Jefferson Barracks Historic Park, St.
Although not a Battlefield, this site and Benton Barracks (no longer in
existence) contributed extensive training and served as a major Hospital
complex during the Civil War. Jefferson Barracks, established in October
23, 1826, on the edge of a vast expanse of wilderness was built to replace
Fort Bellefontaine near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri
Rivers. It was selected for its strategic position, nearby abundant supply
of limestone and trees for construction and it
close proximity to a thriving city on the
Mississippi River. The cantonment was named to honor Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson Barracks served as a gathering point for troops and supplies
bound for the Mexican War, Civil War, and various conflicts up to World
War II. Among some of the Civil War generals
stationed at this post were Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant,
William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, Henry Dodge, Albert S. Johnston,
Joseph E. Johnson, Winfield S. Hancock, Henry Halleck, Nathaniel Boone,
James Longstreet, Jeb Stuart, Don Carlos Buell and many others. These men
grew to know each other and later to fight each other in this terrible
From its beginning Jefferson Barracks was the largest military
reservation covering over 2,000 acres, stretching two miles along the west
bank of the Mississippi River. Among its important dates concerning the
1828--2nd Lt Jefferson Davis, who came a year straight out of West Point,
is sent to direct soldier work parties in gathering materials to build
Fort Winnebago at the portage of the Wisconsin
and Fox rivers. Troops from JB become increasingly involved in Indian
problems and protecting traders between western Missouri and Santa Fe.
1829--The Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery started as the Jefferson
Barracks Military Post Cemetery in 1829.
1837--1st Lt Robert E. Lee resided at JB while he was in charge of
engineering work to control the channel of the Mississippi River at St.
1843--2nd Lt Ulysses S. Grant comes to JB for his first assignment after
1844---2nd Lt Scott Hancock was assigned to the 6th Infantry at JB, thus
beginning his brilliant career.
1846--Lt Braxton Bragg arrived with Batteries B & C of the 3rd Artillery.
He left shortly after to join Gen Zachary Taylor and became a hero in the
1848--1Lt U.S. Grant married Julia Dent, daughter of Col Frederick Dent.
Capt James Longstreet was his best man.
1849-50--An epidemic of Asiatic cholera in St.
Louis and at JB claimed many lives. Included were Col W. J. Worth and
Brevet BGen Richard B. Mason.-
1851--A stone Ordinance Room, Laborerís House and Barn are erected in the
north end of Jefferson Barracks.
1857--A second stone Powder Magazine is
1860--BGen William Selby Harney returned to Missouri and assumed command
1861--State Guard forces of Governor Jackson of Missouri planned the
erection of batteries on the hills around the Arsenal and facing it from a
river island. The state militia also assembled at Camp Jackson in St.
Louis. On 8 May Capt Nathaniel Lyon and his friend William Tecumseh
Sherman (then out of the Army) discovered a clandestine shipment of arms
to Camp Jackson. On 10 May Capt Lyon led troops to surround the Camp,
which was forced to surrender. This same day Sherman applied for a
commission in the Army.
Ulysses S. Grant was at the Barracks at various times during the summer in
consultation with the commanding officers there. He was then a Colonel
commanding the 21st Illinois Regiment. Sherman was commissioned a Colonel
in the 13th Infantry which was to be organized at the Barracks.
Gen Lyon is promoted to General and given command of the Department of the
BGen Lyon ordered the state militia to be disbanded. Governor Jackson
responded with a call for 50,000 state guards. Lyon determined to break
this organization and left JB for the state capitol with a detachment of
federal troops from the 2nd Infantry. The Governor and On 17 June a unit
of the governorís guard en route to join the Confederates was overtaken &
defeated near Booneville. The war had come to Missouri.
In a six hour battle fought at Wilson Creek on 10 August, BGen Lyon lost
his life leading a final charge.
1862--Jefferson Barracks is becomes the largest
and most important military hospital in the country. During the war,
Jefferson Barracks had one of the largest Federal hospitals in the country
with over 3,000 beds, accommodating patients from battles as far away as
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) had joined the Confederates that Grant had
chased out of the region of Hannibal, Missouri. He served only two weeks
"being incapacitated through continual retreating". He did have a thrill
when on a steamboat attempting to run the blockade past Jefferson
Barracks. A battery had been mounted near the spot where the old Spanish
cannon now stands at the rear of the Headquarters. It opened fire and two
holes were blown through the smokestacks of the vessel.
1863--The post cemetery is expanded and an executive order initiates the
process of making it a National Cemetery. It now ranks and the 4th most
active of our countries National Cemeteries.
1864---In September Confederate General Sterling Price (commanded Missouri
Militia in 1861) again invaded Missouri. MGen Andrew J. Smith, who was
moving down the river with three brigades of the Iowa volunteers, landed
at Jefferson Barracks. Jefferson Barracks was an assembly point for the
defense of St. Louis. Smith led some of his troops out when word was
received of Confederates reaching DeSoto, Missouri. A final engagement
near Kansas City ended any large-scale Confederate threat in Missouri.
Dated information courtesy of 157th Air Operations Group Website,
Jefferson Barracks ANG Station, St. Louis,
Also credit for this picture post goes to William C. Winter and Andrew
Harley who's book, "The Civil War in St.
Louis: A Guided Tour" gave me much guidance
and enjoyment and is a irreplaceable publication for you folks planning a
trip to Civil War St. Louis.
St. Charles, Missouri