Jefferson Barracks
St. Louis, Missouri

June 2002 Photos courtesy of Loren Drummond, St. Charles, Missouri
Please contact Webmaster for use of the following photos
Bivouac of the Dead
1885 NY Times: Longstreets reminiscences of Grant (pdf)
1. Jefferson Barracks Museums
2. St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Jefferson Barracks Park
3. Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation


Jefferson Barracks Historic Park, St. Louis Mo.
Although not a Battlefield, this site and Benton Barracks (no longer in existence) contributed extensive training and served as a major Hospital complex during the Civil War. Jefferson Barracks, established in October 23, 1826, on the edge of a vast expanse of wilderness was built to replace Fort Bellefontaine near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers. It was selected for its strategic position, nearby abundant supply of limestone and trees for construction and it close proximity to a thriving city on the Mississippi River. The cantonment was named to honor Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson Barracks served as a gathering point for troops and supplies bound for the Mexican War, Civil War, and various conflicts up to World War II. Among some of the Civil War generals stationed at this post were Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, Henry Dodge, Albert S. Johnston, Joseph E. Johnson, Winfield S. Hancock, Henry Halleck, Nathaniel Boone, James Longstreet, Jeb Stuart, Don Carlos Buell and many others. These men grew to know each other and later to fight each other in this terrible conflict.
From its beginning Jefferson Barracks was the largest military reservation covering over 2,000 acres, stretching two miles along the west bank of the Mississippi River. Among its important dates concerning the Civil War:
1828--2nd Lt Jefferson Davis, who came a year straight out of West Point, is sent to direct soldier work parties in gathering materials to build Fort Winnebago at the portage of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers. Troops from JB become increasingly involved in Indian problems and protecting traders between western Missouri and Santa Fe.
1829--The Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery started as the Jefferson Barracks Military Post Cemetery in 1829.
1837--1st Lt Robert E. Lee resided at JB while he was in charge of engineering work to control the channel of the Mississippi River at St. Louis.
1843--2nd Lt Ulysses S. Grant comes to JB for his first assignment after West Point
1844---2nd Lt Scott Hancock was assigned to the 6th Infantry at JB, thus beginning his brilliant career.
1846--Lt Braxton Bragg arrived with Batteries B & C of the 3rd Artillery. He left shortly after to join Gen Zachary Taylor and became a hero in the Mexican war.
1848--1Lt U.S. Grant married Julia Dent, daughter of Col Frederick Dent. Capt James Longstreet was his best man.
1849-50--An epidemic of Asiatic cholera in St. Louis and at JB claimed many lives. Included were Col W. J. Worth and Brevet BGen Richard B. Mason.-
1851--A stone Ordinance Room, Laborerís House and Barn are erected in the north end of Jefferson Barracks.
1857--A second stone Powder Magazine is constructed.
1860--BGen William Selby Harney returned to Missouri and assumed command of JB.
1861--State Guard forces of Governor Jackson of Missouri planned the erection of batteries on the hills around the Arsenal and facing it from a river island. The state militia also assembled at Camp Jackson in St. Louis. On 8 May Capt Nathaniel Lyon and his friend William Tecumseh Sherman (then out of the Army) discovered a clandestine shipment of arms to Camp Jackson. On 10 May Capt Lyon led troops to surround the Camp, which was forced to surrender. This same day Sherman applied for a commission in the Army.
Ulysses S. Grant was at the Barracks at various times during the summer in consultation with the commanding officers there. He was then a Colonel commanding the 21st Illinois Regiment. Sherman was commissioned a Colonel in the 13th Infantry which was to be organized at the Barracks.
Gen Lyon is promoted to General and given command of the Department of the West.
BGen Lyon ordered the state militia to be disbanded. Governor Jackson responded with a call for 50,000 state guards. Lyon determined to break this organization and left JB for the state capitol with a detachment of federal troops from the 2nd Infantry. The Governor and On 17 June a unit of the governorís guard en route to join the Confederates was overtaken & defeated near Booneville. The war had come to Missouri.
In a six hour battle fought at Wilson Creek on 10 August, BGen Lyon lost his life leading a final charge.
1862--Jefferson Barracks is becomes the largest and most important military hospital in the country. During the war, Jefferson Barracks had one of the largest Federal hospitals in the country with over 3,000 beds, accommodating patients from battles as far away as Vicksburg.
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) had joined the Confederates that Grant had chased out of the region of Hannibal, Missouri. He served only two weeks "being incapacitated through continual retreating". He did have a thrill when on a steamboat attempting to run the blockade past Jefferson Barracks. A battery had been mounted near the spot where the old Spanish cannon now stands at the rear of the Headquarters. It opened fire and two holes were blown through the smokestacks of the vessel.
1863--The post cemetery is expanded and an executive order initiates the process of making it a National Cemetery. It now ranks and the 4th most active of our countries National Cemeteries.
1864---In September Confederate General Sterling Price (commanded Missouri Militia in 1861) again invaded Missouri. MGen Andrew J. Smith, who was moving down the river with three brigades of the Iowa volunteers, landed at Jefferson Barracks. Jefferson Barracks was an assembly point for the defense of St. Louis. Smith led some of his troops out when word was received of Confederates reaching DeSoto, Missouri. A final engagement near Kansas City ended any large-scale Confederate threat in Missouri.
Dated information courtesy of 157th Air Operations Group Website, Jefferson Barracks ANG Station, St. Louis, Missouri (
Also credit for this picture post goes to William C. Winter and Andrew Harley who's book, "The Civil War in St. Louis: A Guided Tour" gave me much guidance and enjoyment and is a irreplaceable publication for you folks planning a trip to Civil War St. Louis.

Loren Drummond
St. Charles, Missouri

Entrance to Jefferson Barracks

Entrance the historic park and the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Entrance Enlarge  

Visitor Center. Completed in 1878, this building was originally used as a stable for four wagons and seven animals. It was also used as a facility to repair tanks and then to house family visitors of new inductees into the service

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