There are a number of narratives that have emerged over the course of the sesquicentennial. While the story of black Union soldiers has taken center stage, focus on the War in the West and guerrilla warfare isn’t far behind. Scholarship on the Western theater is on the rise, but popular interest can also be seen in the form of reenactments, museum exhibits and even in the dedication of new monuments.
Today I came across a story about a monument dedication to the Emma Massacre, which took place on October 10, 1864 in Lafayette County, Missouri. I certainly didn’t know anything about it before coming across this story.
Known as the Emma Massacre the event took place Oct. 10, 1864, on a plot of land that would one day hold the original Holy Cross Lutheran Church in what would become Emma. All of the able bodied men had left the German community to fight in the war. As the community became threatened the remaining older men and four teenagers took up arms to defend their families. They were cut down by bushwhackers, most were shot, skulls were crushed, and some were burned alive.
I am sure some of you can provide additional references to this incident. The story relies heavily on the people involved in the dedication, which leaves me suspicious about some of the details. What I find interesting is the way in which this monument dedication challenges our tendencies to continue to view the war as North v. South and Union v. Confederate.
This could be a welcome addition to the commemorative landscape of the Civil War 150th.