Missouri had a star on the Confederate flag and a lot of people nowadays believe that Missouri was strongly Confederate state. But was it really or is it just a myth?
If you look at the election results from 1860, the answer is a resounding “No!” Three candidates were running that were pro-Union. Bell was a Southerner and believed slavery should not expand to other states, but also that it was protected by the Constitution. For that reason, he was denounced as a traitor by Southern politicians. Only after Fort Sumter was fired upon did Bell side with Tennessee and the south. Breckenridge was decidedly Southern rights. Adding the results of the three pro-Union ones together, we find that only 24% of Missourians voted for the Southern candidate.
1860 Election Results in Missouri
Abraham Lincoln – Republican Party 17,028
John Bell – Constitution Union Party 58,372
Stephen Douglas – Democratic Party 58,801
Total For Union Supporters 134,201
John Breckenridge – Southern Democrat 31,362
A lot of people will argue that Missouri gave fairly equal amounts of soldiers to both the south and north. The numbers, however, are again very lop-sided, in favor of the north. 110,000 Missouri men became Union soldiers while 40,000 signed up for service with the rebels. Thirty six percent of Missouri’s Civil War soldiers were Confederates or in Missouri’s militia under Missouri State Guard General M. Jeff Thompson. While much more than the 24% of the population who first voted with the south prior to the war, it still doesn’t equal the number of Missourians in blue. Again, Missouri was a Union state.
Even after the war, the answer was still negative. Only 79 United Confederate Veterans camps were established in Missouri. 594 Grand Army of the Republic Camps (Union soldiers only) were established.
So Missouri was not so much a divided state as it was a state with a sliver of the pie cut out of it!