The Civil War in Missouri

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Sword and Shoulder Belt of Elihu H. Shepard

ca. 1846-1848
MHM Collections

Elihu H. Shepard, an experienced veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, remained active in the military as he neared the age of 70. As a member of the St. Louis Grays, one of several militia companies in the city, he was among those captured at Camp Jackson on May 10, 1861, as part of the Union military’s attempt to thwart a secessionist seizure of the U.S. Arsenal. Though many of the Grays were secessionist and went on to join the Confederacy, Shepard was not. A year after his parole in 1861, Shepard joined the Old Guard, a Union military company organized in 1862 for the local defense of St. Louis. Shepard’s sword and scabbard with its accompanying shoulder belt, holdovers from his service during the Mexican-American War, would have still been of use to him while serving with the Old Guard.