Pilot Knob, MO — Visit the Arcadia Valley September 27th and 28th, where you will step back in time to September of 1864 as the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pilot Knob is re-enacted at the Historic Fort Davidson State Park, September 27th & 28th in Pilot Knob, MO.
Today, the Arcadia Valley in Iron County is a peaceful setting in one of Missouri’s most scenic areas. But in 1864, the valley was the scene of one of the largest and most hard-fought Civil War battles waged on the state’s soil. Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price invaded Missouri from Arkansas, leading an army of 12,000 men. On September 26-27, 1864, while in route to the St. Louis area, Price attacked the weakly defended Union post of Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob.
This proved to be a mistake. A garrison of 1,450 men led by Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. defended Fort Davidson. The Confederates lost nearly 1,000 men in attacking the small earthen fort and its eleven cannons. In spite of heavy losses, Gen. Price planned to renew the assault the next day. He dispatched couriers to find nearby troops with orders to come to Pilot Knob and join in the next day’s attack.
The renewed assault was not to be. Gen. Ewing was faced with a choice: to make another stand in Fort Davidson, fight until their ammunition gave out or to retreat to De Soto. Ewing chose to evacuate. After issuing all of the ammunition they could carry, the remaining caissons were placed by the powder magazine to be destroyed.
At 2 a.m. on September 28 the union soldiers withdrew and at 3 a.m. only five miles out of Pilot Knob, the retreating soldiers heard the explosion of the fort’s powder magazine. The Battle of Pilot Knob was over.
A weeklong schedule of events commemorating the 150th anniversary will center around the original hexagonal earthwork fort constructed by the Union Army, which still stands 300 yards from the base of Pilot Knob Mountain. Original Civil War music, speakers, a Grand Ball and the blowing up of the fort will be showcased during the anniversary celebration. There will be sutler and vendor tents, along with scheduled hikes to Pilot Knob Mountain.
For more information visit www.battleofpilotknob.org or call 573-546-3454.
Schedule of Events:
• Saturday, Sept. 20: Blues Concert starring Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers (Noon & 2PM) & Dixieland Concert starring St. Louis Levee Band (11 AM & 1 PM)
• Sunday, Sept. 21: US Fish & Wildlife Service Hikes on Pilot Knob Mtn. (2 hikes/10AM & 2PM meet at museum)
• Monday, Sept. 22: Evening Program: The Marmaduke Family of Missouri – A Family Divided. Speaker Mike Dickey (Museum/Showmobile)
• Tuesday, Sept. 23: Evening Program: Rick Thum & His Dulcimer (Museum/Showmobile)
• Wednesday, Sept. 24: Civil War Dramatic Presentation (Showmobile)
• Thursday, Sept. 25: Artifact Road Show (Showmobile)
• Friday, Sept. 26: Pilot Knob Mountain Boys Concert (Showmobile) 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
• Saturday, Sept. 27: Battle Re-enactment
• Sunday, Sept. 28: Battle Re-enactment