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Historic Diaries: Black Hawk War

June 9, Columbia, Missouri: Militia Form As Far Away As Missouri

Editor's Note:

This article was originally printed in the Missouri Intelligencer in St. Louis.

The raising of the militia in Columbia, Missouri was in respose to Governor Reynolds' request for 2,000 more troops (reproduced in this previous entry). Missouri, though hundreds of miles from the theater of war, was intimately connected to Illinois and Wisconsin. The Mississippi River, which linked the most important towns of the frontier, was the heart of the region's economy, and the majority of the settlers in the Lead Region had come up the Mississippi from St. Louis after leaving their homes in southern states.

The enthusiasm of the new Missouri recruits was just what Gov. Reynolds needed to hold together the demoralized Illinois militia. Major General Richard Gentry (1788-1837) led the 3rd Division of the Missouri Militia. He was one of the founders of Columbia, and served as its first mayor and second postmaster. He later led Missouri troops to Florida, where he was killed in the Seminole War.

War News from Missouri
Columbia, June 9, 1832.

On Monday last, being the first day of our Circuit Court, a larger number of citizens assembled in Columbia than we have seen during our residence here, or indeed any where else in this country. This collection was drawn, in a great measure, in consequence of the interest excited in relation to the war on the Illinois frontier, and the requisition made by the Governor of this state for 2,000 volunteers for the defence of our own borders. The 26th Regiment paraded in the town; and after being addressed in an animated and patriotic manner by Maj. Gen. Gentry, one hundred and fifty men volunteered their services—which were formed into three companies. These are to be held in readiness to march at a moment's warning.

Gen. Gentry has ordered two companies to march from Palmyra, to the frontiers in that quarter, to reconnoitre, and, if necessary, repel any aggression.

The greatest enthusiasm exists throughout the country. In Franklin, three companies of volunteers were raised, some days since, before any orders were received. There will probably be no occasion for a draft any where.

[Source: Whitney, Ellen M., ed. The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832. (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society, 1970), p.559]

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