Saturday, August 02, 2014
300 GATHER TO DEDICATE MOORE'S MILL BATTLE'S MASS GRAVE
CALWOOD, Mo. – A crowd of about three hundred gathered Sunday, July 27, 2014, to dedicate a mass grave of both Union and Confederate soldiers killed at the Battle of Moore's Mill 152 years ago. The special ceremony was sponsored by the Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who invested hundreds of hours researching the history and events surrounding the mass burial, commissioned sonar scanning to identify the location, and raised about $5,000 to improve the site, including a beautiful five-foot granite monument.
“We believe that no matter which side you fought on that hot July day in 1862, you deserve to have your final resting place marked,” Camp Commander Noel Crowson told the audience. “These men were unceremoniously buried together in this grave without coffins.”
While this has been an independent project of the Gates Camp, it complements efforts by Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage – and our umbrella group, Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation – to increase knowledge and awareness of the battle fought near Calwood July 28, 1862.
“Our pair of interpretive panels on the Gray Ghosts Trail just south of Calwood has enhanced public recognition and understanding of the battle,” says KoCCWH Founding Chair Martin Northway. “Now just west of Calwood, the Elijah Gates Camp has created a dignified, permanent space for public remembrance and recollection – as a result, on one side of town we now have a small, lovely battle park, on the other a beautifully marked cemetery.”
Photos of the event appearing here are courtesy of Don Ernst and Chris Crowson.
Another Gray Ghosts Trail panel is only two miles distant, at historic Old Auxvasse Cemetery – further amplifying the sense of a coherent local community of Civil War recollection. Following the Gates Camp's lead, KoCCWH members have played supporting roles in its mass-grave program. Co-chair Joe Holt performed legal work to execute the easement property owner Gus Guthrie has so generously granted for the cemetery. Fellow Co-chair and Moore's Mill battle park proprietor Bryant Liddle provided chairs to help seat ceremony guests. Member Warren Hollrah negotiated reduced room rates for visitors and appeared at the event in Confederate chaplain's dress.
The program drew public officials including our Callaway County commissioners, officials of the state SCV and United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), and regional representatives of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). The re-enactors and honor and color guards included compatriots from the Gates Camp as well as the Col. John C. Porter Camp, members of the Tiger Camp SUVCW, artillery units, and eight re-enactors of the 3rd Iowa Infantry Regiment, elements of which fought in the battle.
A bugler and bagpiper provided special music, and the Reuben H. Bullard Chapter of the UDC presented ceremonial wreaths. The chapter also hosted a beverage and dessert reception afterward at the Calwood Community Center.
The mass grave site is at the property of Gus Guthrie, just outside Calwood, on St. Rd. Z about 1 mile southwest of the intersection of Z and JJ. Calwood is about 7 miles northeast of Fulton.
An account of the event by the Columbia Daily Tribune's Rudi Keller can be found at: (click here)
Saturday, July 28, 2012
GRAY GHOSTS TRAIL PANELS DEDICATED AT BATTLE SITE
CALWOOD, Mo. - With the heavy Confederate casualties in their losing effort at the Battle of Moore's Mill 150 years ago, "Is it any wonder there are stories that their ghosts linger here?" speaker Warren Hollrah asked about 150 people gathered Saturday morning, July 28, 2012 to dedicate a pair of interpretive panels on the Gray Ghosts Trail near Calwood on the property of Bryant and Kathy Liddle.
The dedication began on the day, and at very near the hour, that the Civil War battle commenced, on the ground where it occurred. The panels commemorating the fight are in a small, carefully manicured park just off St. Rd. JJ about 7/10 mile south of its intersection with St. Rd. Z at Calwood.
A narrative panel was unveiled by the donor family of the late Ray Liddle. A panel of maps in part honoring late local heritage leaders Mark K. Douglas and Allen L. Conner was unveiled by the Conner and Douglas familes; it was funded by Bill and Genevieve Conner, Allen's parents.
Hollrah was flanked by a display of U.S. and Civil War colors and in the background were more than a dozen uniformed color guard and honor guard consisting of members and friends of the Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with delegates of the Col. Joseph C. Porter SCV.
Porter was the leader of Confederate troops ultimately overwhelmed by the superior numbers - and artillery - of Union commander Col. Odon Guitar. Hollrah recounted how after the desperate four-hour battle of dismounted cavalry in country then heavily timbered, the surviving Rebels fled. Exhausted by fighting in the summer heat, the Federals did not pursue.
They removed their dead and wounded from the field for burial or medical attention, while the Confederate casualties were left to the clemency of neighbors. There were reports some fell from trees where they had hidden to avoid capture. It appears that some were treated at nearby Old Auxvasse Presbyterian Church, as well as in local homes. About two dozen are buried in a common unmarked grave in Calwood; three unknowns are interred at Fulton's Hillcrest Cemetery.
The event was emceed by Joe D. Holt, co-chair of Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, sponsor of the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County. Also appearing was Gregory Wolk, president of Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation, Inc., overall sponsor of both the Gray Ghosts and U.S. Grant Trails driving tours. Wolk outlined the events of Colonel Porter's long recruiting campaign throughout northeast Missouri that included the Battle of Moore's Mill.
The final event was the Union execution of ten of Porter's recruits in reprisal for the capture and presumed killing of a Union man. The "Palmyra Massacre" is a reminder of how important it is to investigate clearly all aspects of the war of brother against brother in Missouri, Wolk said.
Old Auxvasse-Nine Mile Presbyterian Pastor Jim Cruickshank delivered an invocation emphasizing the importance of recalling the sacrifices of principled ancestors. Elijah Gates Gates Camp SCV Commander and Chaplain Noel Crowson spoke of the heritage contributions of Allen Conner and Mark Douglas, and of how fitting it is their works are recalled on one of the panels. Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer read a commissioners' resolution proclaiming the day "an appropriate occasion for all our citizens not only to learn and reflect upon the sacrifices of our principled forebears, wearing both Blue and Gray during the 1861-1865 conflict, including this terrible battle, but of our ancestors' determination to join once again as one American people in the years afterward."
After the ceremony, more than one hundred gathered at a freewill-offering homestyle dinner at Old Auxvasse Presbyterian Church served by church volunteers and the Reuben Hollingsworth Bullard Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Pastor Cruickshank recounted some of the Old Auxvasse history, including Civil War burial information provided by cemetery association secretary Sharon Pierson. Many visitors toured the church's historic 1828 cemetery, also marked by an interpretive panel on the Gray Ghosts Trail.
For more information on the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County, consult the Web site www.callawaycivilwar.org/ .
Photos from the Event