George R. Waddell & Reuben R. Geery

Union Army

“Enrolled Missouri Militia”

1st (or Pike County) Battalion

as part of the

49th Regiment

Company C

American Civil War Veterans

The state of Missouri was admitted to the union shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War as a “split state” under the Missouri Compromise.  With that being the case, loyalties were very much divided.  As a frontier state about half of the residents arrived here from southern states and about half from northern states.  Feelings ran high and tensions mounted as the war began in 1860.  Before long many young men rushed off to enlist in one army or the other and eventually this tallied up to about 110,000 enlistees for the Union and about 90,000 for the Confederacy.  Even many families were split in the choices presented and ill feelings followed within almost all communities. 

In addition to sending young men away to join either the Federal Army, or that of the Confederacy, the State of Missouri also created opportunities for people to join a local militia to help protect their families from opposing forces right there at home.  Such units were known by the name of “Home Guards” and their ranks were filled with men in favor of preserving “the Union”.  Initially this was not viewed as a war over the institution of slavery.  If that had been the case Missouri would have easily seceded.  But at the time the legislature took their vote the question was primarily one of retaining the union as it had been versus splitting the country into two nations, with States Rights dominating over the power of the Federal government. 

As the war began and people in each community chose the side they favored, friction and violence broke out in a number of spots.  In fact there were more “battles” fought in Missouri in the first year than in any other state but most of these were small skirmishes in comparison to the better-known conflicts. 

Around the state these “Home Guard” units, as well as their confederate counterparts, began to arm themselves and to drill for future engagements against their enemy neighbors.  Pike County was included with the others in this kind of fervor.  Quoting from History of Pike County, MO (1883, Mills & Co., Des Moines, IA) page 271:

“Not only at Louisiana (a town in NE Pike Co.), but in other towns, such as Bowling Green, Ashley, and Frankford, the home guards were receiving arms and drilling.  This was very distasteful to those whose sympathies were with the south, and threats were made that the latter would deprive them of their arms.  Hence pickets were put on guard as a precaution against any surprise.  Unfortunately, on the Friday evening of June 24, 1861, Mr. Heath Jones was approaching, it is alleged, as if by stealth towards the armory, and upon being hailed, “who comes there?” three times, made no reply, whereupon the guard, Mr. McHattan, fired, killing the approaching man.  Mr. McH. Fled to Louisiana, and reported the matter to Captain Anderson.  As might have been expected there was great excitement, and as a result most of the union men had to leave Frankford. 

“Finally commissions were appointed to represent the citizens of Frankford and vicinity, on the one hand, and the Peno home guards on the other, with a view to adjusting the differences between them.  As a result it was unanimously agreed that the home guards should be disbanded, and that the citizens should pledge themselves to protect the person and property of every person in the neighborhood.  This arrangement was signed by Ephraim Zumwalt, John Angel, Christian Hostetter, William Penix, Jos. R. Lewellen, Thomas McCormick, and T. H. Musick, on behalf of home guards, and James W. Hufford, W. W. Waddell, W. Pitt, Thomas Sach, Sr., J. D. Brown, William Devin, W. M. Inloe on behalf of the citizens of Frankford.” 

It is interesting to note that our ancestor, William White Waddell (Sr.), who was about 65 years old at this time, was a respected resident of the community who took part in securing the peace between the two factions.  Still, this did not end the war, even on a local basis.  Both sides continued to increase their preparedness for an eventual conflict.  We continue quoting from the same source:

“A large number of companies went into an encampment July 24, 1861 at Bowling Green, for the purpose of drilling and forming a regiment.  The principle companies were those of Louisiana, Bowling Green, and Ashley.” 

As one side elevated their readiness, so the other side felt they needed to respond.  Eventually, a misunderstanding led to the call to arms of the Home Guard units and they marched to Ashley, Pike Co., Missouri in early August of 1861.  After marching a few miles beyond the town of Ashley the error was caught and the Guards were able to stand-down so that peace was restored without bloodshed.  But tensions continued to mount as residents saw a willingness of the Guards to engage in a battle. 

Just a few weeks later, on August 28, 1861, a raid was made on the town of Ashley where a store of ammunitions was kept.  The southern sympathizers made an attack on a small band of militia that was guarding the stored weapons.  There were only nineteen guards stationed at the armory and they resorted to the second floor of some local houses in order to fend off about 125 guerrilla raiders.   A gun battle ensued in which one Union defender was killed; another seriously wounded and about eight others received lighter wounds.  Another man was killed shortly after the main fracas.  Of the southerners, at least five men died at the scene or shortly thereafter from wounds received and at least two other men were wounded. 

Over the next year various Missouri recruits were signing up for tours of duty of three years or more with one army or the other, which meant that most of them left the state in order to do their fighting.  Still, the southern guerilla bands continued to make devastating raids against their neighbors in various localities around the state.  To help the residents protect themselves against such marauding bands the Governor, on the 22nd of July 1862 issued an order “authorizing Brigadier General J. M. Schofield, of the state militia, to organize the entire state into companies, regiments, and brigades.”  Continuing with our quote:

“These then are the circumstances in brief which led to the organization of the ‘Enrolled Missouri Militia’ which must not be confounded with the ‘Missouri State Militia’ where were separate and distinct forces.  The latter, of which there were ten regiments, were volunteer troops enlisted in the service of the United States, and in its pay, while the Governor had it in his power to remove at will all officers.  Besides, they were intended exclusively for state protection.  The enrolled militia were organized by order of the Governor and under his exclusive control, the Federal government having no authority whatever over them.  Although the order of Gov. Gamble was not issued until July 22, 1862, before the close of the month not less than 600 men had been enrolled at Louisiana alone, to say nothing of the work going on all over the country.  And before the close of the month of August, according to a statement of the Adjutant General, 1600 men had been enrolled in the county of Pike.  Again, at this very time the county had about 1200 three-year men in the field who had volunteered their services” (to the Federal Government.)  {Ibid}

As mentioned, the men of Pike County were very involved in this “Enrolled Missouri Militia” effort.  It does not appear that they actually saw any fighting but their patriotic enthusiasm led many to the recruitment tables.  Among these “EMM” (Enrollment Missouri Militias) was the 49th Regiment in Pike County, with Company C recruited on Sugar Creek where our Waddell family lived.  In fact, while we have no record of it, it is likely that the actual mustering in of this company may have taken place either at the home of one of our Waddells, or perhaps at the Sugar Creek School house not far distant.  On August 14, 1862, Company C enrolled in the EMM and its members elected James E. Waddell to be their captain.  We are currently not sure just where this young man fits into our Waddell family, but our Waddells/Waddles also lived on Sugar Creek, which was a very small community of just a handful of families.  In the roster of Company C we find the following persons who enrolled at this time on Sugar Creek, Pike Co., MO:

          James T. Waddell        Captain

          James E. Waddell        Private

          George R. Waddell    Private          (our direct ancestor)

          Thomas J. Waddell      Private           (brother of George R. Waddell)

          Reuben R. Geery        7 Corporal   (our ancestor, son-in-law of G. R. Waddell) 

          James Geery                 Private         (brother of Reuben, but enrolled in Company K)

The following list of Waddells from Missouri gives one an idea of the divisions experienced among the families living there.  Most of these would have been related, although many by this time would have been distant cousins: 

         Carr B. Waddell        Confederacy     

         Charles Waddell        Union

         Geo. R. Waddell      Union

         Harlan Waddell         Union

         J. H. Waddell             Confederacy

         Jacob F. Waddell       Union

         James Waddell           Confederacy

         James Waddell           Union

         James R. Waddell      Union

         James W. Waddell     Union

         John Waddell             Confederacy

         John B. Waddell        Union

         John M. Waddell       Union

         Oscar A. Waddell      Confederacy

         Owen A. Waddell      Confederacy

         P. F. Waddell             Confederacy

         Robert S. Waddell      Union

         Thomas Waddell        Union

         Thomas J. Waddell     Union

         William H. Waddell    Union

         William R. Waddell    Confederate

         William R. Waddell    Union

{On the Internet, see: to review the: Missouri Union Provost Marshal Papers 1861-1866, from which one can search by family name.  Also see below for the copies of the specific document obtainable from this source—for both George R. Waddell and Reuben R. Geery.  The complete text of their military papers is available at the National Archives in Washington D. C.} 

Despite the fact that our Waddells came to Missouri from Virginia, via Kentucky; and our Geerys came from Kentucky and Tennessee, our most closely related family members favored keeping the country together as a “Union”, but it must have been a difficult choice and many of their friends and distant family members chose to support the other side. 

Geo. R. Waddell (George Richard Waddell/Waddle) was 42 years old at the time he enrolled in the Missouri Militia.  He was the oldest son of William White Waddell/Waddle, who by this time was 67 years old and too aged to consider joining the militia.  George’s wife, Mildred C. Sisson, had died less than a year prior to the outbreak of the Civil War (4 May 1859) leaving him to raise eleven children, ranging in age from about 16 years to 3 months.  Most of the children, and especially the older ones, were girls, with his daughter, Lucy Frances Waddle, being the second oldest, and just 15 years old at the death of her mother. 

It was a difficult decision for men to agree to sign up for a tour of duty in the local militia.  Even though they would not be going far away to fight for an extended period of time, still when they signed up on August 14, 1862, it would have been right at harvest time.  These men were farmers and their life, and the lives of their children, depended upon them bringing in a bountiful harvest.  George would have to rely on his older daughters to care for the family, tend the stock and reap the harvest.  His oldest son was just eleven years old at this time and not able to do a man’s work.  He did have his father and some brothers, but they were busy tending their own farms and so the hardship would have to be shared.  His youngest brother Thomas J. Waddell, had also enlisted, so he would not be able to help, as he too needed someone to watch over his harvest. 

It is not clear just exactly what was expected of these local militias, and it could well be that they got together primarily to organize themselves to be ready to respond should some untoward event develop locally.  If so, then this might be compared in some ways to the “Minute Men” of New England during the Revolutionary War—men who remained at home to farm, but who were organized into companies and who were prepared to respond in a minute’s notice to any call to arms from their commanding officer.

There is no record of this particular company’s involvement in any fighting, but they were called away for a brief period of time beginning with their enlistment.  Most of these seemed to serve for 25 days.

From the records, it appears that George did not stay too long with his unit.  His record indicates that he served just 15 days and was “dis for dis” (presumably: discharged for desertion).   Desertion from this militia company did not seem to carry the same kind of penalty that one might expect from a regular army.  No one was shot for leaving.  Everyone knew where he lived and where he could be found.  It seems to have merely meant that he went home—probably to take care of his family and farm—and he did so a bit earlier than the militia wished. 

Reuben R. Geery enrolled in the Company C of the Pike County Militia just three days short of his 20th birthday.  As a young single man he did not have the same responsibilities that George Waddell had.  He joined up and served for the full 25 days.  He was chosen to be 7th Corporal of the Company, which is an indication of the esteem in which he was held by the other men of his unit. 

Reuben married George Waddell’s daughter, Lucy Frances “Fanny” Waddell, a year and a half later, on 25 February 1864. 

Reuben R. Geery

At about the time of his wedding in 1864

Peno Township, Pike County, Missouri