The Civil War in Missouri

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Colonel Samuel Churchill Clark

ca. 1861
MHM Photographs and Prints

Samuel Churchill Clark, the grandson of explorer William Clark, was attending West Point at the beginning of the war, but his deep southern sympathies caused him to leave on July 1, 1861. He briefly returned to his family home in St. Louis before heading to Richmond to apply for a Confederate Commission. He eventually made his way to Lexington, Missouri, on September 13, 1861, with a dispatch from General Leonidas Polk for General Sterling Price. At Lexington, Clark joined the Missouri State Guard as a Colonel and “supervised three six pound artillery pieces and their cannoneers” during the siege of Lexington on September 18, 1861. In October, Samuel received an appointed as Captain of the First Battery of Artillery, 4th Division, Missouri State Guard, but by the end of the year he had joined the Confederate Army. His father Meriwether signed off on his son’s appointment as a cadet in the Corps of Artillery.In November, Clark sent his final letter to his father before being killed at the Battle of Pea Ridge after being decapitated by a cannon ball. The letter closes saying “I am very comfortably situated and ready to give the 'Feds' 200 rounds at a moment’s notice. Good bye and may god bless and preserve you always will be the prayer of your most devoted son.”