There are two Missouri Civil War sites in Southeast Missouri that are not as well known as many of the Civil War sites that are frequently visited in the state.
But they are fairly easily accessible to anyone traveling on vacation to the many recreation spots along U.S. Highway 67.
U.S. Highway 67 is now a four-lane highway from I-55 in Festus-Crystal City to Poplar Bluff, but it is a very old road.
Parts of it are in its original alignment and other parts have been re-routed around towns and on shorter routes.
During the Civil War this road was known in various places by the names of the towns it lead to. In many places it was called the St. Louis Road when you were heading north because that was where it ended up.
In Fredericktown, Mo., it was known as the Greenville Road from there south to Greenville, Mo. It was along this section of the road where the Battle of Fredericktown took place on October 21, 1861, just south of town.
To get to this historic site, you must get off Highway 67 at the Fredericktown exit from either the north or south and take Business Highway 67.
The battle site is right on this old section of highway about a mile south of town. Just watch for a historic marker sign and a cemetery on the east side of the road.
The Battle of Fredericktown began after Confederate troops led by Captain M. Jeff Thompson had burned the railroad bridge on October 15th over the Big River in Jefferson County, and then led his men numbering around 1,200 to Fredericktown arriving on October 16.
Confederate Colonel Alden Lowe was already there with his 500-man infantry regiment. The next day there was minor skirmishing with Union scouts, and the Union scouts were chased north from town.
Thompson and his troops remained in Fredericktown the next three days until learning of Union troops advancing to the town.
Two Union columns, one under Colonel Joseph B. Plummer with 1,500 men and another under Colonel William P. Carlin with 3,000 men, were approaching.
Thompson and Lowe headed south 12 miles but later that evening decided to return north and attack the Federal troops about a mile south of town with their infantrymen.
After spending the morning of October 21 trying to determine the enemy’s numbers, Thompson placed his troops and artillery along the road hidden from view on wooded high ground and awaited to ambush the Union forces.