Was Missouri a Yankee or Confederate?

Answered by Tom Adger

Missouri’s status during the Civil War was complex and can be described as being torn between the Union and the Confederacy. The state was officially recognized as a member of the Confederate States of America, making it a Confederate state. However, it is important to note that Missouri did not actually secede from the Union.

The decision to join the Confederacy was made by the state’s pro-Confederate governor and a group of secessionist lawmakers. They believed that Missouri, with its strong Southern sympathies and agrarian economy, should align itself with the Confederacy. However, the majority of the state’s population and its government remained loyal to the Union.

The situation in Missouri was further complicated by the presence of both Union and Confederate forces within its borders. The state became a battleground, with clashes between opposing factions becoming common. This internal conflict led to a state of chaos and uncertainty, as different areas of Missouri were controlled by either the Union or the Confederacy at different times.

The Battle of Island Mound, which took place in Bates County, Missouri, is a significant event in this context. It marked the first time that African American soldiers, serving in the Union Army, saw combat in the Civil War. The battle was fought between Union troops, including the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry, and Confederate guerrillas. The Union forces emerged victorious, which was a significant achievement for the African American soldiers and a boost to their morale.

Despite the Confederacy recognizing Missouri as a member state, the majority of Missourians did not actively support the Confederate cause. Many Missourians remained loyal to the Union and fought on the side of the Union Army. This was evident in the formation of Unionist militias and the enlistment of Missourians in the Union Army.

The complexity of Missouri’s status during the Civil War is reflected in the term “Border State.” Missouri was situated on the border between the North and the South, and its loyalties were divided. The state’s strategic location made it a focal point of both Union and Confederate efforts to gain control and influence over the region.

While Missouri was officially recognized as a Confederate state, it did not fully align itself with the Confederacy. The state’s population and government were divided in their loyalties, resulting in a complex and chaotic situation during the Civil War. The Battle of Island Mound and the presence of African American soldiers in the Union Army further highlight the complexities of Missouri’s status during this time.