Edwin Waller Price


Edwin Waller Price was born on June 10, 1834, in Randolph County, Missouri, the eldest son of future governor and Confederate major general Sterling Price and his wife, Martha Head. After his education at the state university, the young Price bought a farm in Chariton County, Missouri, where he resided the rest of his life.

In May, 1861, Price was elected captain of a militia company raised in Chariton County. With the coming of open conflict in Missouri the younger Price joined the Missouri State Guard, commanded by his father Elected lieutenant colonel of the 1st Regiment of the 3rd (John B. Clark's) Division, he distinguished himself at the Battles of Carthage, Wilson's Creek, and Lexington. At Carthage Price had a horse killed under him "while gallantly urging and cheering forward the forces."' On December 2, 1861, Price, known as "Stump" because of his short stature, was elected brigadier general of the 3rd Division to succeed Clark. During the winter of 1861 Price, "an able, gallant officer," was detached on recruiting duty. In February, 1862, while leading a band of recruits back to his father, Price was captured by a Union patrol while he was resting at the home of a southern sympathizer. He was paroled, with the proviso that he remain within the limits of Chariton County until exchanged. In the summer of 1862 he was exchanged for Union Brigadier General Benjamin Prentiss, who had been captured at the Battle of Shiloh. After visiting his father, then in Mississippi, Price returned to Missouri and took the oath of allegiance to the Union. At the behest of Missouri's Union Governor Hamilton Gamble, President Lincoln issued Price a full pardon. For the rest of the war Price was an open and public Unionist. On at least two occasions he gave Union authorities information of Confederate troop movements. Despite this public posture, rumor had it that Price was spending his time secretly organizing for the South.' The papers of Missouri's Confederate Governor Thomas Reynolds mention two reports current at the time. One indicates that Price allowed himself to get caught, that he was a Unionist; the rumors about his being a secret agent were put out by Sterling Price to save his son's (and Price's own) reputation. The second rumor was that young Price was his father's secret agent in Missouri, organizing southern supporters there into breaking away from the Confederacy and setting up a separate state under Sterling Price. In this scenario Sterling Price's loyalty to the Confederacy was questioned. It is only fair to note that Governor Reynolds was a political opponent of Sterling Price. Yet another rumor had Price deserting the southern cause because he resented how President Davis treated his father.

Despite this seeming desertion, father and son were reconciled after the war. Price even moved to St. Louis for four years to care for his father's widow. In 1871 he returned to his Chariton County farm, where he raised wheat and ran a tobacco factory. "A splendid citizen, and one of the best known and most popular men in Chariton County," Price died in St. Louis on January 6, 1908. He is buried, with his father, in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

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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.