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The Civil War in Missouri

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The Civil War in Missouri was a violent, brutal period that started on the Kansas-Missouri border years before the actual war that began with the attack on South Carolina's Fort Sumter in 1861.

The war ended in the summer of 1865 when the last Confederate army surrendered in Texas, but its legacy is deeply embedded in Missouri's history. This war pitted citizens against one another in an ideological, political, and social struggle. Union victory and the passage of the 13th Amendment ended slavery, but then began another struggle: African Americans' battle for equality and civil rights.

During the war Missourians made difficult decisions, some willingly and others by force. They had to decide where to place their loyalty. They had to make choices about staying in Missouri or moving on, about enlisting, helping others, or providing military supplies. In the months and years that followed the end of the Civil War in Missouri, citizens had the opportunity to reflect on how the issues and passions—generated or magnified by the war—affected them. That opportunity is still available to Missourians in the 21st century, an opportunity that, properly utilized, can benefit us, our community, and our descendants.

How should we remember the lives lived and lost on Missouri soil? As our nation has charted a course away from the battlefields, many have sought to leave markers along the path.

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