Comments on Willie Scott

Historically, Callaway Co., in the heart of 'Little Dixie', is made up predominantly of settlers from Virginia, by way of Kentucky, who accompanied or came as a result of Daniel Boone's efforts to settle the area while the region was still a Spanish posession. This region during the Civil war was almost totally Southern sympathizers as was much of the rural portion of Missouri. When the secession question came before the Missouri Legislature and secession was apparent, the threat of Federal troops under the command of Nathaniel Lyon from the St. Louis area forced the Missouri Legislature to recognize a state of war with the Union and immediately flee the Missouri State Capitol to Boonville, Missouri. General Lyon was quick to seize the evacuated Jefferson City, Missouri, capitol. The Missouri Legislature fled to Southern Missouri following the fall of Boonville. It is not known whether Missouri would have seceded from the Union or not at that time; however the Legislature in absentia voted at Cassville, Missouri in 1861 to secede from the Union. Callaway County apparently seceded from the state of Missouri upon failure of Missouri to secede from the Union and created the Kingdom of Callaway, an indication of the true nature of the partisan feelings in Callaway County. For further information on this topic, an article, The Civil War In Callaway County, by: Mark Douglas, please refer to the preceeding link.

Willie Scott was a fifteen year old boy at the time both letters were written from Alton Military Prison and at the time of his death. He, like many boys of his time, left home to join the army of his choice. After serving in the army of the Confederacy for a brief period of time, he was captured and sent to Alton Military Prison at Alton, Illinois. Due to his age, we assume that his Mother either purchased his release or secured release upon the promise not to again fight on the side of the South. The release appears to have included general amnesty and a military pardon.

The accounts of Willie's death in the newspaper clippings are essentially true; however there are some conflicts with second party accounts by Willie's Sister, Amanda Scott Boyd, to other family members. Newspaper article number 3, by Ina Jennings, appears to be most inaccurate and much license is taken by the author with little knowledge of the true situation of Willie Scott and should be generally discounted. Much of the support information regarding Willie's military service has never been explored to fill in some of the gaps. Some reports indicated that Willie served with General Sterling Price's army near the Springfield, Mo. area. We assume that this portion of the oral tradition is true since the reports of his capture place him in Dade County, Missouri, immediately adjacent to Springfield, Missouri, at the time of his capture by Union forces. Much of the chronology of Willie's military service is speculation based upon the family oral tradition and the record of General Sterling Price's Expediton into Missouri in 1864, since Willie had not been home long enough in two days to relate his Confederate service details.

We would place Willie as having crossed the Missouri River with other partisans of his area and joining with Price's army on or about October 6 through October 8, 1864, while those Confederate forces occupied the Eastern edge of Jefferson City, Missouri, waiting for the order to attack Union forces holding the city. The attack never came and Price's Army continued Westward along the rail lines toward Sedalia, Missouri. Willie and the group he was with probably saw service in battles of: Sedalia, Liberty, Westport, and Little Osage before their separation and/or capture on or about October 28, 1864 and his subsequent transfer to Gratiot Prison in St. Louis, Missouri and Alton Military Prison in Alton, Illinois on November 01, 1864. Willie's capture in Dade County, Missouri, places him appxoximately 20 to 50 miles East of where Price's Army passed in full retreat. Based on this information we must assume that a group of central Missouri regulars or partisans had separated or were separated from the main forces moving Southward and were attempting to make their way back to Callaway County when captured.

Records of Willie's capture and transfer to prison are brief and sketchy; however they list Willie as 'Citizen', introducing some doubt as to whether Willie had joined any regular Confederate forces at that time. Most of the Confederate records, such as muster rolls ended up in the State of Texas with many of the Confederate regulars and were either lost or destroyed for fear of reprisal after the Civil War. Precious few of these Confederate records of this time period have been discovered in Texas and are not part of the knowledge base of today.

Willie was not released by Christmas as he had begged his Mother in his first letter of December 15, 1864, nor by February as documented by the existence of a copy of a nearly illegible letter to his Mother from Willie, again from Alton Military Prison, dated February 28, 1865. The original of this letter is not in our posession and our copy is nearly illegible. We assume the contents to be nearly the same as the first letter as indicated by the legible portions. The tombstone marking Willie's grave indicates that Willie died on March 31, 1865.

Willie and Amanda Scott
Comments by: Wayne E. Johnson (son of Edward B. Johnson and Great - Great Nephew of Willie Scott)