| There were other border counties, both in this and other States,
during the late war, but the history
of this county during that unfortunate period probably differed materially from that of her sisters. Many and
many of the staunchest men in the county were approached on the subject would shake their heads and
simply say that it was one they did not care to talk about. yet so far as bloodshed, was concerned, or even
those secret assassinations and horrible nameless outrages that marked many a locality of our Union, the
county was comparatively free.
When the news of the firing on Fort Sumpter, reached the county the people were dazed, and
instead of gathering in excited crowds and discussing matters, each seemed to desire quietly to go to his
home, and in an undertone talk it over.
Beginning -- In feeling toward the Rebellion of the Union cause, Morgan county was probably
nearly divided, with a preponderance on the side of the Union cause. this mutual quiet continued until the
capture of Camp Jackson by the Union forces, May 10, 1861. Then the war sentiment broke forth, and the
| people became actively excited. Those noisy demonstrations
on the Confederate side soon stirred
the Unionists to outspoken works and to active and energetic efforts in aid of the Government. To the
infinite credit of each side, it can now be truthfully told that the fighting element on both sides seemed by
common consent to make up their minds to attach themselves to the regular army organizations before they
should do any fighting. And o both sides men quietly went away singly and in small squads, to find
recruiting stations where they could be regularly enrolled in the respective armies. Had this respectable
element in commencing been all, then the county would have felt no other than the fate of any land where
the people have gone off to the war.
So far as one can now learn there were certain elements that remained here which of course
produced more or less influence upon the community. The blood that was shed during the war, many of the
assassinations and murders, if not all of them, in the county, are laid at the doors of marauding parties.
WAR TROUBLES -- A man named Stephenson was the reputed
head of a little band of
|A bushwhacker named Job was court martialed and shot for murder.
Several Morgan county men, Germans, were killed in the Cole Camp attack. The only ones whose
names are now recalled were Henry Otten, Peter Defore and a man named Jacobs.
An accident which occurred in Versailles during these troublous times will go far to leave upon
posterity's mind something of the true condition of affairs. Two men, old citizens of Versailles, returned to
town after an absence in the rebel's interest. One of them had a horse and buggy taken by the Union forces.
The two men charged that a man named Crawford had informed against them and been the cause of their
loss, and openly avowed their intention to kill Crawford. They called him out of the post-office and told
him their purpose. Dr. Thruston went to the man's rescue, Crawford jumped behind the doctor and seized
him in his arms, begging him to save his life. The men then swore they would even kill the doctor unless he
got out of the way. After much parley they told Crawford to get on the horse behind one of them, and they
would not hurt him. He did so, and they rode into the brush south of town. Thruston followed, and when
they halted he went to them and told them if they harmed Crawford the whole people of Versailles would be
murdered and the town burned by Federal troops. The men claimed one of their brothers had just been
arrested and taken to Tipton. After much parley Dr. Thruston agreed if they would give up Crawford he
would take him and go to Tipton and bring the brother back. This arrangement was finally made, and
Crawford was taken to Dr. Thruston's house. In the night he (Crawford) slipped out went to Tipton,
reported the affair, and soon 300 of Gen. Palmer's men came to wreak vengeance on Versailles. The officers
fortunately called on Dr. Thruston, but learning all the facts, departed without molesting anyone.
In this way the prominent men on each side in the county were compelled, often at the risk of their
lives, to interfere to save the community.
On the other hand there is laid at the fault of the Home Guards nearly an equal number of
inexcusable acts. It is said they would charge a man with feeding bushwhackers, perhaps, and then commit
some offenses as a punishment. Henry Chaney living ten miles north of Versailles, who was believed by
Home Guards to be a bushwhacker, was visited and killed, and his house burned, by a captain and squad of
| While really there were very few great crimes in the county,
yet the horrors of civil war were upon
the people. Everyone felt that he carried his life in his hands. Every bush and hiding place the imagination
filled with dreaded assassins. Suspicion attached to each person. Families were afraid to sleep in their
houses at night, and men afraid to travel the roads or work in their fields by day. There were, indeed, few
families but that at some time during these dark and dreadful days, slept away from their houses. At first, no
one knew whom to trust or suspicion. How fortunate it is that now they can know their fears were often so
groundless, and that the danger was more imaginary than real.
TROOPS FURNISHED -- It is difficult to tell, in fact utterly
impossible to accurately know, just
|charge on the Yazoo. First Lieut. Hibler was succeeded by John
W. Saunders, and Saunders was succeeded
to the second Lieutenancy by Joseph S. Rice. The Twenty-ni9nth Regiment, were sent to Benton Barrack,
September 22nd 1861; down the Mississippi, stopping at Cape Girardeau and Helena; up the Yazoo, then to
Mississippi, and were in the siege and capture of Vicksburg. They were in Gen. Frank Blair's Fifteenth
Corps and took part in Sherman's march, also being at Corinth, Chattanooga, Tuscumbia, Lookout
Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Etc. The regiment saw three years of hard service. Their ragged and
decimated ranks were the grim evidences that Gen. Frank Blair was a fighter in the fullest sense of the word.
This company was raised in the northern part of the county, their first rendezvous and recruiting
station being Syracuse.
In the Forty-third Enrolled Missouri Militia was Company K, from Morgan county, enlisted August John H. Fisher. The first captain of this company was Belford S. Walker. He resigned and was succeeded
by First Lieut. Mills, when John Gills became first lieutenant.
Company M. was also attached to the Forty-third Regiment, Capt. C.H. Brace, First Lieut. William
H. Hartman, Second Lieut. August Ochrke being officers.
Battalion Company A, forty-three men, was attached to the Forty-third Regiment and was officered
by Capt. John Sims, First Lieut. William D. Morris, Second Lieut. James H. Reed; also Battalion Company
B. Capt. C.H. Brace, First Lieut. William Hartman, Second Lieut. August Ochre.
September 25th 1862, Andrew J. Hart, of this county, became lieutenant-colonel of the Forty-third
Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia.
In this regiment Company C was officered by Capt. Moses S. Courtright, First Lieut. Thomas
Harvey, Second Lieut. John McAdoo.
There were, in addition to the above, 600 Morgan county men in the different militia companies
organized during the war.
There were Morgan county men in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Twenty-ninth and Thirteenth
Kansas Regiments, but who and how many may never be known.
Gen. Lyons called out the Home Guards of Morgan county in May 1861, to resist Price's State
Guard. The Enrolled Militia were organized by authority of the governor in 1862. The provis-
|ial Militia were ordered out in 1864 to resist Price's raid through
this portion of the State.
The Morgan County Mounted Volunteer Militia, Capt. A.J. Hart were organized in February,
RESULTS OF CIVIL STRIFE --From the inception of the war
to the passing away of its worst
|days previously put a horse thief under $200 bonds. The Reverend
made the neat r etort on the court that "in
this court it is three time worse to preach the word of God than to steal."