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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Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver

ca. 1851
MHM Collections

The combat in Missouri during the Civil War was different from most other states in that much of it involved skirmishes between Confederate guerrillas and Union troops. Led by infamous chieftains such as William Quantrill and “Bloody” Bill Anderson, guerrillas fought as roving bands of well-armed horsemen without any battle lines. Their mobility and ability to easily disappear into their surroundings frustrated the Union army, which struggled to contain them throughout the war. Guerrillas often went into battle wielding as many weapons as they could, and they were often better armed than their Union pursuers. This .36 caliber Navy revolver is but one example of the firearms that guerrillas carried.