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.

Letter from Gen. Harney.


May 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, May 15, 1861.



ST. LOUIS, May 14, 1861.

On my return to the duties of the command of this department, I find, greatly to my astonishment and mortification, a most extraordinary state of things existing in this State, deeply affecting the stability of the Government of the United States, as well as the government and other interests of Missouri itself.

As a citizen of Missouri, owing allegiance to the United States, and having interests in common with you, I feel it is my duty as well as privilege, to extend a warning voice to my fellow citizens against the common dangers that threaten us, and to appeal to your moral power to avert them.

It is with regret that I feel it my duty to call your attention to the recent act of the General Assembly of Missouri, known as the Military bill, which is the result, no doubt, of the temporary excitement that now pervades the public mind. This bill cannot be regarded in any other light than an indirect secession ordinance, ignoring even the forms resorted to by other States. Manifestly, its most material provisions are in conflict with the Constitution and laws of the United States. To this extent it is a nullity, and cannot and ought not to be upheld or regarded by the good citizens of Missouri. There are obligations and duties resting upon the people of Missouri under the Constitution and laws of the United States which are paramount, and which I trust you will carefully consider and weigh well before you will allow yourselves to be carried out of the Union, under the form of yielding obedience to this military bill, which is clearly in violation of your duties as citizens of the United States.

It must be apparent to every one who has taken a proper and unbiased view of the subject, that whatever may be the termination of the unfortunate condition of things in respect to the so called “Cotton States,” Missouri must share the destiny of the Union. Her geographical position—her soil—productions, and in short, all her material interests point to this result. We cannot shut our eyes against this controlling fact. It is seen and its force is felt throughout the nation. So important is this regarded as to the great interests of the country, that I venture to express the opinion that the whole power of the government of the United States, if necessary, will be exerted to maintain Missouri in her present position in the Union. I express to you in all frankness and sincerity, my own deliberate convictions, without assuming to speak for the government of the United States, whose authority, here and elsewhere, I shall at all times, and under all circumstances endeavor faithfully to uphold.

I desire, above all things, most earnestly to invite my fellow citizens dispassionately to consider their true interests as well as their true relation to the government under which we live and to which we owe so much.

In this connection I desire to direct attention to one subject, which no doubt will be made the pretext for more or less popular excitement. I allude to the recent transactions at Camp Jackson, near St. Louis. It is not proper for me to comment upon the official conduct of my predecessor in command of this Department, but it is right and proper for the people of Missouri to know that the main avenue of Camp Jackson, recently under command of Gen. Frost, had the name of Davis, and a principal street of the same camp that of Beauregard; and that a body of men had been received into that camp by its commander, which had been notoriously organized in the interests of the secessionists—the men openly wearing the dress and badge distinguishing the army of the so-called Confederacy. It is also a notorious fact that a quantity of arms had been received into the camp which were unlawfully taken from the United States arsenal at Baton Rouge, and surreptitiously passed up the river in boxes marked marble.

Upon facts like these, and having in view what occurred at Liberty, the people can draw their own inferences, and it cannot be difficult for any one to arrive at a correct conclusion as to the character and ultimate purpose of that encampment. No government in the world would be entitled to respect that would tolerate for a moment such openly treasonable preparations.

It is but simple justice, however, that I should state the fact that there were many good and loyal men in the camp, who were in no manner responsible for its treasonable character.

Disclaiming, as I do, all desire or intention to interfere in any way with the prerogatives of the State of Missouri, or with the functions of its Executive or other authorities, yet I regard it as my plain path of duty to express to the people, in respectful but at the same time decided language, that within the field and scope of my command and authority, the SUPREME LAW of the land must and shall be maintained, and no subterfuges, whether in the forms of legislative acts or otherwise, can be permitted to harass or oppress the good and law-abiding people of Missouri. I shall exert my authority to protect their persons and property from violations of every kind, and I shall deem it my duty to suppress all unlawful combinations of men, whether formed under pretext of military organizations or otherwise.

Brig. Gen. U. S. Army, Commanding.