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The city of Pilot Knob, Missouri is in Iron County, about eight miles south of Belgrade and thirteen miles east of Centerville. Founded an iron mining town in 1858, Pilot Knob was named for the nearby Pilot Knob Mountain, which served as a landmark for travelers coming through the area. The American Civil War Battle of Pilot Knob was fought in the fall of 1864, and a museum commemorating the event is located near the battle site. When the war began, the Union established a post at Pilot Knob in order to secure the mines and to ensure that Union supplies could reach other Union outposts. Situated at the base of the lookout on Pilot Knob Mountain, Fort Davidson served as a strong defensive position, having walls ten feet thick and nine feet high, and a nine-foot dry moat surrounding the fort. In September of 1864, Fort Davidson was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War in Missouri. Attacking Confederate forces suffered heavy casualtiies, with 1,200 killed, wounded or missing, while fewer than 100 Union soldiers were harmed.



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