All My Ends Have Been My Country’s

Missouri General Sterling Price, commanding the Missouri State Guards, had written to President Jefferson Davis in November requesting Confederate aid. He wrote again on December 16 urging Davis to order General Ben McCulloch, commanding secessionists in Arkansas, to join with Price’s Guards: “I have repeatedly assured your Government that such co-operation would enable me to take and maintain possession of three fourths of the State and to gather around me at least 50,000 recruits.”

Price explained that thousands of secessionists were gathering throughout Missouri, but they “cannot come to me in the present condition of the State… most of them are compelled to stay at home to give whatever protection they can to their families against the armies and marauding gangs which are laying waste and desolating the State.” According to Price, the main problem was that volunteers who “would gladly join the army, if they could get to it,” were “prevented from doing so by the extension of the enemy’s lines across the State and their occupation of every approach to the army.”

Gen. Sterling Price | Image Credit:

While this letter was in transit, Davis responded to Price’s letter from November requesting aid. Davis assured Price that he was “most anxious to give to Missouri all the aid in our power, and have been hopefully looking for the tender of troops from Missouri and Arkansas, to be organized into brigades and divisions under the laws of the Confederate States.”

However, Davis had “at present no troops to give you except those under General McCulloch, and you are aware of their condition… You may rest assured that the welfare of Missouri is as dear to me as that of other States of the Confederacy, and that I will do all in my power to assist her in her struggle to maintain the common cause and to vindicate her freedom and sovereignty.”

Exiled Missouri Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, now in New Orleans, wrote to President Davis on the 30th in response to Davis’s suggestion that Price assimilate his Missouri State Guards into the Confederate army. Jackson explained that Price’s Guards had been “left alone to face a foe of more than five times their strength,” but they still “successfully held in check the Lincoln forces in our state.”

Missouri Gov. C.F. Jackson | Image Credit: Wikipedia

Jackson expressed concern that “General Price and his men being thus forsaken by those on whom they relied for aid can scarcely be expected they will enter the Confederate Army with that alacrity and promptness they would do under more favorable auspices.” Missouri had been “left to the mercy of the thieving jayhawker and murderous Hessian,” while the soldiers’ “towns and their houses (were) destroyed by fire, their property stolen, their country laid waste, and their wives and children driven from their homes to perish or to live as best they can.”

Jackson was also concerned that even if the Guards were absorbed into the Confederate army, Price would not be. As such, he asked Davis to put Price in command of the Confederacy’s fledgling Western Department, hoping that Davis had “already been clothed with power to make the appointment.”

The exiled governor wrote to Price that same day: “Why it is that he (Davis) can’t give you the appointment at once I am utterly at a loss to determine… (but) I will not censure the President until I know he has wronged us.” Jackson notified Price that money had been raised to buy a new sword for the general, as “a beautiful present from the young ladies of New Orleans.”

While Jackson enjoyed New Orleans and violent partisanship continued in Missouri, Davis disputed members of the Confederate Congress over military command in Missouri. This prompted him to write: “I have, long since, learned to bear hasty censure in the hope that justice if tardy is sure, and in any event to find consolation in the assurance that all my ends have been my country’s.”


  • Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day. New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971.

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