You are standing near the junction of Maple and Lucas Streets where the Union Church once stood. Originally built around 1860, the non-denominational church was torn down in the 1920s. It served as a meeting place for Union troops during the Civil War.
According to some accounts, the church also occasionally served as an army dance hall. It provided for both the military needs of the soldiers as well as some of their comforts. After the war, the church served as the meeting place for Union veterans. From 1904 until World War I (1914-1918), veterans met there, then marched to the fort to reminisce around a fire.
One of the few accounts that mentions the Union Church during the battle states the "whiz, bang" opening of the Battle of Pilot Knob caused Sgt. John Delano to scramble to the stables east of here, mount a horse and speed past the church to Fort Davidson, barely ahead of the attacking Confederates.
The "camp-fire" of the Grand Army is a mere assemblage of comrades absolutely on an equal footing, regardless of former rank, yet subject to self-imposed discipline ... when they sing their old war songs, tell their old war stories, or in the soldier's phrase, "swamp lies" ... For mathematical accuracy, one should go to the interesting tables of statistics compiled by
adjutants general, but for the living radiant truth, commend me to the "camp-fire."
- Gen. William T. Sherman