September Living History Saturday: Union Retreat Auto Tour

9/24/2022 | Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site | Pilot Knob, MO

Visitors often ask questions about what happened after the Battle of Pilot Knob and the subsequent escape of the Union forces. The retreat from the fort has been of interest for a long time, and in 1995 a map was developed for people interested in learning more. This map has been available to the public ever since. 

At this event, you can follow interpreters along the route taken by the retreating Union forces, learning about the retreat and several points of interest along the way. 

The tour will travel the route from the historic site to Leasburg – stopping at interpretation points along the way – and then stop for lunch in Sullivan. It will then return to the site via Highway 185, stopping at Potosi to interpret General Shelby’s activities in Potosi, which were happening at the same time as the battle in Pilot Knob.

Each party will follow the lead car in procession as we move from each stop. This year, we have reserved three vans for people who want to attend but may not want or be able to drive themselves. There is a total of 16 seats available; please call the historic site at 573-546-3454 to reserve a seat. Everyone else who plans to attend should RSVP by calling the site or emailing

Timeline of Event:
  • 8:30 a.m. – Get organized and give participants maps and/or van assignments.
  • 9 a.m. – Leave Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site.
  • 9:20 a.m. – Arrive at Caledonia. Stop at city fairgrounds on Webster Road to interpret the interaction of Shelby’s cavalry and Ewing’s command.
  • 9:30 a.m. – Proceed to Palmer on Highway Z.
  • 10 a.m. – Arrive at Palmer. Stop at Palmer church and spring. Interpret rest stop and massacre of six militia men left at the town. Proceed to Palmer Cemetery; visit Civil War veteran graves.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Proceed to Huzzah Conservation Area.
  • 11:30 – Arrive at Huzzah Conservation Area. Stop at shooting range parking lot to interpret the retreat up the Huzzah valley into the town of Leasburg. Proceed to Leasburg.
  • Noon – Arrive at Leasburg. Interpret battle and relief from Union forces arriving from Rolla.
  • 12:30 p.m. – Proceed to Sullivan. Stop for lunch.
  • 1-2 p.m. – Eat lunch.
  • 2 p.m. – Proceed to Potosi via Highway 185.
  • 2:40 p.m. – Arrive at Potosi. Stop at Walmart parking lot and interpret the activities of General Shelby in Potosi as the battle was going on in Pilot Knob. Proceed back to Battle of Pilot Knob Historic site.
  • 3:30 p.m. – Arrive at the historic site and end program.

This is the last event in the historic site's 2022 Living History Saturdays and Event Passport series. Site staff members will be in their period dress and will offer special guided tours of the fort and the battlefield. The site will also host special presentations from reenactors and historical skills demonstrators.

As an added bonus, we are offering an event passport free of charge to people who attend this series and want to get the opportunity to receive a VIP pass for the next reenactment, to be held in September 2024. Visitors who attend this event and also attended the first five events in the series will get their name in the drawing for six special VIP passes for the reenactment.

Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site is located at:

118 E. Maple, Pilot Knob, MO | 573-546-3454

Associated activities

  • Interpretive Programs