Doing some background reading for my book about Missouri. The Cape Girardeau area was interesting geography in the separation of North and South during the Civil War. There are many letters of soldiers to their families, describing the trudge through the area, but also some which expressed concern. For example:
Greer M. Davis, a relative of Missouri state representative Lowndes Davis from Cape Girardeau, was clearly worried about the problem of freed or runaway slaves attempting to rescue members of their families from bondage.
My Dear Lowndes
… The ghost of old John Brown is still marching along, we had a visit last night in the shape of two negroes, demanding me to open the door requesting a nights lodging. I did not discover they were negroes till they said they wanted Caroline, [and] on my refusal, they said the soldiers would come and take them, I replied, I would go and see the Col and they left. They tried to pass themselves off as soldiers. … We are in a bad condition about negroes. A large number are congregated at Cape Girardeau, if they want any of their family, they can arm themselves, go with a few soldiers and take them; and they can with the same facility take any other property we have, as we have no weapons. I will ask the Col today for a revolver, to keep at least as long as he remains here. Two negroes & some soldiers went to old Mr. Poe’s about two weeks since, and took five in open day light. So long as the Government permits negroes to remain at the Cape, & the citizens of that place take no steps to have them removed, no one in the country is safe in person or property….
Your father, Greer M. Davis