Although pitched battles were rare in Kansas during the war, the state saw more than its share of guerilla raids — many resulting in the loss of dozens or hundreds of lives. Most notorious was the raid on Lawrence by pro-Southern guerrilla William Quantrill Aug. 21, 1863. Quantrill’s men massacred more than 150 men and boys before leaving Lawrence in ruins. For more about the town’s Civil War history, see Bleeding Kansas. The war in Missouri spilled over into Kansas in October 1864 at the battle of Mine Creek.
Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site
20485 Kansas Highway 52, Pleasanton KS 66075-9549
One of the largest and most dramatic cavalry charges of the war occurred on the banks of Mine Creek Oct. 25, 1864, when Union forces caught up with Confederate Gen. Sterling Price’s army as it was retreating after a raid into Missouri. About 2,500 Union cavalry attacked about 7,000 of Price’s men, routing them after hand-to-hand fighting. After the battle, Price limped back into Missouri and was beaten again at Newtonia a few days later. Mine Creek was the last pitched battle west of the Mississippi River.
A visitor center with exhibits on the battle and Price’s Raid gets visitors started. Walking trails with interpretive signage lead to significant areas of the battlefield.
Open April–October Wednesday–Sunday 10 am–5 pm. $5/adult.
NOTE: Visitor center is closed fall 2013.
See als o
Price’s Raid in Missouri
Marais des Cygnes Massacre Site
Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum
740 East Ave, Baxter Springs KS 66713
Exhibits and a film highlight the Civil War activity in the area including the Oct. 6, 1863, attack by William Quantrill’s Confederate guerrillas on Fort Blair here. Defenders repulsed the attack before Quantrill attacked and nearly wiped out (or massacred) soldiers guarding a Union supply train a few miles away. The victims are buried in a national cemetery plot near town.
A 16-stop Civil War driving tour map of the area including the restored fort and the massacre site is available at the museum.
Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-4:30 pm, Sunday 1-4:30 pm. Free.
Fort Scott National Historic Site
Fort Scott KS 66701
After abandoning this frontier outpost in 1853, the U.S. Army re-occupied it in August 1861. The fort soon became the Union strongpoint south of Fort Leavenworth and an important quartermaster post. Soldiers of all sorts passed through, were stationed or camped at Fort Scott during the war including United States Colored Infantry and Home Guards made up of displaced Indians. Capture of the fort was a dream of Confederate Gen. Sterling Price, but he never was able to manage it. Troops here were called upon to deal with the almost constant guerrilla activity in the area. Introductory video and exhibits in the historic buildings include the Bleeding Kansas and Civil War stories.
Open daily 8 am–5 pm April–October. Opens one hour later other times. Free.
Links to websites of Kansas places: Kansas Links