The Military Record of Major James S. Wilson                  JULY 2005


           1854  The passage of the Kansas Nebraska Act sows the seeds of civil

                     war on the Missouri Kansas border.  In 1854 and 1855 several

                     thousand pro slavery Missourians will cross into Kansas to 

                     illegally participate in the Kansas elections.  Missourians will loot

                     the U.S. Arsenal at Liberty for arms, and John Brown will appear

                     on the scene, before 1860.  Murderous clashes of small groups will

                     occur through the late 1850's.

1860- 1861  The Missouri State Militia is the only formal military force in

                     Missouri.  Men on both sides of the secession question join mixed

                     units, to get training for the coming war. 

   Aug 1860  Missouri, elects Clairborn Jackson governor.  Unknown to the

                     general population, he favors secession.

   Oct 1860   James wife, Margaret, furious with him, has taken their

                     two sons, Henry, and Oscar, and is home in

                     Strasburg, Virginia.  James whereabouts is not known. 

                     They will not meet again.  1860 Census  C. Peterson says the

                     breakup is over "a difference in political sentiments"

                     James and family were not at home in Lincoln county when

                    the census was taken in June.

                    James is reported to be melancholic the rest of his life over the

                    breakup.  James father is also furious.  James's four

                    brothers-in-law, all enlist in the rebel army.  His father in law

                    will be put in a Union prison as a bushwhacker.  Even his wife's

                    grandfather serves in the rebel army in Virginia.  James is

                    cut off from all family ties, except for his sister Sophia Wilson

                    Rinaman, who lives on a farm adjoining his home place.  James

                    relationship with his older brother Stephen, who is living in

                    Washington, D.C., is unknown.

5 Jan 1861  The Missouri Senate introduces bills to arm the militia, and call

                    a state convention.

18 Feb 1861  People in Missouri vote against secession, by a margin of 80,000

                     votes.  The bill to arm the militia dies.  Blair has been converting

                     his German "Wide Awake" organization to armed Home Guards. 

                     He buys arms with eastern money.

4 Mar 1861  Delegates are elected to consider "Missouri's relationship to the


9 Mar 1861  Their meeting results in a finding "that at that time there

                     was no reason for Missouri to leave the Union".

March 1861  Captain Lyon and a company of regulars from Kansas

                     arrive in St Louis.  South Carolina secedes from the Union. 

                     Missouri's Governor Clairborne Jackson establishes a State

                     Guard Brigade in each congressional district,

                     under Br Generals.  He tells the North and South to

                     "Stay out of Missouri and leave us alone."  Captain Lyon

                     and Frank Blair create the "Home Guard" of strong Union men. 

                     It's strength came from the Germans, who in the political

                     campaign had been called "Wide Awakes".

Mar Apr 1861  During this period, it is believed that James is training

                     at Ninevah, now Olney, 7 miles NW of home, with a

                     group of Union men, in a Home Guard unit.  C. Peterson says that

                     James "took an active part in establishing law and order in his

                     vicinity and at once enlisted with other Unionists in a local

                     company for home protection.

                     His brother John is training with the rebels at

                     Millwood, in a State Guard unit, 4 miles NNE of home. 

                     He shares a muzzle loading, percussion cap musket, and a

                     bed, with his brother during training.  (Family tales) 

                     This Home Guard Unit may have been associated with Warren

                     County, rather than Lincoln County, as they were primarily

                     Germans and are believed to have been the earliest Home Guard

                     units in the area.

12 Apr 1861  The Civil War begins at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

15 Apr 1861  President Lincoln asks for four regiments of three month

                      volunteers for Missouri.

17 Apr 1861  Gov. Clairborne Jackson refuses to supply the men. 

                      Instead he has the U.S. Arsenal in Clay County broken into,

                      and the arms distributed to local State Guard units.

                      He asks Jefferson Davis for cannon so he can capture the

                      arsenal at St Louis.

22 Apr 1861  2,000 Union men muster in at Missouri arsenals. Gov Jackson

                      orders the State Guard into summer encampments.

     May 1861  Governor Jackson meets with Captain Lyon, of the federal

                       army in St Louis.  Captain Lyon orders the State Guard units 

                       disbanded, or Federal troops will drive them off Missouri soil.

                       Jackson refuses.

  3 May 1861  800 State Guards report to Camp Jackson, near St Louis.

                        Cannon supplied by Jefferson Davis have arrived.

  7 May 1861  4,500 Union men have mustered in at St Louis.

10 May 1861  Captain Lyons of Kansas, replaces Gen Harney as commander

                       of the Union forces in St Louis.  Capt Lyons orders Gen. Frost's

                       State Guard command in St Louis taken.  Camp Jackson, a State

                       Guard training camp at Lindell's Grove near St Louis

                       is attacked by Captain Lyons of the U.S. Arsenal

                       in St Louis with 3,000 troops.  They surround the camp and it

                       surrenders without a shot..  The militia are captured, but a riot

                       breaks out with southern sympathizers, 28 people

                       are killed in what was called "The Battle of St Louis",

                       and the civil war begins in Mo.  The state legislature authorizes

                       the formation of the pro south Missouri State Guard.  Lincoln

                       and Warren counties are in the 2nd Division of the Missouri

                       State Guard.

11 May 1861  James S. Wilson enlists for three months, as a Private in

                       one of the three month militias, Home Guards, serving the Union. 

                       Five regiments of St Louis citizens are mustered into

                       the Reserve Corp (3 month) on the 7th, 8th and 11th of May. 

                       The 5th Regiment, men mustered on the 11th.  These units had

                       been St Louis Home Guard units.  James location for this time

                      period is not known.  If he was in St Louis he could have been

                      one of the 5th Regiment men.  The 5th regiment mustered

                       out on 31 Aug 1862.

                       James probably joined the Pike Co. Home Guard Unit, which

                       formed May-July, went into service in July, and disbanded

                      on 1 Sept.  There were eight garrisons of this unit including

                      one at Auburn, in Lincoln County.  They covered Pike, Lincoln,

                      and Montgomery Counties.  Large units were at Louisiana,

                      Bowling Green, and Ashley.  Ashley is just north of the Northwest

                      corner of Lincoln County, in Pike County.

                      He is not however, listed on the muster rolls of this unit.  Pike

                      County was considered one of the most reliable Federal enclaves

                      in the state.  James Broadhead, from Pike Co. was on the St Louis

                      Committee of Safety, which ran the war in Missouri, for the

                      Federals, for the first six months of 1861, and organized and

                      armed the Home Guard.

                      Bayles Independent Company of Infantry was also organized in

                      St Louis on 11 May 1861.  It was used to guard the lines of

                       communication between Rolla and Springfield.  The unit

                       mustered out August 11 1861.  It can not be ruled out that James

                       enlisted in this unit.  The records of Bayles Co. and the Fifth

                       Regiment of Reserves have been checked for a James S. Wilson,

                       without result.  He may have enlisted as just James Wilson.

28 May 1861  James is 27 years old.  Federal Calvary from Illinois, Iowa, and

                       Wisconsin have been rushed into Missouri to occupy the county

                       seats, and help the newly formed Missouri Militia.

11 June 1861  General Lyon, recently promoted from Captain, accompanied by

                      Frank Blair, tells Gov Jackson and Gen Price to their faces,

                      that he will move federal troops about Missouri as he pleases.  He

                      receives approval to arm 5,000 Union men as Home Guards. 

                      Governor Jackson proposes to disarm the State Guard, if the

                      Federals will disarm the Home Guard.  General Lyon refuses.

12 June 1861  Gov Jackson calls out the Missouri State Guard and asks for

                     50,000 volunteers.  Jackson and Price head for Arkansas,

                      and the Legislature scatters.  Lt John Q. Burbridge, of the

                      Louisiana Home Guard absconded in broad daylight with what

                      few rifles the Home Guard had and moved down into Lincoln


15 June 1861  Lt Burbridge is at Millwood recruiting men.  He then moves

                      on to Louisville.  About 500 men join him, and they all move

                      on to Jefferson City.  The men are formed into the 2nd

                      Missouri Infantry.  John Wilson will join this unit 9 Dec. 1861

                      at Sac River, St Louis County.

21 June 1861  Brig General Harris of the 2nd Division of the Missouri State

                      Guard starts in Paris, Mo. then moves to the Salt River Knobs,

                      organizing his rebs.  He picks up 300 and moves out.

 3 July 1861  Mj. Gen J. C. Fremont is given the command of Union Forces

                      in Mo. by Lincoln.

 5 July 1861  The battle of Carthage, Missouri occurs.  4000 State Guards take

                      on 1,000 Union men.  None of our relatives are likely to have

                      been present.

20 July 1861  The state convention which had considered the question of

                       Missouri's relation to the Union reconvenes, and declares the

                       Governors and Lt Governors offices vacant, and abolishes the 

                       legislature.  It appoints a governor and sets itself up as a

                       provisional government.  A oath of allegiance is required

                       of all officials and voters.

30 Aug 1861  Mj. Gen Fremont issues a unauthorized emancipation

                      proclamation , freeing Mo. slaves, declaring martial law, and

                      confiscating the property of southern sympathizers.

     Sept 1861 The Pike County Home Guard disbands.

13-20 Sept 1861  Battle of Lexington, Missouri.  Apparently the first real fight

                     for the rebs from Lincoln and Warren Counties, Mo.  12,000

                     Missouri State Guards, take on 3,500 Union troops.  John Wilson

                     and William Colwell are probably there.

23 Sept 1861 James Wilson enlists in a three month militia unit in

                      Mexico, Mo.  His rank may have been 1st Sgt. 

                      He may have gone into Fagg's Regt. of Six Month's Militia,

                      a Pike Co. unit.  This unit musters out after just 5 months of

                      service, in Feb 1862.

     Oct 1861  James first meets Col Frederick Morsey, of Warrenton, a man

                      he will serve under during the first part of the war.

31 Oct 1861  Gov Jackson calls the remnants of the legislator into session in

                      Neosho to pass a ordinance of secession.  A quorum is not

                      present, but the ordinance is passed anyway.

 2 Nov 1861  Lincoln rescinds Fremont's orders and replaces Fremont

                      with Gen Grant.

28 Nov 1861  Missouri is accepted as the 12th Confederate State.

23 Dec 1861  James Wilson musters in as a private in Capt. Wommack's

                       Mounted Mo. State Militia, at Troy, Mo.   

                       He will be paid 40 cents a day, for his

                      service and his horse.  He is described as just under six foot,

                      with gray eyes and a dark complexion.  This unit is

                      headquartered at Warrenton, Warren Co. Mo.  He will initially

                      be put in Co B.  This unit is known for a short time as

                      Col Morsey's Mounted Rifles.  It will later be reorganized

                      as Co G, 10th Missouri State Militia Cavalry. 

                      Record 2039, 3rd Mo S.M. Cav. (2nd org). 

                      There is a second official Record, 1450,

                      of the 3rd Regt S.M. Vols. Co. G, that says James

                      was enlisted on this date by Capt Rush at Millwood.  He is

                      mustered in on the same date at Mexico, Mo.  I believe that the

                      men Capt Rush recruited were turned over to Capt Womack,

                      resulting in the double record.  A total of 10 Czechs (Bohemians)

                      from Lincoln County also enlist and will serve in Co. G.  Two

                      more will enlist later.  Major Wilson will later say "If you want a

                      good guard and a good soldier, try to get a Czech".  From "The

                      Life of the first Czechs in Troy, Missouri."


  1 Jan 1862  Company G has marched from Troy to Mexico, Mo. where they

                      will be stationed.  Some contract measles and pneumonia.  They

                      begin training.

10 Jan 1862  The muster in roll of Capt John M. Reeds, Co G, 10th MSM,

                      at Troy, shows James Wilson as private.  Officers are being

                      elected, and Capt Reed, becomes Lt Reed.    Richard Wommack

                      is Captain.  Their station will be Mexico, Mo.

15 Feb 1862  James Wilson is promoted to First Sergeant, of Co B.  Co B will

                      immediately become Co G.  Personnel horses are valued from

                      $20 to $85.  James has a good one, valued at $80.  His service

                      term is for the period of the war.  The unit is at Warrenton.  Units

                      of the 5th Mo. Cav. is also stationed there.  Within a few weeks

                      James is sent to Pike Co. to recruit union men for new companies

                      which are being formed.  He will recruit the men that will

                      eventually form Co C of the 3rd MSM on this mission.

 2 Mar 1862  Co G is stationed at New Salem, Mo.

2-15 Mar 1862  Squads from Co G are operating in Lincoln Co.

 9 Mar 1862  Troy is occupied by 400 rebels.

10 Mar 1862  Federal troops are on the way to Troy from Warrenton

                       and St Charles.

     Apr 1862  Gen. Scholfield has recruited 14,000 Union men into

                      the Missouri State Militia.

24 Apr 1862  Capt Wommack resigns as Captain of Company G.

Apr. – June    Co G is at Warrenton.

 5 May 1862  The 10th Calvary is organized at Louisiana, Pike County,

                      Missouri.  There are 5 companies recruited at Louisiana, and 3

                      recruited by Lt Col Morsey at Warrenton.  James is in one of

                      the Warrenton Companies.  The Regiment is commanded by Col

                      Edwin Smart, and has 740 men.  James Wilson is awarded

                      the Captains Commission in Company G of

                      the 10th Regiment, Mo. State Militia, Calvary,

                      when the unit is being organized. 

                      He was elected to the post by the men of the unit.

            The date is reported as 3 May, in some records.

            The 10th Regiment will later become the 3rd Regiment. 

                      The unit is in Warrenton, from April till June,

                      and continues training, in instruction camp, "Camp Alice".

 8 May 1862  General Orders No. 18:  The 10th Regiment of Cavalry,

                      including Company G, Capt. James Wilson, are "ordered to be


30 June 1862  Lt Reed is now serving under Captain James Wilson.

Jun/Jul 1862  Co G is patrolling the North Mo. RR in Montgomery Co.

13 July 1862  Porter's rebels capture Memphis, in Scotland County,

                      on the Iowa border.  All Union troops in the Northeastern

                      district are put in the field.

20 July 1862  Companies E, G, and H break up a recruiting camp

                      at Danville, Montgomery, County.  Co G is later stationed in

                      Wellsville, Mo.

22 July 1862  General Order # 19, orders all able bodied men subject to

                       military service are to report for Union service.  The random

                       seizure of guns from the general population is ordered.

27/28 July 1862 Porter's rebel forces are moving from Boone Co. to the NE.

28 July 1862  Porter's forces are attacked at Moore's Mill.  Some units of the

                      10th MSM including Co G are in the fight.

30 July 1862  Co G and other units of the 10th MSM Cav. under Lt Col Morsey

                      leave Warrenton for Paris, Mo. to deal with Porters raid.

                      Two Companies of Col Smarts regiment are garrisoning

                      Clarksville.  These appear to have been Companies A and B.

 1 Aug 1862  Co's C,D,E,F,G, and I of Col Smarts Brigade arrive in Paris.

 2 Aug 1862  The regiment moves on to Newark.

 3 Aug 1862  Lt Col Morsey's force, including Co G, of the 10th Calvary MSM,

                      is ordered to Schuyler and Scotland Counties, north of

                      Kirksville to outflank Porter.

 4 Aug 1862  Elements of the 10th MSM including Co G, skirmish with

                      Porter's forces at Edina.

 5 Aug 1862  The 10th MSM makes a forced march to Memphis, where they

                       skirmish with the rebels.

 6 Aug 1862  4 a.m.  The 10th MSM heads for Kirksville.                         

 6 Aug 1862  McNeill's Union forces attack Porter's rebel forces occupying

                      the town of Kirksville.  They eventually rout the enemy.

 6 Aug 1862  11 a.m. Lt Col Morsey brings Co G, and other forces to

                      Kirksville.  Co D, and Co I, [The Red Rovers] get into the fight.

12 Aug 1862 The force catches Porter's forces on the Chariton river and

                      routs them again.  General Order # 9 is issued, allowing

                      Union forces in the field to take subsistence supplies

                      from the rebel population.

16 Aug 1862  Regimental Headquarters for the 10th MSM Cav are established

                      at Mexico, Mo.

17 Aug 1862  The 10th MSM Cavalry, and the Enrolled Militia, and part

                      of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, are made responsible

                      for Callaway, Audrain, Pike, and Montgomery County.

    Sept 1862  Co G, and other units are operating in Monroe Co.

14 Sept 1862  All State Guard units operating in the state of Missouri are

                       turned over to the Confederate Army.

  4 Oct 1862  A patrol led by Capt Wilson is ambushed, in Monroe Co., two

                      horses are killed.  Captain Wilson orders an attack routing the

                      rebels.  The units headquarters are at Florida, Mo.

 6 Oct 1862   Major R. G. Woodson, of the 10th MSM, attempts to resign.

                      James will serve with him through many trials.

16 Oct 1862  Elements of the 10th MSM under Mj. Woodson attack 150 rebels

                      on Auxvasse Creek in Calloway Co. 

31 Oct 1862  Capt Wilson present for duty.

Oct/Nov 1862 Capt Wilson and Co G are stationed at Paris, Mo., Monroe Co.

                       The headquarters units are also at Paris.

     Nov 1862  Col Smarts men capture three rebels and shoot them.

20 Nov 1862  Nine companies of the 10th MSM Cav., Col Edwin Smart,

                      Commanding, are stationed at Paris, Mo.

     Fall 1862  The men of the 10th MSM Cavalry, stationed at Mexico are

                       having trouble with snipers picking off the men assigned to

                       outposts.  There is a lot of disease in camp.  A lot of men desert.

12 Dec 1862  The Regiment leaves Mexico, Mo, and heads for Rolla, Mo.

                       by way of Jefferson City.

21 Dec 1862  The Regiment and Co G have arrived at Rolla, Mo.

25 Dec 1862  The Regiment moves out for Pilot Knob, Mo.

29 Dec 1862  The Regiment and Co G arrive at Pilot Knob, Mo.

                      They establish winter quarters.

31 Dec 1862  Capt Wilson present for duty.

                       The Union has 52,056 men under arms in Missouri, in

                       69 Regiments, 3 Battalions, and 58 Independent Companies.


 2 Feb 1863  The 10th Mo State Militia Calvary are combined with the 3rd

                      Mo. State Militia [Old] and other units. The new unit is called the

                      3rd Mo. State Militia Calvary[New].  Co G is at Ironton, Mo.

 5 Mar 1863  The Regiment moves to Patterson, Mo.

 9 Mar 1863  Capt Wilson is at Pilot Knob.  He has been recommended

                      to serve on a General Court Martial Board in St Louis.

Spring 1863  James is called as a witness at Captain Leeper's court martial,

                      in St Louis.

25 Mar/2 Apr  Co G, led by Capt Wilson, and Co H are on a scout into Ark.

28 Mar 1863  Co G and H disperses a rebel camp at Buck Skull, Ark.

30 Mar 1863  Co G and H return to Patterson Mo.

     Apr 1863  Marmaduke invades from Arkansas, for the second time.

                      Co G and other units are stationed at Patterson, Mo. 

20 Apr 1863  Marmaduke and 3,000 rebels attack Patterson, at noon.

                      Maj. Woodson, commanding, Co B, and Co G, 3rd MSM,

                      is told to blunt the attack so the rest of the regiment

                      can organize a retreat.  Co G is led by Capt Wilson. 

                      Their force totals about 100 men. The attack is successfully

                      delayed, and the retreat begins, with 450 union men

                      from Co E and I, forming a rear guard, fighting off

                      the rebels.  They have "five shooter" carbines, which evens

                      up the odds.  In a  running battle which lasts several

                      hours, they are flanked and encircled three times.  The Union

                      troops cut their way out each time.  This action causes the

                      regiment to be labeled "notorious" for their fighting ability by the

                      rebels.  The Union commander describes the fighting as

                      "fierce in the extreme".  The Union troops burned all the

                      supplies they could not carry, and all 15 houses in Patterson as

                      they left.  The fight has lasted till sundown.

21 Apr 1863  Co G is at Pilot Knob.  The 3rd MSM is attached to

                      Gen Vandiver's Division.

22 Apr 1863  Co G is at Fredricktown.  The force will attack Marmaduke's rear

                      near Jackson in a night attack.  The force chases Marmaduke for

                      several days, until he is forced back into Arkansas at Chalk Bluff.

30 Apr 1863  Capt Wilson's regiment is stationed in Ironton.

 1 May 1863  Marmaduke returns to Arkansas.

 1 June 1863  Capt Wilson's regiment is stationed at Patterson.

 8 June 1863  Capt James Wilson is recommended for promotion to Major.

20 June 1863  Capt Robert McElroy is offered the promotion to Major.  He

                       declines it on this date.  James is then offered it and he accepts.

                       Capt McElroy will name a son, James Wilson McElroy.

28 June 1863  Capt Wilson is stationed at Pilot Knob.


  6 July 1863  James files for divorce from his wife Margaret.  The grounds are

                       that she absented herself from him over two years ago.  She is at

                       her father's home in Strasburg, Virginia, with their sons.  Since

                       James joined the army in May 1861, his last meeting with her,

                       would have been earlier than that.  He is ordered by the court to

                       publish notice that he is seeking a divorce in the Troy Tribune by

                       the court, so that Margaret can reply to the petition if she wishes.

                       p. 398, Book F, Sept 1859 –Jan 1864, Circuit court Record,

                       Lincoln County, Mo.

11 July 1863  Capt James Wilson is promoted to Major.

17 Aug 1863  Units from Pilot Knob raid into Arkansas.  Lt Col Woodson

                       leads 600 men of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Mo State Militia on the

                       raid.  Major James Wilson commanding the 3rd..

22 Aug 1863  Br Gen M. Jeff Thompson, Col William Righter, and 100

                       enlisted men, C.S.A., are captured at a staff meeting in

                       Pocahontas, Ark. by Lt Col Woodson's units.  Col Righter's

                       capture results in Capt Tim Reeves being promoted to Col,

                       commander of the 15th Mo Calvary C.S.A.

26 Aug 1863  Units from Pilot Knob return from raid on Pocahontas, Ark.

 6 Sept 1863  Mj. James Wilson is stationed at Pilot Knob.  At some point

                      he will hire a black man, Lewis Martin, as a valet, and begin

                      staying at one of the Pilot Knob Hotels.  One was the Reid Hotel.

26 Sept 1863  The Circuit Court of Lincoln County, Mo finds that adequate

                      notice of James divorce petition, has been printed by the Troy

                      Tribune.  The court indicates that if Margaret doesn't respond

                      by the next term of court and show cause to the contrary, the

                      divorce will be granted.  p. 438, Book F, Sept 1859 – Jan 1864,

                      Circuit Court Records, Lincoln County, Mo.

29 Sept 1863  Mj. Wilson and Capt Leeper lead detachments of 200 and

                       150 men respectively from Pilot Knob, on separate raids to the

                       Arkansas border.  Numerous watermills, and homes along the

                       Eleven Point River, and the colony at Irish Wilderness

                       will burn before the raid is over. The units involved

                       have not be identified.  Captain Leeper's group will

                       skirmish with Col Tim Reeves.

30 Sept 1863  Mj. Wilson is at Centerville, Mo.  He splits his forces,

                       sending Capt. Herring with 70 men on a alternate

                       route to Alton, Mo. where they will regroup.

 1 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson starts from Henpeck Creek.  He sends 60 men

                     under Capt Milks on a third route to Alton, Mo.

 2 Oct 1863  Starting from camp on the headwaters of Pike Creek,

                     Mj. Wilson proceeds to Falling Springs, where he detaches

                     Capt McFadden with 30 men on another route into Alton.

                     Mj. Wilson arrives at Alton.  His group has captured 4


 3 Oct 1863  Three scouting groups are sent out from Alton.

 5 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson takes 140 men and starts for Arkansas. 

 7 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson leads his men to Evening Shade,

                     Arkansas, and in a surprise attack captures 1 Captain,

                     3 Lieutenants, and 31 privates, with their horses and arms. 

                     He destroys the camp.  There are no Union casualties.

 9 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson leads his group back to Alton, Mo.

10 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson files his action report from Alton, Mo.

11 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson has the companies under his command stationed

                      at the following locations.  Co A and L, Patterson, Co B

                      thru H, Pilot Knob, Co I, Fredricktown, Co K, occupying

                      post at Arcadia, Co M, Centerville.

18 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson starts the men toward Pilot Knob.

                      After the Union troops leave, the Alton courthouse is burned.

                      One report states that a small group of Union troops fired the

                      courthouse, and perhaps a couple other buildings, after the

                      main group had moved on.  Anticipating trouble the

                      courthouse records have been stored in a cave and are safe.

                      On 19 April 1867 three men will be indicted by Oregon County,

                      for burning the Alton courthouse, on 18 Oct 1863.  They

                      appear to have been rebels.

20 Oct 1863  Having met reinforcements with provisions, Mj. Wilson returns

                      to Alton.

21 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson sends prisoners and refugees back to Pilot Knob, then  

                      leads the remainder of his men, 120 troops, to Thomasville Mo.

22 Oct 1863  There is a election scheduled in Alton.   

                      Mj. Wilson looks unsuccessfully for the arsonists.

25 Oct 1863  There is an election scheduled for Doniphan.  The Alton and

                      Doniphan elections were apparently for local and state officials.

                      Only loyal citizens were allowed to run for office, and to vote.

                      Candidates and voters were required to take "The Iron Clad

                      Oath" of allegiance to the Union.  The troops were present to

                      ensure that happened.  All wives of bushwhackers were to be

                      brought in, and told their husbands must surrender, or their

                      houses and stock will be destroyed, and the families

                      will be shipped downriver to Napoleon, Ark. and put in

                      prison.  Ordered by Br Gen Clinton Fisk.

26 Oct 1863  Mj. Wilson brings his men back to Pilot Knob.  The 28 day

                      scout resulted in the following rebel losses.  Killed - 1 Capt., 4

                      men. Wounded - 2 men.  Captured -  1 Capt, 3 Lts., 76 men,

                      70 horses, and equipment.  Union losses – 1 man captured and

                      paroled – Joseph Shram Co. G., 1 wounded in left arm –

                      Martin D. Gray, 3rd Mo. St. M.

22 Dec 1863  Company C, 102 men of Mj. Wilson's command is captured at

                      Centerville, by rebels led by Capt Jessie Pratt, Co N,

                      of the 15th Mo Calvary Reg. C.S.A.  Capt Pratt takes the

                      prisoners south to be turned over to Col Tim Reeves.

                      They burn the courthouse and jail before leaving.

23 Dec 1863  Mj. Wilson is given orders to "follow Reeves to hell" and at

                      least get the prisoners back.

          10 am  He takes 250 men and begins pursuing the rebels who captured

                      Co C. 

            9 pm  He arrives at Patterson.                                                                 

24 Dec 1863  Starting at daylight , he reaches Long's at 9 pm, having

                      covered 35 miles.

25 Dec 1863

           3 am  On the road toward Doniphan.  Begins capturing

                     Reeves pickets.  Forces the last one captured to lead him to

                     Reeves camp.

           3 pm  Mj. Wilson finds the rebels, at Pulliam's farm, about 17

                     miles SW of Doniphan, Mo.  They are engaged in cutting up the

                     tents they had captured from Co C to make coats and pants.

                     Mj. Wilson forms his men into two battle lines.  His orders were,

                     "Go in with a yell boys, and charge em like hell". 

                     He charges with his whole force.  The enemy fires,

                     then runs, with the exception of 35.  These are killed or wounded.

                     The Union prisoners "knew what was up" and took cover.

                     Reeves had just ridden into camp, and immediately remounted and

                     escaped with about 30 others.  The unmounted guerillas scatter

                     in all directions. Killed 33, wounded 2. 

                     Total captured 150, including 13 officers, all equipage

                     and ammunition, and 125 horses.  He frees the men

                     of Co C who were being held prisoner.  Col Reeves had selected

                     seven of the prisoners, who had been on one of Captain Leeper's

                     raids, for execution.  They were to be executed in retaliation for

                     the execution of an officer and 6 enlisted men by men of the 3rd

                     MSM.  Union casualties are reported as 1 killed

                     and 8 wounded by the Asst Adj. General.  These may be men of

                     Co C, because Mj. Wilson says his troops had no casualties.  

                     The rebel commander Col Tim Reeves escapes.  Battleground

                     Hollow is another name for this action.

                     Civilians known to be present, include paroled and mustered out

                     rebels.  One family tale, which is not substantiated, says

                     62 women and children were killed.  This family tale,

                    published by a man with ancestors from Ripley County,

                     unsubstantiated by documentary proof, has been

                     repudiated by the South Central Missouri and North Central

                     Roundtable of Civil War Historians.  They have concluded that a

                     massacre of women and children did not happen.  Wayne County

                     Journal, 26 Sept 2002, and the Poplar Bluff Daily American

                     Republic, Aug / Sept 2002.  Although a large number of

                     rebels were captured, none have written of the fight.  Interviews

                     with some of these prisoners, taken when they entered Gratiot

                     prison in St Louis, do exist, and none talk about any civilians

                     being hurt in the fight.

                     Three of the men under Wilson's command wrote about the fight.

                     Neither mention civilians being killed.  One was written by S.A.

                    Sombles, Co. G, 3rd MSM, and published in the National Tribune

                    4 Feb 1915.  He says "In this charge there were about 15 of Reeves

                    men killed, and it was reported that Mj. Wilson had them shot after

                    they surrendered, which charge was absolutely false, as the writer

                   stood guard over the prisoners that night and would have known if

                   any of them had been killed."  A second report came from William

                   C. Billmyer, Co. C. 3rd Mo (S.M.) Cav. in a letter to the editor of

                   the National Tribune.  He was at Centerville with Co C, but was out

                   on a scout, with 5 other privates, under Corpl James Scroggins

                   when the rest of the Company was captured by Reeves.  They

                   observed Centerville was in guerilla hands when they came back,

                   and headed for Pilot Knob.  They got there in time to head back

                   with Mj Wilson's rescue force.  "Mj Wilson we found was ready to

                   start after the guerillas, so we went along.  We captured their

                   pickets 10 miles from their camp and made them tell where the next

                   post was.  We took them in and captured their last picket post, only

                   half a mile from the camp.  The guerillas had made big preparations

                   for a good time that Christmas-had two barrels of whiskey.  But we

                   "spilt the beans" for them.  We charged the camp immediately with

                   the result that 43 of their men were killed and three mortally

                   wounded.  The three later died before we got them to a house about

                   half a mile away.  There was not a shot fired after Maj. Wilson

                   gave the word to stop.  Maj. Wilson gave orders to not mistreat the

                   prisoners, and we did not.  Neither did we take anything from them.

                   We landed the whole bunch in the guardhouse at Pilot Knob-some

                   125 of them."

25 Dec 1863  evening  Encamped at Pulliam's farm.

26 Dec 1863  Starts for Pilot Knob.  Reeves reportedly returns to the battlefield

                      to bury the dead.  A conflicting report says the dead were taken

                      to Doniphan.

29 Dec 1863  4 pm  Arrives in Pilot Knob. 

31 Dec 1863  The prisoners from Pulliam's farm are en route to St Louis

                      on the Iron Mountain Rail Road.   There are also reports of this

                      action in the "Daily Missouri Republican (St Louis), and the

                      Daily Morning Republican (St Louis) From Dec 29th, 1863,

                      through 1 Jan 1864.


13 Jan 1864  Mj. James Wilson is stationed at Pilot Knob.  This is

                     regimental headquarters, and Mj. Wilson commands.  Companies

                     are stationed at Patterson, Centerville, Fredericktown,

                     Potosi, and Farmington.

14 Jan 1864  Mj. Wilson is recommended for  promotion to Lt Colonel.

                     His commander Col. Woodson considers his actions in the

                     fight at Pullium's farm, on 25 Dec. to be "brilliant in the

                     extreme"  There is a medical officer, a surgeon, Major H. M.

                     Matthews with political connections, having spent a lot of the

                     war in St Louis, and more time in grade competing for

                     the promotion.  He has been assigned as a line officer

                     with the 3rd MSM.

22 Jan 1864  Mj. Wilson writes a letter to his commander Col Woodson,

                     stating his dislike of the plan to recruit veterans from the

                     3rd MSM for a Volunteer Regiment.

25 Jan 1864  Col. Woodson is in trouble with his superiors, arguing over

                     their right to reassign some of his men, and their demand that he

                     take a company of mutineers.  He has forwarded a letter James

                     wrote supporting his position.  He attempts to withdraw it.  It

                     appears to have had a major influence on James chance for

                     promotion as it is critical of some of the generals in St Louis.

17 Feb 1864  Mj. Matthews formally protests the move to promote James

                      to Lt Col. 

 1 Mar 1864  The protest was successful.  Lt Col Matthews assumes command

                      of the Regiment.  Matthews, with little command experience,

                      will later be given 1/3 of the regiment, including Co G, 

                      and sent to Central Mo.  James will command

                      the other 2/3 of the regiment. A bad decision will get 6 of James

                      friends in Co G killed and Matthews will be censured.  He will

                      be court-martialed in Jan. 1865, lose his command, and finish

                      the war as a surgeon.  Men of the 3rd MSM, assigned to

                      Matthews, who know James, will attempt to take a double

                      barreled shotgun away from James dad, in Lincoln County.  He

                       threatens to kill a couple of them and they leave him alone.

Early March 1864  Mj. Wilson returns to Troy on a short furlough.  He

                      apparently stays with his sister, Sophia Rinaman.  He is

                      accompanied to the railroad station, probably in Warrenton, by

                      his nephew, Joseph Rinaman.  He says "If you ever hear of me

                      being taken prisoner by the guerilla Tim Reeves you may count

                      me as dead.  I know I shall never get away from him alive.  I have

                      broken up his recruiting operations three times."

                      James divorce petition is also brought up during the March term

                      of the Lincoln County Circuit Court.  It is continued.  p. 36, Book

                      G, Mar 1864 – April 1869.  This may have been the reason for his


16 Mar 1864  2 pm   Mj. Wilson leads 100 men, some from Co K, and two

                      small cannon out on scout to the Arkansas line. 

                      Encamps 3 miles N of Buford's ford on the Black River.

17 Mar 1864  Passes through Barnesville, encamps on Hen Peck Creek.

18 Mar 1864  Encamps 3 miles N of Eleven Points River.  Sends out a scout

                       party, from Co. D which runs into trouble.  A private is killed

                       and a Sgt is wounded.

19 Mar 1864  Proceeds through Alton and encamps on Fredrick's Fork.

20 Mar 1864  On the road to Pocahontas, Ark.  Advance guard charges a rebel

                       recruiting party, killing 9, and capturing the rest.  Kills another

                       rebel later in the day.  Encamps at McElroy's, 10 miles from


21 Mar 1864  Moves through Pocahontas, and on west, to camp on the

                       Eleven Point River.

22 Mar 1864 5 pm   Encounters Capt Peyton's Co.  Charges and kills 11.

                       chases the remainder through the hills.  Encamps.

23 Mar 1864  Passes through Van Buren and Patterson, Mo.

25 Mar 1864  Evening- Arrives at Pilot Knob.  The scout covered more than

                       300 miles, killing 21, and capturing 11 men and 12 horses.

   April 1864  Mj. Wilson is commanding a Battalion at Patterson, Mo.

                       Scouts from the regiment are being sent to the border and into

                       Arkansas on a continuous basis.

 4 April 1864  Asst Adjutant General O. D. Greene is offered command of

                        the 3rd MSM as a Colonel.  He does not muster in.

 6 June 1864  Mj. Wilson is at Patterson, Mo. dealing with the election

                      of a new Captain for Co L.

Early June     Lt Col Matthews is detached from the regiment.  He is given

                      the 2nd Battalion and sent to North Missouri  Mj. Wilson is

                      placed in command, with Headquarters at Patterson.

30 June- 31 Aug  1864   Maj. James Wilson is listed as Commanding

                       the 3rd sub district of St Louis, stationed at Ironton.

                       He is listed as being absent during this period, as he moves

                       around his command.  His troops consist of

                       Co's. A, C, D, H, I, and K of the 3rd Regt, totaling 347 men. 

                       Six companies of the 47th Mo. State Inf., one Company of

                       the 50th, Co H, of the 1st Mo Inf. and Battery H,

                       of the 2nd Mo. Light Artillery are assigned to him.

11 July 1864  Mj. Wilson is at Pilot Knob for the election of a

                       new Captain for Co K.  

12 July 1864  Mj. Wilson telegraphs from Patterson that one of his units has

                       killed 3 men and brought in 2 prisoners.

17 July 1864  Mj. Wilson is in Patterson.  Col. Tyler is commanding at

                       Pilot Knob.

18 July 1864  Mj. Wilson and the 1st Battalion, of the 3rd MSM, 250 men,

                       with 2, -12 pound mountain howitzers, are on their way to

                       Bloomfield, Mo.  Forces under Shelby, Reeves, and

                       Johnson are reported near Pocahontas, Ark.

26 July 1864  Mj. Wilson joins forces with Lt Col Burris and his men of the

                      10th Kansas Volunteers at Bloomfield.  Lt Col Burris will

                      command the force.  The force splits and heads for Scatterville,

                      Ark. using different routes.

28 July 1864  Evening  The forces arrive at Scatterville, Ark.  They route a

                       rebel recruiting party and skirmish with Bolin's guerrillas. 

                       They killed a Lt., captured a Capt, and some horses, and arms. 

                       Then they burned the town.

29 July 1864  On the move to Brown's Ferry.

30 July 1864  Moved south through Clarkson and Kennett, Mo.

31 July 1864  Passed through Huntersville, Mo.

 1 Aug 1864  Marching along Big Lake.  Surprised a party of bushwhackers and

                      thieves.  Recovered stolen Negroes and horses, and burned 5


 2 Aug 1864  The force moves through 20 miles of swamp.                             Late afternoon  Arrive at Osceola, Ark.  The force fights two

                      companies of Shelby's command, killing 7, and taking 25

                      prisoners.  Captured a considerable number of arms and horses.

                      Another name for one of these engagement is the fight

                      at Little River, Ark.  The rebel units include elements of the 2nd

                      Mo Regt, and the 1st and 6th Mo Vol. Cavalry.

 3 Aug 1864  Marched north to Chicasawba Settlement, crossed Pemiscott

                      Bayou.                                                                                Afternoon     A scouting party kills two Rebs.

Evening        A foraging party kills one of Conyers' bushwhackers.

                      The force camps at Cowskin Settlement. 

 4 Aug 1864  Daylight  On the march.  Rebel pickets are found.  One killed.

                     The rest are chased 6 miles across Dogskin Swamp. 

                     Two miles south of Elk Chute, Mo., in Pemiscot Co, the force

                      takes on the 2nd Mo Calvary, and Darnelle's guerrillas.  They

                      drive them back to Elk Chute, then into the water.  The rebels

                      have 30 killed, wounded 30 to 40, and 28 prisoners are taken.                  

 5 Aug 1864  Marched to Gayoso.  Two rebels killed, two captured.

 6 Aug 1864  The force reaches New Madrid, Mo.  From 28 July on,

                      Mj. Wilson has been commanding his 3rd MSM troops as part

                      of the force.  The details of just what part they took in each

                      action are unavailable.

 7 Aug 1864  The combined force separately and together have swept

                       5 SE Mo. Counties and 2 NE Ark. Counties.  Results:

                       53 rebels including 4 officers killed, 40 wounded, and 57

                       prisoners.  230 horse and mules, and 20 colored people

                       were brought in.  Many of the prisoners were taken

                       at Osceola, Ark.

12 Aug 1864  Mj. Wilson is at Patterson for an election of officers in Co L.

13 Aug 1864  Mj. Wilson relieves Col Tyler, and becomes commander

                      of the Third Sub District, stationed at Pilot Knob.  Lt Col

                      Matthews resumes command of the Regiment, and is stationed

                      at Sturgeon, Mo.

21 Aug 1864  Mj. Wilson is sending 25 men to occupy Potosi, and 40 to

                       scout in that direction.  Engineers are looking at the

                       defenses at Pilot Knob.  They think Fort Davidson could

                       hold against a sudden raid.  Some improvements are being made.

24 Aug 1864  Bg. Gen Ewing is suggesting that Mj. Wilson keep the

                       troops spread out and the garrisons at Pilot Knob and Patterson

                       reduced as low as possible.

25 Aug 1864  Mj. Wilson sends a squad to Cadet Station, Mo.  Scouts are out

                       in St Francis and Washington Counties.  Webster has been raided

                       and scouts have been sent in that direction.  The defensive survey

                       of Pilot Knob suggested three forts.  The Fort at Arcadia has been

                       built, and Fort Davidson is being improved.  Work on the Fort on

                       Rock Mountain has been stopped.  It has been decided that

                       only Fort Davidson will be defended, due to the small number

                       of troops available, and that the fort cannot be held against

                       a large attacking force.  Mj. Wilson has the brush and timber

                       cleared from the nearby lower slopes of Shepherd's and Pilot

                       Knob Mountains.

27 Aug 1864  Mineral Point, Mo. reports 6,000 rebels are in the area.

                       Bg. Gen Ewing orders Mj. Wilson to get out more scouting

                       parties, and to prepare to defend Pilot Knob.  Scouts are sent

                       toward Mineral Point.

30 Aug 1864  Gen Price, with Marmaduke's and Fagan's Divisions leaves

                       Princeton, Arkansas, headed north to Dardanelle, on the

                      Arkansas River.

31 Aug 1864  Bg. Gen Ewing requests one battery of the 2nd Mo. Art.

                       be sent to Pilot Knob.  His request is refused on 1 Sept.

                       Fort Davidson has 4- 32 pounders, and 3- 24 pounder howitzers.

 1 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson reports two bands of guerrillas.  He explains that

                       many reports are the result of his men passing themselves for

                       rebels, while out scouting.

    Sept 1864  During the summer the hotel owner, Lemuel Kittrell, in Doniphan,

                      Mo. poisons some of the men of the 3rd MSM.  During the 1st

                      week of Sept. paroled men of the 54th Ill. are treated badly in

                      Doniphan.  They are refused shelter and the hotel owner Kittrell

                      set his dogs on them.  Their commander asks the 3rd MSM

                      to burn the town if they ever got the chance.  Gen Jeff

                      Thompson C.S.A. has been exchanged and is back in Ark.

 2 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson reports Freeman's Brigade, 2000 strong, is at

                      Evening Shade, Ark.  The 2nd Sub District reports

                      Shelby has 6,000 men at Jacksonport, and along the Mo/Ark line.

 3 Sept 1864  Shelby has reportedly sent 3,000 men toward Cape Giraudeau,

                       1,000 toward Bloomfield, and 1,000 toward New Madrid

                       and Charleston.

 4 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson is ordered to reduce the Patterson garrison to one

                      Company, and to send four or five companies, and the section of

                      howitzers to Cape Giraudeau.

 6 Sept 1864  Gen Price and his army cross the Arkansas River at Dardanelle,

                      heading north.

11 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson reports 1,500 rebels at Doniphan.  An attack on

                       Patterson is expected.

13 Sept 1864  noon  40 to 50 rebels attack 15 men of Co. A, 3rd MSM

                       at Caledonia, Mo. The attack is repulsed with minor


Midnight        The military stores and telegraph at Iron Mountain are

                       destroyed.  Mj. Wilson sends all his mounted troops in pursuit.

15 Sept 1864  Gen Price joins forces with Shelby's division at Powhatan, Ark.

16 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson is warned that Price and a large force of cavalry

                       are on the way North.  They are expected to go

                       west of Pilot Knob, with only diversionary attacks expected

                       on the 3rd MSM positions.  A similar message to Mj.

                       Wilson, sent on 13 Sept. did not arrive.  He is ordered

                       to send a scouting party from Patterson south through Doniphan.

                       Gen Price and 12,000 men are at Pocahontas, Ark.

17 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson orders Co K of the 3rd MSM to go south until

                       they locate the head of Price's invading column,

                       then they are to return and report.

18 Sept 1864  Price with 12,000 rebel cavalry is reported north of the

                       Arkansas river, and about to move into Missouri.

19 Sept 1864 

            10 am  100 men, Co K 3rd MSM, and other men they have picked up

                        on the way, meet the advance of Price's army at Doniphan, and

                        drive them south.  On the way back they burn all of the town,

                        including the hotel, leaving just one house standing.

                        The lady of the house, although a reb, has fed them and

                        begs for her house.  They agree.  As the rebs move into town

                        they see one house standing, figure it belongs to a Union

                        family, and burn it down.  This operation by men of James

                        command will so incense the rebel army, that they will execute

                        captured men of the 3rd MSM almost ever day, as they

                        march north.  Two weeks later, James will be one of their


         3:30 pm  Mj. General Sterling Price, with 12,000 men reach Doniphan.

                        Price decides to attack Pilot Knob, rather than moving

                        on to St Louis, his primary objective. 

19 Sept 1864  Headquarters 3d Sub-Dist of St Louis, Pilot Knob Mo. 

                       Capt Powers of the 47 Mo Infantry is given permission to send 8

                       of his men "out in the country on the Saint Francis River, for

                       the purpose of getting their horses"  By Order of Mj James

                       Wilson.  This order appears to have been written by his Adjutant

                       General.  Joseph Hellman.

20 Sept 1864  Mj. Wilson reports that the scout from Patterson, about 60 men,

                        was surrounded at Ponder's Mill, on Black River, by Gen

                        Shelby's men.  After charging the rebels three times,

                        they escape with a loss of 10 men.  He also reports on the

                        strength and movement of the rebels in his sub district.  He

                        thinks the force in Doniphan is 2,000 men under Shelby.  He has

                        one report that 8,000 men may be on the way to Pilot Knob.

                        The post at Patterson telegraphs him that Shelby and

                        5,000 men are in SE Mo.

21 Sept 1864  Marmaduke's Division of rebels is at Popular Bluff, Mo.

                       Shelby's Division is 12 miles from Patterson.

             5 pm  Battery H of the 2nd Mo Light Artillery leaves St Louis

                       by train for Pilot Knob.

22 Sept 1864 

        Morning  Battery H reaches Pilot Knob. 

             Noon  Shelby reaches Patterson and captures some of the small

                        Union force.  The telegraph is captured before word

                        can be sent to Pilot Knob.

             Night  The whole command stands to horse, expecting an

                        attack by Price.

23 Sept 1864  Mj. James Wilson receives a report that Shelby

                       with 8,000 men was 20 miles from Fredricktown,

                       on the 22nd.  He does not believe the report. 

                       His 3rd MSM force consists of Co's. A, C, D, H, I, and K. 

                       He has small scout parties on all roads leading to Pilot Knob.

                       General Ewing has ordered Mj. Wilson to withdraw the

                       outposts from Patterson, Centerville, Fredericktown,

                       and Farmington, and to concentrate all the forces at Pilot Knob.

                       Price is in fact concentrating his forces at  Fredericktown. 

                       Lt Col H. Matthews, who won the promotion fight,

                       has disobeyed orders and split his forces near Rocheport,

                       resulting in the death of 6 of Mj. Wilson's friends, and former

                       soldiers in Co G of the 3rd MSM.  Co G was ambushed in the

                       fight at Gosline's Lane, by Bloody Bill Anderson.  In 3 days, 13

                       men have died that James knew well.  Mj. James Wilson's

                       divorce from Margaret is final.  p. 87, Book G, Mar 1864,

                      Apr 1869, Circuit Court Records, Lincoln County, Mo.  The

                      telegraph is believed to still be operational at Pilot Knob.  It is

                      not known whether James is informed the divorce is final before

                      the battle at Pilot Knob, but considering his disregard for his life

                     during that fight and after his capture, it appears that he did know.

            2 pm  The survivors of the fight at Patterson arrive at Pilot Knob. 800

                       rebels are in Patterson.

       at retreat  Mj. Wilson orders Battery H to be ready for action at a

                       moments warning.

        at tattoo  Battery H is ready for action.  They will stay in a high state

                       of readiness on the 24th and 25th. 

            Night  The entire command stands to arms, near the courthouse

                       in Ironton, for the night.

24 Sept 1864  5,000 rebels are on the move at Jackson, Mo.  Bg. Gen Ewing

                        orders Mj. Wilson to increase the guards on the bridges

                        that are likely to be attacked.  Shelby is reported at

                        Fredericktown with 300 rebels.   Br Gen Ewing leaves

                        St Louis with a brigade, heading south on the railroad to

                        shore up the defenses.  Gen Ewing's orders from Mj. General

                        Rosencrans, are to have Mj. Wilson endeavor to hold Pilot Knob 

                        against any mere detachment of the enemy, but to evacuate it if

                        Price's main army should move against it.

                        Gen Price arrives in Fredericktown.

             6 pm  Mj. James Wilson sends 65 men to scout Patterson, and

                        learn the position of the rebels.

24-25 Sept 1864  Mj. James Wilson has been criticized as being lethargic

                        and careless as the Rebel army approaches.  I suspect that

                        he's depressed over the divorce, and the fact that he hasn't

                        seen his two sons in three years, and that 6 of his

                        friends in Co G from Lincoln Co. have been killed through

                        Lt Col H. Matthews incompetence on the 23rd. 

                        The orders have been changed, and are now to defend Pilot

                        Knob as long as possible, to give the Union time to gather

                        troops and prepare defenses further north.

25 Sept 1864  Br Gen Ewing arrives by train at Mineral Point, with

                       400 men.  Mj. Wilson reports that rebels occupy Farmington, 20

                       miles away with reportedly 200 to 300 men. 

                       Br Gen Ewing is moving on to Irondale to secure stores,

                       and open a telegraph office. Mj. Wilson told to push his

                       cavalry out with more nerve. Br Gen Ewing thinks the

                       rebels are headed for Cape Girardeau.  He's dithering about

                       whether to take his 400 infantry on to Pilot Knob,

                       or DeSoto.  Marmaduke is reported moving toward

                       Fredericktown 18 miles away, with 3,000 men.

           10 am  The men scouting Patterson are back, with rumors of

                       Marmaduke's and Prices moves toward Fredericktown.

             1 pm  The rebels are reported in strong force advancing on the

                        Fredericktown road.  The report proves false.

              3pm  A deserter say Price has 16,000 men and is headed for

                       Jefferson City.

            Night  Mj. Wilson orders Capt Powers to go south with a few men

                       and "ascertain if Price is actually in command in person". 

                       Capt Powers asks "Shall I go as far as is prudent".  James's

                       reply is "Yes and a little further"  Capt Powers get within 7 or 8

                       miles of Prices headquarters, but doesn't get the information.

        9:45 pm  Gen Smith assures Gen Rosencrans that Ewing is safe

                       at Pilot Knob.  

       midnight  Mj. Wilson has patrols out on the Fredricktown, Patterson,

                       and Centerville roads.  130 men have been sent on a scout

                       toward Farmington.  The patrol toward Fredricktown only goes

                       six or eight mile before returning.  Of the 700 cavalry in the

                       sub district only 250 have horses.  The rest are fighting

                       dismounted because the Army appraiser didn't show up to

                       buy the soldiers private horses.  The soldiers have sold them

                       on the open market.  They were supposed to have been

                       supplied with U.S. Army horses by Sept.

                       In a dispatch dated 6 Oct 1864, Gen Rosecrans reveals that

                       the Mo State Militia Calvary have not been supplied with

                       horses all summer, crippling the effort to run down

                       Gen. Price.  Only 1/2 to 2/3 are effectively mounted.  Gen Price

                       is busy drawing up orders to attack Pilot Knob.

26 Sept 1864 10 am  Gen Ewing and 5 Companies of the 14th Iowa Infantry

                      board the train for Pilot Knob.

                      Gen Rosecrans advises Gen Smith at Mineral Point to evacuate

                      Gen Ewing and Pilot Knob, and fall back toward St. Louis. 

                      Gen Ewing is asking for 1,000 stand of arms, and equipment for

                      74 horses at Pilot Knob.  It has become obvious the rebels are

                      concentrating at Fredericktown.  Gen. Marmaduke has joined

                      forces with Gen Price there.  The telegraph lines have been

                      cut between Jackson and Fredericktown and Ironton, Mo.

      morning  a small force of rebels are advancing on Arcadia, 2 miles

                      SW of Ironton.                                                                      

     forenoon  A 3rd MSM cavalry unit repulses a squad of rebels at Farmington

                     capturing one.  He says Gen Price will attack Pilot Knob,

                     that evening or the next morning.  Gen Price orders Fagan's 

                     Division to head west on the road to Arcadia, and Ironton.

           noon  The last train to reach Pilot Knob arrives bringing Gen Ewing.

                     Gen Ewing makes Mj. James Wilson his second in command.

                     Col. Fletcher, who will assume command of the infantry,

                     is with Ewing.  Co's. B, C, D, E, and H of the 14th Iowa Inf.

                     get off, and march to Fort Davidson.  They add 200 men

                     to the force. Gen Ewing sends 50 men toward Fredricktown. 

                     They will meet the rebel advance guard near the

                     Shut In Gap, 15 miles away and be forced back into Ironton,

                     where they make a stand, about 3 pm.  Major Wilson is criticized

                     by later writers for not having a picket post in the Shut In Gap.

          1 pm  The small union picket post just east of the Shut In gap is surprised

                    and almost cut off.  One man makes it to Ironton to alert the troops.

                    Union forces number 1,450, and include elements

                    of the 2nd M S M Cavalry, and the 47th, and 50 Mo Infantry. 

                    Also present are 50 members of a local black militia unit. 

                    The rebel force numbers 10,000 to 12,000 men,

                    although some 4,000 do not possess arms.

                    The rebels will use some wooden cannonballs early in the fight.

                    Gen Ewing reports at least 100 rebels are attacking Ironton.

     2.30 pm  Gen Ewing reports there are at least 200 or 300 rebels attacking

                    Ironton.  The men from the scout to Farmington are back. 

                    Mj. Wilson is given orders to drive the enemy, if possible,

                    back through the Shut Ins Gap.  He takes 300 troopers and one

                    section of the light artillery battery and

                    drives the rebels out of Ironton, forcing them back to the

                    Shut Ins Gap.  One report states "the guns were popping down in

                    Ironton, like popcorn in a hot skillet, Co E of the 47th and the 3rd

                    MSM boys were having a hot time down there."  The 14th Iowa

                    takes two of the Battery H guns and heads for Ironton.

     3.30 pm  Co I of the 3rd MSM is fighting a dismounted attack

                    against a fence line held by the rebels.  A participant reports

                    "One-half of the skirmishers advanced, fired, and then dropped

                    to the ground to reload.  Then the other half did the same,

                    all being dismounted.  The line advanced until we reached

                    the timbered border of the field and drove out the enemy. 

                    The skirmishers received their horses from their holders and joined

                    in the charge from that point to the 'Shut-In' on the road to

                    Fredericktown.  Here the enemy had their dismounted men posted   

                    upon the timbered hillside along the road.  Their fire was terrific."

         5 pm  Mj. Wilson leads a charge into the Gap and is shot off his horse. 

                    Mj. Wilson was wounded in the head, he

                    jumped up with the blood streaming down his face,

                    mounted his horse and ordered the column to fall back.

                    A running fight with a large force of rebel cavalry develops

                    and continues over a 3 mile stretch until dark,

                    when a rainstorm stops the fight.

          6 pm  Gen Ewing is now convinced he is up against more than 5,000

                     men.  Mj. Wilson, commanding at the front reports the rebels

                     massing a large force in his front, 2 miles from the Fort. 

                     Ewing asks for a regiment of reinforcements.  James stops at 

                     the Guild home, has a cup of tea and gets his wound dressed.  He 

                     writes a dispatch to his men.

           7 pm  Mj. Wilson, and elements of the 3rd MSM, and the 14th Iowa

                     occupy a defensive position 4 miles below Ironton.

                     Capt Campbell of the 14th Iowa, finds Mj. Wilson, head

                     bandaged, sitting near a rail fence.  Asked how he was, he said

                    "he had been wounded along the right temple by a musket ball, and

                     had a terrible headache."  Campbell asked what he thought of their

                     situation.  He replied "that it looked dark and dangerous for them"

                     They agreed that Price's whole army was coming into the valley.

                     The sight of hundreds of campfires tells them the main force has

                     arrived.  They go to a vacant house to the rear and write

                     a note to Gen Ewing, giving him the facts and asking

                     permission to fall back to Ironton.  Gen Ewing offers to send down

                     two pieces of artillery in reply.

        10 pm  Gen Ewing's aide arrives at Mj. Wilson's position and takes a look

                    at the situation.  He says he will report the situation

                    to Gen Ewing. 

        11 pm  Gen Ewing's aide returns with orders to fall back to Ironton. 

                    Mj. Wilson moves his exposed forces back into Ironton.

                    Co C of the 3rd MSM spends the night standing to horse in 


    midnight  The enemy encampment in the Arcadia valley is extensive.

                     They have moved up in force.   Everything not needed in

                     the fort and all rolling stock is readied to be sent up the railroad. 

                     It begins to rain.

27 Sept 1864 3 am  The section of artillery is ordered to the front again.

      dawn       Mj. Wilson is in command of the forces defending

                      the approaches to Fort Davidson.  James has had a

                      splitting headache all night.    There are 7,000 rebels

                      in the Arcadia Valley.  The fight begins immediately.

                      Mj. Wilson and his command begin the day in line of battle

                      east of Ironton, slowly falling back.  The rebs are yelling

                      they are going to "come in and swing us up."

                      They are supported by two cannon of the 2nd Mo. Battery.

                      The fight is soon around the Ironton courthouse.  Mj. Wilson

                      orders the cannon back to the fort,  He orders the infantry to

                      retreat to the Ironton Gap, and covers them with his cavalry.

                      He said "Capt, double quick your men up that alley and I will

                      close up in the rear."  Then he rode off to lead the cavalry.

                      Wilson's dismounted cavalry, were slowly retiring northward

                      toward the gap, firing with rifles, carbines and pistols at every

                      rebel that ventured onto the open plain north of Ironton.  "They

                      were contesting every inch of ground, and they were pressing him

                      hotly, but it was only a matter of time, before they were driven

                      from the lower Arcadia valley".

            8 am  Under orders from Gen Ewing and Mj. Wilson, the quartermaster

                      and commissary stores start north by train.  The empty

                      commissary wagons also move out north.

            9 am  The Union forces have retreated to the Ironton Gap, 1/2 mile

                      from Fort Davidson. The forts big guns cover his front. The Union

                      infantry move to the east end of Shepherd's Mountain. This opens

                      a clear gap for the cannon in the fort to fire through.               

      9:15am  The cannon in the fort open fire on the rebels approaching the

                    Ironton gap.  Mj. Wilson and his dismounted cavalry hold the

                    area around the old brewery, the "Halfway House" until 10 am.

                    Capt Campbell on Shepherd's Mountain, could see Mj. Wilson and

                    his men at the foot of Pilot Knob Mountain.  "his men were

                    fighting desperately on foot at close range, some using their

                    revolvers."  Rebel artillery fire then forces them to take

                    cover on the south side of Pilot Knob Mountain.

        11 am  The telegraph wires have been cut to Pilot Knob.                

                    Mj. Wilson and his troops are able to hold the Ironton Gap

                    until noon, against overwhelming odds.  The rebels want

                    to parlay under a white flag with Mj. Wilson.  Ewing orders

                    him to ignore it, and renew the fight at once, which he does. 

                    The Union forces from Iowa are driven off the summit of

                    Shepherd's Mountain, back into the fort.

          noon  Mj. Wilson retreats over Pilot Knob into the Fort.  The cavalry

                     go to the rear of the fort, where they tie the horses and get

                     ammunition.  One side of Wilson's face and his jacket are

                     still covered with dried blood from yesterdays fight.  General

                     Ewing and Mj. Wilson discuss Pilot Knob Mountain. 

                     Ewing says skirmishing with dismounted cavalry on

                     the mountain won't do any good.  Wilson says "He can't do

                     anything with his cavalry in the fort, and that he wants to go out

                     and fight the rebels."  Ewing allows him to go.  They go out

                     dismounted  to the foot of Pilot Knob Mountain.  Wilson takes

                     about 100 men of the 3rd MSM to the base of  Pilot Knob

                     Mountain and deploys them behind the Iron Mountain

                     Railroad near the iron furnace.  Capt John A. Rice and a company

                     of the 2nd MSM Cav are also under Wilson's command.  The

                     Ironton Gap is retaken by the Union forces after the rebels

                     take major losses from cannon fire from the fort.  The

                     Rebels prepare for a final assault against Fort Davidson by

                     encircling movements, and putting artillery in Shepherd's

                     Mountain.  Union gunners disable some of the rebel cannon.

                     Ewing is reported to have refused two rebel demands to

                     surrender.  Firing on the white flags may have been his

                     way of doing this.

           1 pm  Union forces from Iowa are ordered back up on the south slope

                     of Shepherd's Mountain.  Mj. Wilson rides back to the fort for

                     further orders.  Gen Ewing sends him to the railroad depot to await

                     reinforcements.  His wound has been hemorrhaging and the sides

                     of his face and coat are covered with blood.  He looked so bad that

                     when he left the fort, the gate guard thought he had been relieved,

                     and was being sent to Desoto to join Gen Smith.

                     Captain Dinger and his company of the 47th infantry

                     report to Mj. Wilson at the railroad station at Pilot Knob. 

                     The men of the 47th infantry have been in the army just

                     eleven days and have never heard a shot fired in anger.

                     Mj. Wilson sends Co K of the 3rd MSM into Pilot Knob,

                     to try to hold the town.  Mj. Wilson orders

                     Lt Shattuck, Co I of the 3rd MSM to "form your company

           down on the Ironton road, to resist attack on the fort". 

                     "He appeared to know the charge was coming. 

                     Had I (Lt Shattuck) not been under orders I should certainly

                     have tried to prevent him from going straight into the

                     masses of Confederates on Pilot Knob.  He had his holsters

                     containing two revolvers in his right hand.  Someone spoke of his

                     saber being in the way".  He replied "I would carry it seven years

                     to have it save my life once"  "As I saw his form for the last time

                     rising on the railroad grade I felt certain he was going to death or

                    capture.  I expected to be ordered to go back with him, and I would

                    have gone without a word.  I believe that among all the millions

                    who served under the banner of the Union, there was not a more

                    courageous, skillful, or efficient officer, nor a more unassuming

                    officer and gentleman than Major James S. Wilson. 

                    Mj. Wilson adds the remaining 25 dismounted cavalry

                     to Dingers force.  Mj. Wilson  orders the troops

                     to form a skirmish line just west of the iron works and start

                     up Pilot Knob Mountain.  They are spaced 20 to 30

                     feet apart. 

           2 pm  Ewing fires cannon at a white flag on Shephard's Mountain.  One

                     report says this was the rebel signal to begin the attack.  The rebel

                     assault begins.  Two rebel cannon open fire from the

                     summit of Shephard's Mountain.  A Battalion of the 14th Iowa is

                     driven off Shepherd's Mountain, into the rifle pits at the fort. 1,700

                     rebel troops, McCray's Brigade, including the 15th Missouri

                     Cavalry commanded by Col. Timothy Reeves, on Pilot Knob

                     Mountain also move down towards Mj. Wilson's men. 

                     Major Wilson is alerted to the move by Union cannon firing

                     over his head at targets higher on the mountain. They get about

                     half way up, the mountain when they

                     meet the rebels.  Capt John A. Rice sees them and reports to

                     Wilson that there are 2,000 men crawling on their hands and

                     knees toward the line.  Wilson orders him back to his men, and the

                     fight is on.  Sgt Steakley says "It was a terrible undergrowth

                     in which we were in line, and as we were armed with pistols

                     we could not do much except stay there until run out by the

                     enemy.  I used a Colt revolving rifle until it choked, when I

                     threw it away.  By this time the enemy was close to us and a

                     good eight inch navy pistol acted very well."

                    Many of the troops break and run, some making it back to the

                    Fort.  Some make it to the iron works building, and defend it by

                    firing from the windows.  This group eventually successfully

                    retreats to the fort.  Mj. Wilson is west of this group and refuses

                    three direct orders to retreat. 

     2:30 pm  Mj. Wilson is in Miner's Gulch and is quoted as telling the last

                    man to bring him a retreat order "be damned if he'd fall back on

                    the fort, but would stay in his gulch and whip the whole Rebel

                    army".  James and Capt Dinger, with Dingers untried and

                    inexperienced men, are in a hollow of the road leading to the

                    pinnacle of Pilot Knob Mountain. He is reported to have

                    three pistols and his saber.  He has been in the front lines,

                    wounded and under fire for most of the last 24 hours.  

                    He sounds as if he's now taking this attack as a personnel affront. 

                    The nearly surrounded troops fire off 14 rounds,

                    then fall back slowly to the foot of the mountain, firing as they

                    retreat.  Mj. Wilson is firing his three revolvers at the advancing


                    Captain Dingers report of the action agrees with the other

                    fragments which have been found.  "Mj. Wilson ordered us to

                    go up higher on the hill, about 300 yards from where I was, and

                    then ordered his 25 men still higher as skirmishers.  He remained

                    with me and my company.  We were attacked by the enemy on all

                    sides, and we took position in the hollow of the road leading to the

                    pinnacle of the knob.  We fired about 14 rounds but finding the

                    return fire to strong for us, I ordered the men to fall back slowly to

                    the foot of the hill and to keep firing as they did so.  Mj. Wilson

                    had three revolvers which he kept firing all the time at the

                    advancing enemy".  At the foot of the mountain they fire off 4  

                    more rounds. Capt Dinger orders his men to fall back behind the.

                    steam mill.  Fifteen obey, but the rest scatter.  Thirty of Capt

                    Dinger's men make it back to the rifle pits at the fort.  Mj. Wilson,

                    Captain Dinger, and 5 men are cut off at the steam mill and taken

                    prisoner.  The capture is near the iron furnace at the foot of the

                    mountain by Fagan's Division.  Mj. Wilson, and two of his

                    3rd MSM men are started under escort toward Arcadia.

                    They had not gone far when the demoralized troops of Fagan's

                    Division swept down the valley in a frantic stampede, which

                    Wilson's guards joined.  Mj. Wilson and his men turned back

                    toward the fort, but was met by Lt Col Bull and his Arkansas unit,

                    which was in full retreat.  Lt Col Bull recaptured Wilson and his 

                    men, and took them to the prisoner corral, the fort, at Arcadia. 

                    Sgt. Burk and part of the men do succeed in escaping,

                    and make their way to the Mississippi River.  Cabell reported after

                    the war that he had captured a major and ten men.

                    The rebels have Fort Davidson almost completely surrounded,

                     their charges reach into the surrounding ditches, but the

                     fort holds.  Mj. Wilson's servant a, black man, is seen

                     riding the Majors horse, in a mass of fleeing people that

                     include Confederate soldiers.  An eyewitness reports that they

                    "knocked the nigger off Wilson's horse and took it from him"

                     It sounds like Jame's valet may have been holding the horse at the

                     foot of Pilot Knob Mountain, while Mj. Wilson and his men

                     were fighting dismounted on its slopes.  James decision to

                     fight with Capt Dinger and his inexperienced men, rather than

                     with his battle tested men of the 3rd MSM, was undoubtedly

                     made to bolster up  the new recruits.  It led to his defeat and


5:58 pm sunset  The attack on the fort is over.  Mj. Wilson and his

                      men are prisoners in Arcadia.  The Union fort in Arcadia

                      is used as a prisoner stockade.

27 Sept 1864 night  The rebels report to Br Gen Shelby that they have taken

                     Arcadia and Ironton, but the attack on Fort Davidson was   

                     repulsed.  They ask Shelby to be in position for a morning attack.

 midnight      Ewing has the officers vote on whether to surrender or evacuate.

                     The vote starts with the lowest rank and moves up.  Ewing votes to

                     surrender.  He loses by one vote.  Ewing begins preparations to

                     evacuate the fort.  The Potosi road appears open. 

                     He recaptures the town of Pilot Knob, and scatters rebel

                     stragglers so he will be unobserved.

28 Sept 1864  2 am  A Union advance guard leaves the fort.

           3 am  Gen Ewing evacuates the fort, sets a fuse to blow up the                    

                     powder magazine an hour before dawn and retreats toward

                     Rolla, Mo, with 2,000 men and citizens, 200 horses and a battery

                     of 6 guns. 

28 Sept 1864  daylight  The rebels report the capture of the Fort.

                      James has been made to walk through the reb camp. 

                      He is jeered and harassed.  There is one report that

                      he is stripped of his jacket, vest, stockings, and boots. 

                      If this happened , the items were soon returned to him. 

                      Most of the men are stripped of their shoes and

                      some clothing.  The rebels have lost 1,500 men. The Union

                      losses are 206.

    afternoon  James and his captured men have been moved to the

                      prisoner stockade at Pilot Knob.  Mj. Wilson's head wound is

                      dressed by Dr Carpenter, the Union doctor,

                      in the prisoner corral at Pilot Knob. 

                      Its been tied up with a white handkerchief, and has bled

                      considerably.  He also has a very sore middle finger

                      caused by his swinging his heavy pistol around his head

                      to rally his men to action during the fighting.  Dr Carpenter

                      reports that he was wounded on the face and head.  He reports

                      that James is barefoot and coatless.  When James is executed

                      days later he is wearing his uniform coat, so someone got it

                      back to him.  James tells Carpenter that "several of his old

                      enemies had seen him, and threatened him with death, and that

                      he thoroughly believed that they would kill him"  Dr Carpenter

                      hunts up rebel Col Gunter, an old friend, and tells him what

                      Mj. Wilson has said.  Col Gunter said that there was not the

                      slightest grounds for the majors fears.  Carpenter repeats this to

                      James.  Rebel Gen Jeff Thompson stops to chat. 

                      Asks James if he remembers him. 

                      James does, as he had once captured him. 

                      Gen Thompson gives James a blanket and says

                      the tables have turned.  Capt Dinger is also among the prisoners.

                      The prisoners are put in one of the horse corrals for the night. 

29 Sept 1864  dawn  The prisoners are given spoiled shoulder meat and rotten

                       sausage to eat, that has been thrown away by the merchants.  The

                       prisoners begin their march north.  They will walk

                       over 60 miles north to near Union , Mo.  James is in good spirits,

                       laughing at Prices ragged men and poor horses, and wondering if

                       Price expected to stay in Missouri with such an army. James      

                       rank should have gotten him a horse.  The rebels ignore that

                       convention until General Jeff Thompson finds him something

                       to ride.  The General tells the commander of the escort to treat

                       him well.

30 Sept 1864  1 a.m.  The prisoners have reached Potosi. Some 5 or 6 miles

                       north of town, at a large spring, the prisoners are turned

                       over to Gen Price's headquarters guard.

                       The prisoners are abused, starved, and generally mistreated.

                       They are given meal full of bran, but no water and no fire,

                       so they can't cook it.  They steal cabbage leaves and corn

                       from the horse feed Several of James men suggest escaping.                     

                       during the march. James seems resigned to whatever fate

                       had in store for him, and wasn't interested.

                       General Shelby camps at Captain Leeper's, a former officer

                       of the 3rd MSM, house one night, and takes all usable forage and

                       supplies.  He finds the following order from Mj. Wilson. 

                       "Take 80 men, dress them in butternut, march to the White River,

                       and find out the intention of the rebels under Shelby.  On your

                       return burn every mill, building, grain stack, and hay rick on the

                       road.  And you know I don't like to be troubled with prisoners"

                       Ex governor Thomas C. Reynolds, living in Mexico, Mo.

                       was reported to have this order and other materials.  It has not

                       been further noted.

 1 Oct 1864   The Members of the Order of American Knights of the State of

                       Missouri are told that General Price and 20,000 veteran soldiers

                       are in the state. All able bodied men are called upon to render

                       military service, under General Price.  They claim to have 30,000


 1 Oct 1864 dawn  The prisoners are force marched on north.  Capt Dinger,

                       who is very fat, and worn out, reveals he is a Mason to one of the

                       officers, and gets to ride in the ambulance wagon.

 2 Oct 1864    The prisoners are marched beyond Union, Mo. and are

                       put in a chain guard camp on upper St Johns Creek, near Gen

                       Price's headquarters tent.

 3 Oct 1864   The 450 prisoners, soldiers and captured private citizens are

                       assembled and given a oath on parole.  Sol Kitchens and Col Tim

                       Reeves then go through the ranks looking for men from Captain's

                       Hurbel's, (Hummel), Montgomery's, Rice's, and Cochran's

                       units.  They also want men who were in the fight at

                       Doniphan.  The men lie as best they can, although beaten when

                       the answers don't please.  Before Mj. Wilson is identified

                       he slips Capt Fritz Dinger his pocketbook and Peter Rinaman's

                       address.  He knows what's coming.  He has previously stated

                       "If I am captured, count me as gone, because I have broken up

                       Reeve's recruiting operations three times."  He says "Captain, I

                       have fallen into bad hands, and do not think I will see you again.

                       If I do not, give this pocketbook to the address I now give you,

                       viz. Peter Rinaman, Millwood, Lincoln county, Missouri."

                       Captain Dinger shakes hands with him, and returns to his place.

                       Six privates supposedly from his command are picked out

                       of the group.   One private, thinking the parole

                       process was starting, lies, and says he's one of Wilson's men.

                       Mj. Wilson asks the Inspector General, who is conducting this

                       operation, "Sir, what are the charges against us?"  He receives no

                       answer.   The field officer of the day turns the seven men over to                  

             Col. Tim Reeves. 

9-10 A.M.    Major James Wilson and the six privates, are marched away

                     under double guard.  Five of the privates are from Co I, 3rd MSM.

                     Reports of the execution vary.  One says three

                     men are assigned to march each prisoner off

                     and execute him.  Two of the men are said to escape

                     their executioners although one is wounded

                     in the shoulder.  Mj. Wilson and four privates are executed. 

                     Mj. Wilson is the first of the prisoners to be shot, by order

                     of Col. Tim Reeves of the 15th Mo. Calvary, C.S.A.

                     on the Patterson farm, near Union, Franklin Co. Mo. 

                     Other sources say it was the Jeffries farm.  Other accounts of the

                     execution report that all prisoners were killed by a single volley. 

                     Col T. J. Oliphant a rebel, claims to have witnessed the execution.

                     He says Col Reeves stopped the prisoners and told Mj. Wilson    

                     "that he had been ordered by General Price to take them

                     out and shoot them.  Major Wilson's last words, looking Reeves

                     straight in the eyes were "You do not mean to say you

                     are going to shoot us without a trial?" 

                     Reeves replied "You have been tried and such are

                     my orders."  The prisoners are moved a little further then

                     surrounded.  A volley kills all but a 16 year old boy.  A second

                     volley is ordered to kill him.  Oliphants report seems to be the

                     most credible.  Since entering Mo. on 19 Sept. the

                     rebels have executed 35 prisoners, almost all of the 3rd MSM. 

                     The executions will continue each day they are

                     in Mo.  The execution site is near the present day

                     junction of St. John's Creek, and Bolte Ford Road.

 5 Oct 1864  The first reports come in from paroled soldiers that Mj. Wilson

                     has been executed.  Lt Col Maupin of the 47th Mo. Vol.

                     conducts two searches of the area where the executions

                     occurred.  The bodies are not found.

 6 Oct 1864  The Commanding General, St Louis, orders the Provost

                     Marshall to send a rebel major and six privates in irons to the

                     military prison in Alton, Ill. to be held in solitary confinement,

                     until the fate of Mj. Wilson and his men are known.  These men

                     are to receive the same treatment Mj. Wilson and his men


13 Oct 1864  Joseph Rinaman, James nephew, knowing his Uncle is missing

                      in action, and probably dead, volunteers in the U.S. Army.

14 Oct 1864  Soon to be governor, Thomas Fletcher makes the following

                      statement about James.  "They took him prisoner and I am

                      informed turned him over to Tim Reeves to do with as he

                      pleased.  Reeves command had been decimated many times

                      by Major Wilson".  St Louis Democrat, 14 Oct 1864, p4.

20 Oct 1864  Br Gen Thomas Ewing writes his official report of the

                      battle of Pilot Knob and the retreat to Rolla.  He includes

                      the following "I owe it to the cherished memory of Mj. Wilson

                      to add in conclusion an honorable mention of his name, not only

                      because of the nerve and skill with which for two days preceding

                      the assault, he embarrassed and delayed the overwhelming

                      forces of the enemy, but also because of his long and

                      useful service in this district unblemished by a fault."

22 Oct 1864  A false report is received that Mj. Wilson is a prisoner.

23 Oct 1864  The bodies of Major Wilson and five privates are found in a

                      hollow on the Patterson farm, 15 miles SW of Washington, Mo.

                      The site is on the Old State Road near Jeffrey's farm.

                      The hogs have been at them, and identification is difficult.

                      A inquest is held by the local Justice of the Peace.

                      Major Wilson's body had official and private papers on it.

                      One of the envelopes has written on it the last order given to

                      Mj. Wilson by Gen Ewing.  It said  "The infantry at the furnace

                      are under your command;  take them off when necessary"

                      Mj. Wilson had been shot three times.  The bodies are laid on

                      flooring hauled to the scene, and fenced with walnut logs to keep

                      the hogs away.     

24 Oct 1864  Capt R. W. Elliott, 7th Mo. Cav. Vol. writes letters to James

                      sister Sophia, and to his father James S. Wilson informing

                      them of James death.  An escort of men from the 3rd MSM

                      are sent from St Louis to recover the bodies.

25 Oct 1864  General Rosencrans orders the execution of 6 rebel privates

                      and one major in retaliation.

                      The Provost Marshall General orders that the first rebel major

                      captured is to be sent to him.  He plans under orders to shoot

                      instantly a equivalent number of rebels.  If they can't capture one,

                      he wants one out of the prisons, that belonged to the rebel forces

                      in Mo.  Since rebel majors are in short supply, Br Gen Ewing

                      recommends shooting 8 privates of Prices command, in

                      retaliation for Wilson's murder.  The bodies of Mj. Wilson

                      and the others are examined by Lt Col Maupin and recovered

                      in their temporary graves.

26 Oct 1864  General Order No 51 announces the death of Mj. Wilson.

                      It states "He was an officer of rare intelligence, zeal ,courage, and

                      judgment, and his soldierly virtues were adorned by a purity,

                      unselfishness, and integrity of character which won the love

                      respect and trust alike of his subordinates and superiors. 

                      When the war broke out he entered the service a private,

                      and by that act of devotion to the government severed almost

                      all ties that bound him to family and home. 

                      Comrades!  Cherish the memory of his resplendent virtues, follow

                      his patriotic example, and justly avenge his fiendish murder.

                      By Order of Br Gen Thomas Ewing.

26 Oct 1864  Gen Ewing receives a Military telegraph from Warrenton.

                     "Has Mj. Wilson's body arrived at St Louis?  I respectfully

                      ask that all private letters signed Helen be returned to me"

                      J. (McVey?) Col.  James had served at Camp Annie, at

                      Warrenton from Jan 1862 through July 1862, under Col Frederick

                      Morsey.  Morsey was in charge of contacting James family in

                      regard to burial arrangements.  He recommended James be buried

                      in St Louis with military honors.  He said he had known James

                      since Oct 1861, and that was what James would have wanted.

                      Col Morsey had a daughter named Helen, age 23.  She is the

                      only adult unmarried Helen in Warren County in the 1860 census,

                      so she is almost certainly the Helen that has been writing James.

                      James had just turned 30.

27 Oct 1864  Major Wilson's body is moved by wagon to Washington,

                      Mo, and then taken to St Louis, by the mail train,

                      on the Pacific Railroad.  His body is escorted

                      to the Courthouse by 30 men of Co C, 7th Mo. 

                      His body in a silver mounted rosewood coffin,

                      lies in state, under guard, in the Rotunda of the

                      court house for several days.

28 Oct 1864  Special Orders 279 are issued, ordering and naming six rebel

                      enlisted men be shot in retaliation for the murders of Mj. Wilson

                      and his men.  The execution is to take place on 29 Oct

                      between 2 and 4 p.m.

28 Oct 1864  Lt Col Henry Matthews, who got his promotion at Mj. Wilson's

                      expense, demands that Special orders No 279 be immediately

                      fulfilled, and he requests the honor of commanding the firing

                      squad that will execute prisoners in retaliation for the shooting

                      of Mj. Wilson and his men.  He further asks that he be allowed to

                      shoot eight prisoners he holds, in retaliation for the deaths of eight

                      Union troops in his sector.  Neither request is granted.

28 Oct 1864  The family of Mj. Wilson requests that the body be sent home

                      for interment.  Telegraph message from Troy.

29 Oct 1864  On this day the Provost Marshall, orders the execution of six

                      rebel privates. Six privates are taken out of Gratiot Military

                      prison in St Louis and shot at Fort No 4 in Lafayette park,

                      before a crowd of 3,000 persons.  The firing squad is made up of

                      men of the 10th Kansas, and the 41st Missouri.

       5:10 pm  The Provost Marshall requests that either Mj. P. R. Carrington, or

                      Mj. William Cook, rebels, "be sent to him for execution."

                      He desires to carry out his orders as soon as possible.

31 Oct 1864   3 p.m.  Major Wilson's body, escorted by four companies of the

                      7th Regt E.M.M. is taken from the St Louis Court House, where

                      it has been lying in state, to the depot of the North Missouri

                      Rail Road, for transport to Troy.  There was no rail service in 

                      Troy so the casket had to put in a wagon , at Warrenton,

                      for the trip.

 1 Nov 1864  Major Wilson's body is interred in the Troy Cemetery.

                      The monument to Major Wilson was later placed on what the

                      cemetery plat shows as a cemetery walkway rather than on a

                      burial lot.  Research has not been able to determine who bought

                      Jame's burial plot.

                      Rebel Majors Enoch Wolf, and H Carlton draw straws to see who

                      will be sent to St Louis from Independence for the retaliatory

                      execution.  Mj. Wolf loses.

 2 Nov 1864  Peter Rinaman receives a letter, asking him to come to St Louis

                      for James effects, as per James wishes.

 6 Nov 1864  Mj. Wolf and 32 men of Co. G, 3rd MSM arrive in St Louis.

 7 Nov 1864   Special Order No 287, Headquarters Dept. of the Mo.,  Office of

                      the Provost Marshall General.  Abundant testimony on file in this

                      office establishes the fact beyond a doubt, that Mj. James

                     Wilson, 3rd Cavalry M.S.M., while a prisoner of war in the hands

                      of the enemy, was atrociously murdered by the authority and with

                      the consent of the rebel commander.  In compliance with Special

                      Order No. 277, par. 12, dated Headquarters Dept. of Mo.,

                      October 6, 1864, and in retaliation for the murder

                      of Mj. Wilson, the following rebel officer Mj. Enoch O. Wolf,

                      Fords Battalion, C.S.A. must be shot to death with musketry

                      within the limits of the City of St. Louis, on Friday the

                      11th day of November 1864, between the hours of 9 and 11. 

                      Lt Col Gust. Heinrichs, Superintendent of the prisons,

                      is charged with the execution of this order.

 8 Nov 1864  Mj. Enoch O. Wolf, of Prices army, is taken from prison to an

                      anvil and a 32 pound ball and chain riveted to his ankle.   

                      He is an appropriate candidate, as he is reputed to have summarily

                      executed a federal prisoner early in 1864.  His sentence reads, "In

                      retaliation for Major Wilson, Maj. Enoch O. Wolf of Lt Col B.

                      Ford's battalion, Col T. R. Freeman's brigade, General

                      Marmaduke's division, Gen Price's army, shall be shot to death

                      with musketry on Friday next between the hours of 9 and 11

                      o'clock".  He appeals to Gen Rosecrans to ask Gen Price

                      to turn over Col Tim Reeves for execution.

                      He asks as a soldier, gentleman, officer, and Mason. 

                      A chaplain is assigned who is a Mason.  He calls his

                      Masonic lodge together and they telegraph Lincoln. 

10 Nov 1864  President Abraham Lincoln asks Gen Rosecrans for the details

                       of Mj. Wilson's execution, and the executions of the rebel


11 Nov 1864  Mj. Gen Rosecrans replies with a strong defense of his actions.

                      He adds that Mrs Enoch Wolf is now in St Louis, being in

                      Missouri with the expectation that Price would win, and that

                      she would winter there.  President Abraham Lincoln

                      intervenes and stays the execution, just hours before it is

                      scheduled.  He telegraphs "Shoot no more men."  It has been

                      reported that later, a rebel private was executed, to even the score.

18 Nov 1864  Joseph Rinaman is mustered into Co E, 49th Reg. of Inf.

                      Mo. Vol. as a private, in Mexico, Mo.

21 Nov 1864 The Wilson Monument Association holds its first meeting.

                      Thomas C. Fletcher, governor-elect of Missouri was elected

                      chairman and president of the organization.

22 Nov 1864 The minutes of the 21 Nov meeting are published.  A group of

                     former comrades meet at the St Louis Courthouse to

                     raise money to buy a monument to Mj. James Wilson. 

                     They commission Mr. Hinchey to produce a lithograph of the

                     Battle of Pilot Knob.  The proceeds from selling it are to be used to

                     buy the monument.  The "Wilson's Monument Association" has as

                     officers and members Gen Gray, Col's Fletcher, Murphy, Stone,

                     Matthews, Capt Cheever, Hon. H. T. Blow, Mr. C. Irwin, Mayor

                    Thomas and Mr. S. D. Barlow.  A message from Gen Ewing is

                     read, "I hope you will be successful in your efforts to give public

                     honor to the name of my dear friend and companion in arms,

                     whose splendid virtues should live in the hearts of his countrymen

                     as long as the principles he honored and died for are cherished in

                     the land."

                     $100 is raised by subscriptions of $25 each at this meeting.

                     St Louis Republican

23 Nov 1864 Col. F. Morsey, 59th E.M.M.  writes the St Louis Rebuplican,

                     sending $25 for the Wilson monument.  He says "Wilson joined

                     my command in Dec 1861, as a private, he was soon appointed

                     1st Sgt, and in Mar 1862 he was elected Captain.  He was with

                     me in marches all over the state after Porter, Poindexter,

                     Henderson, Reeves and Marmaduke, from June 1862 till July 3

                     1863."  This is paraphrased, and the statement includes other

                     comments about Wilson's service.  The letter is published on

                     29 Nov. 1864.

28 Nov 1864 The Union League of America, Rosecrans Council No 2, meets

                     in Chillicothe to address the proposal to erect a monument to

                     Wilson.  They call for sister Councils in the state to support

                     the project.  They ask that the names of the six men executed

                     with Wilson be included on the monument.


21 Jan 1865  Jame's belongings are sold at a estate sale.

   Feb 1865   Lt Col Henry Matthews is court-martialed and removed from


 6 Feb 1865  The hotel owner in Pilot Knob requests that Jame's estate settle

                      his bill for boarding James and his servant.

23 Feb 1865  Timothy Cummings of Lincoln Co. is appointed guardian of

                       Jame's children.

25 Apr 1865  Lewis Martin, Jame's servant, files suit for $100 in back pay.

29 Apr 1865  Br Gen Jeff Thomson C.S.A. under a flag of truce is offered

                      terms of surrender, in Chalk Bluff, Ark.

11 May 1865 Br Gen Jeff Thompson accepts the surrender terms.  Dates

                      and places are agreed to, as to where the rebels will assemble

                      to be paroled.

19 May 1865  Sophia Wilson Rinaman writes Capt Dinger, at Ironton, asking

                       for details of her brother James capture and execution.

20 May 1865 Union troops leave St Louis to accept the surrenders at

                      Wittsburg, Ark on 25 May, and at Jacksonport Ark. on 5 June.

                      The only person the Union declined to parole was Col Tim

                       Reeves.  He is arrested and transported to St Louis for execution.

                       Within a few months he is released without explanation.

                       Reeves is soon back in SE Missouri resuming his career as a

                       Baptist preacher.

25 May 1865  Troy, Mo.  Editors "Missouri Democrat".  On Sunday last, in

                      company with some returned soldiers from the army, I visited the

                      grave of Major Wilson, late of the 3rd M.S.M. cavalry.  I was

                      very much surprised and grieved at the spectacle I there beheld.

                      His grave is in the suburbs of this place.  It has nothing to mark

                      his last resting place but two old rusty boards, one at the head, the

                      other at the foot of the grave.  What has become of the hundreds

                      of dollars subscribed to the Wilson monument fund?

                      St Louis Democrat, 29 May 1865, p.2

30 May 1865  Capt Dinger answers Sophia Wilson Rinaman's request

                       for details, and whether James had any final message for her.

                       He closes with "Madam you lost your brother.  He was a

                       brave man, and a good soldier, and a Patriot, and will long

                       live in the memory of the people and the nation."


           1866    Col. Timothy Reeves establishes the Oak Grove Baptist church

                       seven miles north of Pocahontas Arkansas, as a result of a brush

                       arbor revival.  He finds it necessary to retake the pulpit with six

                       shooters in each hand, as some people in the audience aren't

                       happy he's there.  "A History of the Current River Baptist

                       Association", Tedford, 1947

 5 Oct 1866    Troy Herald—A election is about to be held.  The following

                       excerpts were reprinted from the Mo. Democrat.  The item was

                       reported to have been written in the SW corner of Lincoln Co.

                       "They want to slaughter sheep on the birthday of Booth and

                       celebrate Lincoln's assassination.--They rejoice over the brutal

                       murder of our much lamented Major Wilson who was captured

                       at Pilot Knob.--They also threaten to go to the polls on election

                       day with their shotguns and shoot the brains out of the first Black

                       Republican, that says anything, against their voting".

11 April 1867 A pension of $25/month is approved for Jame's sons.

                      The payments are to last until 4 May 1874.

           1869   The St Louis newspapers report that the monument for Major

                      James Wilson's grave is about finished.


 2 Aug 1870  Former comrades and relatives gather at the Troy Cemetery to

                      dedicate a monument to Major Wilson.  It is placed on a

                      cemetery walkway.  The grave may be elsewhere.  The group is

                      addressed by Mr. H. G. Ferguson of Louisiana, and Capt

                      Robertson of Carroll Co.  An attempt is

                      made to hire a brass band, but they refuse to

                      participate.  Lincoln Co Herald 4 Aug 1870

                      The monument carries the inscription,


                       "Preserve, What He Gave His Life To Defend,

                       Our Normality."


26 Aug 1890  Jame's ex wife, files for a widows pension from the U.S.

                       government.  It is rejected on the grounds that the divorce

                       was final before he was killed.


Dr Cyrus Peterson, in his "Biography of James S. Wilson" summarizes the two and a half years James served as an officer in the following words, "he was known as one of the most active and efficient officers doing service in his adopted state in keeping outlaw organizations from plying their nefarious avocations of murder and robbery upon the defenseless law abiding citizens.  Much of his service extended far into the State of Arkansas, in pursuing and punishing bands of miscreants who preyed upon the lives and industry of the citizens of Missouri, and his name was a terror to all evil doers in southeast Missouri.  His reputation as a military officer for bravery, justice, and good judgment was such that he was made commander of a military sub-district with headquarters at Pilot Knob where his presence did much toward preserving life and property over a large area of the state.  It would be impossible to enumerate the numerous skirmishes and battles in which he participated, but out of all, he came with honor and distinction".


Dr Joseph Mudd, a Confederate veteran who fought with Porter in Northeast Missouri, provides a unique assessment of James.  After authoring "With Porter in North Missouri" he investigated the execution of Major James Wilson.

His research occurred during the period 1866 to 1906, and resulted in the following statement. "In spite of persistent effort, extending over many years and involving in the last few months, much correspondence, I have been unable to determine whether the execution of Major James Wilson was a murder or an act of retaliation  ".  In a final statement he says "this execution ended the career of the best Federal soldier Lincoln County produced; a man of courage, resolution and the strictest integrity".  Quite a nice tribute from the other side!


James execution, with six privates, may have been an act of retaliation for the execution of an officer and six privates of Reeves command.  The execution of Reeves men occurred prior to Dec 1863, by the 3rd MSM.  The individuals involved on both sides have not been identified.  Reeves refers to this event, as he plans to kill a captured officer and six enlisted men at Pulliam's Farm, in Dec 1863, as does Griffin Frost in a book published in 1867.  One of the raids by the 3rd MSM during Sept and Oct 1863, led by Capt Leeper, and Mj. Wilson probably produced the incident which infuriated Reeves.  Capt Leeper tangled with Reeves on his raid.  James fortells his death, by saying to Joseph Rinaman on his last furlough, "that if Reeves caught him he was a dead man.  He had disrupted Reeves recruiting to many times."  After getting back to his post, men of the 3rd MSM burned Reeves home town of Doniphan, on orders from St Louis.  From that day on, Reeves tried to execute any men of the 3rd MSM that fell into his hands.  Executions happened daily.  With the shooting of the group James was in the total reached 35.  They will continue as Price marches through Missouri.  Rebel General M. Jeff Thompson, said after the war, that the executions were in retaliation for the burning of Doniphan.  James was captured and allowed to be executed by the rebel high command, at the hands of Col. Tim Reeves.  I believe this is probably closer to the truth than any of the several other explanations that have been put forth by others.


James wrote poetry as a young man.  The following fragment contains his

thoughts on death.

                              "Dost think when in the tomb I lie,

                                 And life's last sigh is o'er, 

                                That like a summer's flower I'll be,

                                 Forgotten when no more"


This fragment apparently written to his wife to be, is rather prophetic.

                            "When the winds of misfortune are sighing,

                             And sorrows fall thickly on thee, 

                             Hopes blasted around thee are lying,

                             Like leaves that have fallen from the tree,   

                             Thy day of prosperity over,

                             The friends thou hast loved far away, 

                             Myself o'er the wide earth a rover,

                              From home and its joys to stray,   

                             Oh then in the day of my sadness,

                             When sorrow thy portion shall be,

                             Remember the moments of gladness,

                             You've spent in communion with me"



This log has been reconstructed primarily from records of the United States, and Confederate Armies.   Additional sources include stories from the James S. Wilson Sr. family, newspaper articles, letters written by participants in the events, and pre 1900 histories.  The motivational comments about Mj. James S Wilson's actions are the sole responsibility of the author.  Mrs. Patsy Creech provided the original basic data set.  Mr. Lou Wehmer, a seeker of truth, and a member of the Ripley County Missouri Historical Society, and Mr. Kirby Ross who had many relatives who served in the 3rd MSM, provided immeasurable help, in finding obscure sources and documents, from many repositories.  Independent Historical Consultant, Dorris Keeven Franke, provided much needed help on events in Warren County during the Civil war. This event log could not have been constructed without their assistance and encouragement.     Willard S. Bacon, 120 Beechwood Circle, Manchester Tn 37355, 931 728 7973, or baconwillard    

Copyright 2000, by Willard S. Bacon, All rights reserved.