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The Camp Jackson Aftermath

From The Republican, a pro-Southern St. Louis newspaper: [47]

It is almost impossible to describe the intense exhibition of feeling which was manifested last evening in the city. All the most frequented streets and avenues were thronged with citizens in the highest state of excitement . . . Thousands upon thousands of restless human beings could be seen from almost any point on Fourth Street, all in search of the latest news . . . Crowds of men rushed through the principal thoroughfares bearing banners and placards suited to their general fancies and by turn cheering or groaning. Some were armed and others were unarmed.

Susan A. McCausland, resident of Lexington, Missouri

Susan A. McCausland was a resident of Lexington, Missouri in 1861 remembered how she felt after hearing about the Camp Jackson Affair: [48]

Time ran on into May of [1861] when occurred the tragedy of Camp Jackson, in St. Louis, when some raw recruits under Gen. Lyon fired upon a crowd of citizens without known provocation, killing a young woman, a boy, and wounding some others. This act set the State in a flame of feeling, with the result that an immediate alignment was made for one side or the other about to enter upon the great modern tragedy of the war between the States. Small Confederate flags began to be displayed from private residences, and the old flag was set afloat to the winds from all public buildings of [Lexington].

Ulysses S. Grant, Brigadier General, Federal Volunteers

Ulysses S. Grant described the mood in St. Louis following the Camp Jackson Affair: [49]

Up to this time the enemies of the government in St. Louis had been bold and defiant, while Union men were quiet but determined. The enemies had their head-quarters in a central and public position on Pine Street, near Fifth--from which the rebel flag was flaunted boldly. The Union men had a place of meeting somewhere in the city, I did not know where, and I doubt whether they dared to enrage the enemies of the government by placing the national flag outside their head-quarters. As soon as the news of the capture of Camp Jackson reached the city the condition of affairs was changed. Union men became rampant, aggressive, and, if you will, intolerant. They proclaimed their sentiments boldly, and were impatient at anything like disrespect for the Union. The secessionists became quiet but were filled with suppressed rage. They had been playing the bully. The Union men ordered the rebel flag taken down from the building on Pine Street. The command was given in tones of authority and it was taken down, never to be raised again in St. Louis.

Nathaniel Lyon, Brigadier General, Federal Volunteers

The following is excerpted from a public statement written by Captain Nathaniel Lyon that was published in the St. Louis newspapers: [502]

The troops manifested every forbearance, and at last discharged their guns, simply obeying the impulse, natural to us all, of self-defense . . . If innocent men, women, and children, whose curiosity placed them in a dangerous position, suffered with the guilty, it is no fault of the troops.

Captain Nathaniel Lyon would attempt to justify the preemptive strike against Camp Jackson in his official report to the War Department: [51]

[The State Millitia's] extraordinary and unscrupulous conduct, and their evident design, and of the governor of this State, to take a position of hostility to the United States, are matters of extensive detail and of abounding evidence. Having appealed to the South for assistance every appearance indicated a rapid accumulation of men and means for seizing Government property and overturning its authority . . .

Of the stores from Baton Rouge Arsenal, so far as understood, there were found three 32-pounder guns, one mortar, three mortar beds, and a large supply of shot and shells in ale barrels . . .

During the surrender of Camp Jackson and their passage into our lines a mob attacked our force . . .

The prisoners, some 50 officers and 639 men, were marched under guard to [the Saint Louis Arsenal] . . .

To-day the prisoners were all released (with the exception of one captain, who declined this parole)--the officers on their parole of honor not to fight against the United States during this war, and the men on their oath to the same effect.

Daniel M. Frost, Brigadier General, Missouri State Militia

The next day, while a prisoner at the Saint Louis Arsenal, Brigadier-General Daniel Frost would lodge a protest with Brigadier-General William Harney: [52]

My command was . . . deprived of their arms and surrendered into the hands of Captain Lyon. After which, whilst thus disarmed and surrounded, a fire was opened upon a portion of it by his troops and a number of my men put to death, together with several innocent . . . men, women and children. . . When my camp was attacked in this unwarrantable manner . . . the only flags that floated there were those of the United States with all the stars and its fellow bearing alone the coat of arms of the State of Missouri.

Robert S. Bevier, Missouri State Militia

Robert S. Bevier, a member of the Missouri State Militia, later wrote about impact of The Camp Jackson Affair: [53]

This outrageous affair was a great mistake on the part of the Federal authorities. It thrilled the State from centre to circumference, and aroused every sentiment of opposition. On the ensuing Sunday over two thousand armed men, citizens of the county, assembled in Macon City to resist an invasion of Illinois and Iowa troops which rumor threatened, and was only delayed three weeks.

The Muse South African