Day trippin’: Visit Confederate Soldiers Home Historic Site

By Norine Albers
Mar. 1, 2013

The Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri provided “comfort and refuge” to Civil War veterans and their families for many years.

Higginsville  —  Just a short distance away from present-day Higginsville, the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri that provided “comfort and refuge” to 1,600 Civil War veterans and their families for many years.

Today, visitors can take the tour and visit the restored chapel and the Confederate cemetery, as well as three other historic buildings.

Visitors will learn about the Confederate Home and the role it played in post-Civil War Missouri.

The site’s 135 acres include “numerous lakes to fish in as well as walking trails and places to picnic.” There is no charge for the tour, but call to check on availability. The Confederate Memorial State Historic Site is located on Business Route 13, a mile north of Higginsville. The nearby town of Higginsville was founded in 1869 by Harvey Higgins. Today’s population, with its notably German agricultural heritage, has about 5,000 people.

In 1889, almost 25 years after the Civil War ended, a group of Missouri Confederate veterans gathered in Higginsville for their annual reunion.

In 1891, Julius Bamberg became the first veteran admitted to the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri. He was the first of more than 1,600 veterans and their wives, children and widows who lived at the home though the years. Many veterans were destitute and unable to care for themselves or their families.

On May 8, 1950, the last surviving Missouri Confederate soldier, Johnny Graves, died at the home at the age of 108. There are 800 residents buried in the cemetery on the historic grounds.

Residents at the home range from battles at Fort Sumter to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.

The area property consisted of about thirty buildings, a farm and dairy, and a memorial park. The home generated its own electricity and steam heat, and in many ways it was a community unto itself.

Prior to his presidency, Harry S. Truman visited the “comrades” at the home. The Confederate Memorial State Historic Site commemorates the Missouri soldiers who fought for the Southern cause.

The U.S. flag continually flew over the main building of the Confederate Home.

The Confederate battle flag was brought out for funerals and special occasions. In those instances, it was “hand carried, draped on a casket or displayed on temporary stanchions.”

The Confederate States of America solicited designs for a national flag early in 1861. Hundreds of designs were submitted. In 1861, the First National Flag was adopted. Nicknamed the “Stars & Bars,” it originally had seven stars for the first seven seceding states.

It would eventually have thirteen stars, representing all the states in the Confederacy.

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