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Programs Offered By theCivlWarMuse

Each of these programs lasts around one hour.

The Civil War Muse

About theCivilWarMuse.

The Struggle for Missouri in 1861

In 1861, Missouri was a prosperous and conservative state whose citizens overwhelmingly favored the status quo. But the radical minorities on either side of the issues struggled to take control of Missouri in 1861. Come discover how these factions came to power and who won the struggle for Missouri in 1861.


  • Antebellum Missouri
  • 1860 Election
  • State Convention
  • St. Louis Arsenal
  • Camp Jackson
  • Planters House Hotel Meeting
  • Epilogue

Bleeding Kansas

When the Territory of Kansas was established in 1854, the United States Congress decreed that settlers would determine whether Kansas would be admitted to the Union as a free state or a slave state. Come discover the steps taken by both sides to secure control of the territory, who won control and the legacy of Bleeding Kansas.


  • Introduction
  • Armed Events
    • November 1855: Wakarusa War
    • May 1856: Sack of Lawrence
    • May 1856: Pottawatomie Massacre
    • June 1856: Battle of Black Jack
    • May 1858: Marais des Cygnes Massacre
  • Political Events
    • Oct-Dec 1855: Topeka Constitution
    • 1857: Lecompton Constitution
    • 1858: Leavenworth Constitution
    • 1859: Wyandotte Constitution
    • January 1861: Kansas admitted as a free state

Sterling Price Returns: The 1861 Counteroffensive to Retake Missouri

Following the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price breaks away from his alliance with Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch to head north for the Missouri River. What follows is the siege and capture of Lexington, Missouri and the Federal response by Missouri’s commander, Maj. Gen. John Charles Fremont.


  • Prologue
  • Price Decides to Go It Alone
  • Lane’s Kansas Brigade
  • Drywood Creek
  • Price’s March North
  • Fremont’s Response
  • Lane Enters Missouri
  • Lexington Under Siege
  • Price Withdraws South
  • Fremont Mobilizes
  • Aftermath

Eads’ Ironclads: Winning the Civil War in the West

James Buchanan Eads was a self-taught engineer and prosperous citizen of Missouri who was living in Missouri at the start of the Civil War. When the US War Department put out bids for a fleet of Mississippi River ironclad gunboats, Eads won the contract. Come discover how Eads built the fleet of gunboats that helped wrest control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy.


  • Federal plan to gain control of Mississippi River
  • Gunboat contract won by James Buchanan Eads
  • Ironclad construction
  • Survey of battles for control of Mississippi River
    • Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Island No. 10, Plum Point Bend, Memphis, Vicksburg Campaign, Red River Campaign
  • What happened to the ironclads?

Reconstruction in Missouri: Radical Republicans Take Control of Missouri

This presentation tells the story of the Republicans rise and fall in Missouri beginning with the elections of 1864 and ending with the Democrats regaining control in the 1870s. Discussion of emancipation, Charles Drake’s rewriting of the Missouri Constitution and the loyalty oath that divided political leaders in Missouri.


  • Politics during the war
  • The Radical Republicans Take Control
  • 1865 Missouri State Convention
    • Emancipation
    • Revised Constitution
    • Ratification Campaign
  • The 1866 Elections
  • The Rise of Liberal Republicanism
  • The Fall of the Radical Republicans
  • Epilogue

Sterling Price’s 1864 Invasion of Missouri

Former Missouri Governor Sterling Price has been keeping an eye on events in Missouri. His contacts have been telling him that a lot of Missourians secretly support the Confederacy. Come discover what happens as Price, now a major general in the Confederate army, leads 12,000 cavalry troops into Missouri on an expedition that travels over 1,400 miles and lasts over three months.


  • Prologue
  • Price Moves North
  • Union Commanders Respond
  • Fort Davidson
  • Boonville
  • Three Days in October
  • October 25: Beginning of the End
  • Confederate Retreat into Texas
  • Epilogue

1864 Westport Campaign: Battle of Brush Creek

On October 23, 1864, one of the largest battles fought west of the Mississippi River occurred south of Westport in the vicinity of Brush Creek. Sterling Price has been keeping an eye on events in Missouri. His contacts have been telling him that a lot of Missourians secretly support the Confederacy. Come discover what turned the tide of the battle and what is being done to preserve and interpret the battlefield.


  • Sterling Price’s 1864 Invasion of Missouri
  • Three Days in October
  • Sunday, October 23: The Battle South of Brush Creek
  • Confederate Retreat
  • Epilogue
  • Local Battlefield Preservation

1864 Westport Campaign: Byram’s Ford

Over two successive days, October 22 and 23, Confederate forces battle Union forces over control of Byram’s Ford on the Big Blue River. On the first day, a collection of Kansas militia and volunteer forces are attacked by Confederates wanting to gain control of the ford to cross their large wagon train. On the second day, the Confederates are defending Byram’s Ford and are attacked by Union cavalry from Missouri. Come discover what happened during these two battles and what is being done to preserve and interpret the battlefield.


  • Sterling Price’s 1864 Invasion of Missouri
  • Three Days in October
  • Saturday, October 22: The Battle for Byram’s Ford
  • The Overnight Situation
  • Sunday, October 23: The Battle for Byram’s Ford
  • Epilogue
  • Local Battlefield Preservation

Civilian Life in Jackson County during the Civil War

The war has imposed hardships on Jackson County civilians. For two years, amid battles, invasions, skirmishes, assassinations, and robberies; families fought man and nature in a fight for survival. Come discover how life in Western Missouri was unlike any other Civil War theater of operations.


  • Prologue
    • “Bleeding Kansas”
    • 1860 election
    • Secession
  • Financing a war
  • Disruptions to home life
  • Civilian deprivations
  • Violence against civilians
  • Impact on slavery

The First Kansas Colored: The Civil War’s First African American Combat Unit

In 1860, there were approximately 4.5 million African Americans living in the United States. Of these four million were slaves and 500,000 were free. By the end of the war, 180,000 blacks had served in 163 units in the U.S. Army and many more thousands in the U.S. Navy. This is the story of one of the units. It was the first African American unit to see combat in the war. It was the First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment.


  • Early African American participation in war effort
  • Recruiting in 1862
  • Engagements
    • Skirmish at Island Mound: Oct 29, 1862
    • Events near Sherwood: May 1863
    • Engagement at Cabin Creek: Jul 1–2, 1863
    • Engagement near Honey Springs: Jul 17, 1863
    • Engagement at Poison Spring: Apr 18, 1864
  • Muster Out
  • Epilogue

The Battle of Lone Jack

Faced with understrength regiments in 1862, Maj. Gen. Thomas Hindman authorizes several Missourians to return to Missouri with the objective of recruiting men for Confederate service. Allied with Missouri guerrillas, Confederate recruits attack and defeat Union forces stationed at Independence, Missouri. IN response, the Federal commander in Missouri sends three separate forces to converge and destroy the Confederates. One of these Union detachments meets the Confederates near Lone Jack in southeaster Jackson County. What ensues is one of the fiercest fights of the entire war.


  • Confederate Recruiting
  • Federal Response
  • The Battle
  • The Battle’s Aftermath
  • The Result

The First Lost Cause: Confederate Missourians Exiled in Mexico

At the end of the war, between 8 and 10 thousand Confederates went into exile in Central and South America. Many Confederates from Missouri chose not to surrender but decided to go into exile in Mexico. Come discover the story of Confederate Missouri leaders, Joseph O. Shelby, Sterling Price and Thomas C. Reynolds, who chose exile in Mexico over surrender in the United States.


  • Why Exile?
  • Why Mexico?
  • End of War in the Trans-Mississippi
  • Confederate Missourians March for Mexico
  • Former Confederates in Mexico City
  • Rise of Confederate Colonies
  • Fall of Maximilian
  • Return from Exile

Missouri Border War: Order Number 11

By 1863 The situation in Western Missouri continues to deteriorate. Quantrill is still active and his guerrillas continue their war of harassment against Federal authorities. Kansas Jayhawkers continue their raids into Missouri stealing from Missourians both loyal and disloyal. When spring arrives in 1863, there appears to be no end in sight to the guerrilla warfare going on in Missouri. The Federal commanders in Missouri decided additional measures were required to put an end to the guerrilla insurgency. They decided to order the removal of those civilians who were providing support to the guerrillas. This is the story of Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. issuing General Orders, No. 11 in the District of the Border in August 1863.


  • What was Order Number 11?
  • What events caused it to be issued?
  • What happened after it was issued?
  • Was it justified? Did it work?

Quantrill’s Revenge: A Comprehensive Tour of Quantrill’s 1863 Lawrence Raid

In 2017, Chris Edwards and I published a guided tour containing 49 tour stops and following the 175-mile route taken by Quantrill’s guerrillas during their 1863 raid on Lawrence, Kansas. Altogether the tour covers approximately 175 miles from start to finish. This program provides an overview of the tour that begins in Johnson County, Missouri, and follows the guerrillas into Kansas and then north to Lawrence. After spending four hours in Lawrence, the guerrillas retreat south until they reach Franklin County and turn east toward Paola, Kansas. The guerrillas reenter Missouri and then scatter. Come learn about this driving tour.


  • Introduction to the Tour
  • Tour Format
  • Tour Flyover

The 1864 Paw Paw Rebellion

Following Quantrill’s August 1863 raid on Lawrence, Kansas, Kansas Red Leg incursions into Missouri increased. Being on the border, Platte County was particularly vulnerable. Missouri Governor Hamilton R. Gamble and Brig. Gen. John M. Schofield worked together to establish the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM) for the purpose of “putting down all such marauders and defending the peaceable citizens of the State.” Out of necessity, some individuals who were enrolled into the militia were not entirely loyal to the Union. Come discover what happened when many of the enrolled militiamen changed sides to fight with the guerrillas.


  • The Situation in Northwest Missouri
  • 81st and 82d Enrolled Missouri Militia regiments
  • Confederate Recruiting in Platte County
  • The Paw Paw Rebellion
  • Federal Response
  • End Result

1864 Westport Campaign: Mockbee Farm

On Saturday, October 22, the 2d Kansas State Militia was attacked while returning to Westport from Russell’s Ford on the Big Blue River. Outnumbered by more than 2 to 1, the militiamen withstood multiple charges before being overrun by Confederate cavalry. Come discover what happened at Mockbee Farm.


  • Sterling Price’s 1864 Invasion of Missouri
  • Three Days in October
  • Kansas Militia Called into Active Service
  • Saturday, October 22: The Action at Mockbee Farm
  • Epilogue

The Battle of Glorieta Pass

In 1861, Maj. Henry H. Sibley, 2d US Dragoons, resigns his commission to enter Confederate service as a brigadier general. President Jefferson Davis authorizes Sibley to raise two cavalry regiments and an artillery battery in Texas. Once organized, Sibley invades the Territory of New Mexico to gain control of the far west for the Confederacy. Come discover what happens in Sibley’s New Mexico Campaign culminating in the Battle of Glorieta Pass.


  • Sibley’s New Mexico Campaign
  • Apache Canyon: March 26, 1862
  • Glorieta Pass or Pigeon’s Ranch: March 28, 1862
  • Johnson’s Ranch: March 28, 1862
  • Confederate retreat back to Texas

A Day Late and A Dollar Short: The Fate of A. J. Smith’s Command during Price’s 1864 Missouri Raid

Following the Red River Campaign, Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith was on his way east to be reunited with Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman for the 1864 Atlanta Campaign. While en route, Smith, his two divisions of infantry and a cavalry brigade were diverted to Missouri to reinforce the Federal commander there, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, who was facing a Confederate cavalry invasion. Come discover what happened to Smith’s command during Price’s 1864 invasion of Missouri.


  • Prologue
  • Rosecrans Calls for Reinforcements
  • Smith Ordered into Missouri
  • Right Wing, 16th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee
  • Pursuit through Arkansas
  • Fort Davidson
  • Winslow’s Cavalry Brigade
  • Smith’s Infantry Pursues Price
  • Byram’s Ford and Mine Creek
  • Price Retreats South

The Lyon Roars: The Significance of the “Battle” of Boonville

This is the story about the six weeks in Missouri following the Camp Jackson Affair where Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon declared war on the state of Missouri, sent the state government into exile and fought the Battle of Boonville.


  • The Camp Jackson Aftermath
  • The Price-Harney Agreement
  • Changes in Command
  • Planters House Meeting
  • Occupation of Jefferson City
  • The Battle of Boonville
  • Missouri State Convention

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