Civil War battle marker dedicated near Central Middle School

Thursday, April 5, 2007
Central Middle School recently held a dedication ceremony of a new Battle of Cape Giradeau marker. Pictured from left were Tambraneseeya Fleming, re-enactor Rob Weeks, Sentrall Blackmon, Jack Crain, Nick Fairbank (partly obscured), Zach Stagner, school superintendent Dr. David Scala, and re-enactors Jerry Kasten and Steve House. (Submitted photo)

A marker of the Civil War Battle of Cape Girardeau, near to where it unfolded in 1863, was placed at the corner of Thilenius Street and Caruthers Avenue recently.

Located near a stop sign, the marker can be easily read. It is on an angle suitable for reading height while standing. More than 3 feet long and more than 2 feet high, the marker details the battle and includes two maps, an illustration of Fort A and pictures of Brig. Gen. John McNeil, Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke and Col. Joseph O. Shelby. Placement of the marker represents cooperative efforts of the Department of Natural Resources, the Cape Girardeau School District and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"For students at the middle school, placement of the marker has made them aware of the Battle of Cape Girardeau as well as raised their awareness of other events connected with the Civil War which took place in Cape Girardeau and in the surrounding area," Cape superintendent Dr. David Scala said. "The marker will be there as a reminder to future students that a battle of the Civil War was staged near the middle school grounds. Information on the marker can be made part of their study of history."

Union re-enactors from the Turner Brigade, combined with schoolchildren led in song, brought life to the dedication.

Cape Girardeau CVB director Chuck Martin believes that with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War coming up in 2011, effort at placing opportunities to learn about the Civil War has increased and will continue to do so.

Cape Girardeau was divided between the North and South during the Civil War.

The morning of the Battle of Cape Girardeau, April 26, 1863, was met with a torrential downpour. After a weeklong raid through Missouri, Confederate Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke massed his 5,000 man cavalry division west of Cape Girardeau in hopes of capturing the town and its important Federal supply depot. He found it was too well defended by a strongly fortified Federal force under Brig. Gen. John McNeil.

Marmaduke decided to withdraw to Jackson, leaving Colonel Joseph Shelby's brigade to create a diversion. The diversion escalated into a battle and fighting raged for four hours before Marmaduke broke off the action.

The Confederates suffered about 50 casualties; the Federals lost fewer than 20. Marmaduke was pursued south, but he escaped into Arkansas, having accomplished little during the raid.


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