Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rebel's Bluff

The story of Rebel's Bluff, a high cliff that overlooks a curve along Highway V about three and a half miles west of Mount Vernon, is an interesting tale. Around the mid point of the Civil War, a party of mounted Confederate bushwhackers were supposedly being chased during the night by a detachment of Union soldiers, and, not being familiar with the terrain, the rebels plunged over the embankment in the darkness, falling to their deaths about a hundred feet below.
The family who lived in the immediate vicinity heard the commotion but dared not venture out. The next morning, they found the bodies of the dead soldiers and their horses and buried them where they fell but didn't officially report the incident because they feared reprisal.
The story remained an unconfirmed legend for over a hundred years until about twenty or twenty-five years ago when a local man found an old bent rifle barrel at the site, which seemed to confirm the tale. Local historians speculated that the barrel had been bent by the weight of a horse and/or rider landing on it during the fall.
The old rifle barrel is now on display at the Lawrence County Historical Museum in Mount Vernon. I was at the museum a few weeks ago to talk about the Civil War in southwest Missouri and other regional history. During my visit, I was briefly introduced to the man who found the rifle barrel, but I regret to say I don't recall his name.

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