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Battle of Westport May 25, 2013

Posted by flashbuzzer in History.
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I recently went on a self-guided tour of the Battle of Westport in Kansas City. This tour highlights several key events in the Battle of Westport.

Here are three nuggets that I gleaned from my time on the tour.

1. Before the Battle of Westport, the Confederacy was in a desperate state following stunning defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. A bold plan was conceived whereby General Sterling Price would lead his forces through Missouri, capturing major cities including Kansas City and St. Louis – thereby bringing Missouri into the Confederacy. Unfortunately the element of surprise was lost when Price attempted to capture St. Louis. He then led his troops through Missouri to Kansas City; they accumulated war booty, including wagons and cattle, in their trek through the Show Me State. General Samuel Curtis and his Union forces prepared for the arrival of Price’s troops in Kansas City.

2. The Battle of Westport came to a head when Major General Alfred Pleasonton and his troops engaged Major General John Marmaduke and his forces at Byram’s Ford across the Big Blue River. Pleasonton emerged victorious; since Price was keen on preserving the war booty that he had accumulated in his cross-state trek, the Confederates retreated. Although the Union forces inflicted further casualties on the retreating Confederates at Mine Creek, the Confederates were able to escape to Arkansas and safely disband.

3. As the Confederates retreated along the Harrisonville Road, the Union leaders gathered at Thomas Farmhouse to plan their next move. The retreating Confederates passed through the town of New Santa Fe, Missouri, which straddled the Kansas-Missouri border. New Santa Fe sprang up along the Santa Fe Trail between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico; it had a plentiful supply of grass and water, which were essential for grazing cattle.

I enjoyed exploring a good chunk of Kansas City on the self-guided tour. The tour stops happened to span a wide range of neighborhoods, which limited boredom on the journey between stops.

The only quibble I have with the tour is that some of the tour stop placards were a bit difficult to spot, especially while driving at a decent pace.

Overall I would deem this tour to be appropriate for history buffs who happen to be in Kansas City.

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