My grandson and I attended the 157th Anniversary Battle Of Pilot Knob Reenactment. I tip my hat to the organizers, reenactors, vendors, participants and security. Everything went smoothly and if there was a glitch I didn’t notice it.
The Battle of Fort Davidson was fought on September 27, 1864, near the town of Pilot Knob, MO. Major General Sterling Price commanded the Confederate troops against Union troops commanded by Thomas Ewing Jr. The Confederate divisions of Major General James Fagan and Brigadier General John S Marmaduke drove Union troops, commanded by Brigadier General Thomas Ewing Jr. and Major James Wilson, out of the Arcadia Valley to Fort Davidson. The Confederate troops led three separate attacks against the fort and were turned away. On the final attempt General William Cabell’s Confederate brigade was able to cross the moat but failed to enter the fort and retreated.
That night Ewing, after much consideration, decided to abandon the fort. He ordered his men to blow up the fort’s magazine which enabled Union troops to slip past the Confederate troops guarding the escape routes without being detected. After the unsuccessful attack Price made the decision not to attack St. Louis.
The Missouri State Parks system added the Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site in 1968 and on February 26, 1970 the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The dead were buried in a mass grave and it is marked by a granite monument. It was estimated that the Union troops lost 213 lives and the Confederates lost between 500 to 1,000 lives. There is a Visitors Center located in the park. Inside you will find a research library, a fiber optic display, and artifacts including Ewing’s sword. The American Battlefield Trust has been involved in the preservation of 41 acres at the site.