The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Joseph Boyce, the son of Irish immigrants, was born April 4, 1841, in St. Louis. Boyce was interested in military affairs at an early age. When he was 11 years old, he joined the St. Louis Rifle Cadets and by his 17th birthday he was a member of Company A of the St. Louis Grays and a member of Volunteer Fire Company No. 2. Boyce was accepted into the United States Naval Academy but declined the appointment at the bidding of his mother. He was promoted within the ranks of the Grays to orderly sergeant. Boyce participated in Lieutenant Colonel Bowen’s Southwest Expedition along the Missouri-Kansas border and was captured during the Camp Jackson Affair on May 10, 1861.After being paroled, Boyce and other former Grays joined Company D of the 1st Missouri Regiment of the Confederate Army which was commanded by Colonel Bowen. Boyce was immediately voted brevet second lieutenant, and was promoted to Captain in 1864, and became the unofficial historian of the Missouri Brigade. During the Civil War, Boyce was reportedly wounded 11 times while fighting in major engagements such as Shiloh, Allatoona, and Franklin. At the Battle of Franklin, Colonel Garland, who was commanding Boyce’s regiment, was killed during the opening shots. Boyce took command of the regiment and led an assault on the Federal position until he was wounded as well. He was rescued by his own troops as they retreated from the battlefield. He served through the end of the war surrendering in May of 1865, at Meridian, Mississippi.