The Civil War in Missouri

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U.S. Model 1841 Rifle of Daniel B. Gale of the Old Guard

MHM Collections

Daniel B. Gale, a wholesale grocer, armed himself with this rifle as a member of the Old Guard, a Union military company organized in 1862 for the local defense of St. Louis. The company was composed of men exempt from ordinary military service, ranging in age from 27 to 74 years old, though most of them were in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. At 46 years old, Gale was younger than the average age of 51. The relatively advanced ages of the men, many of them experienced veterans, did not prevent them from wanting to do their part. "Though we call ourselves the 'Old Guard,'" wrote the company's secretary, "we deny that we have lost any of the ardor of our youth.... It is a slander to say that age takes away, in rightfully constituted minds, the zest for good and beautiful thoughts or noble action."