May 12, 2005

Civil War Battle Returning to Memphis City Square

The Scotland County Courthouse lawn was the site of the Battle of Memphis on July 18, 1862. The Civil War skirmish will be returning to the city square over Memorial Day weekend as reenactors in town for the Bring John Home tribute will be fighting it out on the grounds of the original battle.

Lee Ann Russell, one of the event organizers, was present at the May 5th meeting of the Memphis City Council to seek approval for the event. She stated the group anticipated the square would need to be blocked off to traffic on Friday and Saturday, May 27-28.

The Battle of Memphis reenactment is tentatively scheduled for the evening of May 28th following the burial of Corporal John P. Byrne of the 21st MO Infantry. Bryne, a Civil War veteran, died in California in 1920. He was cremated and his remains were placed in storage awaiting his return to Memphis to be buried alongside his brothers. The remains were recently discovered and event organizers are honoring his wishes in what is being described as one of the last, if not the final burial of a Civil War veteran.

According to information provided by David McRobert from his great-great-grandfather’s book The Soldiers in our Civil War, the Battle of Memphis was a skirmish that featured 600 Confederate soldiers and 400 Union forces. Despite being outnumbered, the Federal army was victorious in the Battle of Memphis. The book listed 83 casualties for the Union forces compared to 23 deaths for the Confederate army. The skirmish featured soldiers from the 2nd Missouri Cavalry and the 9th and 11th Missouri State Militias.

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