Battle of Glasgow - October 15, 1864 - Glasgow, Mo.
Posted by: iconions
N 39° 13.593 W 092° 50.870
15S E 513134 N 4341928
Quick Description: This marker overlooks the Missouri River off of Water Street just west of Glasgow, Missouri.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 8/13/2011 12:05:55 AM
Waymark Code: WMC9KP
The Battle of Glasgow was part of the 1864 Campaign that Sterling Price set upon to capture St. Louis. This City's defenses proved to be too strong so he turned west to try to capture on City to install the Confederate Governor and to possibly capture Fort Leavenworth or Fort Scott in Kansas and take their vast military stores. The Campaign ended with Price's losses at Westport, in Missouri, and running battles at La Cygne and Mine Creek in Kansas, and the Second Battle of Newtonia, in Missouri.
Text of the marker:
The Battle of Glasgow was fought at this and other nearby locations on October 15, 1864. Confederate forces under the overall command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price initiated the battle during their raid into Missouri in the fall of 1864. In late August, Price moved his 12,000-man army out of Arkansas and entered Missouri. On September 26-27, he fought the Battle of Pilot Knob and then moved in the direction of Jefferson City, skirted around the heavily defended capital city, and arrived in Boonville on the 10th of October. While there, he learned of a (incorrect) rumor that a large store of weapons was to be found at Glasgow and sent a force to capture these arms. The attack on Glasgow commenced at daybreak with a shelling of the town by an artillery battery positioned on the west side of the Missouri River, opposite the town. Two hours later a force of some 1,700 to 2,000 Confederates appeared on the south side of Glasgow to confront the approximately 650 Union defenders. Gradually, after several hours of hard fighting, the defenders were driven into their fortifications in the center of town, where they found themselves surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned. Facing certain defeat, the Federals surrendered. The victory at Glasgow netted the Confederates some 1,200 badly needed rifles, a shipment of military overcoats, and other supplies.
In the days leading up to the attack, the 150 men of the Federal garrison at Glasgow were only vaguely aware of the peril that was about to befall them. With Price's army in the Missouri River valley, guerrilla units were swarming over the countryside cutting telegraph lines and disrupting the mails, so that Union garrisons were left uninformed about enemy movements and the activities of other Federal units. The commander, Capt. J. E. Mayo had orders to hold the town at all hazards. On October 13, two Jefferson City - bound steamboats, the West Wind and the Benton, arrived at Glasgow. Aboard these boats were six companies of the 43rd Missouri Volunteers, approximately 500 troops, commanded by Col. Chester Harding, Jr., and a load of quartermaster stores that included 1,000 cavalry uniforms and other supplies sent down river from Lexington for safekeeping. With Price's army in the vicinity, it was highly dangerous for the steamboats to proceed farther downstream, so the Benton unloaded its cargo and returned upstream while the West Wind remained at Glasgow.
Colonel Harding realized that there was little need for his command at Jefferson City and decided to remain at Glasgow and assume command of the city's defenses. Harding and his officers did not feel that the main danger of attack would come from Price because they believed (incorrectly) that he lacked transports to move troops across the Missouri River, rather, they feared attack from one of the guerrilla bands that infested the region. The defensive works at Glasgow consisted of two small fortofications connected by a hastily dug rifle pit. This fortification might serve to discourage attacking bushwackers, but was inadequate as a defense against a large force with artillery.
The Confederate attack on Glasgow got off to a ragged start. In accordance with the plan of attack, Gen. Joseph O. Shelby and his force arrived on the shore of the Missouri River opposite Glasgow before daybreak, and at the predetermined time, 5:00 a.m., began to shell the town and the West Wind with two cannons of Collin's battery. The fire of his artillery and sharpshooters effectively kept Federal troopers from reaching the steamer west wind and discouraged the free movement of soldiers across streets that ran at right angles to the river.
Gen. John B. Clark Jr., the Confederate commander of the main attack force, was to have supposed to have had his command in place at the southern limits of town at the same time Shelby opened fire, but difficulties in getting his troops across the Missouri River at Arrow Rock delayed his arrival by two hours. As Clark's columns approached Glasgow from the south along the Boonville Road, they deployed on the slope of a hill opposite the town that ran down to Gregg's Creek. Clark placed the 500 men of Col. Sidney Jackman's brigade astride the Boonville Road. On their right the five regiments of Clark's own brigade were arrayed while the extreme right was occupied by Col. R. R. Lawther's regiment. The total force was numbered between 1,700 and 2,000 men. Clark also had three cannons.
To contest the Confederate entrance into Glasgow, Colonel Harding positioned a force on the north side of Greggs Creek. Captain Mayo and one company of the 43rd guarded the Boonville Bridge. To his left was Capt. Samuel Steinmetz and a company of the local citizen militia and still further to the left, extending the to Fayette Road bridge, were three more companies of the 43rd, commanded by Maj. B' K. Davis, The remaining two companies of the 43rd guarded the Huntsville plank road, which entered Glasgow from the east. North of Glasgow, above Bear Creek, two companies, commanded by Captain Hunter, were posted to contest any attempt by the Confederates to enter the town from above on the Keytesville Road.
Once the brigades of Jackman and Clark began their advance, the line of Federals along the creek, outnumbered at better than two to one, could only hope to slow the attack. The Confederates were able to pour through gaps in the thinly stretched Federal line and pass around both flanks. With the advancing Confederates attacking from the south and the east, the Union defenders fell back slowly toward their entrenchments on the hill, offering stubborn resistance, availing themselves of every fence, building, or tree for cover. As they fell back, the Confederates began to encircle them. Lawther's regiment, meanwhile, had circled around to the north of town, where it had encountered such stout resistance from Hunter's two companies that it was unable to advance.
After two hours of determined opposition, the Federal defenders were finally driven into their fortifications. The Confederates, meanwhile, continued to inch forward. Colonel Harding described the situation that hade developed:
"The rifle pits were designed to hold about 250 men. To the east, southeast, and south were houses which were occupied by the enemy as fast as their artillery drove us out of them... The western face [of the Pits] and the area inside of them, as well as the streets leading from the river eastward, were swept by Shelby's guns... Every available shelter was taken by the enemy, and he cautiously and slowly, but constantly, advanced his skirmishers to points nearer to us... until he had a heavy force within from thirty to fifty yards of us all along our line and partly around our right."
By now the situation of the defenders was hopeless. They were surrounded on three sides by a superior Confederate force and on a fourth by the river. Their ammunition was running low, there was no hope of reinforcement, and the enemy, supported by three cannon, appeared to br preparing to launch a final assault. At around 1:30p.m., the Federals ran up the white flag of surrender. The Confederates agreed to parole the men, to allow the officers to retain their side arms, and to escort the prisoners to Union linesto prevent them being killed by guerrillas. Harding reported 11 men killed and 32 wounded. Among the number were three citizens of Glasgow, including the commander of the citizen militia Capt. Samuel Steinmetz and his younger brother, Aaron. There was no final tally of Confederate casualties, but many accounts speculate that it was high.
During the battle the city hall was burned by the Federals to keep the supplies stored there from falling into enemy hands. A strong wind was blowing that caused the fire to spread to adjoining buildings; thirteen buildings, including stores, shops, a church, and several dwellings, were reduced to ashes. Despite this action, the Confederates still made an impressive haul of captured goods. The quartermaster supplies that had been brought down river on the West Wind and Benton, consisting of some 1,000 uniforms, bales of blankets, and other supplies, had been piled on the wharf by the Federalsand fell into enemy hands following the surrender. The weapons of the defenders, amounting to some 1,200 small arms, were also confiscated, along with 150 horses.
The capture of the Federal garrison left the Unionist citizens of Glasgow without any protection against guerrilla bands that were roving in the wake of Price's army. First to arrive the notorious guerrilla chieftain, William C. Quantrill, At gunpoint, he forced a town banker William F. Dunnica, to hand over all of the money in his safe, some $21,000. Then came the most dreaded of all guerrillas, William "Bloody Bill" Anderson. He paid a late night visit to the lavish mansion of Benjamin Lewis, a tobacco millionaire, Unionist, and town benefactor. Anderson savagely beat and tortured Lewis and then forced him to raise $6,000 from his neighbors - the sum that Lewis had earlier offered as a reward for the capture of Anderson, dead or alive. Lewis's death, a little over a year later, was attributed to the injuries he sustained at Anderson's hands.
Price's victorious army had little time to rest on their laurels. Within three days all of the troops pulled out of Glasgow and rejoined the main army. A week after the Glasgow victory, Price confronted the Federals again at Westport in the decisive battle of his campaign. Three days of intense combat left Price's army defeated and in retreat. Union pursuers caught up with Price at Mine Creek, Kansas on October 25th and inflicted another disastrous defeat.
The final ironic consequence of the Battle of Glasgow was that the Confederate soldiers captured at Mine Creek, who were wearing the Federal uniforms seized at the Glasgow wharf, were executed on the spot by their Union captors.
Name of Battle:
Battle of Glasgow
Name of War: American Civil War
Entrance Fee: 0.00 (listed in local currency)
Date(s) of Battle (Beginning): 10/15/1864
Date of Battle (End): 10/15/1864
Parking: Not Listed
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