Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson in Richmond, Virginia

CDV of Governor Jackson circa 1860.┬áCourtesy of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

On July 29, 1861, Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson addressed a “large crowd assembled in front of the Spotswood House [Hotel]” on the desperate situation out west in his home state. In mid-June, Jackson and former senator and pro-secessionist David Rice Atchison traveled east to the Confederate capital as a diplomatic plea for help with President Jefferson Davis. At the same time, commander of the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard Sterling Price trained his inexperienced volunteer soldiers in southwest Missouri preparing for a rematch against Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon’s Army of the West that had ousted the secessionists from the state capital at Jefferson City in May.

Jackson and Atchison hoped that Jefferson Davis would further support their efforts to forcibly take back Jefferson City and officially declare Missouri’s loyalty to the Southern Confederacy. In early May, Davis had sent three field guns to Jackson in order to assist in the capture of the largest slave state arsenal, the St. Louis Arsenal.” However, Lyon’s troops captured them first, along with Jackson’s militia force. With this disaster for the Confederates, Davis was unwilling to supply more munitions and aid to Jackson without the state’s official secession from the Union. The summer trip to the East was Jackson’s attempt to regain the trust of Davis. By bringing Atchison along, who served alongside Davis in Congress, Jackson believed his ability to negotiate with Davis would hopefully improve. It did. Davis and the Confederate Congress appropriated $1 million to Missouri’s efforts once the state passed its ordinance of secession.

At the Spotswood Hotel in Richmond, Jackson was determined to express and share his Rebel zeal with the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The goal for Jackson was to show Virginians that Missouri was going to be a decisive battleground, too. Continue reading “Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson in Richmond, Virginia”