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Missouri Civil War

Price’s 1864 Missouri Expedition

Price

As Southern fortunes flagged throughout the nation in the fall of 1864, Confederate Gen. Sterling Price hoped to put a scare into the Union forces in Missouri and possibly rally great numbers to his cause.

Price entered southeast Missouri from Arkansas Sept. 19. His first objective was St. Louis, but after suffering heavy losses and delays at Pilot Knob Sept. 27, he turned his 12,000 horsemen west, following the Missouri River toward Kansas. Alarmed by the invasion, Union forces tried to stop Price at Lexington Oct. 19 but were unable to muster enough troops to be effective. But Price was slowed again at Lexington, allowing Union troops to concentrate farther west.

A brief fight again alarmed and delayed Price at Independence, but the Confederates pressed on toward Kansas City. Union troops under Gen. Samuel Curtis awaited him there, strongly fortified. Price hurled his troops at the Federal defenders for four hours but failed to break Curtis’ lines at Westport Oct. 23. The Confederates were forced to turn south with Union infantry and cavalry on his heels.

The Federals caught up to Price’s tired and beaten men near Mine Creek in far eastern Kansas. In a large cavalry battle there Oct. 25, Price lost more than a thousand men. It was all over. Price put up a fight against his pursuers at Newtonia, Mo., Oct. 28, but overwhelming numbers forced him back into Arkansas.

A number of interpreted sites, including state parks and a tour of the Battle of Westport trace Price’s raid.

Website links to Missouri Civil War places: Missouri Links