General Sterling Price was born in Virginia on September 11, 1809. He married his wife Martha Head Price in
1833. He entered politics in 1844 when
he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. His military serves started with Senator
Thomas H. Benton obtained Prices commission to command a regiment. In the Mexican war Price, lead a regiment of
volunteers to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In
January 1847 Price stopped an attack on the American force in now know Taos,
New Mexico. That little skirmish was
used to get him promoted to Brigadier General.
Brigadier General Price then led his men to attack Santa Cruz De Rosales
against war department orders, where his men killed 200 Mexicans that had
already surrendered. This action was
celebrated by friends and helped him to be elected governor in 1852 of
Missouri. Governor Price voted for the
transcontinental railroad and the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act that made it legal
to have slaves in the Louisiana Territory.
There was a lot of sovereignty being pushed in Missouri that was thought
to be a way to get slaver to be north of the Missouri compromise line. This also led to bad practices of attacking supporters
of none slavery to sway elections or them patriating in a territorial elections
where they did not live.
Prices time as governor he had multiple business ventures to in cloud a railroad
that fail in the economic downturn, it financial ruined him. With his political connection, he landed the
state bank commissioners job to get back on track. After the election of Abraham Lincoln, that
was when the secession started from the Union.
Price had supported Douglas who was strongly opposed to secession. The then governor Jackson tried to get
Missouri too seceded throughout the Civil War.
Jackson was more devoted to the confederate than to the Union. In the late 1850, Price and family moved to
Keysteville, Missouri where he had invested in land for a farm. “In February 1861, Price sought election as
conditional Unionist delegate to a state convention, which the start legislature
had created to decide if Missouri would remain in the Union.” (https://shsmo.org/historicmissourians/name/p/price/,
para 12) Being that he was oversee of
the debate, Price did not take part in them.
With the conclusion of the debate, Missouri decided to act an s a
mediator between the North and South to try to get a peaceful solution. Price remained undecided about what course he
would take during the war until Union forces outside of St. Louis captured the
state militia. Prince made his decision
after the altercation between Lyons troop and a group of civilians. After observing this, Price went to Jefferson
City to offer his military services to Governor Jackson. Governor Jackson had hesitation before he
appointed Price to command the state militia. General Price negotiated cessations of
violence between the state and federal forces.
This agreement was that the federal troops would not conduct military
movement and General Price pledged peace.
Not long after the agreement General Price and men were driven from their
home by Unionist that knew the agreement would not stand. The result of Unionist driving them out is
they removed the union commander and replaced him with Nathaniel Lyon
temporarily. Nathaniel Lyon first moves
his forces on Jefferson City and then he beat General Price’s men at
Boonville. The next face off was Wilson
Creek that was fought between Nathaniel Lyon and a combined force General Price
and Ben McCulloch. The out com of the
battle was a Union withdraws and the loose of Lexington to confederate, even
with this successes the confederate where not able to take Missouri from the
Union. Then next commander for the
federal in Missouri was Henry W. Halleck.
His mission in the state was to deal with the Guerrilla fighters, his tactics
where aggressive, attacking and killing anyone that they thought where caused problems
in the state. Halleck said it was within
his right of war do to General Price commissioning the action in Missouri. Halleck said that General Price was the one
that brooks the law.
Major General Price was in a battle in northwestern Arkansas where he was
forced to retreat. Major General Price
was successful in captured a supply depot at Iuka Mississippi and escaped
General Ulysses S. Grants attempt to trap him.
Major General Price had disastrous casualties for the Confederate defeat
in the battle of Corinth Mississippi.
After that Price was sent back Arkansas to serve as the commander under
General Holmes. The hope was that Price
could get enough of a force to have an impact.
The best they got was to push the federal force back to Little Rock and
At the conclusion of
the war, Major general Price took his men south to try to join the Mexican federalize
until. After about two years, it was
unfavorable to them and Price returned to Missouri in January 1867, Sterling
Price past away later that year.
Sterling Price had the respect of many Missourians as a governor and
Patriotic soldier. He had a turbulent
career shaped by the division of the Civil War.