The Battle of Pilot Knob from mural located in Ironton, Missouri

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The Battle of Pilot Knob was the first major engagement between Union and Confederate forces during Price's Missouri Raid in the fall of 1864. Former Missouri Governor Sterling Price, now a Major-General in the Confederate States Army, had grand objectives when he made plans to invade his home state in the fall of 1864. He planned to capture and occupy the great city of St. Louis and then capture and occupy the State Capital in Jefferson City. Price wanted to reinstate the Governor-in-exile, Thomas C. Reynolds, who accompanied the Confederate Army into Missouri.

The Federals in Missouri knew that Sterling Price was planning to invade Missouri and were scrambling to put in place measures to stop the Confederate invasion. The Federal Commander in Missouri, Major-General William S. Rosecrans, ordered Brigadier-General Thomas Ewing, Jr. to take command of a small number of forces, including civilians, in and around Pilot Knob, Missouri and prepare to defend against a possible invasion through southeastern Missouri.

Part of the battlefield has been preserved at the Fort Davidson State Historic Site. This tour begins at the site's Visitor Center. The State of Missouri Parks Department has placed a number of granite historical markers throughout the Arcadia Valley at important sites concerning the Battle of Pilot Knob. In addition, the State has published The Battle of Pilot Knob Driving Tour which is available on-line at the Fort Davidson State Historic Site. The Muse's virtual tour includes the stops from this Driving Tour, as well as stops from The Battle of Pilot Knob Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour Guide, written and published by Douglas L. Gifford.

The On-line Tour articles were all written by and the photographs were all taken by theMuse.

Here are some good references about the Battle of Pilot Knob:

The Muse South African