Price's 1864 retreat (Western MO/Eastern KS) & a few other places

BLTinMO

Cadet
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Location
Missouri
My son and I have been visiting local (ie. Missouri) civil war sites for the past year. This past Fri/Sat we focused our trip in the Kansas City area then south following Price's retreat after his failed 1864 MO invasion. There are several driving tours and tons of historical markers in the area. Well done, KC! Unfortunately most of the museums were closed, so we'll have to head back when they open, but we wouldn't have accomplished as many miles if we spent hours in the museums, so it was still a win.

1. Richmond, MO. Grave of Bloody Bill Anderson. I'm wondering if the chips on the edge are from a lawn mower or if people are taking souvenirs.
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2. The Battle of Liberty/Blue Mills Landing. Original mass grave for several Union soldiers on the campus of William Jewell University. This battle was in 1861, so part of Price's 1st campaign in MO.
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3. Battle of Little Blue River/Independence. I think one of the most important things I've learned in the past year is the importance of actually visiting a site to really understand the battle. How many times have I thought "Why did they have to use a ford? It's just a creek, couldn't they have crossed it anywhere?" Yeah, well, so some of the creeks aren't quite like the little creeks I played in as a kid. Looking at this, I can totally understand why a ford was needed. Wagons are NOT getting through that!
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4. Battle of Westport. We started the Westport driving tour about 7:30am on a Saturday morning, which was perfect. There was very little traffic, so it was easy to get through the city and those 2 illegal right turns I may have taken when we got turned around because of construction went totally unnoticed. Due to the light traffic it took us ~3-4h to complete most of the tour (we skipped 3 stops).
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5. Despite the fact that the battlefield is in Kansas City, much of it was fought in and around Loose Park, which, the best I can tell, was preserved for reasons that had nothing to do with the fact that it was a battlefield. It is a beautiful park and had a very nice interpretation of the battle. Even if you don't have time to do the entire tour, if you are in the area, I suggest a visit at stop #8 at the southern end of Loose Park for a great overview of the battle.
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6. Wornall's House. It's great to see historic houses saved! I think the house was open for tours, but we were there too early.
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7. Shelby's Last Stand is also the location where he is now buried (Forest Park Cemetery. Is there more to this story or a coincidence?). This confederate memorial is near his grave and the graves of many other confederate soldiers. There were remains of graffiti on the monument, but I didn't see any on any of the nearby individual graves.
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8. Battle of Byram's Ford/Big Blue River. KC has been obtaining land in the area to develop a battlefield park. There is not much there now, but there are 3 new interpretive panels that were added late last year and what looks like a newer walking/biking path in the area. The story of this battle is very interesting and confused me the first time I looked at it. Day 1: Confederates on East. Union defending on West. Confeds fight, get across. Day 2. Confeds now defending on West. Union on East. Union fights and gets across. What?!? Wasn't until I read about the Battle of Westport, Independence, Little Blue, etc. that it all made sense.
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9. This was a very cool little monument area, just west of Harrisonville, in recognition of the Burnt District area in western MO.
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10. Battle of Mine Creek, Kansas. We decided to go ahead and detour into Kansas to more closely follow Prices' retreat. The visitor center at Battle of Mine Creek was closed (grrrr...I am so over Covid!), but it is definitely on our list of places to revisit. Looked like a great little place, in the middle of nowhere!
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We finished our trip by visiting: A) Fort Scott National Historic Site, B) Battle of Marmaton River/Charlot's Farm (not much to see but a very, very flooded river and an interpretive panel in the parking lot of a truck stop), C) Nevada, MO, a few more monuments, but a closed Bushwhacker museum, D) Carthage, MO, small historic site, but a great interpretive kiosk with an overview of the Civil War in MO.

Overall, I highly recommend a trip to Kansas City to visit the Battle of Westport and the accompanying battles, Little Blue River and Big Blue River. Most of the tour is in the suburban neighborhoods, so travel is easy, and the markers are placed perfectly to be able to follow the battle. And if you are a beer drinker, I'd also recommend tacking on another day or 2 to visit some of the great breweries in the city as well.

Beth
 

Bill_S

Private
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Location
China/Kansas USA
Appreciate the post. I remember visiting many of these sites when I was a child living in KC; but that was a more then a few decades ago. Your post reminds me it is worth viising them again. Cheers
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
This is a very nice photo tour. Thanks for posting it. While on the subject of brews and breweries, anyone visiting Kansas City should sample the local barbecue. There are so many options that I won't list them all, but the decades-old classics are Gates and Arthur Bryant's.

I have visited the graves of a number of the Missouri bushwhackers (in a few cases, just to make sure they are still dead.) When I saw Anderson's grave, I assumed the chips were the work of souvenir hunters. Archie Clements is buried in a small cemetery just west of
the roundabout on Hwy 24. John Noland and George Todd are buried in a large cemetery along Noland Road in Independence. Frank and Annie James are buried in a tiny pioneer cemetery a few blocks West of Noland Road. The cemetery is in the NE corner of the skate park.

Off ACW topic "must see" sites in the area include the National WWI museum and the Truman Library. I have not yet visited the Negro Leagues Baseball museum nor the K.C. Jazz museum, or even the Arabia Steamboat museum, but I will get around to them.
 

JeffFromSyracuse

Corporal
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Location
Philly Suburbs
This is a very nice photo tour. Thanks for posting it. While on the subject of brews and breweries, anyone visiting Kansas City should sample the local barbecue. There are so many options that I won't list them all, but the decades-old classics are Gates and Arthur Bryant's.

Off ACW topic "must see" sites in the area include the National WWI museum and the Truman Library. I have not yet visited the Negro Leagues Baseball museum nor the K.C. Jazz museum, or even the Arabia Steamboat museum, but I will get around to them.
Throw in a visit to the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka and the National Frontier Trails museum in Independence and this literally covers all of my plans for the trip.
 

BLTinMO

Cadet
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Location
Missouri
I would also recommend stopping at Lone Jack. I liked the old Jackson County Jail in Independence also. I also stopped at the site of the mortal wounding of George Todd.

We did the museum at Lone Jack a few months ago. It had some nice items, but didn't stay long because they were limiting the number of people that could come in to only a few and didn't want to overstay our welcome.
 

BLTinMO

Cadet
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Location
Missouri
This is a very nice photo tour. Thanks for posting it. While on the subject of brews and breweries, anyone visiting Kansas City should sample the local barbecue. There are so many options that I won't list them all, but the decades-old classics are Gates and Arthur Bryant's.

I have visited the graves of a number of the Missouri bushwhackers (in a few cases, just to make sure they are still dead.) When I saw Anderson's grave, I assumed the chips were the work of souvenir hunters. Archie Clements is buried in a small cemetery just west of
the roundabout on Hwy 24. John Noland and George Todd are buried in a large cemetery along Noland Road in Independence. Frank and Annie James are buried in a tiny pioneer cemetery a few blocks West of Noland Road. The cemetery is in the NE corner of the skate park.

Off ACW topic "must see" sites in the area include the National WWI museum and the Truman Library. I have not yet visited the Negro Leagues Baseball museum nor the K.C. Jazz museum, or even the Arabia Steamboat museum, but I will get around to them.

The WWI museum is one of my favorite places! And I also need to do the baseball and jazz museums, but will probably combine those with a non-civil war trip (i.e. brewery tour).
 

mofederal

Major
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
The Steamboat Arabia is a must see, and it is worth the visit. Not many steamboats around to see, and this one was so laden with 1850's supplies and goods for the frontier, it gives one an idea of what people wanted and needed for life. The Liberty Memorial, is a one of a kind visit. I have been to the National Frontier Trails Museum
 
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