The Powder Magazine - Fort Davidson - Pilot Knob, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 37° 37.189 W 090° 38.399
15S E 708283 N 4166253
Quick Description: Why the fort today is nothing more than a hole with a berm around it.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 7/30/2014 11:06:16 AM
Waymark Code: WMM6GF
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Geo Ferret
Views: 2

Long Description:

County of marker: Iron County
Location of marker: Main St. (Old MO Hwy 21) & MO Hwy W, Pilot Knob
Marker erected by: Missouri Department of Natural resources, Division of State Parks

Marker Text:

The Powder Magazine
This crater marks the site of the powder magazine, The underground structure was forty feet long, twelve feet high, and twelve feet wide. It was covered with fifteen feet of earth to protect it from enemy fire. Some twenty tons of gunpowder and ammunition were stored here during the battle.

At midnight the defenders silently evacuated the fort. Equipment that could not be taken was piled against the magazine and the Union dead were laid nearby. An hour later a party of volunteers lit a fuse to the magazine and galloped for safety.

"...suddenly the heavens were lighted up by a grand column of fire ascending hundreds of feet . . .
   and making the whole region reverberate with a sound as though a mighty thunderbolt had driven
   Pilot Knob..."
   Colonel Thomas C. Fletcher, 47th Missouri Volunteer Infantry

The startled Confederates did not realize that the fort had been evacuated. General Price presumed that an accident had ignited the magazine and that the fort would surrender in the morning.

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
"September 26, 1864 - September 27, 1864 In the fall of 1864, Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith ordered Maj. Gen. Sterling Price on a raid into Missouri. Price's goals were to divert Union troops from east of the Mississippi River, gather Confederate recruits, capture or destroy Union war materials and, if at all possible, capture St. Louis or Jefferson City. In what was to be the largest cavalry raid of the war, Price led an army of 12 to 15,000 men into Missouri on Sept. 19. On Sept. 26, Price attacked Union pickets stationed at the weakly defended Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob. Gen. Thomas Ewing Jr. and 1,450 Union soldiers defended the small hexagonal earthwork fort. Capturing Fort Davidson would provide arms for Price's 3,000 unarmed soldiers and gain a quick victory that would rally sympathizers to his cause. On the morning of Sept. 27, siege guns of Fort Davidson opened fire as the rebels appeared between Pilot Knob and Shepherd mountains. Price felt that one swift assault would overwhelm the fort. Unfortunately the poorly timed Confederate assaults allowed heavy fire to be directed at each attacking brigade. The Confederates fell back to reorganize and prepare for a renewed attack the next day. Ewing, low on ammunition, knew his Union forces could not hold out another day. He ordered Fort Davidson evacuated. The soldiers silently crept past Confederate guards at 2:30 a.m. At 3:30 a.m., a small group of soldiers exploded the fort's powder magazine, destroying the remaining supplies. Pilot Knob cost Gen. Price any chance of taking St. Louis or Jefferson City." ~ Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial


Additional point: Not Listed

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