Bernard Gaines Farrar Jr.: University Student and Union Soldier
    by Olivia Beatty, Undergraduate Research Assistant (History, 3rd Year)

Bernard Gaines Farrar Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 5, 1831 to Dr. Bernard Gaines Farrar Sr. and Ann Clark Farrar. As a youth he studied at St. Louis University, Norwich Military Academy of Vermont, and the University of Virginia from 1850 to 1851. Upon completing his studies at the University, Bernard Jr. returned to St. Louis and in 1861 he enlisted in the United States Armed Forces. In May of that year he was appointed as the Aide de Camp under General Nathaniel Lyon. In the early months of the war, Missouri, being a border state, was undecided on where to direct its allegiance. The city of St. Louis, however, housed strong pro-Union sentiments that were mostly likely due to its large German immigrant population. Living in such an environment undoubtedly encouraged Bernard’s decision to join the United States military.

As the war raged on, the Missourian’s military experience proved to be exceptional. In his first couple months working under Lyon, Farrar participated in a campaign to drive out Missouri’s pro-Confederate government. The regiment’s first major advance was in pursuit of thwarting the state’s militia from seizing the US arsenal in Missouri. Lyon’s forces surrounded Camp Jackson and Major Farrar was sent to Confederate officer General Frost with a message to surrender, which he did without a fight.

In October of 1861 Farrar was promoted to Missouri’s provost-marshal-general where he disbanded the Chamber of Commerce to prevent the southern-sympathizing members from meeting in conspiracy. Perhaps his most renowned military achievement was Farrar’s formation of an all black regiment that would eventually become the 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery.

By 1865, Farrar retired from his military duties but soon after became a civil servant. As an outspoken Republican since the party’s conception, Farrar served for several years as a prominent representative in Missouri and under President Harrison’s administration he operated as Missouri’s Assistant U.S. Treasurer.

Bernard Farrar Jr. passed away at 85 years old and is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. 


MO Commandery of MOLLUS, Circular No.492, 21Nov1916Membership Records of the MO Commandery of MOLLUSEncyclopedia of the History of St. Louis, c1899 by The Southern History Company, p.730.