The Civil War in Missouri

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United States Volunteers, Attacked by the Mob, Corner of Fifth and Walnut Streets, St. Louis, Missouri

Wood Engraving by Matthew Hastings for Harper's Weekly, 1861
MHM Photographs and Prints

Charles G. Stifel, owner of Stifel’s Brewery in St. Louis, purchased 50 muskets and raised a militia unit on the eve of the Civil War. On May 11, 1861, the day after the capture of Camp Jackson, he marched that unit to the U.S. Arsenal, where they were mustered into federal service as the 5th Regiment of the United States Reserve Corps. The very same day, while marching back to their homes, the unit was ambushed by angry secessionists at Walnut and Fifth streets on the steps of the Second Presbyterian Church and surrounding buildings. The new regiment fired wildly before regaining control. When the smoke cleared, eight people were dead and a ninth mortally wounded. This was but one incident of violence between citizens and soldiers as Union forces tried to establish and maintain control of St. Louis in the early months of the war.