In May 1861, Missouri’s pro-secession Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson ordered the Volunteer Militia to train for six days in Lindell Grove on the outskirts of St. Louis. St. Louis was the home of the largest arsenal west of the Mississippi River, housing approximately 36,000 muskets. Captain Nathaniel Lyon had recently been given command of the Arsenal and worked to boost its defenses. Lyon surround the 669 militiamen at Lindell Grove with his force of 6,500 men, forcing their surrender. Lyon then marched his prisoners through the streets of St. Louis, where they encountered an angry mob of citizens. Many of these citizens shouted insults at Lyon’s men as they marched to Lindell Grove, and now that they had taken militiamen as prisoners, they began hurling rocks and bottles. Lyon’s command attempted to disperse the citizens by firing a volley over their heads. When this failed to restore order, the nervous soldiers turned their muskets on the crowd. Twenty-eight civilians were killed, another seventy-five wounded in the melee. Two Union soldiers and three militiamen also died.
This musket was captured by Union forces at Camp Jackson on May 10, 1861. This civilian musket was made into a military weapon with the addition of a lug for a sword bayonet (attached). The initials “JDE” are carved on the right side of the stock; stamped on the hand guard of the bayonet are the numbers “584.” The musket is 33 inches long, and the sword bayonet is an additional 20 inches.
Categories: War & Conflict
Subject: Lyon, Nathaniel; Civil War, 1861-1865
Contributing Institution: Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Accession Number: WICR 30009
Copy Request: Contact Wilson's Creek National Battlefield at: (417)-732-2662; 6424 West Farm Road 182 Republic, MO 65738.
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Region: St. Louis Metro
Photographer: Steve Ross