Civil War Battle in Iowa

Missouri rebels fought with Iowa Union troops over the Des Moines River in 1861. It was the only Civil War battle on Iowa land.


Back in Iowa, the southern border was in danger of invasion by small groups of Missouri Rebels. One such unorganized group found out about a shipment of guns to Union troops at Keokuk. They decided to attack the town of Athens, Missouri, where a Union recruiting station had been set up and then cross the Des Moines River into Iowa and capture the guns. Iowa’s Union forces cut of the invasion at the River. The rebel’s aim was high and a few canon balls crossed the river into Croton, Iowa. A minor battle, but a success for the Union. And it was the only time Civil War battle would fall in Iowa. To prevent further invasions, Governor Kirkwood appointed loyal men in border counties to organize companies of home guards, farmers who were also trying to produce food for the men on the battlefront.


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