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Reynolds County VFW Post 6660 Newsletter
Randle Tolliver, Commander
For veterans in crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line’s number is “988” then press “1”.
Homebound veterans requiring assistance please contact any member.
Veterans experiencing or at risk for homelessness, please contact any member or the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 424-3838.
See you at the Reynolds County Fair this weekend!!!
Reynolds County Cub Scout Pack 3403 meetings will resume. For more information, contact Anthony Mann at (803) 924-0608.
The next VFW and VFWA meeting will be at 2:30 PM, on 15 October at the Donald L. Cook / Billy J. Swyres Memorial Veterans Center in Centerville.
Veterans and their families need to be aware of VA “end of life” benefits and services before a veteran passes away. This can make it easier to navigate the process and plan ahead. For more information, see www.va.gov/initiatives/end-of-life-benefits/
Veterans in the VA health care system can receive free flu vaccinations through the Community Care Network in-network retail pharmacies and urgent care partners. Just present a valid, government-issued ID. To confirm your eligibility call the VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, at (573) 686-4151 or call 800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) then select option 1, then option 3, and then option 1. For more information, see https://www.prevention.va.gov/flu/flushots.asp .
Our annual youth education-related awards programs, Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy, are underway. The Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest is for middle school students in grades 6-8. This year’s theme is “How are you inspired by America?” The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program is for high school students and this year’s theme is “What are the greatest attributes of our democracy?” All students, including home schooled, are welcome. All submissions must be received by 31 October. For more information, please contact Dr. Charles Laramore at (573) 637-2112, Randy Tolliver, or email email@example.com.
Another chapter in the Civil War in Missouri series, and this one is in our neighborhood. 159 years ago this week, the Battle of Fort Davidson was fought. Most folks know this as the “Battle of Pilot Knob”. Last week we discussed the 1861 Battle of Lexington so now fast forward to September 1864. The war was going very badly for the Confederacy. Lack of material, dwindling man power, and not being recognized by the European powers were contributing factors. As Sherman was marching through Georgia, Lee was tied down to the defense of Richmond. The Confederacy had very little chance of winning the war and Abraham Lincoln had a good chance to be reelected.
To address the man power shortage, the Confederates wanted to transfer infantry from west of the Mississippi to units in the east. This was problematical, as the Union Navy controlled the Mississippi River. The western commander, General Kirby Smith, decided that an invasion of Missouri would draw Union resources west. In September, with Major General (MGEN) Sterling Price in command, 13,000 men and 14 cannons moved out of camps in southwest Arkansas and entered Missouri. Union forces in Missouri, commanded by MGEN William S. Rosecrans were approximately 10,000. Of these, 3,000 troops commanded by Brigadier General (BGEN) Thomas Ewing, were concentrated in the St. Louis region,
On 24 September, Price learned that Union troops had garrisoned the town of Pilot Knob and one end of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad. Unwilling to leave a Union force free to operate in his rear, he sent BGEN Joseph O. Shelby with his division north of Pilot Knob to attack the railroad. He also sent MGEN James Fagan and BGEN John Marmaduke and their divisions to drive Union troops under BGEN Thomas Ewing and Major James Wilson from the lower Arcadia Valley. The Union force of about 1,400 withdrew into Fort Davidson.
Fort Davidson was a small, earthen walled fort from which a small regiment of volunteer Union cavalrymen harried, attacked and captured Confederate partisans and sympathizers.
Confederate forces surrounded Fort Davidson on the 27th and began ineffective artillery attacks. MGEN Fagan and BGEN Marmaduke favored a frontal attack; however, Price’s chief engineer’s recommendation to place artillery on top of Shepherd Mountain to bombard Fort Davidson into submission was accepted. The Confederates attempted to move four cannons, but due to rough terrain only two of the guns were moved into position. The artillery fire had little success. Price then aligned troops around Fort Davidson for a coordinated attack from multiple sides. The three attacks failed due to poor execution. That night, BGEN Ewing decided to abandon the fort. His men blew up the fort’s magazine, got past the Confederate troops and retreated west toward Rolla. The Confederates pursuing eventually quit and rejoined the main body on 29 September. Union casualties were 213 and Confederate casualties estimated between 800 and 1,000,
Although the Union forces abandoned the fort, they prevented Price from attacking St. Louis. By the time he arrived, the Union forces had improved defenses, and with Confederate morale depressed, Price decided against attacking. He moved west and after the 23 October defeat at the Battle of Westport, Price withdrew to Texas via Arkansas. Price’s Missouri Expedition was a failure. He had failed to rally Confederate support, lost over two-thirds of his men and accomplished little other than property damage. For more information, I recommend “Fort Davidson and the Battle of Pilot Knob” by Walter E. Busch and “General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West” by Albert E. Castel.
Of note, the Fort Davidson battlefield was added to the Missouri State Park system in 1968 and to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. A mass grave containing battlefield dead is marked by a granite monument, and the fort’s walls, as well as the crater created when the magazine was detonated, are still visible at the site
Now for a few reminders:
For more for information concerning local VA health care call the Poplar Bluff VAMC at (573) 686-4151 or www.poplarbluff.va.gov/services/index.asp .
The VA one-stop telephone number is 1-800-698-2411 and press “0” for immediate assistance. The VA one stop website is VA.gov Home | Veterans Affairs .
The Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC) one-stop Benefits and Resource Portal is (573) 522-4061 or www.veteranbenefits.mo.gov .
To order military service documents such as a DD 214/Separation Document or Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), contact the National Archives, National Personnel Records Center at https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records, or call (866) 272-6272.
For more information, call (573) 924-2382, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/Post6660Reynoldsco .
“Here to Serve”