Order of Battle Glasgow, MO 15 OCT 1864 by J. Y. Miller
The phrase "Order of Battle" is a military term that refers to a report or history of the main events of a particular battle. Reports of the Battle of Glasgow from the various commanders do not agree in every detail, but the following is generally considered to be correct.
The commander of the Federal garrison force defending Glasgow was Captain J. E. Mayo. He commanded about 150 men and he had orders to ": hold the city at all costs. " They did not expect a major attack, but were concerned about the many guerrilla forces that were operating in the area. Captain Mayo had prepared fortifications and trenches around Heriford House (now the rectory of St. Mary’s Church).
One must realize that the city of Glasgow consisted of a relatively small downtown business district and a number of large homes with related outbuildings around them. These homes were not surrounded by other homes as they are today. An early writer wrote that in Glasgow; " every man lived on his own hill." Among these large homes were Heriford House and Dunhaven. Dunhaven was the home of William Dunica, one of the founders of the city and a local banker. Mr. & Mrs. Grant Carothers live there today. On present day Randolph St., then known as Fayette road, there stood many homes of city founders that still stand today. To the north of the city, was found Glen Eden, the home of wealthy planter, Benjamin Lewis.
On 13 OCT, two riverboats arrived in Glasgow. The Benton and the West Wind were intending to travel to Jefferson City and they carried 1000 cavalry uniforms, rifles, ammunition, and other supplies. They also carried about 500 federal troops commanded by Colonel Chester Harding. Knowing that Confederate Major General Sterling Price was operating in the area, Harding considered it too risky to continue to Jefferson City. The Benton unloaded its’ cargo and returned upstream. The West Wind remained tied up at the Glasgow wharf. Colonel Harding took over command of the Federal forces in Glasgow. The Union forces still did not anticipate an attack from Price’s men.
Meanwhile, General Price was moving with a large force of men out of Arkansas in what is now called "Price’s Raid into Missouri". Price learned of the supplies at Glasgow and dispatched Generals John Bullock Clark Jr. and Joe Shelby to capture these materials.
Colonel Harding positioned a force of men on the north side of Greegs Creek. Captain Mayo, Captain Samuel Stiemetz, and Major B. K. Davis commanded these men. Many of these men were from various Illinois Infantry Regiments, the 43 Missouri, and members of the Missouri Militia. Captain Hunter commanded two companies that were posted above Bear Creek to defend against an attack from the north.
General Shelby arrived on the Missouri River bank opposite Glasgow before daybreak on the 15th and opened fire as planned with artillery at 5:00 am. His fire and his sharpshooters kept Federal soldiers from reaching the West Wind and interfered with movement across the streets of Glasgow that ran perpendicular to the river. The West Wind was sunk during the battle.
General Clark was to cross the river at Arrow Rock and then move to a position near the Turner farm at the hill south of town to begin artillery fire at the same time as Shelby. However, he had difficulty in the river crossing and was two hours late in opening fire. Clark had three cannons and Shelby had four.
The plan followed classic attack tactics as is still taught today in military officer training. After a time, the artillery fire from Turner’s Hill was lifted to fire at steadily greater distances. The infantry then began to advance behind the continuing artillery fire. The Confederates outnumbered the Union defenders by a ratio of 2 to 1 and the defenders were forced to slowly withdraw toward their fortifications on Heriford Hill. Some stones in Washington Cemetery still bear the scars from bullets that were fired at soldiers who sought shelter behind them.
Captain Hunter held out at the north side of town under attack from the 18th Missouri (rebel) commanded by Colonel Lowther and the Confederates were unable to advance past Bear Creek. In the afternoon, a Confederate Captain, under a white flag, brought word that Colonel Harding had surrendered and, after verifying this news, Captain Hunter surrendered and took his men to the city to turn in their weapons.
After two hours of fighting, Harding’s men were forced into the rifle pits on Heriford Hill. Colonel Harding later wrote that;" the rifle pits were designed to hold about 250 men. To the east, southeast, and south were houses which were occupied by the enemy as fast as their artillery drove us out of them... The western face [of the Pits] and the area inside of them, as well as the streets leading from the river eastward, were swept by Shelby’s guns... Every available shelter was taken by the enemy, and he cautiously and slowly, but constantly, advanced his skirmishers to points nearer to us... until he had a heavy force within from thirty to fifty yards of us all along our line and partly around our right."
With ammunition running low and no hope of reinforcements and the appearance of a final attack ready to be launched against his position, Colonel Harding ran up a white flag of surrender at 1:30 pm. Colonel Harding reported that he had lost 11 men killed, including three citizens of Glasgow, and 32 wounded. The Glasgow deaths were the Steinmetz brothers, Samuel and Aaron and the Methodist minister, William Goff Caples. It is ironic that Rev Caples had served with GEN Price as a Confederate Chaplain. He was captured and after being given parole, returned to Glasgow. His death was caused by a Confederate canon ball that struck him as he stood on the porch of his home. The Glasgow City Hall had been burned to keep the stored munitions there out of enemy hands. The fire had spread to destroy 13 buildings in downtown Glasgow.
The Confederates captured much supplies including uniforms, 1200 rifles, blankets, and 150 horses. Generous terms were given to the captured Union soldiers, who were granted parole.(see LT Graves article)
The Confederates left town to attempt to rejoin General Price. This left Glasgow unprotected against Bill Anderson and other guerrillas. Price was defeated at Westport and forced to retreat out of the state.
Many Confederate soldiers who were captured later at the battle of Mine Creek were wearing Union uniforms that had been captured at Glasgow. Wearing enemy uniforms during war is considered grounds for execution and those soldiers were executed.
While the Battle of Glasgow is listed as a Confederate victory, the benefit to Price and the Confederacy cause was of little consequence.
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