The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.

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Indian Scouts in General Lane’s Camp

Drawing by Alexander Simplot, 1861
MHM Collections

During the war, the public relied on print media to stay informed. Popular illustrated newspapers supplemented correspondents' news stories with sketches drawn by "special artists" that presented readers with captivating images of war. Alexander Simplot, a schoolteacher from Dubuque, Iowa, with no formal art training, worked for Harper's Weekly, the biggest illustrated weekly newspaper of the day. Simplot was headquartered in Cairo, Illinois, which put him in close proximity to document the military buildup in the Trans-Mississippi West, document battles on the Mississippi, and travel with the Union army as it moved across Missouri. In this sketch, Simplot drew some of the Delaware Indians he encountered at the camp of General Jim Lane, a Kansan who had terrorized Missouri during the border wars. Simplot met the Delaware chief, John Conners, and spoke with their interpreter, John Johnnycakes, who informed Simplot of the Delawares' role as scouts.