General Thomas Ewing Jr. photograph by Matthew Brady

When you think of names of Civil War generals who had a profound influence before, during and after the Civil War, the name Major General Thomas Ewing Jr. usually does not pop-up. However, his role during the war had a huge impact on how some of the events unfolded. His life after the war was noteworthy.

Born 7 August 1829 in Lancaster, Ohio, Thomas Ewing Jr. was the third son of influential Ohio Senator Thomas Ewing Sr. and brother-in-law to General William Tecumseh Sherman. He studied law in Cincinnati and moved to Leavenworth, Kansas to practice law and became highly involved in the free-soil movement. When Kansas was admitted to the Union, Ewing became the state’s first chief justice.

When the Civil War began, Ewing raised the 11th Kansas Regiment to fight for the Union and was elected Colonel of the regiment and served with the regiment at the

Battle of Leasburg Historical Marker

The Battle of Leasburg was fought in Leasburg, MO. (which is located about 30 miles east of Rolla, MO. and 79 miles southwest of St. Louis) on September 29-30, 1864. On the night of September 27, 1864, Union troops under the command of Brigadier General Thomas Ewing Jr., were forced to evacuate their position at Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob, MO. (which is in the south-eastern portion of Missouri) after valiantly fending off the advances of Confederate General Sterling Price and his 13,000 soldiers as they prepared to embark on his infamous raid of Missouri in 1864.

General Ewing and his soldiers opted to make, and were successful, a daring and bold escape under the cover of darkness and between the enemy lines, even detonating the powder magazine in Fort Davidson, in an effort to make their way to Rolla, where reinforcements were available. Price was livid when he awoke

Battle of Pilot Knob

Missouri saw many battles during the Civil War being only third behind Virginia and Tennessee. The Battle of Pilot Knob (Fort Davidson) was the beginning of Confederate General Sterling Price’s final raid to secure Missouri for the Confederacy in 1864. It also marked the beginning of the end of his raid and would be a harbinger of what was to come for the rest of his campaign.

Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Army hastily put together a final raid into Missouri to be commanded by former Missouri Governor and Confederate Major General Sterling Price. Price’s objective was to seize St. Louis, capture the armory, enlist southern sympathizers and then to march on to Jefferson City, seize the capital and install Thomas Reynolds as governor and thereby claim the state for the Confederacy.

However, Price had a ragamuffin band of men to support Him. Of his

The Ketchum Grenade, patented August 20 1861 by William J. Ketchum

You read that right… sort of… Most people do not associate hand grenades with the Civil War. They were, however, used in the sieges at Vicksburg and Petersburg and even in the west at the Battle of Pilot Knob.

The “Ketchum Hand grenade” was patented by William F. Ketchum and looked like a large dart. This design meant for the grenade to land on it’s nose, behind of which held a percussion cap. Unfortunately, they didn’t always land on their noses. Many times they were tossed at the rebels who would “Ketchum” (catch them) in blankets without detonating and then hurled them back whereupon they did indeed detonate.

Obviously, they were not as useful as they appeared. Or were they?

At the Battle of Pilot Knob in September 1864, at the onset of Confederate General Sterling Price’s infamous raid into Missouri, the grenades had a different effect.

The confederates had