In the fall of 1864, during the last brutal
months of the Civil War, the Confederates made one final, desperate attempt to
rampage through the Shenandoah Valley, Tennessee, and Missouri. Price’s Raid,
the common name for the Missouri Campaign led by General Sterling Price, was
the last of these attempts. Involving tens of thousands of armed men, the 1864
Missouri Campaign has too long remained unexamined by a book-length modern
study but now, Civil War scholar Mark A. Lause fills this long-standing
gap in the literature, providing keen insights on the problems encountered during
and the myths propagated about this campaign.
General Sterling Price marched Confederate
troops 1,500 miles into Missouri, five times as far as his Union counterparts
who met him in the incursion. Along the way, he picked up additional troops;
the most exaggerated estimates place Price’s troop numbers at 15,000. The
Federal forces initially underestimated the numbers heading for Missouri and
then called in troops from Illinois and Kansas, amassing 65,000 to 75,000
troops and militia members. The Union tried to downplay its underestimation of
the Confederate build-up of troops by supplanting the term "campaign"
with the impromptu "raid." This term was also used by Confederates to
minimize their lack of military success. The Confederates, believing that Missourians
wanted liberation from Union forces, had planned a two-phase campaign. They
intended not only to disrupt the functioning government through seizure of St.
Louis and the capitol Jefferson City but also to restore the pro-secessionist
government driven from the state three years before. The primary objective,
however, was to change the outcome of the Federal elections that fall,
encouraging votes against the Republicans who incorporated ending slavery into
the Union war goals. What followed was widespread uncontrolled brutality in the
form of guerrilla warfare, which drove support for the Federalists. Missouri
joined Kansas in reelecting the Republicans and ensuring the end of slavery.
“Price's Lost Campaign:
The 1864 Invasion of Missouri
(Shades of Blue & Gray)"
by Dr. Mark A. Lause.
This book is available at http://www.amazon.com/Prices-Lost-Campaign-Invasion-Missouri/dp/0826219497