Missouri Civil War Tours | Travel to Civil War Sites in Missouri Near St. Louis
Missouri Civil War Reenactments and the History of the Civil War in Missouri
Civil War Sites near St. Louis in the Arcadia Valley Region and Black River Area

Reenactment 2007 of the Battle of Pilot Knob at Fort Davidson in Missouri

Missouri Civil War Sites and Travel
near St. Louis in the Arcadia Valley and Black River Area
of Iron County and Reynolds County MO

The war pitted Missourian against Missourian wreaking havoc, pain, death and destruction in its path through Missouri.

Download the Battle of Pilot Knob Driving Tour

Iron County Civil War Sites in the Arcadia Valley Region
(Directions to the locations in Ironton, Arcadia and Pilot Knob are in the Battle of Pilot Knob driving tour available at Fort Davidson or may be downloaded here.)

Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob -
The history of sister communities Pilot Knob, Arcadia and Ironton, Missouri are inextricably linked.  A traveler will barely perceive the difference from one community to the next, along the three mile stretch which is seemingly continuous.  History, however, sets each apart- as important events occurred and historical landmarks appear in all three.

In 1857, it was a time of celebration throughout the region when the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad was completed all the way to Pilot Knob.  The region was thriving; that is, until the specter of the Civil War began to encroach upon Missouri . . . the time of celebration came to a halt.   The recently completed railroad at Pilot Knob was valuable to both sides, Union and Confederate, as it transported many raw materials to the city of St. Louis.

The Battle of Pilot Knob swept through the entire area and the civil war laid waste to homes, businesses and area farms. 

Ironton, Missouri - When Iron County was formed February 17, 1857, the name was derived from its principal mineral.   Homes and businesses sprung up and Ironton became the county seat and the center of commerce for the area.  Today, see the historic Iron County Courthouse which still bears the scar of a cannonball, 1800s architecture, antebellum homes, historic churches and turn of the century mercantile buildings. Also in Ironton, General Ulysses S. Grant, received his commission as brigadier general and became commander of the union forces in southeast Missouri, while camped by a spring which still flows in Ironton.  A monument to General Grant rests on the lawn of the Ste. Marie Du Lac Catholic Church.

Dedication of the Grant monument in 1866

Arcadia, Missouri - Arcadia was laid out in 1849 and incorporated in 1879.  It owes its existence to what was the Arcadia High School.  It is known today as the Ursuline Academy - Arcadia College Historic District and is on the National Register of Historic Places.   The institution was founded by Rev. J. C. Berryman. "The school was a grand success, and from it graduated many of the best citizens of Southeast Missouri."  A short time prior to the Civil War, he became the proprietor of the institution, but due to the war, was forced to abandon it.  It is believed, from 1861-1863, the original buildings were used as a military hospital.   After the war, Mr. Berryman reopened the school and continued it until 1867.  Although there is only one building left standing from the original campus (the laundry building, now occupied by Nostalgic Place Bed and Breakfast), the other eight buildings reflect magnificent turn of the century architecture.     Tour this 17 acre campus with its mature trees, stone retaining walls and nine historic buildings. Stroll through the campus and view the grotto, cemetery and spring house. Of particular note is the St. Joseph Chapel with some of the most amazing stained glass windows in the world.  The Academy Bed and Breakfast is also located on the campus.

For a complete tour of historic towns, landmarks and history of Iron County, please take this tour.  You'll see many other places to visit on your civil war tour of our region.

Beautiful stained glass windows in St. Joseph's Chapel

Pilot Knob, Missouri - In addition to Fort Davidson, you will find other historical sites in Pilot Knob.  The mine at Pilot Knob was of vital importance to St. Louis industry. The railroad served the southeast Missouri iron mining district, running from Irondale through Iron Mountain.  When the Civil War began to encroach upon Missouri soil, the Union established a the post at Pilot Knob . . . not only to protect the mines, but to also insure Union supplies could reach their outposts at Farmington, Fredericktown, Centerville, Barnesville and Patterson. 

Also, when in Pilot Knob, be certain to see one of the oldest surviving churches in the Arcadia Valley, historic Immanuel Lutheran Church located at East Pine and North Ziegler. Founded by German immigrant August Gockel in 1861, the church was occupied and used as a hospital during the Battle of Pilot Knob. After the war, a second story was finished in the back of the church and used as a one room school house until 1936. Sometimes a pastor would live in the back room of the church temporarily and one lived in the small room with seven children and his wife! As years went by the congregation helped found churches in Iron Mountain (now Bismarck), Farmington, and Ironton. Tours of this church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and still contains much of its original furnishings, can be arranged.

Shepherd Mountain Hiking Trail
(The trail is in the areas of old iron mines and also the fighting between civil war Confederate General Marmaduke's units and members of the 14th Iowa Infantry. The area where the Confederates placed a cannon is also near the trail.)
Click to download map

Reynolds County, Missouri Civil War Sites in the Arcadia Valley Region - Reynolds County was organized in 1845, however long before this designation, many early pioneers braved the risk, hardship and sacrifice in search of their dream. . .a more productive and rewarding life in our Ozark Region.  The civil war era presented tumultuous times for these early settlers, in some cases pitting brother against brother and fathers against sons.  Many notable historic landmarks and remnants of these early settlements are still present in Reynolds County, some on the National Register of Historic Places.  From 1850 to 1860, the population of Reynolds county almost doubled.  Even though almost all of its inhabitants were from southern states, slavery was never an important issue in hilly Reynolds county.  It was a sad trick of fate that the citizenry had no say, no choice, as this nation gradually edged closer and closer to an internal war that would devastate the country.

For a complete tour of historic towns, landmarks, early settlements and history of Reynolds County, please take this tour.  You'll see many other places to visit on your civil war tour of our region.

Centerville, Missouri - Centerville, located on the West Fork of the Black River, was born as a brand new town at the same time Reynolds County was designated in 1845. 
The original courthouse was completed in 1850, but was not to stand long. The courthouse burned to the ground.
During the war, troops and guerilla bands foraged the area and union troops occupied the courthouse for a time, bringing progress to a standstill in Centerville.
  In 1863 over 100 Union soldiers who were camped near the courthouse were captured by the rebel Captain Reverend Jesse Pratt.  The present courthouse was completed in 1871 and is one of the few courthouses in Missouri over 100 years old. 

Ellington - formerly Barnesville, Missouri and Logan Creek

Thomas Barnes and his young family left North Carolina in 1835, first settling in Pilot Knob. After two years, this resourceful man decided to move his family once again. Their new destination: Along Logan Creek outside of what is now known as Ellington.  Within a short time, a small settlement arose with a church, school, stores and homes and the settlers named it in his honor ~ Barnesville. Pioneers were pleased and village stores were prospering. Merchants made two-week trips to St. Louis by ox-cart to purchase their stock and to trade their hides and furs.

When the Civil War began, Confederate soldiers moved into southeast Missouri from Arkansas, through the wilderness on the Bellevue Trail, and formed permanent camps at Van Buren, Barnesville, and Lesterville.

With the trail and the area villages in its possession, their next move would be Fort Davidson. The Union wanted to protect Pilot Knob as well as St. Louis and sent the Union Calvary on missions throughout the area settlements. They made many raids, wounding, killing and taking Confederate soldiers captive.  Determined to completely rid this area of
The historic Iron County Courthouse still bears the scar of a cannonball. The gazebo and cannons on the Iron County Courthouse Square.General Ulysses S. Grant MonumentA young, dashing Ulysses GrantArcadia Academy campus St. Joseph's Chapel at Arcadia AcademySt. Joseph ChapelArcadia College Laundry Building, now Nostalgic Place Bed and Breakfast. Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pilot KnobHistoric Centerville, Missouri CourthouseSoldier's Memorial at Centerville, Missouri CourthouseReynolds County Museum in Ellington, MOHistoric Buford mansion in Ellington, MO now privately owned.
the Confederates and their sympathizers, they continued raiding and burning villages to the ground. During this time, the Union constructed Fort Barnesville nearby. No doubt this was to ensure the Confederates did not again regain control of the important trail through the wilderness.

**The Discovery of Fort Barnesville
There have been generations of people that walked over and around this Redan type earthen fort at Deer Run State Forest in Ellington. Many had to speculate a little about what this horse shoe shaped mound had been. It wasn’t until 1995 when it was brought to the attention of our local civil war historian Gerald Angel, who identified it as a fort from his investigative experiences with nearby Fort Patterson. Research began, and through Gerald Angel and his assistants’ vigilant research, Fort Barnesville was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on July 1, 1998. This Fort is believed to have been built in early 1863 by the 13th Illinois Cavalry and the 25th Missouri Infantry, possibly aided by the 3rd Missouri Militia. Evidence has not yet been found of any major skirmish or battle. For more information stop by the Reynolds County Museum in Ellington, then go to Deer Run State Conservation Area where the fort is located, or even better, schedule a guided tour of this recently discovered fort by calling Gerald Angel at 1-573-663-2789.

Not only is this region rich in Missouri Civil War Sites and historic towns, settlements and villages, our abundant recreational opportunities and Black River Float Trips have earned our region the title of "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Missouri".  To learn about our beautiful vacation paradise, and to tour our lodging facilities and campgrounds see www.missouri-vacations.com

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