Missouri Digital Heritage :: Divided Loyalties Opening Exhibit :: Divided Loyalties Audio Tour :: Panel 20 - Union Troops at Odds Over Slavery - (Who is in Charge?, Setting Slaves Free)


Divided Loyalties Audio Tour
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[ Audio Transcript ]

Panel 20 - Union Troops at Odds Over Slavery

- Who is in Charge?, Setting Slaves Free -

The issue of federal authority versus state authority was divisive not only nationally; it also divided the ranks within the Union troops. The Enrolled Missouri Militia and other state militia units answered to state authority and were bound by state laws, while the Missouri Volunteers and other federally supported troops were controlled by U.S. civil and military authority and laws. An organization such as the Missouri State Militia fell in between, a state militia authorized and equipped by the national government and commanded by a federal officer.

  • As the letters on this panel show, Governor Gamble believed state forces answered to state laws.
  • The Union troops disagreed on what stance to take towards slaves. Federal troops would often free slaves and aid escaped slaves, while state troops often returned escaped slaves to their owners.



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