September 27, 1864

“Bloody” Bill Anderson, Jesse and Frank James, Cole Younger, and other Bushwhackers took 20 Union soldiers off a train and executed them in what became known as the Centralia Massacre. Anderson’s gang was later attacked by an inexperienced Union force and more than 120 Union troops were killed in a battle outside Centralia.

Missouri Life footnote: After executing the soldiers, Anderson’s gang set the train on fire and sent it on to Sturgeon. Jesse James turned 17 just 22 days earlier.

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.