The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.


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Sword of Captain John G. Kayser, 12th Missouri Infantry Volunteers

1861-1865
MHM Collections

John G. Kayser joined the 12th Missouri Infantry Volunteers, a regiment that recruited heavily from German communities in St. Louis, Missouri, and Belleville, Illinois, in late 1861. He enlisted as a first lieutenant, was promoted to captain, and midway through the war was appointed Commissary of Subsistence, responsible for the distribution of food supplies to military posts. Kayser carried this Model 1840 heavy cavalry (dragoon) saber during his Civil War service. He participated in General John C. Frémont’s campaign to southwest Missouri in late 1861, and fought in the battles at Pea Ridge, Arkansas (1862), and Vicksburg (1863).