Benton County Missouri GenWeb
Benton County Missouri Home Guards
13 June - 13 Sept 1861
The U. S. Government designation of this 90-day Union unit was "Benton
County Home Guards, Missouri Volunteers."
However, their original discharge certificates, not distributed until
1864-65, read: "German Regiment, Missouri Volunteers" and
95% were either German-born or descendants.
Some 200 Morgan County men were included, and many from Pettis County also.
When federal pensions were authorized in 1890, surviving veterans or their widows
were eligible, and the pension files often provide genealogical data. The index to Union
Civil War Pension Applications indicates many of the surviving vets and widows applied.
It also includes some applications that were disapproved because the individuals were not found
on the unit's rolls, several because the pension board misread the handwritten German names,
or a different spelling was used.
Those who applied are indicated on the rosters, but some who reenlisted included only their later units on the
application for pension. In those cases, another unit has been listed following the pension date for reference.
Pension files description and ordering instructions: National Archives and Records Administration
The Battle of Cole Camp took place dawn of 19 June 1861, just six days after they
were mustered in, while they were billeted in neighboring barns
east of Cole Camp. Many were killed and wounded, but the numbers claimed varied widely.
Some unknown casualties are reportedly buried at Union Cemetery southwest of Cole
Camp, and a marker at Monsees Cemetery south of the battle site
honors seventeen unknown buried there. Others were taken to their farm sites
for burial Confederate casualties were returned to the Warsaw area.
Some names listed by the Adjutant General as killed or died appear on the 1890 Union Veterans censuses,
so either they survived or there were other individuals with same names who were not recorded on the rolls.
One source claims as many as nine hundred men were sworn in on 11th and 12th of June 1861. However
although over 600 are listed on muster rolls, an Adjutant General's report of
31 Dec 1865 listed only 526:
"2 officers and 22 men killed, 3 died later of wounds, 2 died of disease."
"18 officers, 456 men honorably discharged, 23 discharged for disability."
There is data suggesting that some may have transferred to units elsewhere after
the battle at Cole Camp.
A passage in the 1881 History of Lafayette County regarding Union forces at Lexington July 1861 relates:
"Becker's company was composed of Germans from Freedom Township, with a few
men from Pettis County, some of whom had been at Cole Camp, Benton County."
(Organized at Boonville - captured en masse at Battle of Lexington 21 Sept 1861)
As near as possible, names are shown according to correct original spelling.
The Adjutant General rosters were recopied by WPA workers in 1930's, and many names on state records
are badly distorted. Many on federal records are misspelled also, and may have been so on original unit rolls, as in reviewing the pension
applications submitted later, some list an erroneous version as an "alias" following the correct spelling.
No ages, birthplaces. or residences were listed,
and those shown were derived by matching the 1860 censuses to rosters.
At least 20% are probably wrong, as in some
cases the census provided several possibiles for a name. In other instances the rosters list several with identical names, thus compounding the problem.
Listed after the rosters are the widows of deceased Home Guards veterans who
recorded their late husbands' service in 1890.
A few names listed only in published battle accounts and veterans' memoirs have also been added.
(If you can identify the unknowns, or have information to supplement or correct what's listed, please write)
Shown also are John Schlüsing's discharge certificate from the "German Regiment" and the replacement
certificate for Peter Ficken that was provided to his widow by the Missouri State Adjutant General
in 1893.(Note that John's name was misspelled "Schliesing" and the Cole Camp battle date listed in error as 1862)
1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows: Data for veterans residing in rural Williams Township was the most
complete, but some who reenlisted recorded only their last unit and dates (link below).
Many of the Home Guards veterans from the Cole Camp area later enlisted in other Union Army units, and a list
of some who served in Company C, Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia circa 1862-1865 is included.
"Bitter Times" relates a pastor's record of the battle, and incidents during the lawless years that followed.
Additional Note: Cole Camp native and resident Bob Owens a descendant
of the Eding and Boerger families, has studied the battle site and details in depth, and welcomes related correspondence.
The Almost Forgotten Battle
Compiled by: Homer R. Ficken
Home Guards Roster -
A - E
F - J
K - O
P - Z
Discharge Certificate Replacement Certificate
Company C, Fifth Cavalry MSM