Did you know that Audrain County was part of what was called “Little Dixie”, in the Civil War? The area’s southern sympathies were reflected in the Presidential election of 1860, with the majority voting for either John C. Breckenridge, or Stephen Douglas, in that famous and fractious election. Many men from the area enlisted in the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard, and later, in the Confederate Army itself. The most notable of such units was the First Missouri Brigade, which contained many men from Mexico and Audrain County.
Men from this famous unit fought gallantly in such famous battles as Wilson’s Creek and Lexington, here in Missouri, and Pea Ridge, in Arkansas. They were later transferred east of the Mississippi, destined to fight in such faraway battles as Iuka, Corinth, and Vicksburg, in Mississippi; New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta, in Georgia; and the bloody charge at Franklin, Tennessee, an assault that rivaled that of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The First Missouri Brigade ended the war defending Fort Blakely, just outside of Mobile, Alabama, on the very day that Lee surrendered to Grant, April 9, 1865.
Few units of the Civil War racked up such a distinguished record of heroism and sacrifice. Or as many miles, fighting from the outskirts of Kansas City, to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. And many of them hailed from right here, in Mexico, and Audrain County.
Story submitted by Mexico/Audrain Society
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