JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced a new exhibit, Divided Loyalties: Civil War Documents from the Missouri State Archives, will be on display from January 9 to February 20, 2012, at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (7400 Grant Rd.). In development for three years, the exhibit draws on more than nine million pages of Civil War-related documents to examine the upheaval and uncertainty that characterized Missouri during the Civil War era. Most of the documents used are from the Missouri State Archives, a division of Carnahan’s office, and have never been shown before.
“The Civil War might have divided Missouri, but today we can all come together to learn more about this period in our past,” Carnahan said. “I am pleased to share with Missourians some of the documents we have at the Archives that help show how the Civil War impacted our state and its citizens.”
Through state documents and court cases, Divided Loyalties covers all of Missouri’s tumultuous Civil War history, from the Kansas-Missouri Border War to Reconstruction. The exhibit demonstrates that the war in Missouri was not fought solely on the battlefield. Rather, the conflict was so divisive that it affected civilians and soldiers alike and lasted long after the war ended.
The exhibit explores the role slavery played in dividing the state’s population, along with the lives of soldiers and civilians who faced discrimination and violence from both Union troops and bushwhackers. The exhibit also examines how the court system was used to settle grievances after the war and, when that failed, how some Missourians resorted to vigilante violence.
Some of the most noteworthy documents featured in the exhibit include court cases brought by slaves seeking their freedom, such as the famous suit filed by Dred and Harriet Scott; records from Missouri’s pro-Confederate elected state government in exile and the federally-backed provisional government that took its place; muster rolls, company histories and military correspondence from the Missouri adjutant general’s office; a U.S. Colored Troops volunteer enlistment form; the 1865 Constitution that disenfranchised Southern sympathizers; and documents chronicling attempts to bring Frank and Jesse James to justice.