Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

Click on this image to find out who Turner was.

Field Musicians Wanted!

A Turner Bugler, 2004

Click on this image to learn about opportunities as a bugler, fifer or drummer with the Turner Brigade.

The Situation in Missouri.


May 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, May 14, 1861.


The grand triumph of loyalty, and its accidental tragedies of which St. Louis has so recently been the theater, demand a less imperfect interpretation than any we have yet been able to render. It is still more requisite to define the situation resulting from that event. The malignant and thoroughly one-sided article in yesterday’s Republican warns us that the latter duty, at least, should be no longer delayed. The spirit in which that article was written will be appreciated when it is known that one of the officers made prisoners is one of the proprietors of the Republican.

There are few, we presume, who are not convinced that Gov. Jackson and the State authorities, his colleagues, are members of the conspiracy for destroying the Union and annexing Missouri to the Southern Confederacy. The Governor has publicly pledged himself to exert all his influence as a citizen, and as an official, to accomplish that two-fold design. He has been corresponding with the rebel chiefs. Envoys have gone to and fro between him and them. He announced in his last message that interest, sympathy and affinity unite to identify this State with the seceded States. The policy which he has recommended, and which unhappily has prevailed in the General Assembly, contemplates secession as its sole end, otherwise it were madness, destitute of every trace of method. The defiant robbery and perjury which mark the later acts of the General Assembly, and which are ordinary episodes in the secession drama, originated mainly with him. He is known as a secessionist by every member of the Legislature, and in short, by every person who has access to him, or who hears him talk. It is therefore downright deception for the Republican to pretend that he is not a secessionist. Jackson is a traitor in the core of his heart, and in the eyes of the American people. He manifested his treasonable purposes prior to his inauguration, and he has been scheming and plotting ever since to realize them. Who can doubt that Missouri has been launched on the swift secession current? Let us recall the Military bill, with the gigantic scheme of confiscation and tyranny which it involves; the confiscation of the school fund, and of the money set apart for the July interest; the further debasement of the currency, by authorizing the issue of one dollar bills; the new test oath, which is nothing but a formula of blasphemy; the supreme dictatorial powers conferred on the Governor himself. Let us recall these features of the Military bill, and we cannot doubt that the secession of Missouri can only be prevented by force. The present session of the Legislature has been revolutionary, from the first day—more revolutionary, in fact, than the French Constituent Assembly of ’89, or the Continental Congress ever was. Every movement and every measure on the part of the Governor and General Assembly, points to secession as its end and center. The circumstantial evidence in support of this view is commensurate with all the recent sayings and doings of both the Executive and Legislative departments of the State government.

The relations of Missouri to the United States, as far as the former is represented by the Governor, the General Assembly, and the disunionists, is now, and has been for some time, one of actual war. The fact was proclaimed to the world by the reply of the Governor to the President. The war has been an active one for months on the part of the disunionists. Day after day during the winter and spring tidings have reached us of the expulsion of Union men from the interior. Republicans especially have been the victims of these secession dragonnades. Where-ever Republicans have not been strong enough to put down terrorism with the strong hand, they have been wronged and outraged in every conceivable manner. You whose tender sympathies have been so deeply stirred by the sufferings of the captured chivalry at the Arsenal—by learning that all these gallant cavaliers were forced to put up for a whole night with a soldier’s fare and a soldier’s couch—how many tears have you shed over the forced exile of men, women, and children, driven from beneath their roof trees, by the accursed tyranny of the disunionists?

Among the other occurrences which attested the existence of aggressive or smouldering hostility on the part of the State towards the federal government, we may mention the robbery of the Liberty Arsenal, the organization of secession societies throughout the State, and the avowed sympathy and undisguised connection between these societies and the Governor.

The position of Gen. Frost and his command was in no respect different from that of his Commander-in-Chief, Claiborne Fox Jackson, and the Legislature. Frost adhered to Jackson after the latter had refused obedience to the Commander-in-Chief of the United States militia—the President. Frost informed a United States officer, who is still on duty here, that he would attack the Arsenal if ordered to do so by the Governor. Frost embodied the Minute Men en masse in the militia. We submit that it is rather late for such men as he, and Bowen, and Voorhies, and Wood (has Mr. Wood any recollection of anticipating the Legislature in attempting to impose a new oath?) to invoke their privileges as United States citizens? Had they disavowed secession any time during the past six months, the events of Friday would never have occurred. Why did they not disavow secession when their brother soldiers were resigning lest they should be forced to take arms against the United States? The circumstances which surrounded the officers in command at Camp Jackson, individually and collectively, classified them as secessionists in the eyes of the public. Where was their loyalty or chivalry when they received the stolen property of the United States under the guise of barrels of brandy and boxes of marble, and such like devices? What did they want with siege howitzers, except to shell the Arsenal? What meant the blue cockade so generally worn in the ranks? Who that was present can forget the continual cheering for Jeff. Davis and Gen. Frost? The very atmosphere above the camp was heavy with the accents of treason. The topography of Lindell’s Grove and its echoes were desecrated with the names of traitors. Captain Lyon said truly enough that Gen. Frost’s command was regarded as hostile to the United States. He will be sustained in that position by the nation, by the administration, by history, and by the laws of the land.

Regarded in a military point of view, the capture of Camp Jackson was a brilliant exploit. The volunteers did their duty nobly. The discipline and military bearing of the first regiment were especially conspicuous as the prisoners marched under its escort, with Col. Blair, Major Schofield and Dr. Carnery at the head of the column. The display of overwhelming force on the grounds was intended to prevent bloodshed, and had the desired effect. Had it not been for the outrageous conduct of the mob not a life would have been lost. There is an evident design to represent the troops as the assailants of the mob, but we are willing to leave the refutation of that base lie to the evidences adduced at the Coroner’s inquest. We will, however, say that there are more assassins among the rowdies of a large city, like this, than can be found in a hundred times the number of enlisted soldiers, regulars or volunteers.

Without being vain-glorious of St. Louis, we may justly claim that the first great military triumph in support of the constitution has been won by her children, assisted by the United States officers and soldiers. The fall of Fort Sumter and the capture of Sibley’s command in Texas have been more than offset by the brilliant exploit of Friday last, resulting in the capitulation of Gen. Frost and his command of twelve hundred, with their arms and ammunition, tents, camp furniture, &c. St. Louis has been called the Gibraltar of freedom in the slave States. She may now be well called the fortress of the constitution in the slave States. Last Friday was the first of a new era. That day, unless we are profoundly mistaken, marks the turning point in the fortunes of the war. Henceforeward we shall hear of but few advantages and fewer triumphs for the rebel cause, while the telegraphic bulletins from day to day will proclaim the prosperous advance of the loyal hosts of the government into the heart of the enemy’s country. But, however deeply we may be impressed with this presentiment, let us not forget that the west bank of the Mississippi is now the chief seat of the civil war. If Jackson calls the secessionists to arms, Gen. Harney will finish what Captain Lyon commenced in such fine style. The fate of Missouri rests on the will of the Governor. In any event, St. Louis is safe under the protection which the twelve thousand bayonets beneath the immediate command of Harney, will not fail to extend to her. We grant that peace is desirable and we say that the preservation of peace is easy. Let the secession programme be abandoned, and war is impossible; let further attempts be made to carry it out, and the fastnesses of the Ozark Mountains will fail to hide the traitors from the red right arm of a nation fired with righteous anger.