Civil War Days April 15-16, 2016 - Camp Burrows


The Doniphan Neighborhood Assistance Program is sponsoring it's annual Civil War Day for 2016 on April 15-16.  This is a two day "Living History" event that attempts to give visitors the sense of what it would have been like to have lived during the 1860's in Ripley County, Missouri.  On Friday, April 15, the program will be devoted primarily to school age children with Saturday's program geared for the general public.

Reenactors are welcome to attend.  Basic Amenities such as firewood, porta-potties, straw and water will be provided.  Although there may be some scenarios which involve skirmishes, the majority of activities will be portraying Missouri State Guard, Civilian or Confederate soldiers at a military garrison camp. 

The theme for 2016 will be Camp Burrows.
It is the Spring of 1861 and men have answered Governor Jackson's call to join the Missouri State Guard and repel the invading Federal forces.  The men have gathered at Camp Burrows in Ripley County to organize and drill.  The men are poorly equiped and trained and much of the time around camp is spent drilling.   The novelty of war has yet to be replace by the horror that will soon follow.  The men are excited and looking forward to the opportunity to quickly whip their foe and return home with stories to tell their families.  Women and children have also gathered around the camp to watch all of the activities.   Merchants and sutlers also appear, trying to capitalize on the needs of the men and spectators.
The Missouri State Legislature passed the "Military Bill" on May 11, 1861, which allowed Governor Clairbourne Fox Jackson to disband the Missouri State Malitia and reform it as the "Missouri State Guard".  The Governor has called on 50,000 Missouri men to answer the call and resist the invasion of Federal troops.  All men 18-45 are eligible to join the Missouri State Guards.  Men 14-17 and over 45 are allowed to join the new Home Guards under the control of the Missouri State Guards.
 Missouri State Guard Flag
The Military Bill calls for the formation of 9 Military Districts based on the Federal Congressional District.  Ripley County fell under the 7th District, however, the men of Ripley County join the 1st District commanded by M. Jeff Thompson. 
M. Jeff Thompson was born in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia in
1826 and moved with his family to Liberty, MO in 1847 and then St. Joseph, MO the following year.  He served as a store clerk before taking up surveying and becoming the city engineer.  He was elected Mayor of St. Joseph from 1857-1860.  In July 1861 he was appointed Brigadier General of the First Division of the Missouri State Guard.  Because his command covered the swampy Southeast Missouri, his battalion became know as the "Swamp Rats" and  he  became known as the "Swamp Fox of the Confederacy".
                                                                                                                                                      M. Jeff Thompson
The Ripley County Battalion was headquartered at Camp Burrows.  A correspondence found in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion verifies this as follows:

Camp Burrows, July 16, 1861.


Editor of the State Journal, Saint Louis:

DEAR SIR: If there is any way to communicate with the governor through any person in Saint Louis, please let me know it. I am advancing, and General Yell will follow me in a few days with 5,000 men. He will take position between Rolla and Ironton, and act as circumstances dictate. General Watkins will move up, sustained by General Pillow, and if proper energy is exercised, we can drive the enemy north of the Missouri and into Saint Louis in 30 days. You will please let me hear from you, verbally or not, through the person through whom this passes; and please send the Daily Journal for a short time to Doniphan, as it will be sent to me by my couriers.

Yours, respectfully,


Commanding Ripley County Battalion.


The next correspondence from General Thompson is on July 30, 1861 from his headquarters in Bloomfield, MO.

Bloomfield, Mo., July 30, 1861-9 p.m.

Major General GIDEON J. PILLOW, New Madrid, Mo.:

DEAR SIR: I find it to be impossible for me to go to your camp to-night, as I promised this morning. A courier reports 400 Dutch at Greenville, and as they may be laying a trap for my Ripley County battalion, I must move to their support. The different departments in my division are yet in an embryo state, and my orders may all miscarry, unless I am about, to correct mistakes. I will go to you the moment I think I can leave my men in order, and, in the mean time, you can lay out the plan of the campaign with the light and talents you have around you, and you will find me ever ready to submit to your superior age, experience, and judgment. I am working for the cause, and am willing to work in any kind of harness, and in any part of the team, so you do not tie me behind the wagons. I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you very shortly, and in the mean time consider me subject to your orders in everything.

Yours, most respectfully,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S.-Not having heard from you to-night, I will defer my march on Hamburg.


All branches of the the military as well as civilians are welcome.  Areas of the camp will be set aside for Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry and Civilian.  



Thursday Evening,  April 14:  Camp is open for those able to participate in "School Days" to set up and spend the night.

Friday, April 15:  School Days Events:

Throughout the day - Reenactors are asked to demonstrate their strengths (weapons, impressions, story telling, etc..) 

to student groups. 

                9:00 AM - Opening Ceremonies

                                   Students begin arriving


                                            Pioneer Games for Children

                                            Blacksmith Shop 

                                            Cabin Tours

                                            Rail Splitting and Pioneer Life

                                            Camp Life,  Soldier Clothing and Equipment, Manual of Arms, Drills

                    9:30 AM - Civil War in SE Missouri - Storyteller

                    10:00 AM - "Dulcitones"-Dulcimers in the Cabin

                    11:00 PM - Reenactor Presentations - Understanding and Identifying Impressions

                    2:30 PM - Civil War in SE MO - Storyteller

                    3:00 PM - Tea in the Cabin by United Daughters of the Confederacy

                    3:00 PM - Reenactor Presentations - School of the Soldier

                    6:00 PM - Eleven Point River Band

                    7:00 PM - Civil War Round table at Community Center

Saturday, April 16:  Period Artisans, Living History, Company Drills, Skirmishes, Period Music

                    9:00 AM - Opening Ceremonies

                                    Vintage Craft Demonstrations

                                            Woodworking with Vintage Tools

                                            Wood Carving

                                    Cabin Tours

                                    Blacksmith Shop

                                    Pioneer Games for Children

                                    Manual of Arms/ School of the Soldier Drills and Demonstrations

                   9:15 AM - Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics Training

                                    Part One - Lesson 1 , 2 , 3 and 4

                10:30 AM - "Lighthouse Missions" Gospel Music  

                12:00 PM - Memorial Service at Confederate Gravesites(On-site)

         1:00-4:00 PM - Blacksmith Shop Open

                 2:30 PM - Eleven Point River Band  (Bluegrass)

                 3:30 PM - Tea in the Cabin

                                        Old Customs and Stories

                                        Language of the Fan




Throughout the day on Friday and Saturday will be vintage craft demonstrations through out the park.  The Blacksmith Shop will be having demonstrations  where spectators can watch craftsmen working as well as purchase items.  There also will be craft booths and food booths opened both days.  Soldier and Civilian camps will be open both days for spectators to visit and ask questions of the reenactors.  Reenactors are asked to maintain a period camp and conduct the normal activities of that time period.