BATTLE OF PILOT KNOB – September 27, 1864
(a.k.a. Battle of Fort Davidson)
Opening engagement of CSA Gen. Price’s 1864 Missouri raid. Outnumbered by >10-1, Union defenders repulsed repeated assaults, then slipped away at night. After the battle, Price abandoned his goal of seizing St. Louis and headed west, before being defeated at Westport.
Forces Engaged: Union 1,500 vs. CSA Cavalry 12,000
Stamp Location: Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site Visitor’s Center, when staff available. At the visitor’s center you can view an audiovisual presentation and a fiber optics diorama of the battle.
Address: 118 East Maple, Pilot Knob, Mo. 63663-0509
Phone Number: 573-546-3454
Staff Available: Apr 16-Nov 30, daily: 10 am-4 pm. Dec 1-Apr 15, Tue-Sun: 10 am-4 pm; Closed Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Christmas
Visit Fee: None (Free tours)
INTERIOR DEPT. SUMMARY: In September 1864, a Confederate army under Maj. Gen. Sterling Price crossed into Missouri with the goal of capturing St. Louis. Union Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing moved with reinforcements down the railroad to Ironton to retard Price’s advance. On the morning of September 27, the Confederates attacked, driving the Federals back into their defenses anchored by Fort Davidson. In the late afternoon, Price unsuccessfully assaulted the fort repeatedly, suffering heavy casualties. Price, considering the possible time involved, had dismissed the possibility of mounting guns on the high ground to compel the fort to surrender or to shell the garrison into submission. During the night, the Federals evacuated the fort. Price had paid a high price in lives and gave Union forces the necessary time to concentrate and oppose his raid.
Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. [US]; Maj. Gen. Sterling Price [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 1,684 total (US 184; CS 1,500)
Result(s): Union victory