Major General Sterling Price
Army of the West Commander
Sterling Price was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1809. He attended Hampden-Sidney College. He then read law. In 1831 he moved with his parents to Chariton County, Missouri. As a Democrat, he was elected to the General Assembly of Missouri in 1836. He was again elected in 1840 and 1842. During these sessions, he was chosen to be the speaker. In 1844 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives.
President Polk commissioned Sterling Price as commanding colonel of the 2nd Missouri Regiment. He had raised the unit at the beginning of the Mexican War. The regiment was part of the force under General Stephen Kearny that occupied New Mexico. Colonel Price was left in charge of New Mexico when General Kearny moved on to California. Colonel Price's command put down an uprising against American rule. Sterling Price was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. Later he lead a successful campaign in Chihuahua. They won the final battle of the Mexican War at Santa Cruz de Rosales on March 16, 1848.
Sterling Price was Governor of Missouri from 1853 until 1857. He was bank commissioner of the state from 1857 until 1861. He opposed secession from the Union when he presided over the Missouri State Convention in 1861. When President Lincoln sent troops to capture Camp Jackson, the Missouri State Guard prepared to defend the state. Sterling Price accepted command of the Missouri State Guard with the rank of major general.
The Missouri State Guard joined forces with an army led by Confederate General Ben McCulloch to defeat Union General Lyon at the Battle of Wilson Creek or Oak Hill on August 10, 1861. Next the Missouri State Guard besieged Lexington, Missouri, and about 3,000 Union soldiers surrendered on September 21, 1861. After Missouri seceded from the Union, Sterling Price was made a Confederate Army brigadier general. On March 7, 1882, the armies of Price and McCulloch, under the overall command of General Earl Van Dorn, were defeated at the Battle Pea Ridge or Elkhorn Tavern in Arkansas. Price was raised to the rank of major general after the battle. Price's army was then sent to help defend Corinth, Mississippi. They fought at Corinth on April 6 and 7 under General P. G. T. Beauregard. On September 19, 1862, they fought Union General William Rosecrans' army at Iuka. Later, they participated in General Van Dorn's unsuccessful attack on Corinth. When they returned to the Trans-Mississippi area, they helped Lieutenant General Holmes unsuccessfully attack Helena, Arkansas on July 4, 1863. They then helped General Kirby Smith resist Union General Steele's invasion in 1864. Late in 1864, General Price unsuccessfully tried to recapture Missouri.
Sterling Price went to Mexico after the Civil War. He was a leader of a Confederate exile colony in Carlota, Vera Cruz. When the colony proved to be a failure, he returned to Missouri. He died in St. Louis, Missouri on September 29, 1867.
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