The Civil War Led to Hardship Under Martial Law

Uncle hiked to Union City, Tennessee, to enlist in Confederate Army during the Civil War.

| Good Old Days

My ancestors lived in southeast Missouri during the Civil War. When my great-great-uncle, Andrew Martin Bugg, hiked from Patterson, Missouri, to Union City, Tennessee, to enlist in the Confederate Army on July 22, 1861, at the age of 21, the family he left behind undoubtedly suffered nearly as much hardship as he. Martial law was declared in Wayne County, Missouri, on August 3, less than two weeks after Andrew arrived in Union City.

Shortly after hostilities started, Missouri Gov. Claiborne Jackson immediately organized a Home Guard throughout the state, supposedly to repel both Union and Confederate forces. The North interpreted it as an act of war, and reinforcements of Union troops chased the Home Guard into Arkansas. Residents of Wayne County were under a constant struggle to survive throughout the war. The Union soldiers would commit atrocities, then the former Home Guard would ride across the border from Arkansas and retaliate. Pillaging went on from both sides.

My great-great-grandparents lived on a farm outside of Patterson, just about 3 miles from Fort Benton, a Union fort. During a Union foray, my great-great-grandparents spotted the Union soldiers coming and hid the silver and some large portraits in the oven.

It was a chilly day and the soldier in charge insisted the stove be lit. Whether it was a clever ploy on the part of the soldier for amusement as he watched their faces as the oven grew warmer, or merely from the cold is not known. Finally, either sufficiently warmed, or satisfied there was nothing in the oven, the soldiers departed, but not before the portraits were badly charred.

This was minor compared to real suffering that went on in Wayne County. Men of Southern extraction had to stay in hiding, livestock was taken, homes burned and families exiled. Many men remaining at home joined the Enrolled Missouri Militia just to stay alive and keep families from being persecuted.

One Union report relating a typical scouting expedition that took place just two months after martial law was proclaimed sums it up well: "Having been out 6 days, marched 145 miles, killed 10 men, burned 23 houses, captured 15 horses and mules all of which is respectfully submitted."

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April 27-28, 2019
Asheville, N.C.

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds