The Civil War in Missouri

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Sewing Kit of Captain Leo Rassieur, 30th Missouri Infantry Volunteers (Union)

ca. 1861
MHM Collections

This sewing kit, or housewife, as these were commonly called, is a common personal item that soldiers would have carried with them. It is now empty but would have contained needles, thread, buttons, and other items necessary to mend clothing. This one was made by Miss Sarah Mills, an art teacher at the Mary Institute, the first girls’ school west of the Appalachians. Rassieur carried it throughout the war. As a member of the 30th Missouri Infantry, Rassieur participated in several battles across the south—Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, and Spanish Fort. After the war, Rassieur returned to St. Louis and became a judge. He kept ties with his military past, becoming deeply involved with Union veterans’ groups by holding positions in both the Missouri Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Grand Army of the Republic.