Price, Sterling

Price, Sterling

Price, Sterling, 1809-67, Confederate general in the American Civil War, b. Prince Edward co., Va. After moving to Missouri, he practiced law and entered politics. He served in Congress (1844-46), resigning to lead a Missouri regiment in the Mexican War. Made military governor of New Mexico, he put down a rising of Native Americans and Mexicans. Price was governor of Missouri (1853-57) and president of the state convention of Mar., 1861, which opposed secession. However, his displeasure at the activities of the extreme Unionists led him to accept the command of the Missouri secessionist militia in May, 1861. At Wilson's Creek (Aug., 1861) he and Ben McCulloch defeated the Union forces. Price then took Lexington but was soon obliged to retreat into Arkansas. After the Union victory at Pea Ridge (Mar., 1862), Price accepted a regular Confederate commission. His campaign around Iuka and Corinth, Miss. (Oct., 1862), was unsuccessful. He opposed Gen. Frederick Steele in Arkansas (1863-64). Price's raid through Missouri (Sept.-Oct., 1864), after initial successes, was finally turned back at Westport and was the last Confederate threat in the Far West.

See studies by A. E. Castel (1968) and R. E. Shalhoyse (1971).

The Price-Harney Truce was a document signed on May 21, 1861 between United States Army General William S. Harney and Missouri State Guard commander Sterling Price at the beginning of the American Civil War.

The truce sought to forestall the outbreak of violence in the state of Missouri following the Camp Jackson Affair in which Union army troops under the command of Captain Nathaniel Lyon had captured Missouri State Militia training nearby. While marching the captured militia to the St. Louis Arsenal a civilian riot ensued. The soldiers fired into the crowd killing several. In the aftermath of the riot, the Missouri State Legislature enacted the governor's military bill replacing the Missouri State Militia with a new Missouri State Guard. The governor appointed Sterling Price commander of the Guard.

General Harney had been away from St. Louis during the Camp Jackson affair. Upon his return, he met with Price to sign a joint statement "for the purpose of removing misapprehensions and allaying public excitement," its object being "that of restoring peace and good order to the people of the State in subordination to the laws of the General and State Governments."

The truce drew the immediate ire of the politically connected Captain Lyon, who then successfully lobbied the War Department to relieve Harney of command on May 30. Whereas Harney was recognized as a moderate unionist, Lyon was an outspoken Radical Republican with ties to the paramilitary Wide Awakes organization. Lyon's elevation effectively ended the truce with Price.

On June 11th a last ditch meeting to prevent warfare was hosted at St. Louis by Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson. Jackson was an open Confederate sympathizer and Price had been a conditional unionist until the Camp Jackson Affair. During the meeting, Lyon angrily refused Price's requests to limit Union army exercises within the state in light of the massacre. Standing with his finger pointing at the Missouri government officials, Lyon shouted "I would see you, and you, and you, and you and every man, woman and child in the State, dead and buried. This means war. In an hour one of my officers will call for you and conduct you out of my lines." He then departed the negotiation.

As promised by Lyon, warfare soon began.


See also

Missouri Secession

External links

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