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The Price-Harney Agreement

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William Harney, Brigadier General, United States Army Sterling Price, Major General, Missouri State Guard

Brigadier-General William Harney knew he had to engage the opposition in order to prevent all out war. Harney invited Missouri State Guard Major-General Sterling Price to meet with him to work out some way to prevent a war from occurring. Essentially, Harney and Price came to a public agreement that if Price would maintain the peace in Missouri, Harney would keep the Federal troops in their barracks. After meeting they would issue a joint proclamation on May 21st: [87]

To the People of the State of Missouri:

I take great pleasure in submitting to you the following paper, signed by General Price, commanding the forces of the State, and by myself, on the part of the Government of the United States. It will be seen that the united forces of both Governments are pledged to the maintenance of the peace of the State, and the defense of the rights and property of all persons, without distinction of party.

Frank Blair, Colonel of Federal Volunteers Nathaniel Lyon, Brigadier General of Federal Volunteers

Both Nathaniel Lyon and Frank Blair felt the Price-Harney Agreement was a strategic mistake. Lyon felt the agreement just gave the Secessionists more time to prepare for the war he knew was coming to Missouri. Frank Blair sent a telegram to Secretary of War Simon Cameron about his feelings on the Price-Harney agreement: [88]

The agreement between Harney and General Price gives me great disgust and dissatisfaction to the Union men; but I am in hopes we can get along with it, and think that Harney will insist on its execution to the fullest extent, in which case it will be satisfactory.

The Muse South African