April 2, 2010
Governor's order directs Sesquicentennial Commission to increase public awareness and understanding of Missouri's role in the Civil War and the impact and effects of the War still felt today
Gov. Nixon signs order establishing Civil War Commission in ceremony at historic Jefferson Barracks
ST. Louis, Mo. - Standing at Jefferson Barracks, the historic former military post where future Civil War leaders Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, Jefferson Davis and William T. Sherman once served, Gov. Jay Nixon today signed an executive order establishing a new Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
The Governor said it was important for Missourians today to have a better understanding not only of the battles that took place in the state, but also of how the Civil War affected - and continues to affect - the culture, economy and demographics of Missouri.
"As a border state, Missouri was caught in the middle of the geographic, cultural and economic forces that threatened to permanently tear apart the United States," Gov. Nixon said. "Only two other states experienced more battles on their soil than Missouri did, and Missourians fought and died on both sides. But it is vital to look beyond the battlefields to see, 150 years later, how the Civil War still reverberates in our consciousness and culture.
"The Civil War and its legacies still hold a place of keen interest in the minds of many Missourians, as well as people from across the country and around the world," the Governor continued. "Missouri offers much for them to see and experience, and the Sesquicentennial Commission will have an important role in spreading that word."
More than 1,100 engagements were fought in Missouri between 1861 and 1865. Several of those battlefields are preserved, including those at the Battle of Lexington, Fort Davidson, the Battle of Carthage, and the Battle of Athens state historic sites. Another important battlefield is preserved at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.
The legacies of the Civil War also are important to remember today, the Governor said, because of their impact on various demographic groups within the state, including African Americans, German Americans, and those of Scotch-Irish descent. The War - and the years before and after it - also had a deep influence on cultural and economic trends in Missouri.
Executive Order 10-20 states, in part:
"The Commission's purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of Missouri's role in the Civil War; to encourage civic, historical, educational, economic, and other entities throughout Missouri to organize and participate in activities to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War; and to foster an inclusive spirit of reconciliation that appropriately recognizes the experiences and points of view of all people affected by the Civil War and its aftermath.
"The Commission will recommend to the Governor and the citizens of Missouri effective means and activities by which to observe the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War in Missouri.
"The Commission will promote public awareness of the historical significance of Missouri in the Civil War, as well as cultural tourism in and around the state of Missouri in relation to the Civil War and its legacies."
The Governor has appointed ten Missourians to serve on the Sesquicentennial Commission:
- Robert Archibald, of St. Louis, president and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society;
- J. Kent Emison, of Higginsville, who serves on the parks board of that city, which is home to the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site and which is near the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site:
- Dr. Debra Foster Greene, of Jefferson City, professor of history at Lincoln University;
- Ted Hillmer Jr., of Republic, superintendent of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield;
- Joseph Houts, of St. Joseph, a published author of books on the Civil War;
- Dr. Kimberly Norwood, of Creve Coeur, professor of law and African American studies at Washington University;
- Ms. Terry Ramsey, of Nevada, coordinator of the Bushwhacker Museum;
- Jim Robertson, of Columbia, managing editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune;
- Arthur Schuermann, of Sunset Hills, base military historian for Historic Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Station; and
- Stuart Symington Jr., of St. Louis, former trustee of the Association of the United States Army.
In addition to those appointed members, the Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission also will include the Governor or his designee; the Secretary of State or her designee; the directors or their designees of the Department of Natural Resources, the Division of Tourism, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Transportation, and the Missouri National Guard; and the director or his designee of the State Historical Society of Missouri.