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Civil War buffs plan Muster in Fulton

Elijah Gates Camp Commander Noel Crowson, front left, and others prime the fence to prepare it for painting. In addition to the Sons volunteers, the Daughters of Confederate Veterans helped with the project.

Elijah Gates Camp Commander Noel Crowson, front left, and others prime the fence to prepare it for painting. In addition to the Sons volunteers, the Daughters of Confederate Veterans helped with the project. Photo by Dean Asher.

For 10 years, the Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have been mustering up history buffs in Callaway County.

The camp’s annual Fall Muster will return Oct. 12, at the Callaway Electric Cooperative in Fulton. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a homestyle buffet dinner followed by the program.

Each year, the muster focuses on a different element of the Civil War in Missouri. For the 2013 muster, the Gates camp will host Tom Rafiner, an expert on Missouri’s “burnt district.”

“He’s written two books on Order No. 11, the displacement of all the Confederate families from the western part of the state,” Camp Commander Noel Crowson said. “We’re tickled to death to have him. He’s a very well-renowned historian on this particular topic.”

Order No. 11 was a controversial directive issued in 1863 which forced the evacuation of rural areas in four western Missouri counties. In an effort to drive out suspected Confederate sympathizers, Union troops burned many barns and homesteads to the ground.

Rafiner will hold a signing of his books “Cinders and Silence” and “Caught Between Three Fires” after the presentation. This year will also include a door prize raffle as well as the kickoff of the camp’s campaign to raise funds for the Moore’s Mill burial site memorial.

Crowson noted that most camp members were well-versed in Civil War history, but the camp had a successful record in bringing speakers knowledgeable on Missouri Civil War topics such as the burnt district and the Centralia Massacre that appealed to nonmembers as well.

“It’s always good to hear other historians and see what fresh new research they may have done on the topic,” he said. “We’re bringing talented speakers to Callaway County and normally to hear them you’d have had to go to Kansas City or St. Louis.”

Tickets are $20 in advance and available at the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society, Crane’s General Store or from camp members. Door prices are $25, but there is a student discount.

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