Navy V-12 Training Programs

The V-12 Navy College Training Program was designed to supplement the number of commissioned offices in the United States Navy during World War II. Between July 1, 1943 and June 30, 1946, more than 125,000 men were enrolled in the V-12 program on 131 colleges and universities in the United States. 

Once the baccalaureate program, the next step to obtain a Navy commission to attend a U. Snivel Reserve Midshipmen’s School where future officers were required to completer the V-7 program, a four months course that included one month spent in indoctrination. Graduates then were commissioned as ensigns in the U. S. Naval Reserve with the majority entering active duty with the U. S. fleet.

Marine Corps graduates from the V-12 program reported directly to boot camp and a three-month Officer Candidate Course .With the completion of the course, participants became second lieutenants in the Marine Corps.

Southeast Missouri State Teachers College (1919-1946) took part is the Navy V-12 Training Program. {From 1946 to 1973, the institution was known as Southeast Missouri State College: In 1973 it became Southeast State University}.

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Southeast Missouri Earthquake History

In 2006, the Arkansas Archeological Society in their work at Eaker Air Base in

Blytheville, Arkansas documented earthquake series around AD 900 and again

around A. D. 1450-1470. Researcher Margaret Guccione from the University of Arkansas finds the Mississippi River path changed significantly at this time. Another major series of quakes happened around A. D. 300. Tree ring studies in Reelfoot Lake and the St. Francis Sunken Lands show seismic activity occurred in A. D. 1682 and  1450.

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Salcedo

Salcedo was a small community in the southern edge of Scott County that was established in 1895 when J.W. Baker purchased land there. A rural school in the area was known as Baker School, but when Louis Houck ran a railroad there he changed the name to Salcedo in honor of Don J. Manuel De Salcedo, the King’s Lieutenant, governor of Texas and Brigadier of the Royal Armies of New Madrid in 1803. A. D. 1321

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Bloomfield and Dexter

The first settlement in Stoddard County was in 1832 at Bloomfield and was chosen as the seat of government. First meeting the county court was held at the house of A. B. Bailey, on February 9, 1835; in the southwestern part of town. An early division of townships were Castor, Pike, St. Francois, and Liberty.

During the Civil War, the court house was burned during Price’s 1864 raid. However, the county record books had been removed by Major H. H. Bedford and taken to Arkansas. After the war all the books were returned without loss of a single record.

In 1875, several towns and villages existed in Stoddard County. Castor River was the main water course in the county. On the smaller feeder streams, small grist mills were operating in 1875.

For years there was strong revelry between Bloomfield Dexter and Bloomfield. For a Number of years citizens of Dexter tried to have the courthouse moved their community. To do this, the people of Dexter, in 1895, got a law passed giving Stoddard County two seats of government with Dexter the dominate one. On the strength of this law, Dexter constructed a two story brick court house. After a few years, this arraignment was found to be unsatisfactory. After this law was repealed, Bloomfield again became the county seat.

In 1910 one-half of Stoddard County was still in thick, dense timber. The value of manufactured items was $1,676,351 mainly from flour, lumber cooperage and cotton. With a population of 27,807 the taxable wealth was $6,452,077. Their one-hundred and seven school districts employed 151 teachers.

Timber and cotton, both bulk products, when ready for market required railroads for transportation. Stoddard County had the services of the Cairo branch of the St. Louis Iron Mountain, the Frisco, and the St. Louis Southwestern.



 
 
Union Expeditions into Arkansas in 1864

Reports of guerrilla activity in the Missouri counties of Dunklin, Mississippi, and Pemiscot prompted federal leaders to field an expedition into Arkansas in the spring of 1864. The objective was to find and destroy enemy camps.  U. S. Major John Rabb, Second Missouri Artillery headquarter at New Madrid, was ordered to lead the expedition. He was convinced that the trouble in Missouri were Confederate guerrillas operating from around Osceola and the Pemiscot Bayou area were the responsible groups.

Rabb’s plan had troops moving into Arkansas in two components. One group, traveling overland would go to Pemiscot. Bayou some thirty miles north of Osceola. The rest of the troopers would travel by steamboat to Osceola and approach Pemiscot Bayou from the south. On April5, 1864, Rabb left New Madrid with two-hundred men from Companies H, I, and K of the Second Missouri Artillery on the steamer Silver Moon.

At Barfield’s Point, some twenty miles above Osceola, the steamer landed to disembark one-hundred men led by Captain W.C.F. Montgomery with orders to march to Chickasaw Settlement (Blytheville) on Pemiscot Bayou. After landing at Osceola the remaining one-hundred Union troopers led by Major Rabb started marching to a point ten miles south of Montgomery’s targeted area.

On the morning of April 6, the second phase of Rabb’s plan started. Captain Valentine Preuitt led First Missouri Militia Cavalry units of Companies G, K, and M out of New Madrid towards Arkansas.

Rabb’s troops on their march from Osceola soon became very difficult. They soon found themselves in water from one to three feet deep as the road went through a swamp filled with dense cane and timber.

By April 6, they had traveled twelve miles. So far they had killed five or six guerrillas they had met on the road. That night they made camp at the home of a Confederate sympathizer whose son was in one of the guerrilla bands, Mark Walker.

As attack was expected, the men were ordered not to build fires although there was a cold rain falling. Seventy-five men under command of Lieutenant Winfred from Company K were stationed around the Walker home. About fifty yards out, were the remaining men under command of Lieutenant L.J. Philips.

Around 3:00 a.m. on the morning of April 7th, a gun battle quickly started after Rabb found himself facing a Confederate standing several feet away demanding he surrender. Members of the Seventh Missouri Cavalry were fighting an estimated one-hundred Confederates from Osceola. The battle ended as quickly as it started. Rabb’s Union troops quickly left the area with prisoners and carrying they wounded on litters.

With casualties on the Confederate side unknown, the Rebels quickly faded into the night. Both sides suffered a number of Casualties, of which Union Lieutenant Phillips was one.

After leaving the steamer Silver Moon at Barfield’s Point, Montgomery’s men had not encountered any Southern troops. Rabb and Montgomery’s men joined up on the evening of April 7. Next morning, the combined forces marched back to Barfield’s Point and boarded the steamer Darling to return to New Madrid.

Meanwhile Captain Valentine Pruett’s First Missouri Militia Cavalry encountered Confederate Guerrillas forty-five miles out of New Madrid. On April 6, they killed two guerrillas. They next morning, they entered Little River Swamp.

About ten miles west of Osceola, they chanced upon a group of some twenty-five Confederates.  In the skirmish that followed, twelve Southern were killed, with five prisoners taken. The others escaped into the swamp. On the body of Confederate Captain Williams papers were found that told the enemy strength in Mississippi County numbered about one thousand men. Colonels McGee, Kitchen, Clark, and Freeman were the officers in charge of these men. 

From the orders found on Captain Williams the Union troops moved to dense canebrake, known as Blue Cane. Hidden in this thick thicket were several house, with a store of stolen goods, a distillery, and a large amount of cattle. A skirmish left three of Valentine’s men wounded but none were killed.

Colonel Kitchen’s Confederate troops and guerrilla activity was persistent in Mississippi County, Arkansas even with sporadic raids by the Union army into the area. Colonel J.B. Rogers, at Cape Girardeau received a telegram from Captain Pruiett on June 9. Rogers was informed that Kitchen was in Osceola. With him were some eight-hundred men. His plans were to get supplies by seizer of steamers.

A letter on June 29 from acting provost-marshal Lieutenant Steel at New Madrid outlined to Lieutenant Colonel John Burris of the Tenth Kansas Volunteers at Cape Girardeau a horrible situation with Kitchen with four-hundred men were murdering, cutting wires, and stealing.

On July 3, General Ewin received notice that Burris would move what troops that could be spared into Arkansas on July 5 against Kitchen. With a battalion of the Second Cavalry Missouri State Militia under Lieutenant-Colonel Hiller along with Captain Preuitt leading a detachment of the First Cavalry Missouri Volunteer leading a scouting expedition through Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas left New Madrid on July 21, 1864. At Bloomfield, Major Wilson added reinforcement with a battalion of the Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia and a squadron of the Sixth Cavalry Missouri Volunteers.

The Federal expedition reached the swamps of Big Lake in Mississippi County, Arkansas, on August 1. After meeting a small group of “Bushwhackers and Thieves,” Burris’ men captured arms, horses and contraband slave. After burning five houses, they moved three some twenty miles of swamp towards Osceola.

After reaching Osceola on the afternoon of August 2, they met Confederate forces under Captain Bowen and Captain McVeigh. The Confederated were attacked which resulted in a running gun battle for several miles. No Union casualties were reported. Seven Confederates were reported killed with twenty-five captured including Captain Bowen the Father of Captain Fletcher, Colonel Elliott Fletcher. Burris’ men reported capturing a large number of arms and houses. 

Captain McVeigh along with seventy of his men pursued the Confederates with capturing any more of them.

 Captain Bowen was interned in Gratiot Street, St. Louis. Two months later, he escaped with another prisoner, John Hogan Grider, and returned to Osceola.,

The Union army, on August 3, headed towards Pemiscot Bayou and crossed back into Missouri. In his report to Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, the U.S.  Commander at St. Louis, Burris’ official accounting listed forty-seven Confederates killed, including one Captain and three Lieutenants, fifty-seven captured, including two captains and one lieutenant, along with forty wounded, They had also captured and destroyed more than two-hundred guns, and two-hundred thirty horses and mules which they turned in to the quartermaster. Twenty slaves were also brought north.

As the men started this expedition without food for themselves and their animals, they lived off of stolen and captured supplied. Burris also reported that his trek across the state line had largely cleared Confederates ad guerrillas from the area.

In Northeast Arkansas, guerrilla warfare and the bushwhackers activities became ever-decreasing. The lack of supplies curtailed military action against the Union army. Overall, the Confederate army was low on men with few replacements and a critical shortage of supplies.

The Confederacy had begun to unfold. On April 9, 1865, Robert E, Lee surrendered his armies in Virginia. Joseph Johnson surrendered his forces of seventy-five thousand in North Carolina on April 26 (the day before the Sultana exploded and sank near Marion, Arkansas with two-thousand and two-hundred ex-Union prisoners returning home).

Brigadier General Jeff Thomason ceased his operation on the White and Little Red Rivers on May 11.  When he surrenders, Thompson was reduced to seven-thousand four-hundred and fifty-four men who had only five-hundred guns, three of four hundred canoes, and no food. Kitchen’s Legion from around Osceola surrendered as part of Thomason’s army. On June 2, General Kirby Smith surrendered his Arkansas army. Next day General Thomas Dockery surrendered the remaining Confederate troops in Arkansas.

At the end came, many of the men had already deserted. Those that were left just went home.   

 
 

“The first courthouse built in the County (Dunkin) was erected on the public square in 1847.  It was forty feet square, one and a half stories high, and composed of hewn gum logs from twelve to eighteen inches broad.”  Smyth-Davis, Mary F., History of Dunklin County Missouri, 1845-1895. Published 1896. Page 87. http://archive.org/stream/historyofdunklin00daive/historyofdunklintlin()
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In the prehistory of human occupation of the Bootheel, the Hoecake phase is defined by the presence of clay-tempered ceramic. This archaeological phase from about 600 to 600 AD referred to as the Baytown Period included the Morehouse Lowland,  Little River Lowlands, Sikeston Ridge, Crowley’s Ridge, Malden Plain, Western Lowlands, and Matthews or East Prairie Lowlands. This pretty well covers all of southeast Missouri. Charles H. McNutt, editor, Prehistory of the Central Mississippi Valley.
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“The first levee on the Mississippi River was constructed about 1717 for the protection of the City of New Orleans. Louisiana planter who had the means built levees to protect their plantations. During the first half of the nineteenth century these private levees were connected, enlarged and strengthened, largely by the employment of slave labor, and by 1850 the land along the lower Mississippi were fairly well protected.” The land in Southeast Missouri and the Eastern third of Arkansas were far less protected. Page 446, Centennial History of Arkansas.  

 
 
Brilliant, the forth of four so named, was a side-wheeler built in 1865 On October 16, 1865 she landed at New Madrid to deliver a lady passenger at 6 a.m. in a dense fog. Backed out and hardly had headway when fires was discovered. The watchman had been putting oil lamps in a locker, blew one out and it exploded. After the boat put ashore, some 65 passengers, many in nightdress, got ashore.  Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1994.

  The Battle of Belmont

The Civil War battle for Belmont, Missouri, was part of the early moves by Union Forces in taking control of the lower Mississippi River and their move to take the Confederate controlled Island # 10 at New Madrid, taking place November 7, 1861. This was the start of the Union’s Anaconda Plan which was to cut the South in to and restrict the free flow of men and supplies from the West.

This was General Grant’s first test against Confederate armies in the field.  When Grant’s army arrived in Belmont they found a struggling settlement of three ramshackled houses.

The low laying land was swampy and unhealthy. Many of the Rebel forces, estimated up to one-half, were sick. A lot of these men came as reinforcements from Fort Pillow where similar swampy condition.

The battle was considered a Union victory even if Grant retreated from the conflict. Confederate loses, men killed, wounded, and missing, outnumber the Federal loses; realizing their position was unattainable, all the Confederate men withdrew leaving a lot of badly needed supplies and heavy weapons.

The Battle of Belmont is covered in greater detail under cover of the Civil War in another archive of these postings.

Middle Woodland Period

The woodland Period is the transition time, a developmental stage, between the Hunter-Gather eras of 1000 BCE to 1000BCin the eastern part of North America south of the Subarctic Region and the Mississippian Phase. Not massive changes took place quickly. Instead, a slow steady development in stone and bone tools, leather crafting, textile manufacturing, cultivation, and shelter construction. Spears and atlatis, a form of a sling shot, was used until about 600 CE when the bow and arrow was introduced in the Southeast. Blowguns were used by some people in the Southeast part of North America.

The major technological development of the time was the widening use of pottery. While the earliest use of pottery started with the Hunter-Gathers, an increased sophistication in forms and decorations developed during this time. Now they had a vessel to store and prepare a wider variety of foodstuff.

This changed the eating habits of the people. Before this the population declined as the people were starving, stunted and unhealthy.  Sometime between 8000 and 500 BC the basic diet of nuts, fish, venison, raccoon, opossum and turkey was supplemented by other small game, shellfish, fruits, and berries. For the next 7,000 years this was the diet of the populaces of Southeast Missouri.

 Only someone that has tried to crack and eat walnuts and hickory nuts had truly appreciate the technique use by the residents of the era. Nuts were the most important foods in their diet. Their discovery on processing these food items opened up an almost unlimited supply of highly nutritious food easy to harvest, store, and prepare.

Instead of cracking hard shell nuts laboriously picking out the meat, they could pulverize then, shell and all in wooden or stone mortars. Then place everything, shell and nut meat, into a pot of boiling water. Cooking slowly. As the valuable nut rose to the top it was skimmed off. Now they had oil for use in cooking. The shell sank to the bottom. Slightly above then, the nut meat waited to be skimmed off. Nut meat could be eaten then or be dried in cakes for storage.

This life style covered most of the area between Crowley’s Ridge and the Mississippi River; from the Commerce Hills almost to the present day Arkansas- Missouri line. Over time the area grew, then shrank, only to grow and change. (for these changes, see McNutt’s book pages 4 -12.)

From . . .Frank Schamback & Leslie Newell, Crossroads to the Past: 12,000 Years of Indian Life in Arkansas. Charles H. McNutt, editor, Prehistory of the Central Mississippi Valley.

 
 
The municipal airports in Southeast Missouri, Sikeston, Malden, Cape Girardeau, Gideon, and Campbell, all had their start during WWII. Sikeston, Malden, and Cape Girardeau all were primary training bases. Of the three, Sikeston was they only one with our paved runways. Its runway was turf.

At the height of its train the MIA had 520 cadets and 170 planes. Of the 7,000 hopeful pilots entering training at Sikeston 5,000 graduated. During training, the pilots had several auxiliary air fields they could use. One of these auxiliary air fields may be listed twice under different names. Matthews, which was the sight of 15 accidents; West Auxiliary had 3 accidents; South Auxiliary, 1 accident; North Auxiliary, 1 accident; Bertrand Auxiliary,5 accidents; Kewanee, 2 accidents. Harvey Parks had much more traffic, therefore the most accidents with 30 either on sight or within 12 miles of the field. All the listed fields were turf.



Dexter, was one of the six local auxiliary airfields ( for Malden) in the vicinity for use in emergency and overflow landings. Elevation was 315 feet, with two asphalt runways; 4,500 x 100 feet running N/S and 4,500 X 300 NE/SW. Accident report show nine accidents accursed here. Dexter Auxiliary Field #1 was. It was located one mile southeast of the city. This field later became Dexter Municipal Airport.

Parma was the location of auxiliary field #2. At 286 feet above sea level, the runway for this airfield was turf some 5,700 x 5,640 feet. No accidents were reported here. This airfield, located 3.8 miles north of town, no longer exist.

Auxiliary Air Field #3 was at Risco and was located two miles west of town. No evidence of the airfield remains. At 276 feet elevation, the runway was a 5,500 x 5,125 foot field. One accident was reported in this area.

Gideon Auxiliary Field #4 was 0.8 of a mile southeast of the city. Now the Municipal Airport has two asphalt runways, both 4,500 feet long, one runs N/S, the other NNW x SSE. No reported accidents in the area.

Advance Auxiliary Field #5 is another World War II airfield with no physical evidence remaining. One accident happened near here. At an elevation of 355 feet, it was located 0.8 of a mile west-south-west of the city.

Campbell, the site of Malden’s auxiliary field number six (has also been listed as #2) is now the city’s airport. It is located 3.5 miles east of Campbell with an elevation of 284 feet. The runway was turf; 7,380 by 4,800 feet. Two accidents were reported as happening here or close by.

Harris Army Airfield (Cape Girardeau) had three auxiliary air fields. All were turf fields. All are now closed. Benton was the site of 12 accidents; Chaffee had nine, with Lee, all the way across Missouri, recording seven.

Just across the state line in Arkansas was the 2,600 acre Blytheville Army Airfield (BAAF). Here more advanced training took place with pilots training on two-engine aircraft, to fly bombers, and cargo planes and female WASP pilots trained to be co-pilots as B-25 and other aircraft. BAAF had auxiliary airfields in Hornersville, Cooter, and Steel, Missouri, as well as Manila and Luxora, Arkansas. The Blytheville Army Air Force Base closed in 1945, to open again during the Cold War

Cooter Army Airfield was designated as BAAF Auxiliary # 5. It was the only BAAF auxiliary in Arkansas to have paved runways. On the 699 acre irregularly-shaped property, southwest of Cooter, were two asphalt 4,000 foot runways, oriented north/south and northeast/southeast. Hangers were never constructed here. As Cooter Airfield closed in 1953, evidently, to field was used during the meanwhile in some capacity after the base in Blytheville closed.

The other Auxiliary fields supporting the BAAF Base were all sod fields. Hornersville reported the most accidents with 12, Cooter next with ten, Steel had five. Other accidents, in Missouri but not at a Blytheville support field were Hayti and Gideon both reported two. Advance, support field for Malden, reported three accidents related to aircraft from Blytheville AAF. Ten accidents occurred here involving military training.

 
 
 
    Having grown up on Little River, I have been fascinated with it. Over the past several years, as a local historian, this area has been a special interest. 

     These areas have been treated much like step-children by Jefferson City and Little Rock. They seem to believe nothing has ever happened here.  Our history has been long and varied. Hope you enjoy my trip.  

    Near Puxico is the swampy Mingo Wildlife Refuge. One hundred and fifty year ago, most of the Little River Valley appeared that way. This valley covering two million acres was part of the largest wetland in America.

    Floods frequently intimated the Valley. Between 1815 and 2011, 15 major floods covered or threatened the area.

    Timber companies came in at the end of the 19th Century to clean cut the forest. Louis Houck, a Cape Girardeau lawyer and railroad builder, envisioned a rail network that covered the wetlands.

    Little River Drainage District (LRDD) Corporation was established in 1907 by an act of the Butler County (MO) Circuit Court. 

    Between 1909 and 1928 the LRDD dug nearly 1000 miles of ditches and constructed 30 miles of levees to drain 1.2 million acres of swamp and overflow land in Southeast Missouri. More dirt was moved than in building the Panama Canal.

    One surprise I had was the number of settlements in the area before 1811-1812. Another was the water connection between the Mississippi River and the St. Francis and I had no idea that Little River had enough current to run a grist mill.

    Norman Vickers

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