By RICHARD SCHROEDER
The Civil War lasted longer than the history books say it did. Missouri was engaged with Kansas abolitionists long before the boom was heard at Fort Sumter. After the war was declared over, feelings continued to cause hardship, reprisals and anger. Fortunately Moniteau County was spared the bloodshed and terror found elsewhere.
The Civil War display in the museum centers on the war in general as it was in this county. The display tells the experiences of two local soldiers, one Union and the other a Confederate. William Agustus Renkin joined the American army as a private and became a captain. He found his boyhood friend among the Confederate prisoners and protected him. Captain Lashley Fountain Wood, from the influential Wood family in California, had several life threatening experiences while serving in the rebel army including the ordeal of being a prisoner of war.
Bullets of assorted sizes and caliber plus a cannon ball that were found in Moniteau County are identified and displayed alongside a model of a grape-shot canister. Grape-shot was fired from a cannon much like buckshot. It was used with horrible effect against massed infantry and calvary. An interesting diorama tells the story of women placing pies on fences for the patrolling soldiers with the hope that the troops would not pillage the farm. The duty of many patrols was to forage for food and horses.
An interesting story of a short battle that occurred near Proctor Park in California on Oct. 8, 1864 is being uncovered and researched by a historical society member. Confederate cavalry under General Jo Shelby came through followed by Sterling Price's army of 8,000 men. They were attacked by the Union cavalry under General John Sanborn near present day Windmill Ridge. Six Confederate and three Union soldiers were killed. The complete story plus artifacts will be told and displayed at a commentative program later this year.
California was protected from bushwhackers and recruiters by the 11th Iowa and the 6th Missouri Cavalry who were camped near the old city cemetery near Racker's manufacturing east of California. That spot has the highest elevation. In 1861 General John C. Fremont camped at California and Tipton. His army was a blue line that stretched from Clarksburg to Tipton. Fremont stayed at the Maclay home in Tipton. Later Tipton was briefly occupied by General Shelby, C.S.A. After the war Shelby returned to Clarksburg and opened a coal mine.
Bushwhackers caused the biggest concern. A group of men without uniforms rode up to a farmer and asked if he was rebel or Yankee. He told them he was a Baptist. Hams, chickens, horses and quilts were commonly taken by these outlaw warriors.
After the fighting was over Union veterans organized into the Grand Army of the Republic, G.A.R., with the purpose to help other Union veterans, widows and children. The H. Brown Post #276 was in Clarksburg and Tipton had two posts, Tipton Post #452 and H.A. Gleim Post #512. A membership medal is displayed.
The Maclay home in Tipton has a close connection to the war besides being Fremont's headquarters. After the war it was the home of Union Colonel Harrison Gleim. His brother served in the Confederate army. The Friends of the Maclay Home operate the home as a tour location. Visitors may see much material relating to the War Between the States.
Other sources of Civil War History may be found in the recently published Pictorial History of Tipton and the 2000 Moniteau County History.
Here's a letter from a Union army soldier: "Dear ma and pa, I am in good health. Today the sergeant gave us a comb so we could get the dirt out of our hair. I learned which is my right foot and left foot. I will tell you about the comb when I get home. Tomorrow we get on a boat. Your loving son, Jeremiah."