Frenchman's Spring

CR 632
Latitude: 36.75990
Longitude: -89.97358
Dexter, MO 63841
Hours: Anytime
Admission: None

Active spring from early settlers to present time for fresh water. There is a historical Civil War marker located there.

During the War Between the States this spring served as a natural gathering place for soldiers. Located adjacent to the road that proceeded down Crowley's Ridge to the crossing of the St. Francis River at Chalk Bluffs, and situated near the village of St. Luke and its mill, the spring was an ideal place for military units to camp and recruit.

Near this place in July, 1861, some 2000 soldiers from fifteen Southeast Missouri counties met to organize as the First Division, Missouri State Guard, the pro-Confederate state militia. On July 25, 1861, they elected M. Jeff Thompson of St. Joseph, Missouri as their commander. Thompson, who became known as the "Swamp Fox Confederacy" due to his talent as a partisan leader, assumed command the next day. Thereafter, the troops moved to Bloomfield where they established permanent headquarters. The soldiers of the First Division fought throughout Southeast Missouri during 1861 and are remembered in history as the "Swamp Fox Brigade".

In 1862, "Camp Johnston" was established here as a recruiting point for Confederate units. Parts of the 5th Missouri Infantry, 7th Missouri Cavalry, and 8th Missouri Cavalry regiments were organized at this camp. The men recruited here served as members of Confederate units renowned throughout the nation for the courage and fighting ability they displayed in battle on both sides at the Mississippi River.

Several skirmishes were fought between Union and Confederate soldiers near here during the war.

Marker erected by Col. A.C. Riley Camo 791
Sons of Confederate Veterans

City of Dexter
515B West Market • PO Box 21 • Dexter, MO 63841
Phone: 573-624-7458 • Toll Free: 800-332-8857 • Fax: 573-624-7459
Background Photo courtesy of Buddy Rogers
Created and Maintained by Creative Design Group