During the difficult days of Bleeding Kansas when residents of Kansas were fighting over the slavery issue several years prior to the Civil War, the Battle of Middle Creek was fought on August 25, 1856.
Many Kansas counties that were located on the border with Missouri were often subject to raids by pro-slavery factions who hoped to make Kansas into a slave state. The battle took place in Linn County, Kansas, which is located on the Missouri-Kansas border along the Marais des Cygnes River.
On August 25, 1856, acting Kansas Governor Daniel Woodson issued a proclamation declaring Kansas Territory in a state of insurrection and rebellion and called out the militia. At that time, the territory was under the control of pro-slavery advocates and a number of Missourians had gathered their armed forces along the Kansas–Missouri border. Captain John E. Davis was camped with a force of 150-200 men on Middle Creek. They were waiting for reinforcements from Missouri, preparatory to a general movement against the Free State settlements.
That morning, scouts of the Free-State party brought word that about 50 of Davis’ men were absent from camp and an attack was immediately planned. When the Free-State men came within range, the Missourians opened fire, which was immediately returned. The firing lasted about ten minutes before the Bushwhackers retired. In the action, Lieutenant Cline was wounded and subsequently died and the Free State forces captured about 15 prisoners, who were kept overnight, then duly admonished by John Brown as to their fate, and released.
Compiled by Kathy Alexander, updated November 2018.