On 27 September 1864, one of the bloodiest battles of the US Civil War was fought at Fort Davidson in the foothills of Pilot Knob Mountain. Although it resulted in a Union retreat, Confederate casualties were so high that it could not be considered a victory. This battle was the opening engagement of Confederate General Sterling Price’s Missouri Campaign. Its purpose was to recruit Missourians to the Confederate cause, seize the Union arsenal at St Louis and create a Confederate stronghold in Missouri. While marching, his army of 12,000 reached Fort Davidson, a Union garrison of 1,500 men. On 26 September, under Price’s instructions, the three units of Major-General John Marmaduke and Brigadier Generals William Cabell and James Fagan attempted to take the fort, but were driven back by grenades, canon and musket-fire. On the night of the 27 September, before the Confederate army could launch fresh attacks, the Union garrison slipped away, leaving the Confederates decimated and humiliated.
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