Mine Creek Battlefield Tour
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri took a guided bus tour to the Battle of Mine Creek near Pleasanton, Kansas on Saturday May 15, 2010. The bus had two pickup points – one at the Blue & Grey Book Shoppe, 106 E. Walnut, Independence, Missouri, at 9:00 a.m. and another at the Battle of Westport Museum at the main entrance of Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri, at 10:00 a.m. The cost was $30 for all day to pay for transportation and admittance fees with a fast food lunch on your own if you did not choose to bring along your very own brown bag. Estimated time of return was 4:30 p.m. at Swope Park and 5:00 p.m. in Independence.
The weather turned out to be rainy with temperatures in the mid 50s. This kept us in the bus for most of the trip.
Our guide, Mike Calvert, President of the Round Table, pointed out several points of interest as we left the Blue & Grey Book Shoppe. Among them was Pitcher Cemetery near where Blue Ridge Cutoff meets Blue Ridge Boulevard.
Mike pointed out Confederate General Sterling Price's wagon train route as we proceeded south from Swope Park to the Thompson Farm near 95th and Wornall Road. The route then took us to the Old Harrisonville Road (now Prospect) and then to Russell’s Ford as we followed Grandview Road to the Santa Fe Trail crossroads at about 105th Street. Continuing south we crossed the Blue River at Red Bridge to go to Little Santa Fe (or New Santa Fe). With umbrellas in hand, we were able leave the bus to see wagon ruts (swales) at Minor Park. A few vendors from the the KC Organics and Natural Farmers Market braved the rainy weather at Minor Park and a few of us purchased some fresh baked goods to snack on.
As we started to leave, the bus developed a mechanical problem. Our bus driver called for another bus. In about 45 minutes, we were on our way again, going south to Santa Fe Road and then State Line Road to 135th Street where we stopped for lunch. From there, we followed the Leavenworth-Fort Scott Military Road which crisscrossed between Kansas and Missouri. We followed Holmes Road through Drexel and Merwin to West Point where there was an encampment. As we went back into Kansas we took a comfort stop near the Marais des Cygnes massacre and then on to the Battle of the Mounds and the town of Trading Post. We arrived at the Mine Creek Battlefield museum at about 2:30 p.m. where we saw a short film about the battle and a gun demonstration by the museum curator.
The Battle of Mine Creek was the finale of Confederate General Sterling Price’s raid into Missouri in the fall of 1864. He entered Missouri from Arkansas on September 19, 1864. His first objective was St. Louis, but after suffering heavy losses at Pilot Knob on September 27th, he turned his 12,000 horsemen west where he met Union troops at Lexington on October 19th. He had a brief delay in Independence before heading to Westport on October 23rd where he was not able to break Union General Curtis’ lines and turned south with Union infantry and cavalry on his heels. In a large cavalry battle on October 25th at Mine Creek, Price lost more than 1,000 men and had to abandon a huge wagon train of supplies which his troops purposely destroyed. For all practical purposes, the Civil War in the West was over.