The Battle

"Bloody" Bill Anderson


Major A.V.E. Johnston


Jesse James


The Battle of Centralia

  On September 27,1864 Captain William "Bloody Bill" Anderson and about eighty men rode into Centralia, Missouri in search of the whereabouts of Federal troops. The search soon turned to looting and robbing fueled by liquor. A train arriving from the east was robbed and twenty-three Federal soldiers were taken off and all but one was shot. Anderson and his men returned to their camp three and a half miles to the southeast. By mid-

afternoon Major A. V. E. Johnston and 155 Federal Mounted Infantry arrived in Centralia. Johnston became  outraged upon seeing the murdered Federal soldiers still lying on the ground. Johnston vowed to hunt down Anderson and his men even though locals informed him that he was outnumbered three to one. Anderson, upon learning of the arrival of the Federal troops in Centralia, sent a small number of scouts to lure Johnston and his green recruits into an ambush.

Johnston left thirty-five of his men in Centralia and pursued Anderson's decoys to their encampment. Upon arriving, he observed about eighty men at the bottom of a hill with a wooded area to their back. Since Johnston's men were armed with single shot muzzle loader Enfields, he ordered every fifth man to hold four horses so the other soldiers could dismount and take the line. Seeing the Federals dismount, Anderson gave the command to attack.  Anderson's men riding low on their horses and armed with six-shooters rode straight into the Federal line. After

the initial engagement another one hundred of Anderson's mounted men attacked from both the left and right flank. The battle lasted less then three minutes. Some of the Federals tried to flee by foot or horse with most being gunned down by Anderson's men. One hundred and twenty-two men along with Major Johnston were killed that day. According to legend a young soldier by the name of Jesse James engaged and killed Johnston. It is recorded  that Anderson lost only three men that day.


The Battle of Centralia

Reenactment weekend

September 13 & 14, 2014

Prepare to be transported back to 1864 to a small but growing railroad town in central Missouri. Relive everyday life with food, entertainment,

crafts, vendors, musicians, story tellers and the reenactment of The Battle of Centralia on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be participating events for men, women and children of all ages. The event is brought to you by Friends of Centralia Battlefield, a  501c3 non-profit organization.

There is no charge for any events of the weekend with the exception of parking. Food and souvenirs may be purchased at your discretion.

The Battlefield

The battlefield is 3 1/2 miles

southeast of the town of Centralia.


Don't expect rap, hip-hop, rock and roll or heavy metal for entertainment. The event will

have traditional musicians and singers. Your

more then likely to hear a banjo and a fife.

The Reenactors

All settlers and soldiers dressed in Civil War

garb will interact with guests as if the clock

had been turned back to 1864.



 Historians and storytellers will be on location

for those interested in the history of the Civil War and the strife it caused all who lived

through it.


Traditional Foods

Try some of the food fare that the folks of the

region enjoyed during the time period. Don't worry, there will also be a wide variety of

today's favorites like burgers and popcorn.


Vendors at the events will offer everything from time period crafts to photographs of the

family in 19th Century fashions.



This video features Civil War Historian Chris Edwards. Chris is an expert on The Battle of Centralia and offers his

unique take on the events leading up to this important event in "The Battle Between the States".

Contact Us


(573) 682-5511 OR EMAIL:




Battle Blog

The Reenactment

Event Sponsors:


As America observes the fourth year of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War Cathy and Dave look forward to participating in the re-enactment of  The Battle of Centralia with time period music they collected.

The Friends of Centralia Battlefield are excited to announce the addition of performances by musicians Cathy Barton Para and Dave Para at both days of the reenactment.




1. Please complete and return as soon as possible

(An information booth will be set up at the entrance of the reenactment site open from Friday, September 12 until noon September 13, 2014.)



We are always on the lookout for reenactors and sutlers. Please go to

our contact page to fill out our newly linked applications.

(Updated July 11th)


Become a member  of the Friends of Centralia Battlefield today.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at the reenactment or from Centralia businesses.

The "Friends of Centralia Battlefield" is a 501c non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible. The organization's purpose is to preserve and maintain the battlefield site and to educate the public on the history of this Civil War battle. All donations are welcomed and you may use Paypal (use the donate button below) or mail a check to :

Friends of Centralia Battlefield

123 N. Rollins Street

Centralia, MO  65240

As our way of saying thanks, all donations of $25.00 receive the Certificate of Membership.

With a donation of $50.00 receive the certificate and battlefield cap (pretty girl not included). With a donation of $250.00 receive the certificate, cap, and the 450 plus page hardback book, "The Centralia Wizard".

                                                  *All gifts may be picked up on the days of the event at the event booth.

Harvey Hubbell Foundation








Deadline is September 1, 2014

Deadline is September 1, 2014





September 13 & 14


Schedule of Events:

Saturday Sept 13, 2014

Time   Event       Location

8:30 am  Centralia Looting and Stage Robbery   City Square

9:30am   Period Folk Music     Vendor Stage

10:00am  Opening Ceremony     Battlefield

10:30am  Memorial Presentation     Battlefield

11:00am  Reenactment (Battle of Centralia)   Battlefield

Noon   Singing       Battlefield Gazebo

12:30pm  Speaker       Battlefield Gazebo

1:30pm   Memorial Presentation     Battlefield

2:00pm   Reenactment (Generic)     Battlefield

3:00pm   Speaker       Vendor Stage

3:30pm   Period Folk Music     Vendor Stage

4:00pm   Speaker       Vendor Stage

5:00pm   Speaker       Vendor Stage

5:30pm   Period Music      Vendor Stage

6:00pm   Presentation      Vendor Stage

7:00pm   Period Dance      Encampment Grounds

8:30pm   Night Firing of Cannons     Battlefield

9:00pm   Period Dance Resumes     Encampment

10:00pm  Camp Closes   


Sunday Sept 14, 2014


8:00am   Period Church Service     Battlefield church

9:00am   Period Folk Music     Vendor Stage

9:30am   Speaker       Battlefield Gazebo

10:00am   Speaker       Battlefield Gazebo

10:30am  Memorial Presentation     Battlefield

11:00am  Reenactment (Mt. Zion)     Battlefield

Noon   Speaker       Vendor Stage

12:30pm  Speaker       Vendor stage

1:00pm   School Singing      Vendor Stage

2:00pm   Reenactment (Generic)     Battlefield

3:00pm   Storyteller      Vendor Stage

3:30pm   Speaker       Vendor Stage

4:00pm    Period Music      Vendor Stage

4:30pm   Close


Hosting Courtesy of:

Starting new count

on July 11th.