| 4/14/2023

“You have heard from a great many people who did something in the war; is it not fair and right that you listen a little moment to one who started out to do something in it but didn’t?” wrote Mark Twain in his semi-fictionalized wartime account, titled “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.”


“Thousands entered the war, got just a taste of it, and then stepped out again, permanently,” he continued. “These, by their very numbers, are respectable and therefore entitled to a sort of voice, — not a loud one, but a modest one; not a boastful one but an apologetic one. …”


In the summer of 1861, the former riverboat pilot went to war, according to the St. Louis Magazine, on a small yellow mule carrying a valise, a carpetbag, two gray blankets, a homemade quilt, a squirrel rifle, 20 yards of rope, a frying pan and, perhaps most importantly of all, an umbrella.


The 25-year-old Missourian, alongside 14 other idealistic young men, answered Gov. Claiborne Fox Jackson’s call of 50,000 militia to defend their home state.

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