“My Own Commander”: The Civil War Journal of J. J. Sitton, 1863–1865 recounts the experiences of a young Confederate soldier from Washington County, Missouri, who fought in Mississippi before returning home to recruit men and ride with Sterling Price on a last-ditch effort to capture Missouri for the South.
Arriving at the Missouri-Arkansas border in January 1863, Sitton discovered he had no nearby commanding officer and was on his own. With neither side in firm control of the region, he hid in the woods to escape Union patrols and dealt with dangerous Southern guerrilla bands he viewed with disdain. He also courted women—the area was teeming with young widows—although a dalliance with a teenager almost led to a duel with the girl’s father. Despite his unshakable loyalty to the South, Sitton’s Ozark adventures led him only to misfortune with Price’s doomed Missouri expedition in the fall of 1864. Badly wounded at Byram's Ford during the Battle of Westport near Kansas City, he was captured and held in Union prisons for the rest of the war.
About the Author
John James Sitton (1842–1915) served in the Missouri State Guard and Confederate army during the Civil War. After the war, he settled in Oregon County, Missouri, where he made a living in stock raising, merchandising, and real estate and held public office as a county sheriff and collector, superintendent of schools, and presiding judge of the county court. A copy of his journal, which he wrote from 1860 to 1882, is archived at the State Historical Society of Missouri's Rolla Research Center.
About the Editor
John F. Bradbury (1952–2023) began working at the Rolla Research Center in 1980 and retired as its director in 2015. In 2017 he received the State Historical Society of Missouri's Distinguished Service Award, the Society's highest honor. His many accomplishments as an archivist and author include more than ninety scholarly articles and books as well as acquisition of a copy of the Sitton journal, donated by Mary Carol (Sitton) Deane and Mitch Sitton in 2011.
Published by the State Historical Society of Missouri. 354 pages.