After Wilson's Creek in August and Lexington in September 1861, General Sterling Price fell back to a winter camp near Osceola, Missouri. Learning he was a target of converging Federal forces, he was forced to withdraw from the Osceola area and fall back to Springfield, reaching that city on December 22. There he set up winter camp and began to construct log huts.
While at Springfield, Price's men began organizing to join the Confederate Army. The first unit to organize was the First Battery of Artillery, William Wade as Captain on December 28. On December 30, the First Missouri Cavalry organized and elected Elijah Gates as Colonel.
On January 16, 1862 the First Missouri Infantry was organized and elected John Q. Burbridge as Colonel. After this regiment organized it was learned that Colonel John S. Bowen had already organized a regiment of Missourians at Memphis, Tennessee, and Bowen's regiment, by seniority, was entitled to be called the First Missouri. Colonel Burbridge's regiment was therefore renamed the Second Missouri Infantry. The organization of the Third Missouri Infantry was also completed on January 16, 1862. Many other units of infantry and artillery followed and the whole was organized into the famous "Missouri Brigade".
The history of the Second Missouri Infantry is written along with the famed Missouri Brigade, from Pea Ridge, Arkansas to Shiloh, Tennessee, to Iuka, Corinth, Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Big Black River, Champion Hill and finally Vicksburg all in Mississippi. At Vicksburg the Missouri Brigade was disorganized until a man arose who could (and did) put them back together again. He had been the Colonel of the Second Missouri Infantry, which he had led in the battles of Iuka, Corinth and the Hatchie River, his name was Francis Marion Cockrell. Cockrell was later promoted to Brigadier General and served the Confederacy throughout the war.
After Vicksburg, the Second Missouri Infantry was combined with the Sixth Missouri and was known as the Second and the Sixth. This was duly noted on the battle flag. General Cockrell put the Missouri Battalion back together and continued to fight on. The Brigade and the 2-6 Missouri, saw action at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia and the Atlanta campaign, with particular heroism at the battle of Allatoona Pass in Georgia. Finally, after many months of hard fighting, the 2-6 MO Infantry, drew up before a small town in Tennessee named Franklin...."A carnival of death........"
The history of the 2-6 Missouri comes to a terrible close with this battle. The charge against artillery shot, shell and Yankee repeating rifles almost closed the history of this famous unit along with the Missouri Brigade as the men fell like leaves before a terrible hurricane. Cockrell's famed Missouri Brigade lost 60.2% of it's whole strength. Missouri lost 419 men officially, out of 696 men who made the charge. This was the first time in the history of the Missouri Brigade that it had made a charge upon the enemy and and failed to drive it from it's works. Other portions of the army had failed, but the Missouri Brigade, never! It was stated after, that Cockrell's Brigade had driven the farthest into the town of Franklin than any other commands, and the fame and heroism of this command constitutes the brightest chapter in the history of the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of Vicksburg. (St. Louis Star, 1904)
What was left of the Missouri Brigade fought on for the remainder of the war finally surrendering at Fort Blakley, Alabama on April 9, 1865.
The Missouri Brigade, and the 2nd Missouri Infantry wrote a blazing chapter of dedication, fierceness in battle, loyalty to their leaders and an undying admiration of soldiers from both sides, that led a Yankee General to write. "The Missouri Brigade are the best soldiers in the world, I only wish I had them".
Link to Battles of the 2nd Missouri