Kansas City, Lexington, Independence
Battle of Westport
Visitor center located 6601 Swope Parkway, Kansas City MO 64132
A 32-mile, 25-stop driving tour guides visitors through this Oct 21–23, 1864, battlefield, now a busy part of Kansas City. The Union victory here proved to be the decisive moment in Gen. Sterling Price’s 1864 Raid into Missouri. Trapped between the Union Army of the Border and 7,000 Federal cavalry, Price threw his inferior force against strong defenses for four hours without success. The defeat ended the Confederate offensive. Price turned his men south in retreat.
The battle at Westport was the largest fought west of the Mississippi with nearly 12,000 Confederates and a total of about 25,000 Federals involved.
Highlights of the tour include battle markers and Forest Hill Cemetery where the Confederates made a stand in retreat and where many are buried today.
A walking tour of the Big Blue River / Byram’s Ford, which was the key crossing before and after the battle, also is available from the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund. Download tour maps from battleofwestport.org/Tours.htm
Visitor center open Thursday-Saturday 1-5 pm (April-October). Free.
Battle of the Little Blue
Interpretive sign west of Independence on the river, just off U.S. 24 on the Old Lexington Road
On Oct. 21, 1864, elements of Gen. Sterling Price's Confederate raiders approached the Little Blue River east of Independence. The crossings were defended by a small group of Union cavalry, later joined by a larger force. Price forced the crossings with the outnumbered Federals fighting a running battle back through Independence. The much bigger battle of Westport was fought two days later. An interpretive sign is located at the river at the location of a Civil War-era bridge across the Little Blue.
John Wornall House Museum
6115 Wornall Road, Kansas City MO 64113
Home used by both sides as an emergency hospital. Guided tours of the 1858 structure include its Civil War history. Open Tuesday–Saturday. Tours offered 10 am–3 pm. $6/adult.
Lone Jack Battlefield Museum and
301 S Bynum Road, Lone Jack MO 64070 (southeast of Kansas City)
Confederate victory here Aug. 16, 1862 here was perhaps the most costly in Missouri in terms of loss-of-life. An estimated 270 soldiers from both sides were killed during the battle. Although the Confederates forced the Federals back to Lexington, they had to withdraw south later when a larger Union contingent approached. The area remained under Union control afterward.
Museum houses artifacts from the battle and a series of dioramas area Civil War events in the area. The cemetery holds the remains of the soldiers who died in the battle plus Union and Confederate trenches and monuments. Open March–October Wednesday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm; Sunday 1–4 pm. Other times open Friday-Sunday. $5/adult.
Jesse James Farm and Museum
21216 James Farm Road, Kearney MO 64060
James’s Civil War career is often overlooked, but his post-war bank and train robbing exploits certainly had roots in the war. Displays here describe his and brother Frank’s exploits as Confederate guerrillas under “Bloody Bill” Anderson and William Quantrill. Tour guides help explain the nature of the environment in which the brothers operated before, during and after the war. Open daily 9 am–4 pm (open Sundays at noon October–April). $8/adult.
Battle of Lexington State Historic Site
1101 Delaware, Lexington MO 64067
See park website for directions, hours and tour times
This 92-acre park commemorates the battle here Sept. 18-20, 1861. Following the victory at Wilson’s Creek in August, Confederate Gen. Sterling Price embarked on his first offensive into the heart of Missouri River Valley. On Sept. 18 Price’s nearly 12,000 troops nearly surrounded 2,700 Union defenders and settled into a siege operation. Finally, after two days of shelling and intense back-and-forth fighting, the Confederates got behind hay bales and rolled them close enough to force a surrender. The victory made Price a hero in the South, but his success was short-lived. He fled South after a massive Union mobilization. Highlight of the park is the battle-scarred 1853 Anderson House that changed hands several times during the battle.
Grounds are open daily during daylight hours. Visitor center open March-October Tuesday–Saturday 9 am–5 pm and Sunday 10 am–6 pm; other times Wednesday-Saturday 9 am–5 pm and Sunday 10 am-5 pm. See website or call for Anderson House tour hours. Visitor center free (fee for guided tours).
This important transportation hub in the northwest corner of the state was evenly divided North and South at the outbreak of the war, so tensions ran high. After Confederate militia raided the town early in the war, Union troops moved in and maintained control for the rest of the conflict. A Civil War driving tour covers the home of Jesse James (who rode with Southern raiders during the war and was shot in this house in 1882) and a collection of antebellum buildings. Good Civil War section, driving tour map, and ordering information for a DVD covering St. Joseph’s Civil War story is available from www.stjomo-civilwar.com.
The Burnt District Monument
Monument and interpretive marker located at the entrance to the Cass County Justice Center on Route 2 just west of I-49
Distinctive memorial here in the shape of a fireplace and chimney represents the area in western Missouri that was largely depopulated and burned following Order No. 11, issued by Union authorities Aug 25, 1863, in retaliation for Quantrill's massacre of Lawrence, Kan, citizens four days earlier. The burned area covered all of three counties and part of a fourth. An interpretive marker and text on the memorial describe the Kansas-Missouri border warfare and Order No. 11.
Confederate Memorial State Historic Site
211 W First St, Higginsville MO 64037
The Confederate Soldier Home here, opened in 1891, housed more than 1,600 veterans and their families during its nearly 60 years of operation. The last vet here died in 1950 at the age of 108. Exhibits, monuments, buildings and cemetery are featured in a self-guided tour. Some of the remains of controversial Confederate guerrilla William Quantrill are buried here. Grounds open during daylight hours. See park website for office, chapel hours.
Jackson County 1859 Jail, Marshall’s Home and Museum
217 N Main St, Independence MO 64050
Union authorities, many times acting on long-standing grudges, imprisoned Confederate sympathizers including women and children at this site. Prisoners in the overflowing jail were moved to other locations in the area, and one of those facilities collapsed in 1863. This event triggered, historians believe, the burning of Lawrence, Kans, in retaliation — which in turn led to the infamous Order No. 11 that depopulated Jackson and other Kansas/Missouri border counties. Exhibits in the old Jackson County Jail tell those stories and others. Open April–October Monday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm and Sunday 1–4 pm. $5/adult.
A Civil War marker describing the First Battle of Independence (Aug 11, 1862) is located on the Courthouse Square, 112 W Lexington Ave.
Website links to Missouri Civil War places: Missouri Links