Thesis Title

The Boy Battery: a Socio-Military Study of the 2Nd Missouri Light Artillery

Date of Graduation

Summer 2007

Degree

Master of Arts in History

Department

History

Committee Chair

William Piston

Keywords

Samuel Churchill Clark, Missouri State Guard, 2nd Artillery, Lafeyette County, Houston King, James Farris

Subject Categories

History

Abstract

This thesis contributes to the "New School" of military history by providing a social analysis of Confederate 2nd Missouri Light Artillery during the American Civil War. It examines the 2nd Missouri's genesis in the Missouri State Guard and its service in the Confederate Army, following the unit under three successive captains, Clark, King, and Farris. This study, the first to focus on a State Guard artillery unit, discusses historiography, the war in Missouri, the organization of the Missouri State Guard, and the challenges faced by its artillery. The analysis is based on muster rolls, the 1860 Federal Censuses, county histories, newspaper and magazine articles, and other primary and secondary source materials. The majority of the 2nd Missouri's soldiers were young, unwed, and childless, living at home with their parents and siblings. Most came from poor or middle class subsistence-level farming families residing in the Boonslick area. Although formed in Lafayette County, the men were drawn from 32 different counties. Compared to the populous state as a whole, the 2nd Missouri's soldiers had a higher ratio of slave ownership, but most did not own slaves. They came from counties supporting moderate candidates in the 1860 Presidential election. Only a slim majority were native-born Missourians. Well-educated for the times, they had a very low desertion rate. Trained as horse artillery, the unit was often split into sections that served independently. The 2nd Missouri gained a stellar reputation fighting in the Trans-Mississippi and Western theatres. The thesis ends with a brief examination of the soldiers' post-bellum lives.

Copyright

© Claire Marie Momot

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