The Civil War in Missouri

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Agreement to Form Companies of Minute Men

1861
MHM Archives

The Minute Men was a secessionist paramilitary group established in St. Louis in January 1861. The group was organized by eight St. Louisans—Basil Duke, Colton Greene, James R. Shaler, Rock Champion, Overton W. Barrett, Samuel Farrington, Arthur McCoy, and James Quinlan—all of whom later joined the ranks of the Confederacy. It organized in reaction to Colonel Frank Blair’s Unionist and predominantly German Wide Awakes, and provided support for a vocal minority advocating secession.This roll includes the signatures of 31 men, but five companies numbering about 400 members were organized by that February and mustered into Missouri’s state militia under General Daniel M. Frost’s command. The Minute Men participated in a variety of demonstrations to assert their presence in St. Louis, including hoisting a secessionist flag above the courthouse dome the night before the state Constitutional Convention met in March. Many of the Minute Men participated in the encampment at Camp Jackson and its surrender to Federal troops, an event that precipitated hostilities in Missouri.