Ozarks History

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

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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.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Florence Raid Revisited

About two years ago, I posted an entry on this blog about the guerrilla raid on Florence in Morgan County, Missouri, that occurred during the Civil War in July of 1863. Most of the information for that post came from two separate reports that were published in a Jefferson City newspaper shortly after the incident. I recently ran across another account in the St. Louis Daily Union, which was also published in the immediate wake of the incident. The St. Louis paper's account contradicts at least a couple of important details that were published in the Jefferson City paper. The St. Louis paper said that the raid occurred on Wednesday, July 8, whereas the Jefferson City paper said it occurred on Thursday morning, July 9. The Jeff City paper said the leader of the gang was a man named Smith and that a man named Thomas Jobe was also recognized by residents of Florence as being among the guerrillas. The St. Louis paper, on the other hand, said that Thomas Joab (i.e. Jobe) was, in fact, the leader of the gang.
The St. Louis paper also added a couple of details that did not appear in the Jeff City paper. For instance, the St. Louis paper identified one of the men who was killed by the guerrilla gang as a brother to state legislator William Baughman. (This was almost certainly a reference to John Baughman, who like William Baughman, lived at Florence at the time of the 1860 census and was just a few years older than William.) The St. Louis paper said that there were ten men in the guerrilla band, whereas the Jeff City reports did not cite a specific number. The St. Louis paper said that Federal soldiers under Captain Plumb of the 6th Regiment Missouri State Militia pursued the rebels the next day and succeeded in killing six or eight guerrillas. It doesn't specifically say, however, that the men killed were some of the same ones who raided Florence. In fact, I don't see how the Federals could have known whether they were or not, unless residents identified the dead bodies, and the report does not say that such an identification occurred.
The St. Louis paper concluded, "There are but few guerrillas in that region, but those few, by secreting themselves in the woods for weeks, and then sallying upon unprotected neighborhoods, are able to inflict serious damage, and keep neighborhoods in constant alarm. They generally return from their raids, however, with thinned numbers, and seldom fail to leave a portion of their band slain by the wayside, by the unerring bullets of Union soldiers."

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