Concordia Missouri Civil War Massacre Site Marker

The Blood Baptisms

At the start of the Civil War, Lafayette County had the fourth-highest slave population of any county in the state behind just St. Louis, Jackson, and Buchanan. So, despite being officially unaffiliated, the militia which had been raised in Lexington was made up of predominantly Southern sympathizers. In contrast, the Germans who settled in Freedom Township were Union men. Most of them -while not outright abolitionist- were anti-slavery. The Honorable William Young, author of "Young's History of Lafayette County Missouri (1910)" put it this way, "Be it recorded here, that the German population in Lafayette County, as was true all over Missouri, rallied to the support of the Union cause, almost to the man."

This could be because most of the families had emigrated from Germany to improve their economic status and had never been able to afford slaves. Settlers who brought slaves into the region were competitors with a labor advantage. It is also possible the religious Germans had moral objections to slavery. Whatever the reason, they found themselves at odds with their slave-holding neighbors just to the North along the Missouri River.

The problems for the community began not long after the fighting started at Fort Sumpter. On August 22, 1861, Colonel Edwin W. Price of the Confederate Army was marching his troops from Marshall Missouri towards Springfield and his regiments came right through Freedom Township. Rev. Franz Biltz documented as he and several other men were taken prisoner. Pastor Biltz stated the behavior of the men was rough and brutal but that of the officers were formal and polite. The prisoners were released unharmed but were made to promise they would not take up arms against the South. Merchandise was taken from the Brockhoff store -estimated to be valued at more than two thousand dollars- to be paid for once the South was victorious, but there was no bloodshed.

Southern sympathizing guerilla forces known as Bushwhackers attacked the Concordia area a total of three times throughout the course of the war. The first of these came on October 5, 1862. That morning there had been a double baptism of twin boys Julius and Fred Vogt. The baptismal party was sitting around the table for an evening meal when sixty men surrounded the house. According to Rev. Biltz, who was present, children and women cried urging the men at the party to flee. Only one attempted, Henry Roepe, who was shot and wounded but ultimately survived.

The mob plundered the Vogt home as well as other nearby houses. Eleven men, including Pastor Biltz, were captured and taken prisoner. They were forced to mount horses and carried away into the night. The mob halted several times- the reasons for these halts remain unclear- and at each halt, some prisoners were forced to dismount and shot. At the last halt, one of the guerilla men intervened, and the final four men- including Rev. Biltz- were released, albeit naked, to return home. In the end, three men were dead and four wounded in the attack.

The second raid by the bushwhackers came on July 22, 1863. They rode up carrying a Union flag and wearing uniforms of Union soldiers. Four men were rounded up, made to stand in a line, and executed. The four victims had all been members of Company B, 71st Regiment of the Enrolled Missouri Militia out of Lexington, but had been discharged seven months prior to this event. Today, there is a memorial marker in Concordia Central Park for the raids by Colonel Price and the bushwhackers.



600 S. Main Street, Concordia, Missouri, 64020 ~ Near the corner of S. Main Street and SW 6th Street