Co. L. 73rd Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia

During the summer of 1862, after the Federally supported Missouri State Militia had replaced most of the U.S. Volunteers that had been sent to fight elsewhere, the dangers from Confederate irregular and guerrilla forces became acute. The Governor of the State of Missouri authorized General Schofield to organize as large an additional force of Militia as necessary to aid the Missouri State Militia in protecting the State. Schofield called for every able bodied man in Missouri subject to military duty to report for enrollment in the militia. Each was to supply his own horse, gun, and ammunition. Exemptions were allowed for foreign citizens and for those who paid ten dollars and one-tenth of one percent of the value of all their taxable property to the State in lieu of service. As they enrolled the men were organized into companies with neighbors who lived in the same vicinity.

Commanders of the various military districts into which the State was divided were authorized to call these enrolled companies for service when needed but were to avoid keeping them continuously on active duty for over thirty days. (Fannin 199)

Initially the Enrolled Missouri Militia received no uniforms but turned out when called in civilian clothing. After June 30, 1862 surplus uniforms were issued to the men to wear on active duty. Each company established a place of rendezvous in a building where their arms could be stored under guard and which could be defended in case of attack. The Enrolled Missouri Militia was eventually allowed to draw rations and froage when on duty, but during their first year of organization they were instructed to subsist on the disloyal population. (Fannin 199)
In August 1863 only three companies of cavalry; B, F, and G of the 5th Cavalry Missouri State Militia,  and one section of Battery S, 1st Missouri Artillery were stationed at the Post of Houston commanded by Captain R. Murphy. On July 14, 1863 Brigadier General Thomas A Davis relayed a message saying his woman scout had reported that Col. Freeman, CSA, was on the North Fork of White River 35 miles from West Plains with about 500 men, 2 independent companies, and 5 pieces of artillery, preparing to move on Houston immediately. By August 16, 1863 Houston had been re-enforced by Co. C, 5th Missouri State Militia from Salem Missouri, and the 1st Missouri Artillery, Battery L (Frank Backof’s).             

Enrollment began with the Co. Commander Absalom McKinney June 10, 1863, and by August 31, 1863,” Co. L in the 73rd Regiment of Enrolled Militia, State of Missouri, commanded by Colonel Ratliff Palmer, organized by direction of Hamilton R. Gamble, Governor of Missouri, and under General Orders of Brigadier General Schofield, No. 19, Head Quarters Missouri State Militia July 22 1862,” was mustered into State service. The Company consisted of 82 non-commissioned officers and privates and three elected officers. Co. L was soon to become part of the 6th Provisional Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia. They were detailed by Special Order 120, H.Q., 4th Military District, August 31, 1863, and ordered into service Oct. 1, 1863. They went on to serve until the war ended under several different unit designations. 

Copyright  Kristie Williams and contributors.

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