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Letter signed Eben Richards, St. Louis, to his wife [Caroline B. Richards], May 13, 1861

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Identifier: D06196

Title: Letter signed Eben Richards, St. Louis, to his wife [Caroline B. Richards], May 13, 1861

Description: Describes recent affairs in St. Louis, including the capture of Camp Jackson and a clash between soldiers and civilians on May 11.

St Louis May 13th 1861

My dear wife

I have received but one letter from you since you arrived at Roxbury. why is it? I am as anxious to hear from you as you can be from me. Although you are having quiet times politically yet if we cannot see each other yet I want to hear from you very often. Words cannot express how thankful I am that you are not here, for since last Thursday morning we have been through a fiery furnase of excitement. Now the Government and the state are in open hostility. On Thursday Captain Lyons commander of the United State forces here, that is both the regular troops and the Home Guard, made a demand on Genl Frost for the return to him of the four pieces of artillery who [word unclear] Capt L. had loaned him for the Southwest Expedition. Genl Frost refused. Then Capt Lyon sent him word that if he had to go and take them that he would take him, his men and ammunitions in fact every thing. On Friday while we were eating dinner we heard a tramp. tramp. tramp. and upon looking out saw a large body of soldiers coming up fifth street. You cannot imagine the excitement the people on the excitement sidewalk were in. After dinner I went to the store and soon after went up to O D Filleys store and there learned that the Government troops were on their way to Camp Jackson. From the papers sent you, you will see that after completely surrounding the camp with soldiers and planting the cannon on a hill near by which could command the camp, Capt Lyon sent a letter to Genl Frost demanding an unconditional surrender of every body and thing and gave him thirty minutes to make up his mind in. It was a deed of [paper cut, word missing] that Capt Lyon took so many men with him as [words missing] any resistance rediculous for that prevented blood shed. Genl Frost surrendered and marched his command out of camp without any arms except the officers were allowed their side arms. The prisoners were formed inside the United State troops and marched to the Arsenal where they were kept till Saturday afternoon when they were released upon taking the oath of allegiance to the United States and swearing never to take up arms against her. While the soldiers were forming preparatory to taking the prisoners to the arsenal they were subjected to a great deal of abuse from the mob and after being fired upon returned the fire. Of course in such a crowd there were a great many union persons and women and children which have no business there and who had to pay the penalty. The tragical end every one regrets but no one can be blamed. The city was almost mad with excitement during Friday night and all day Saturday when another attack upon the troops caused still greater. As fast as a regiment of Home Guard is formed, they march down to the Arsenal and are sworn into the United States service and receive their muskets, which they load before starting and also receive some cartridges so as to be prepared to repel any attack made upon them. The Fifth regiment went down Saturday and returned about four oclock. They came up second as far as Walnut which street they turned up and passed on unmolested till they passed the Presbyterian church corner of Fifth when some secession scoundrel fired a pistol as them and afterwards three more pistols shots were fired from some house in that row where Tony Mittenberger lives. Whereupon the soldiers turned and fired upon the mob and as the windows of the houses which up to the time of the first pistol shot were filled with persons You will see by the papers the number of killed and wounded. It is a miracle that more were not killed for the houses from Fifth to seventh streets on the North side of Walnut are pretty well scarred by the bullets. Genl Harney issued a proclamation yesterday which seemed to calm the people. He also..."

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
St Louis

Dates: 1861-05-13

Type(s): Letter

Maker/Creator: Richards, Eben

Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Camp Jackson (Mo.)
St. Louis Arsenal (Mo.)
Armed Forces


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