During the Civil War, Missouri was the only state that had a star in both flags - Union and Confederate. It was a slave-holding state, but chose not to secede from the Union. Missouri was caught between two very different views of America and two armies. Making matters worse were the guerrilla bands who tore up the countryside, sometimes in the name of one side or the other, more often taking advantage of the times to raid homesteads and steal whatever they could carry away.
By 1864, the Confederate Army had been pushed out of Missouri. Soldiers had buried their gray uniforms and had begun to construct new lives among the wreckage. For many men, the West seemed like a good place to start over. St. Louis was also the jumping off point for people going to new homesteads upriver or seeking their fortune in the goldfields in Montana. And the best way to get there was up the Missouri River by steamboat. . .