Today’s 20-mile ride featured seven miles of hills and was the most climbing I have done to date. This beautiful stretch of road (Highway 1806) parallels the Missouri River on the west bank, and tomorrow I will ride through the state capital and on to Highway 1804. Yes, Hwys. 1804 and 1806 are named to commemorate the years of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Click here for previous posts on my Lewis and Clark virtual ride across America.
[This is part seven in a series of articles documenting my virtual bike ride across America, following the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition. For previous posts, click here.]
Tracing Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s route to the Pacific from over 200 years ago, I strap back into the pedals of my PROFORM Tour de France bike and pick up the trail in modern-day Saline county, just west of where the Chariton River empties into the Missouri River. My virtual route, which follows the river as closely as roads allow, meanders through the western portion of Missouri’s “Little Dixie” region. This part of the “Show-Me State” got its name from the plantation owners that migrated here from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia in the 19th Century, bringing their slaves with them, and establishing hemp, tobacco, and cotton farms.
The explorers had been traveling upriver for a month at this point, and Capt. Clark writes that the men were “much aflicted [sic] with boils and several have the Decissentary [dysentery].”
[This is part six in a series of articles documenting my virtual bike ride across America, following the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition. For previous posts, click here.]
In this post, I pick up the trail west of Jefferson City, Mo. and continue along the Missouri River until reaching the Chariton River.
Along the way is the town of Boonville, Mo., which was the site of a tiny battle that had a huge impact on the Civil War.
On May 10, 1861, just days after the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter (S.C.), several hundred Missouri militiamen were drilling at Camp Jackson, just outside the city limits of St. Louis. A pro-confederate force had recently overrun the federal arsenal at Liberty, Mo., and Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon suspected the force amassed at Camp Jackson was going to seize his large arsenal in St. Louis and he ordered his federal troops to capture the Missouri Volunteer Militia members.
As the Union troops marched their prisoners through town, they were harassed and pelted with rocks and other objects by a secessionist mob. Lyon’s men eventually opened fire on the crowd, killing 28 civilians and wounding dozens more. Missouri’s pro-confederate governor Claiborne Jackson and Missouri State Guard commander Maj. Gen. Sterling Price (a former brigadier general of volunteers and veteran of the Mexican-American War who opposed secession until the Camp Jackson incident) met with Lyon and told him that his federal troops were not to travel beyond St. Louis. Lyon responded by saying their demand “meant war” and declared his men would have free passage throughout the state. He allowed Jackson and Price safe passage out of St. Louis and the pair fled west to Jefferson City. However, Lyon and his force of U.S. Army regulars and Missouri militia were hot on their tail.