The Emancipation Memorial was unveiled for the 1876 centennial celebration in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C.

Archer Alexander was a slave on the Hickman farm in St, Charles. He warned Union soldiers that rebs were going to blow a bridge with them on it. He knew he’d be accused and so ran away to St. Louis where he was caught--and escaped again. He was lucky enough to be hired by Abigail Eliot, wife of William Greenleaf Eliot who was grandfather of poet T.S. Eliot and founder of Washington University. The Eliots kept Archer safe until the Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves on January 1, 1863.

In 1869, Eliot wanted the sculptor to use a real freeman in The Freedman’s Memorial which was paid for entirely by former slaves. The monument shows Lincoln reading the proclamation to a kneeling man. Eliot persuaded Thomas Ball to use as his model Archer, the last slave ever captured under the Fugitive Slave Act.


More Stories from Civil War St. Louis

         In May of 1861, Mr. Lincoln named my husband one of four top Generals in command of the entire Union army. He headed the Department of the West from Illinois all the way to the Rockies with headquarters in St. Louis.

Two Union soldiers--or are they? Rebs often "borrowed" the uniforms of dead Union soldiers. With that disguise, they might be pampered by Unionists, or they might fool genuine Union soldiers.

     That summer, St. Louis was quiet--much too quiet--with no hero’s welcome for us as it used to have.  Rebel flags were flying all across town. Rebel officers recruited soldiers on street corners.  The situation was grim. Our own Union soldiers had to drill with sticks because they had no rifles. Back east no one understood that out west we were already in a shooting war.
         August 30, 1861 Mr. Fremont declared martial law in the state and freed the slaves of Missouri rebels. We hoped to convince rebel landowners to tend to things at home--to stay out of the war.  President Lincoln fired my husband after just 100 days. 

The beginning of the war in St. Louis as seen by Jessie Benton Fremont, daughter of Missouri’s first senator, Senator Thomas Hart Benton, and wife of John Charles “Pathfinder” Fremont, first presidential candidate of the Republican party

Revenge Execution of Innocent Rebel Soldiers, October 29, 1864

Union Captain James Wilson had a bitter feud with reb guerilla Timothy Reeves. Christmas Day of 1863, Wilson surprised Reeves’s guerillas celebrating Christmas with their families. The attack laid low thirty rebs including three guerilla wives. Union men burned Reeves’s home town of Doniphan.

Reeves was in no mood for mercy when he singled out Wilson and six others from prisoners captured at Fort Davidson. Reeves executed all seven.

When General WIlliam Rosecrans learned of the execution, he ordered reprisal.  One Confederate major and six enlisted men were be executed. No Confederate Officer could be found, but six  men were taken at random from the Gratiot Street Prison to Fort Number Four where they were tied to posts, hooded and shot by thirty six soldiers.


Statues and Memorials
in St. Louis
St. Louis-Where the West Began
What Caused the Civil War?
The Men Who Started the Shooting War
Lincoln and Douglas
Abraham Lincoln
Grant and Sherman
Bellefontaine Cemetery
On-Line Resources
Victorian Verity
Donna Ross's Speaking Site