2nd Battle of Lexington (Price's Raid)
Three years after a Civil War battle took place in Lexington in 1861, Confederate General Sterling Price returned to defeat another Union force in the city, albeit less decisively. In October 1864, a month after beginning his 12,000-man raid into Missouri, Price failed to achieve his goals of capturing St. Louis and Jefferson City. Determined to gather supplies and still score a propaganda victory over the north, Price turned west with the intention of attacking Union strongholds in Kansas. Passing through Lexington on Oct. 19, he engaged 2,000 men under Union General James Blunt in a running fight that lasted most of the day.
Battle of the Little Blue River (Price's Raid)
Though technically a Confederate victory, the Battle of Little Blue River proved another nail in the coffin of General Sterling Price’s cavalry raid into Union-held Missouri and Kansas in September-October of 1864. Desperate to gain a political victory and sway the outcome of the 1864 Presidential election against Abraham Lincoln, the Confederate War Department had ordered Sterling Price to seize St. Louis and Jefferson City in order to install a Southern governor in Missouri--and initially, all seemed to go well. Despite a series of victories over scattered Union garrisons, however, Price squandered valuable time and failed to meet his objectives, instead turning west to raid Kansas. At the Little Blue River, only a day’s march from the Kansas-Missouri border, a much smaller Union force fought a fierce delaying action and cost him more time, bringing Price’s 12,000-man army one day closer to annihilation.
2nd Battle of Independence (Price's Raid)
One of the final engagements in Confederate General Stirling Price's 1864 raid through Missouri before his disastrous defeat at Westport, Kansas, the 2nd Battle of Independence was a fierce, all-day fight that progressed from the Little Blue River (7 miles east of the city) to the Big Blue River (several miles west). As Price moved his army southwest to avoid fighting heavily entrenched Federals on the banks of the Big Blue, Union General Alfred Pleasonton aggressively attacked his rearguard with nearly 10,000 Union cavalry. Though the battle's result was, by end of day, a tactical draw, Pleasonton nevertheless forced Price to commit a large portion of his army to protecting his retreat. A marker near the city center commemorates the fighting that took place within town boundaries, and the nearby Jackson County Courthouse served as Pleasonton's headquarters after the Confederates retreated.
Battle of Byram's Ford (Price's Raid)
Technically an episode in the 2nd Battle of Independence (Oct. 22) and the Battle of Westport (Oct. 23), the two days of fighting at Byram's Ford comprised a crucial moment in Confederate General Sterling Price's cavalry raid through Missouri in 1864. Price first used the well-known ford to slip away from Union General Samuel Curtis' formidable defenses, and the following day Union cavalry would smash through Price's rearguard and seal the trap that would annihilate his army in the ensuing week. Walking tours, information, and exhibits are available from the nearby Battle of Westport Visitor Center & Museum, which is contained within Big Blue Battlefield Park.
Battle of Westport (Price's Raid)
The Battle of Westport is widely regarded as the single most important battle of the Civil War that took place west of the Mississippi. The battle itself occurred in modern-day Kansas City from October 21-23, 1864, and the Confederate defeat at the battle marked a turning point in the war and the end of the Confederate threat in the west.
As the largest battle in the west with over 30,000 combatants, the three-day battle resulted in about 1,500 deaths on each side, which gave the Battle of Westport its nickname of “Gettysburg of the West.” Its name refers collectively to three days of constant fighting scattered around Kansas City, including the Little Blue River, Big Blue River, Independence, Byram's Ford, Mockbee's Farm, Shawnee Mission, and Brush Creek.
Nowadays, visitors to the Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum can experience the entire history of the battle. The 32-mile self-guided tour of the Battle of Westport traces the routes of the armies over adjacent battlefields along the Big Blue River in the Byram's Ford Historic District. Several replica artillery items are placed along the self-guided tour.
The battlefield has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989, and has been preserved through the tireless efforts of the nonprofit Monnett Battle of Westport Fund. It is now a Kansas City Park.
Battle of Mockbee's Farm (Price's Raid)
Technically only one in a series of engagements comprising the Battle of Westport, the fight at Mockbee's Farm on October 22, 1864, marked a decisive, if accidental, episode in the "Gettysburg of the West." As the right flank of the Union defenses along the Big Blue River began to collapse and retreat back to the Kansas state line, a Union militia regiment accidentally appeared in the rear of the Confederate pursuit, cutting the Rebels' assault short and giving Union forces time to recuperate and counterattack. The dramatic nature of the action at Mockbee's Farm, while part of the larger battle swirling around Byram's Ford that day, makes it one of the most memorable incidents in the climactic battle of Sterling Price's Missouri Expedition.
Battle of Mine Creek (Price's Raid)
The largest cavalry engagement in the West, and one of the largest during the Civil War, was fought here on October 25, 1864 at the Battle of Mine Creek. Two Union brigades of approximately 2,500 troops defeated approximately 7,000 Confederates from General Sterling Price's Army of Missouri. Price's troops had already been in full retreat after a devastating loss at Westport a few days before, and the battles of October 25 would seal the fate of his doomed expedition.
Battle of Marmaton River / Charlot's Farm (Price's Raid)
Confederate General Sterling Price's dramatic raid into Missouri in September-October 1864, which failed to capture St. Louis, Jefferson City, or place a Confederate governor in control of the state, came to a shattering climax at Westport on October 22-23. In full retreat southward after his defeat there, the denouement on October 25 at Mine Creek was no less devastating. After losing over a thousand men in thirty minutes, Price's army continued its retreat, and barely staved off another disaster later the same day at Marmaton River, near the Kansas-Missouri border. The actual site of the battle is still the subject of much debate. Today a marker in Missouri along Price's probably route of retreat seems to contradict many of the contemporary battle accounts, which would have placed the battle farther west.
Mathew H. Ritchey Home / Battles of Newtonia (Price's Raid)
Built in 1851-52 for prominent businessman and politician Mathew Richey, this neo-classical home is one of the few in antebellum structures in Newtonia to have survived both Civil War battles and an 1868 fire that swept through the town. Though some additions have been made through the decades, the house retains most of its original structure and character, and appears much as it did in its Civil War days. Newtonia changed hands several times during the Civil War, and Ritchey's stately house often served as headquarters for officers of either side throughout the conflict (or as a hospital, if a battle had just occurred). Confederate troops fought in Ritchey's yard and stone barn during the First Battle of Newtonia, and the house was also the scene of one of the exploits of Belle Starr, a notorious female Confederate spy. The house museum features exhibits on the life of the Ritcheys and the Civil War era, and interpretive markers tell the story of the Civil War battles, of which about 20 acres are preserved around the house.