after the last shot was fired.

A two-man crew scrubbed black paint off the monument Tuesday morning. The men, from Marble Hill, Mo.-based Liley Monuments, said they hoped it would be graffiti-free by Tuesday afternoon.

But the message could still be read early Tuesday afternoon. "Go south" was written on the front of the shrine that sits along Lorimier Street near the fountain. That apparently was a request that the marker be moved, not a pro-South message. "We are in the union," read the words on the back. "Obscene. Remove to [illegible] cemetary (sic) in the south."

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