THE CIVIL WAR IN Bollinger County, Missouri

THE CIVIL WAR IN Bollinger County, Missouri


Throughout the war, both federal and confederate troops moved through Bollinger County regularly. The sentiment of much of the population of the county was with the south, making its residents particularly vulnerable to attacks by Union soldiers. Dallas (now Marble Hill), the largest town in the county, and the county seat, was the frequent destination of units from both sides. Passing armies and roving guerrilla bands ravished the countryside slaughtering livestock for food, stripping fields of corn and often burning farms.


    A plaque located on the courthouse lawn in Marble Hill recalls Civil War actions in the County. Marble Hill, then called Dallas, was the scene of considerable activity. In January, 1862, Major Jones Rawalt, with 100 Union troops, took 18 prisoners in the town, and from April 2 to 4 of that year, Marble Hill was occupied by Col. S.D. Kitchens, with 120 Confederate troops who held its citizens prisoners. On August 24, 1862, some 300 Confederates under Col. W. L. Jeffers attacked four companies of the Twelfth Cavalry Missouri State Militia led by Major B. L. Lazear, on Crooked Creek in Bollinger County. After a short fight, the Union troops were driven back.

    Marble Hill lies along the Old Military Road from Jackson to Greenville, a road much travelled by both Union and Confederate troops during the war. It is along the Old Military Road that visitors will find the grave of the lone Union soldier. During the war a group of Union soldiers travelling the road stopped at a home along the way to ask for milk for a wounded soldier being carried in a wagon. The injured man died a short time later and was buried beside the road. For many years the grave had no marker. One evening a couple passing by the grave noticed something white. They discovered a tombstone with the inscription "W. Woods, Union Soldier. Died For His Country." No one ever learned who had placed the marker.

    Nearby, in Wayne County, a monument in the Cowen Cemetery marks the graves of seven Confederate soldiers, several with family ties in Bollinger County, who were shot by Union troops in Arkansas after they surrendered on May 28, 1865.

    The story of the Patterson family who lived four miles south of Marble Hill, is a vivid reminder of the savagery of the war. Here, along what was once the main trail to Zalma, William Patterson, a Confederate officer, his wife, and their four young children were murdered, and their bodies weighted with rocks and thrown into the deep spring on their farm. The family's house was burned and it was several weeks before the bodies were found. They were buried on a hill near the spring. After the murders, late travelers on the old trail told of seeing a blue light that seemed to float above the spring on dark, stormy nights, and the spring came to be thought of as haunted. Visitors often spent the night in Marble Hill rather than travelling past the spring at night.

    Greenbrier Cemetery, in southern Bollinger County, contains a mass grave discovered many years ago. An investigation of the grave determined the plot contained the remains of Confederate solders. Uniforms, coats, buttons and skeletal remains were found. The remains are thought by some to be those of Confederate troops under the command of Captain Daniel McGee who were killed by Union troops in the Mingo Swamp on February 3 or 4, 1863. Although accounts may very, over 20 Confederates were killed in the encounter, while no Union soldiers were injured. Although McGee is documented in the National Archives as being a Confederate officer, Union troops at the time considered him an outlaw.


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