Alexander Early Steen

Alexander Early Steen was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1828, the son of Colonel Enoch Steen, U.S. Army (who remained loyal during the war), and Mary Rector, the aunt of Arkansas Governor Henry Rector. Steen was commissioned directly into the regular army in 1847, seeing Mexican War action and being breveted for gallantry at the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco. Leaving the army at the end of that war, Steen was re-commissioned in 1852. He served in the 6th and 3rd infantries before the war, rising to first lieutenant, and suffering a wound fighting Indians in 1857.

The spring of 1861 found Steen back in Missouri. He promptly entered into that state's secession movement, resigning from the army on May 10, 1861. In May Governor Claiborne Jack

son of Missouri commissioned Steen a lieutenant colonel of Missouri militia. When Union troops captured his regiment at Camp Jackson, Steen was fortuitously absent, having traveled to Jefferson City (accompanied by his brother-in-law, future Confederate General Henry Little) on a mission to the governor. Later in May, he was appointed as an aide to the governor and commissioned a colonel. On June 18, Steen was appointed brigadier general of the 5th Division of the Missouri State Guard. Eight days later he was appointed a captain in the regular Confederate army. A "hard driver" and a "good judge of men," Steen was the drillmaster of Major General Sterling Price's army. With the state guard he fought at the Battles of Wilson's Creek and Lexington, often commanding the combined cavalry units of the state guard as well as his own division. In March, 1862, Price recommended Steen for promotion to brigadier general of the PACS, "but the appointment was denied because Steen's brigade was not fully formed." The Missourians were transferred east of the Mississippi River. Steen, however, fell ill while in Memphis (he suffered from rheumatism) and did not rejoin them in their northern Mississippi campaigns. Returning to the Trans-Mississippi theater, Steen was appointed colonel of the newly formed 10th Missouri Infantry. That fall he occasionally led a brigade of four Missouri infantry regiments in the army commanded by Major General Thomas C. Hindman. At the Battle for Prairie Grove on December 7, Steen was shot through the head "while gallantly charging the enemy," and instantly killed. He is buried in the National Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Heitman, Wood, SHSP, and CV list Steen as a general. SHSP has Steen appointed brigadier general CSA on April 1, 1862. However, the OR show him as a colonel as late as December 12, 1862. A Confederate colonel, he was promised promotion appropriate to his brigade command, but died before action on the promotion was formally taken.

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Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.