This episode of Pocahontas and the Civil War tells of a fascinating deception by which southern sympathizers tricked men in southern Missouri into entering the war on the side of the south, just as men used to “Shanghai” sailors, using force, liquor or drugs to fill ships’ crews by unscrupulous means.
BARNESVILLE, March 21, 1863 [Barnesville, Missouri, is 70 miles north of Pocahontas, near Van Buren.]
James H. McChord, a painter by trade, and originally from Indiana, coming from Pocahontas, Ark., has just entered our lines. He left Pocahontas on March 16th, and crossed Current River some 10 miles above Van Buren [Van Buren, Missouri, is about 70 miles north of Pocahontas]. He reports Reves’ and Carter’s band to be about 250 strong, combined. They are now infesting the country lying between Doniphan, Greenville, and Martinsburg, and are principally engaged in enforcing the conscript law. Reves’ men are all dressed in Federal cavalry coats. Colonel Greene, with 400 or 500 men (conscripts) stationed at Pocahontas.
[That’s Confederate Colonel, later General Colton Greene. Apparently a band of 250 Confederates led by Reves and Carter, operating in southern Missouri, had dressed as Federal cavalry, pretending to enforce the new U.S. draft laws to force men into the army. Once enlisted in this way, the Missouri men found out they had been brought into the Confederate army stationed at Pocahontas! We will hear more of Reves, and the Union efforts to catch him, in later blog posts.]