Sterling Price

Photo of Sterling Price
Sterling Price

Library of Congress

Quick Facts
Confederate army commander
Place Of Birth:
Prince Edward County, VA
Date Of Birth:
September 20, 1809
Place Of Death:
St. Louis, MO
Date Of Death:
September 29, 1867
Place Of Burial:
St. Louis, MO
Cemetery Name:
Bellefontaine Cemetery

Sterling Price was a lawyer, planter, politician, brigadier general of volunteers in the Mexican-American War and Governor of Missouri from 1853 to 1857. He began the Civil War opposed to secession but reversed himself after Federal militia under Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon seized Camp Jackson, where pro-secessionist militia had gathered.

At the beginning of the war, Price was given command of the Missouri State Guard and led his forces to two early Confederate victories, the first at Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861 and the second at Lexington, in mid-September. Price was commissioned a major general in the Confederate States Army on March 6, 1862 just before the Battle of Pea Ridge. His forces were defeated there and again at Iuka and Corinth in Mississippi. Price's command fought a series of minor engagements during 1863 which had little effect on the war.

Then, in the fall of 1864, Price mounted one final campaign, a large-scale raid into Missouri and Kansas from his base in northern Arkansas. Price cut a wide swath of destruction across his home state but was finally run to ground by two Union armies at Westport in present-day Kansas City and soundly defeated. Price and the remnants of his command then fled south into Indian Territory and finally Texas.

Price never surrendered after the war. He led his troops over the border and offered their services to Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, who refused them. Price then settled in a colony of former Confederates in Carlota, Veracruz. He was impoverished and in poor health when he returned to the United States in 1866. He died in St. Louis on September 29, 1867.

Pea Ridge National Military Park, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Last updated: June 17, 2015