Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Confederate Invasion of Iowa

The "invasion"? Really? The text of a historical marker in Bloomfield, Iowa, just above the Missouri border, reads:

Site of the Confederate Invasion of Iowa, 12th Day of October, 1864. This monument marks the northern most point of incursion into Iowa by Confederate Forces. On October 12, 1864, Lieutenant James “Bill” Jackson led twelve heavily armed Missouri Partisan Rangers dressed in Union uniforms in a raid through Davis County, Iowa, resulting in the murder of three local citizens. • This Plaque Dedicated in 2005 • Davis County Civil War Guerrilla Raid Society.
An associated plaque, installed by the SCV, makes the claim that: "Confederate Partisan Rangers came from Missouri to this point, the Furthermost North of any Confederate Incursion During the Civil War."

The incomparable Historical Marker Database records the Bloomfield marker at 40° 44.5′ N. The good folks near Salineville, Ohio have a marker, too. And though it's only as far north as 40° 37.228′ N, they claim the northernmost distinction as well. The Ohio marker reads:
Here, on July 26, 1863 occurred the northernmost engagement of Confederate forces during the Civil War. In this immediate area, troops under Major General John H. Morgan, C.S.A., and General James Shackelford, U.S.A., met in full engagement. After evading Union troops, Morgan’s forces were re-formed at Norristown, from whence they proceeded to West Point, where Morgan surrendered his command.
I think you have to give the nod to Salineville, since Morgan's Raiders were full-fledged CSA units detached from a Confederate army before making their monumental raid. The Iowa incursion, by contrast, sounds more like a gang, even resorting to the use of disguise. We won't even entertain notions about the St. Albans, Vermont raid (bank robbers!), or naval actions.


DW@CWBA said...

There's a booklet that provides the history behind that Bloomfield marker. It's titled "The Confederate Invasion of Iowa" (authored by Russell Corder) and I've never been able to buy or borrow a copy.

James F. Epperson said...

When I drove from Missouri to visit my brother in Iowa many years ago, there was a marker for the "Battle of Athens" in Iowa. I have a photo somewhere---I'll look for it this weekend.

dw said...

Thanks Jim, I did find a little article on it. Looks like all of the fighting took place on the Missouri side.

DW@CWBA said...

A nice little book about Athens was published a few years ago.

Jeffry Burden said...

RE: Athens, I think a few shells landed on the Iowa side of the Des Moines River, thus making it an Iowa battle...sorta kinda.

Anonymous said...

I think Salineville's claim is the furthest north engagement. Morgan's surrender site is actually further north at 40 41.53 N, which is still further south than the Iowa site. However, I agree that Morgan's raid should be distinguished on the basis it involved regular units unlike the Iowa raid, St. Albans raid and the Lake Erie/Philo Parsons raid.

Chris Van Blargan

Jim Miller said...

What great timing... On my most recent trip from Murfreesboro, TN to south central Iowa (a trip I make 2 to 3 times a year), I recently stopped at the Battle of Athens Missouri State Historic Site. I took several pictures, whihc I will soon be posting on Civil War Notebook. As for the Davis County "raid," this is the first I've heard of it & will definitely have to find the plaque on my next trip (I'm always on the look out for new places to stop and new things to see).

Chuck said...

I came across the marker on a quick morning drive from Oskaloosa IA to Kirkwood MO and back last summer. There was one brochure left at the site which I grabbed. Looking forward to going back some day as it has a well done map complete with coordinates for 32 houses that were "visited". Google Davis Co raid and you'll get a website and a Facebook page you can use to make further contacts. I didn't see the map though.