By Alex Fees
Franklin County, MO (KSDK) - A Franklin County town is among the first in eastern Missouri to recently recognize its Civil War heritage.
A three-hour skirmish in Pacific in 1864 was the closest the Civil War came to St. Louis. The recognition is part of a larger effort to market Missouri during the Civil War's 150th anniversary.
Missouri is third in the country when it comes to the number of Civil War battles, behind only Virginia and Tennessee.
Now, a local author wants to make sure tourists take notice.
In Pacific, high on the bluff overlooking West Osage Street, there is a new addition to Blackburn Park. A Civil War cannon and informational panel here explain what happened during a Confederate incursion led by General Sterling Price.
"You got to understand there were 1,100 battles or skirmishes in Missouri during the Civil War," said author and attorney, Greg Wolk. Wolk, who wrote "A Tour Guide to Missouri's Civil War: Friend and Foe Alike," explains what happened near Pacific.
"The result was most of the railroad property in Pacific was destroyed," said Wolk. "Some men were wounded; a couple killed on the Confederate side."
Construction of the new memorial in Blackburn Park is sponsored by the city of Pacific.
"Pacific helped," said Alderman Brad Reed. "Most of the community pitched in to fund the project. The city did some of the improvements to the park."
Wolk believes a trail of the locations of Missouri Civil War skirmishes could be a tourism draw for the state.
"Contrast the 1,100 battles or skirmishes in Missouri with none that occurred in Illinois, Iowa, or Nebraska; and two that occurred in Kansas," said Wolk.
Wolk has in mind an extension of what an organization known as Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation has already done in central Missouri-- a regional map and a series of interpretative panels, like the one in Pacific.
"We're in the second year, this summer, of the Civil War's Sesquicentennial event," said Wolk. "So we've still got a couple more years to go."
Wolk said Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation is partnering with the Missouri Humanities Council to produce a map of sites in northern Missouri. It will stretch down to Jefferson Barracks and Pacific and document the life of President and General Ulysses S. Grant.
For more information on Missouri's role in the Civil War, click here.
For information on the City of Pacific, visit their website.
To plan a Civil War trip, click here.