The Civil War in Missouri

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Fireman’s Parade Hat and Shirt of John M. Reuter, Phoenix Fire Company No. 7, St. Louis

1853
MHM Collections

The spirit of volunteerism that induced many men to enlist in order to meet the threat of a common enemy had already been present at the community level in the pre-war years. The organization of volunteer fire companies is one such example. In the St. Louis area, members of each company often shared similar ethnic or class backgrounds and knew one another as friends, neighbors, or colleagues. This same identity was often reflected in military units during the war because troops were recruited at the community level.This hat and shirt belonged to John M. Reuter, who would have worn them in annual parades and competitions during his service with Phoenix Fire Company No. 7. Reuter went on to serve in the war—he first joined the 4th U.S. Reserve Corps (USRC) on May 8, 1861, which participated in the capture of the secessionist encampment at Camp Jackson, and then re-enlisted three months later with the 3rd Missouri Infantry. He was transferred to the 10th Missouri Infantry in December by order of Governor Hamilton R. Gamble for unknown circumstances. Reuter served at Benton Barracks and in Hermann, Missouri. He was mustered out of service on November 16, 1864, and returned to his job as a paperhanger in St. Louis.