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.



08/31/2015 12:56am

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09/07/2017 12:09am

It's so refreshing to see some article that talks about the rich part of a certain place. In this post, you've had Missouri and there are so many things I've learned from this one! Though the article was quite long and I took a lengthy of time to read it, it's worthy because the knowledge I've gained from reading this post is unimaginable. I am looking forward to read more posts like this one!

10/30/2016 11:13pm

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11/20/2016 9:06am

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Nice post, good to read, very interesting story presented in it. I have been reading your blogs and the Middle Woodland Period is one of the best stories you have written. your writing style is excellent, its very impressive.

02/01/2017 9:52am

This is a great history of battles and victory that our ancestors win for our freedom. Make America great again!

06/29/2017 2:28am

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    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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    Little River's Geographic Past