Washington in Franklin County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Civil War Comes to Washington
Confederate General Marmaduke's forces were advancing on Washington as October 1864 approached, with fear and widespread panic among the town's residents. Many citizens crossed the river to evade the advance of confederate troops. The School Sisters of Notre Dame, teaching at Saint Francis Borgia Parish grade school, decided to remain. All the sisters, and girls under their care, dressed in warm clothing and anxiously waited for what was to come. The sisters had confidence the Lord would not forsake them and prayed for His protection. At dawn on the morning of October 2nd several Washington citizens approached the confederate troops, under white flags, surrendering the community. While the surrendered citizens were not viewed as enemies, the troops did not treat them kindly. Fortunately the sisters, and the female students under their care, were afforded the protection of the general.
After plundering of the town ceased towards evening, a confederate officer brought materials, supplies, and gifts to the sisters. The officer stated he was orphaned as a boy and was educated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. He had a desire to repay them, and thus had taken money out of his pocket to purchase some of the items. The confederate officer is believed to be Captain Joseph
The main body of Marmaduke's troops left Washington on the evening of October 2nd. Subsequently, a remaining company of confederate soldiers set fire to the railroad depot on the river front. This was a common practice to prohibit further use of the railroads by Union troops. Startled, the sisters at Saint Francis Borgia were greatly alarmed that burning embers from the fire would spread to the convent, located at the northwest corner of Elm and Main Streets. the sisters steadily pumped water on a wooden fence to prevent it from igniting. The building just south of the depot then caught fire while a Confederate Captain watched the progression of the depot's destruction. Then some barrels of petroleum ignited causing an explosion.
At that point, in respect to the pleas of the sisters, the Confederate soldiers dropped their weapons, went to the local firehouse to get equipment, and extinguished the fire so it would not endanger the convent. The confederate soldiers soon left town.
Daniel Quimby Gale was born December 23, 1807 in Amesbury, Essex County, Massachusetts. He studied law in Maine where he met his wife, Elizabeth Swain. Three children were born to the marriage: Daniel Oscar, Sarah, and Elizabeth. Daniel Quimby Gale moved to Union, Missouri in 1834, and later moved to Washington in 1837. He practiced law and served as a Justice of the County Court, County Judge, Circuit Attorney, United States Assessor, and Circuit Judge. In 1839, Daniel Gale was elected to the first Board of Trustees for Washington, and also served as Postmaster for nine years.
In August 1862, Daniel Gale enrolled into Union service and was appointed the commander of the 54th Enrolled Missouri Militia for almost the whole duration of the Civil War. His command was temporarily suspended during a short period for an investigation of the death of a southern man, James Barnes, by suspected militia volunteers.
His eldest child, Daniel Oscar Quimby Gale, born in 1831, had loyalties which differed from his father during the Civil War. He joined the Missouri State Guard, a Confederate unit. ON May 6, 1861 he joined the 4th Regiment Missouri Infantry at Cole Camp, Benton County, Missouri, and was later commissioned into the Confederate Army on October 23, 1861. Daniel Oscar went on to serve as a Captain and Commissary Officer in Marmaduke's Division of Cavalry until the end of the Civil War when he was captured and paroled at Shreveport, Louisiana June 7, 1865. During Price's Raid on Missouri, Daniel Oscar was in Washington and reportedly visited some of his family.
Following the Civil War, Daniel Oscar returned to his home in Washington. He died at the age of thirty-five on August 6, 1866 and is buried in Wildey Cemetery, Washington, MO. His father, Daniel Quimbly Gale lived to the age of eighty-seven, dying on January 7, 1894, and is buried close to his son in Wildey Cemetery.
Washington was established along the banks of the Missouri River because of benefits provided by this natural waterway. The railroad, which was later built along its shores, made Washington a prosperous community. But during the Civil War, both the river and the railroad made it a target for Confederate advances.
On 28 September 1864 Major General Rosecrans sent communications to Captain Julius Wilhelmi, Adjutant of the 54th Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia and to prominent citizens of Washington, to secure the steam ferry boats and guard them. Further communications instructed the militia to, if necessary, destroy the vessels. The two ferries located on the Washington riverfront were named Bright Star and Evening Star. However, only the Bright Star was docked at that time. A reply to General Rosencrans confirmed the Bright Star and all skiffs were secured, preventing the Confederates from capturing them and gaining access to the north side of the Missouri River.
Union troops in Washington had few supplies and were limited in number, and thus unable to repel an attack by the superior sized Confederate force. On October 2nd, an attack on Washington started at daybreak. During the preceding night, an order was given to evacuate militia troops and the civilian population to the north side of the river by the Bright Star and other boats. Not all civilians complied with this order, and a few paid for it with their lives.
The militia troops were ordered to move to the north side of the river, heading toward the St. Charles area. On their way, while passing by South Point, Confederate troops fired upon the militia with one militia soldier wounded. The militia could see the South Point train station burning, as well as the Dubois Creek Bridge.
The 54th Enrolled Missouri Militia returned to Washington on October 5th after the Confederate troops left Washington. The regimental headquarters was then sent to Pacific, Missouri for guard duty of railroads throughout Franklin County.
Both the Bright Star and the Evening Star survived the Civil War and continued to operate along the Washington riverfront for many years.
Erected by Washington, Missouri Chamber of Commerce; Veterans Hall of Honor, Franklin County, Missouri; Washington Historical Society.
Location. 38° 33.709′ N, 91° 0.774′ W. Marker is in Washington, Missouri, in Franklin County. Marker is on West Front Street west of Elm Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 West Front Street, Washington MO 63090, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Missouri Pacific Railway Station (a few steps from this marker); 1856 Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot (a few steps from this marker); Henry A. Hartbauer (a few steps from this marker); Pacific House (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington's Railroad History (within shouting distance of this marker); Missouri Pacific Passenger Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); Wolf Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Pacific Railroad Depot (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Washington.
Categories. • Churches & Religion • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels • Women •
Credits. This page was last revised on November 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 8, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 40 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on November 5, 2018, by T. Patton of Jefferson, Georgia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 8, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.