Skirmish at Island Mound Symphony

at Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Missouri has inspired lectures, history symposia, reenactments, books and literary articles – and at least one symphonic composition. Barbara Harbach, Ph.D., professor of music at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, has an extensive and impressive list of musical accomplishments that include symphonies, string symphonies, opera, musicals, chamber ensembles, organ, harpsichord, musicals, choral anthems, film scores and modern ballets.

Harbach's composition – "A State Divided – Missouri Symphony for Orchestra" – was inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The second movement of this composition is entitled “Skirmish of Island Mound.”

Narrator Louis Gerteis shares Capt. Richard Ward’s report of a detachment that was sent into the fight as reinforcements with his description of a courageous performance of former enslaved Black men of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry, who become the first to fight in the American Civil War.

The symphony premiered on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis and was conducted by Robert Charles Howard and performed by the University of Missouri, St. Louis, Orchestra. Many thanks to the staff of Higher Education Channel for editing this performance and making arrangements to share this as we extend our dedication of the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site located in Bates County, Missouri.