The Civil War in Missouri

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Sterling Price

Photograph by Thomas Easterly, 1850
MHM Photographs and Prints

Sterling Price was born in 1809, in Prince Edward County, Virginia. He came to Missouri in 1831 and began farming in the Boone’s Lick salt spring area. He joined the local militia and was elected colonel. He was elected to the state legislature in 1938 and became speaker of the house by 1840. He continued to promote his belief in Southern values and states’ rights throughout his career. Price chose to side with the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out because he feared the Federal government’s use of force in Missouri. In May of 1861, Price organized the Missouri State Guard to try to stop the federal troops who intended to drive the secessionist Missouri government from power. After defeating the Federal army at Wilson’s Creek in August 1861, Price occupied southwest Missouri until March 1862. In 1864, Price led a raid into Missouri, which would be the last major military engagement inside the state through the end of the war.