Price's Missouri Raid "Skirmishes With Kansas Troops" August 28 - December 2, 1864
Gen. Sterling Price's 12,000 mounted Rebel began their fall 1864 raid into Missouri on September 19. Two and one-half weeks later they were in the center of the state outside Jefferson City, Missouri's capital. Price found the place too heavily fortified to risk an attack; he also learned that Union force were being organized to close in on him in overwhelming numbers from different directions. Fifteen thousand Union infantry and cavalry, commanded by Generals Andrew J. Smith and Alfred Pleasanton, respectively, were marching toward Price from the east while 20,000 more Yankees were assembling in Kansas to attack from the west.
There were skirmishes around Jefferson City but no attempts to capture the city before Price's men continued raiding to the northwest along the Missouri River toward Lexington and Kansas City. On October 15 they captured the towns of Sedalia, Glasgow, and Paris; four days later they skirmished at Waverly with the first arrivals of the Union's Kansas troops, commanded by Gen. James G. Blunt. As Price's force traveled through that pro-Confederate section of Missouri, several thousand recruits, as well as nearly all the guerilla bands that had been bedeviling the Union forces in the state for two years, joined the raiders' column.
On October 21, Price's army attacked Blunt's force at Independence and, fighting house to house, pushed the Yankees through the tow to the Big Blue River, just beyond. On the opposite bank Gen. Samuel R. Curtis had entrenched 8,000 more Kansas troops; he planned to hold out until Union troops came up on Price's rear from the east, and then crush the Rebels between them. But on the morning of the 22nd, Confederate Gen. Jo Shelby crossed the river upstream, came down on the flank of Curtis's men, and forced them to retreat to Westport, a border town just south of Kansas City. When Pleasanton arrived with his Union cavalrymen in Independence that night, he fount Curtis's entrenchments occupied by Price's raiders.
Fascinating Fact: Among the guerillas that joined Price's force were Bloody Bill Anderson's and William Quantrill's desperadoes. Anderson's men had recently massacred Union troops at Centralia, and the bridles of their horses were decorated with Union scalps.
Back to index page