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Missouri’s Civil War Significance

What if Missouri had joined the Confederacy?

Actually, most Civil War students realize that Missouri and Kentucky are represented in the thirteen stars of the Confederate Battle and National flags. Missouri’s star was added in October 1861 when a shadow government passed a secession ordinance in Neosho, in the state’s southwest corner. It was in exile during most of the war. A Rebel Kentucky government was similarly recognized by the Confederacy in December 1861. It even temporarily occupied the state capitol at Frankfurt in October 1862 during the Confederate offensive by Bragg and Kirby Smith.

Among the states represented by the 13-star flag, Missouri ranked second in population behind Virginia. Additionally, St. Louis barely trailed New Orleans as the Confederacy’s largest city.

Richmond’s war department assigned Missouri to the Trans-Mississippi District, which encompassed the vast region west of the Mississippi River. It included the populations of Louisiana’s parishes west of the river and the entire states of Arkansas and Texas. It also included the Indian Nations of present-day Oklahoma and the Arizona Territory, which encompassed the present states of New Mexico and Arizona.


Economically, Missouri dominated the Confederate Trans-Mississippi. The state’s white population was greater than the combined white numbers in the remaining regions of the district. In 1860 Missouri had about 20,000 factory workers whereas the entire Confederate Trans-Mississippi area, excluding Missouri, had but 15,000. Continue reading