James W Erwin


I am presently researching and writing a history of the Missouri State Militia, a force of 14 cavalry regiments, one infantry regiment, and one artillery regiment specially recruited during the Civil War to fight guerrillas in Missouri. Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri​ provides an introduction to the Missouri State Militia, but I think a more detailed history of these little known but important regiments is called for. One reason for their obscurity is the paucity of readily available sources. if you have letters, diaries, personal memoirs, or photographs of soldiers of the Missouri State Militia, I would very much appreciate your contacting me at jerwin011@outlook.com. 

I have other shorter articles in the works (which I hope to post here) on Frances Louisa Clayton, a woman who may or may not have served in a Missouri regiment during the Civil War (contrasting photographs of her in military and civilian dress are among the most famous of women soldiers), the attack on the New Sam Gaty​  where guerrillas murdered a white soldier and a number of escaped slaves, and the Pond brothers, the only soldiers awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the guerrilla war in Missouri and Kansas.


James W. Erwin is a retired attorney.

His latest book is St. Charles: A Brief History, published by Arcadia/History Press in 2017.

In 2006, James and his wife Vicki bought Main Street Books, located in the Historic District of St. Charles. While operating the store both became familiar with the fascinating history of this city. (Vicki has written two books about St. Charles herself, including St. Charles: Then and Now (2011) published by Arcadia Press.) They sold the store in 2014, and now concentrate on writing and promotion of the arts.
James is 1968 graduate of Missouri State University. He obtained a Master’s Degree in History in 1972 and a law degree in 1976 from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He practiced law in St. Louis for thirty-eight years, and was an adjunct professor at the Washington University in St. Louis Law School for ten years.
His primary interest is in the Civil War, having published three books with Arcadia/History Press: Guerillas in Civil War Missouri (2012), Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri (2013) and Homefront in Civil War Missouri (2014). James has served as an officer of the St. Louis Civil War Roundtable. He is a member of the Kirkwood (Missouri) Arts Commission, and an officer of the Unbound Book Festival, held annually in Columbia, Missouri.
When not doing historical research or volunteer activities, he is an avid computer pilot, flying commercial airliners all over the world (but only on his computer!)​