Missouri Civil War Battles

Colonel Sterling Price

Colonel Sterling Price

Independence – 2 – October 22, 1864 – Part of Price’s Missouri Expedition this skirmish took place in Jackson County on October 22, 1864.Major General Sterling Price’s army rode west in the direction of Kansas City. On the night of the 21st, he camped at Independence and resumed his westward march the next morning with Brigadier General Joe Shelby’s division in the lead followed by Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke’s division, with Brigadier General James Fagan’s division bringing up the rear. While Shelby’s men met success at Byram’s Ford, the other two columns did not fare as well. Major General Alfred Pleasonton’s Union force crossed the Little Blue, beat up a Rebel brigade in Fagan’s command, and occupied Independence. Marmaduke’s division then met Pleasonton about two miles west of Independence, hit the Federals hard, pressed them back, and held them at bay until the morning of the 23rd. Pleasonton’s actions, however, frightened Price and his army, and influenced them, after they had crossed the Big Blue, to send their wagon trains to Little Santa Fe on the Fort Scott Road. The Confederate victory resulted in 140 Confederate casualties, the number of Union casualties is unknown,

Battle of Byram's Ford by Benjamin D. Mileham

Battle of Byram’s Ford by Benjamin D. Mileham

Byram’s Ford – October 22-23, 1864 – Also called the Big Blue River this skirmish took place in Jackson County, Missouri as part of Price’s Missouri Expedition on October 22-23, 1864. Major General Sterling Price’s Army of Missouri was headed west towards Kansas City and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Border, in and around Westport, was blocking the Confederates’ way west and Major General Alfred Pleasonton’s provisional cavalry division was pressing Price’s army’s rear. Price had nearly 500 wagons with him and required a good ford over the Big Blue River to facilitate the passage of his supplies. Byram’s Ford was the best ford in the area and became a strategic point during the fighting around Westport. On October 22, Major General James G. Blunt’s division held a defensive position on the Big Blue River’s west bank. Around 10:00 am on the 22nd, part of Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s Confederate division conducted a frontal attack on Blunt’s men. This attack was a ruse because the rest of Shelby’s men flanked Blunt’s hasty defenses, forcing the Federals to retire to Westport. Price’s wagon train and about 5,000 head of cattle then crossed the Big Blue River at Byram’s Ford and headed southward toward Little Santa Fe and safety. Pleasonton’s cavalry was hot on the tail of Price’s army. Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke’s Rebel division held the west bank of the Big Blue at Byram’s Ford to prevent Pleasonton from attacking Price’s rear. Pleasonton assaulted Marmaduke at Byram’s Ford, around 8:00 am, on the 23rd. Three hours later, Marmaduke’s men had enough and fell back toward Westport. With Pleasonton across the river, he was now an additional threat to Price who was fighting Curtis’s Army of the Border at Westport. Price had to retreat south. The number of casualties in the Union victory is unknown.

Battle of Westport, Missouri by Andy Thomas

Battle of Westport, Missouri by Andy Thomas

Westport – October 23, 1864 – Occurring in Jackson County, Missouri on October 23, 1864, this was part of Price’s Missouri Expedition. Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s Missouri Expedition had changed course from St. Louis and Jefferson City to Kansas City and Fort Leavenworth. As his army neared Kansas City, Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Border blocked its way west, while Major General Alfred Pleasonton’s provisional cavalry division was closing on their rear. Price decided that he needed to deal with the two Union forces and decided to attack them one at a time. With Pleasonton still behind him, Price chose to strike Curtis at Westport first. Curtis had established strong defensive lines and during a four-hour battle, the Confederates hurled themselves at the Union forces but to no avail. The Rebels could not break the Union lines and retreated south. Westport was the decisive battle of Price’s Missouri Expedition, and from this point on, the Rebels were in retreat. Estimated casualties in the Union victory were 1,500 for both Union and Confederate.

Marmaton River, Missouri courtesy Wikipedia

Marmaton River, Missouri courtesy Wikipedia

Marmiton River – October 25, 1864 – Also called the Battle of Shiloh Creek or Charlot’s Farm, this skirmish occurred on October 25, 1864, as part of Price’s Missouri Expedition. Following the Battle of Mine Creek, Major General Sterling Price continued his cartage towards Fort Scott. In the late afternoon of October 25, Price’s supply train had difficulty crossing the Marmiton River ford and, like at Mine Creek, Price had to make a stand. Brigadier General John S. McNeil, commanding two brigades of Pleasonton’s cavalry division, attacked the Confederate troops that Price and his officers rallied, including a sizable number of unarmed men. McNeil observed the sizable Confederate force, not knowing that many of them were unarmed, and refrained from an all-out assault. After about two hours of skirmishing, Price continued his retreat and McNeil could not mount an effective pursuit. Price’s army was broken by this time, and it was simply a question of how many men he could successfully evacuate to friendly territory. There was an unknown number of casualties in the Union victory.

Newtonia – 2 – October 28, 1864 – Fought in Newton County on October 28, 1864, this battle was part of Price’s Missouri Expedition. Price’s force was in full retreat following its expedition into Missouri. On October 28, 1864, it stopped to rest about two miles south of Newtonia, Missouri. Soon afterward, Major General James G. Blunt’s Union troops surprised the Confederates and began to drive them. Brigadier General Joe Shelby’s division, including his Iron Brigade, rode to the front, dismounted, and engaged the Yankees while the other Rebel troops retreated towards Indian Territory. Brigadier General John B. Sanborn later appeared with Union reinforcements which convinced Shelby to retire. The Union troops forced the Confederates to retreat but failed to destroy or capture them. The Union victory resulted in 400 Union casualties and 250 Confederate.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated November 2018.

Also See:

Campaigns of the Civil War

Control Missouri Campaign

Civil War

Civil War Timeline & Leading Events

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