From the book "The Civil War in St. Louis"
Also from "The History of Cheltenham and St. James Church", and "The History of Richmond Heights" (no special book, but from files in the Richmond Heights Library.
This story first developed when researching Cheltenham, and with the story of the raid on the Muegge Store. That story mentioned the raid was by an attachment of Shelby's Cavalry.
Then it told about the raid on the Powder Houses that were located at what is now St. Mary's Hospital on Clayton Road. The story, found in the Richmond Heights library, tells of General Price and his Confederate Army trying to take the powder houses, and to bombard St. Louis, which did not happen.
Note: A further look into the General Price story was found in the book "The Civil War in St. Louis"(Pg.94, 95).
One story tells of the raid on the Cheltenham Post Office with a few changes. Augustus Muegge arrived at the militia camp on Olive Street Road around 8:00PM on Sept.29, 1864. He frantically told his story. How seriously the Union troops took Muegge’s report is difficult to say.
According to Muegge, four men rode up to his store in the early evening, perhaps as early as 5:00 PM. Two men remained mounted as the other two dismounted and walked into the store. After looking around, they inquired about the distance to the nearest military post. Mrs. Muegge, suspicious of the visitors intent, called out a warning to her husband in German to be careful.
Next, the intruders asked about Muegge's politics. He replied that he was a Union man. Then they asked whether he had ever held office. Muegge said he was the United States Postmaster for Cheltenham. In response, one of the men drew his pistol and announced, "It's just such men as you that we want to kill". The ever alert Mrs. Muegge threw herself between her husband and the intruder, causing the would-be killer to pull up his arm. Heeding his wife's call to run for his life, Mr. Muegge sprang down the hall, went out the back door and made his escape. As soon as he could find a horse, he made his way to the Union Militia Camp. (This must have been Camp Jackson).
The Missouri Republican newspaper reported just after the event that a scout was sent out immediately.
The Missouri Democrat claimed that, despite considerable effort on Muegge's part to get the Union Troops interested, he could find no one "who had authority to act". Every bridge and ford crossing the Meramac River was well guarded. In apprehension of Sterling Price's advancing army, it was assumed that it was not possible for the raiders to have escaped in that direction. The direction being out Laclede Station Road.
Union Troops were sent in pursuit out Laclede Station Road, but gave up when they reached Old Watson Road (Chippewa) and had seen no sign of the marauders. It is possible the marauders did not go that way. Could be they went up Valley Road, straight to the powder houses in Richmond Heights on Clayton Road where St. Mary's Hospital is now, and where the main body of Shelby's cavalry tried to take the powder houses. Note: I found the powder house story in the Richmond Heights Library.
Daniel Payne, an old Negro residing in a small log house on the east side of Clarkson Road, mid-way between Clayton and Kerrs Mill Road says he vividly recalls hearing or seeing this squad of Confederate Calvary (night time). He thought the whole Southern Army was making a raid on St. Louis.
Gen. Sterling Price did cross into Missouri on Sept.19, 1864, and he did have Joseph O. Shelby as one of his Division Leaders.
Price and twelve thousand cavalrymen crossed into Missouri from Arkansas, converging on Fredericktown. Price's Corps; Three Divisions under James F. Fagan, John S. Marmaduke, and Joseph O.Shelby was a great concern to Union General William S. Rosencrans at his headquarters in St. Louis.
Unknown to Rosencrans seven regiments and one battalion of Price's column was mounted infantry with no training in Calvary tactics. Nearly four thousand of Price's men were unarmed. Despite these weaknesses, Price's force was the most "powerful body of Calvary" assembled west of the Mississippi River during the Civil War.
As Price's column moved northward, officials in St. Louis were jolted into action. On September 26, Rosencrans issued orders on the recommendation of the Mayor and many leading businessmen of the city that all business be suspended at noon of the next day to allow the formation of Citizen Guard Units.
Enough St. Louisans responded to the call to form five regiments and three battalions, one of them black citizens. On September 30, fearing a confederate advance across the Meramec River, Rosencrans ordered Union Militia Units moved from St. Louis to Kirkwood as a defensive measure.
Major Gen. Andrew Jackson Smith, a proven combat officer, was on hand to lead the federal troops.
Fortunately for Rosencrans, General Smith was the harbinger of the arrival of his complete veteran’s corps. Smith's troops had been diverted to St. Louis from Tennessee by way of the Mississippi River when Price's movements became known.
Until his veterans arrived, however, Smith would lead two brigades of militia units. One brigade, consisting of twelve hundred men, the other consisting of fifteen hundred men.
The seventh Kansas Calvary and three companies of Militia Calvary accompanied the foot soldiers.
Meanwhile, on September 27, eighty miles southwest of St. Louis, at Pilot Knob, Price's column was badly hurt by Gen. Thomas Ewing's union forces defending Fort Davidson. To add insult to injury of this bloody rebuff, the Union Garrison withdrew, eluding capture by the Confederates, at the same time, blew up the fort and its stores.
Learning that Smith’s combat-tested soldiers were heavily reinforcing Rosencrans, Price concluded that St. Louis was not vulnerable to attack. He turned his army west, marching his army across the state, doing well until defeat at the battle of Westport. The Confederates retreated to Arkansas in disarray, dropping all possessions along the way. Price and Shelby escaped to Mexico, refusing to surrender. As a result of the timely movement of Union Forces, the "Battle of Kirkwood" was never fought.
The descriptions of the Rebel Guerillas varied widely:
The Missouri Republican Newspaper reported "They were splendidly mounted and finely dressed, with dusters over their fine clothes, displaying the regular Confederate Uniform. They were evidently old soldiers.
The Missouri Democrat described the Confederates as also wearing long dusters, under which the collar of the rebel uniform was visible. The riders wore moccasins with long Mexican spurs, and might have had some Indian blood by their complexion and features. The newspaper added, whatever their intention, the Confederate Raiders have disappeared into history.
The Missouri Republican offered this rationale for the excitement at the Cheltenham Post Office:
"The most plausible explanation is that the fright of the Postmaster induced him in imagining a great deal more than he saw, and in his statement, drew largely upon his fancy".
"It is unfortunate that apparently, no one took the time to interview the Postmasters wife".
To me, it seems that someone did interview her. For there is more information than Mrs. Muegge could have known. Besides, how could they have missed the raiders? In addition, the St. Louis newspapers did not refer to the raid on the powder houses. This story was found in the Richmond Heights Library. That story stated Price wanted to bombard St. Louis. I suspect the raiders only wanted munitions. The question is: How they could get into the St. Louis area without being detected. A mystery, but not impossible. They could very easily have followed the Iron Mountain Railroad and the River Des Peres. And could have had a little help.
Price was a past Missouri Governor. In addition, he had a rag tag outfit, but they were hill people from Missouri and Arkansas, and were sharpshooters in close range. This made up for the longer-range rifles of the north on the open field. Long range meant nothing in the hills.
More to follow. This story may need its own chapter.
The names - General Price, General Shelby and the dates do fit for the Cheltenham Raid. So a little more research, along with records that are more official may make a more complete story.
The book "The Civil War in Missouri, Day by Day 1861-1865", never mentions Shelby's raid on St. Louis, but was more general in nature.
The book "General Sterling Price"(and the civil war in the west did mention it). Price began his campaign by crossing the Arkansas River below Little Rock. In order to cover his movement, he ordered Shelby who was still in northwest Arkansas to attack Duvall’s Bluff and the railroad between Little Rock and the White River.
Shelby carried out this assignment brilliantly, capturing six small forts and several hundred prisoners, inflicting heavy casualties and destroying ten miles of track. This helped to divert attention from Price's movements, allowing Price to skirt around Little Rock to the northwest and to ford the Arkansas River at Dardannelle on September 7. A week later he reached Pocahontas, Arkansas, only a few miles south of the Missouri line. At this time, Shelby returned bringing eight thousand recruits.
Many of these recruits were ill clad and in poor health. Four Thousand of them - recruits raised by Shelby - had no weapons. The train contained an inordinate number of "wheezy, rickety wagons", although indispensable for carrying the food and forage required in a barren country, they were a serious encumbrance. Most of the new recruits did not want to be there.
Approximately half the troops were untrained to fight on foot and the other half were mounted infantry equipped with long-barreled muskets, useless on horseback. About a thousand men lacked mounts, which meant they could not move very fast.
There was one bright spot. Col. David Shank's brigade of Shelby's Division, formerly Shelby's own command, (The Iron Brigade). I believe this may have been the group that came to Cheltenham and the powder houses. It was made up of veteran, battle-hardened Missourians, each of whom carried several revolvers in addition to a carbine or rifle. They had long since discarded the sabre as worthless.
Shelby's other brigade contained the new recruits from Missouri, and only five hundred of its fifteen hundred men possessed arms. The four gun Parrot Battery of Captain Richard Collins, a hell-for-leather officer who believed in working his cannons on the front line, if not ahead of it, supported the Division. This Division would be the mainstay of Price's Army.
The "Army of Missouri" as Price called it, spent four days preparing. Then on the morning of September 19 they set forth into Missouri, marching in three parallel columns. Shelby on the left, Fagen in the center, and Marmaduke on the right.
Now - Back to Shelby - On September 24 a report to Rosencrans in St. Louis stated Shelby's Calvary were below Pilot Knob, eighty-six miles south of St. Louis on the Iron Mountain Railroad. This was when Rosencrans sent troops to Kirkwood.
By this time Shelby had reconnoitered Pilot Knob and found infantry and no worry. However, after meeting the others at Fredericktown, he was overruled. Price had received information of eight thousand troops waiting south of St. Louis. At this time it is believed Price decided to forget St. Louis and attacked Pilot Knob in order to obtain badly needed arms and supplies. This proved to be a costly move.
Early on the morning of September 26, Price sent Shelby northward with instructions to destroy the tracks and bridges of the Iron Mountain Railroad in order to prevent Smith from aiding the Pilot Knob Garrison. This, Shelby carried out.
They finally took the Garrison, but with a great cost, and the defenders got away after blowing up the magazine, leaving little for the southerners.
Now--here is the tie-in:
By September 29, Price sent some of Shelby's Calvary in a feint towards St. Louis, then turned his army in the direction of Jefferson City.
Therefore, the story can come together if - Col. Shanks, with Shelby's Brigade could make it to Cheltenham by the 5:00 on September 29 for the story of the raid on Muegge's store and the powder houses.
There is no indication of Shelby keeping records of his movements yet it could be that Shanks left some records.
The next mention of Shelby in this book was on October 6. Shelby as always, leading the advance, forcing a passage across Moreau Creek, a branch of the Osage River, six miles from Jefferson City.
The Book "Missouri's Confederates 1861-1865, in the chapter about Shelby, no mention is made of a raid in St. Louis. (Although the book was not a detailed story of Shelby's movements).
Have found several books at our little old library in Branson in an attempt to find a mention of St. Louis in the Civil War story. Have used some of the info in the story above.
One book, a large one, "The Confederate Soldier in the Civil War". Pg.48, through 269. This tells of Army Operations in Missouri, including battles of Gen. Price, and Shelby as told by Gen. Price in official reports.
Another is the book "Louisiana and the Trans-Mississippi". Price's Missouri Expedition starts on Pg.641. This is an Itinerary of Price's Army, and evidently a small portion of a large group of volumes of official reports of all the officers. This may be an important find, which I need to look into. This book lists all the Officers of each Division.
Shelby's Division; Brigade Officers:
Col. Col. David Shanks
Col. Moses W. Smith
Brig. Gen. M. Jeff. Thompson
Fifth Mo. Cav. -Col. B.Frank Gordon
Eleventh Mo.Cav. -Col. Moses W. Smith
Twelfth Mo. Cav. -Col. David Shanks
Col. Benj.Elliott's Mo.Cavalry
Col. Alonzo W.Slayback's Mo.Cav.
Capt. Richard A.Collins'Mo.Batt.
There may be some report somewhere in there. Although, my choice would be to try around the time the Col. David Shanks brigade came to Cheltenham.
Also found a good book, "Price's Raid in Franklin County, Missouri", by Ralph Gregory. (1964) There is mention that while at Ironton, Missouri, Price received information that the Federal force at St. Louis far exceeded his two to one. Knowing the city to be strongly fortified, he determined to move as fast as possible on Jefferson City. They destroyed the railroad as they went, with a hope to be able to capture that city with its troops and munitions of war.
This book goes on to tell more, which I will not cover. At least it does bring the timing close to our story of the raid on Cheltenham. This story starts at September 30. However, does indicate their sending patrols all over the area, feeling out St. Louis.
TO BE CONTINUED—