The Civil War in Missouri

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In an attempt to establish and maintain order, General Frémont declared martial law in St. Louis in August 1861 and shortly thereafter extended it to the entire state. Under martial law, citizens had to sign loyalty oaths that were often ambiguous and thus meaningless. They were required to carry passes to travel from one place to another. Military authorities could inspect any correspondence and shut down newspapers deemed to be secessionist. The result of this system was often a subjective and inconsistent belief of what constituted disloyalty.

Civilians living in the Missouri countryside were in the middle of the indiscriminate warfare conducted by Missouri Bushwhackers and Kansas Jayhawkers. In an effort to defend the state, protect its citizens, and combat smuggling, spying, and sabotage within its borders, Federal authority in Missouri created conditions of fear, division, and hostility throughout the state, most glaringly in Order No. 11.

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