Battle of Lexington State Historic Site, Lexington Missouri

The Battle of the Hemp Bales
In the 1830s Lexington was one of the largest towns west of St. Louis. A steady steam of steamboats served the factories, warehouses and mills lining the riverfront. Lexington was the westernmost settlement outfitting wagon trains for the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. Today, you can still stroll those streets, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Start your tour of Lexington Civil War sites at the Battle of Lexington State Historic site. Learn more about the Lexington at the Chamber of Commerce.

In September. of 1861, the “Battle of the Hemp Bales” lifted Southern spirits and further dampened Northern hopes of an easy victory in the struggle for Missouri. Lexington is still known for the Civil War cannonball lodged in the leftmost pillar of the Lafayette County Courthouse.

Cannon Ball

Cannon ball similar to the one imbedded in the Court house. Photo PBH

Park Details
Lexington  park office is located at 1101 Deleware.  Phone: 660-259-4654. A handy interactive map will orient you. Like all the state park sites, this is a great informational historic site. At the site, start with the movie (free.) Lexington is best known for the three-day Civil War battle, the “Battle of the Hemp Bales.”

Upcoming – 150th Anniversary Re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington, Sept. 16-18, 2011, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 1101 Deleware St., Lexington, MO 64067 phone: 660-259-4654, Longitude: -93° 52′ 47″ Latitude: 39° 11′ 21″

Re-enactment details

During that weekend, the historic site will open the Anderson House (free both days).  They will  conduct living history stations on Saturday and a hospital tour Saturday evening. Everything but the evening tour is free. Oliver Anderson’s mansion is best known for the three bloody days in 1861 when it was a fiercely contested prize in a Civil War battle between the Federal forces and the Missouri State Guard.

The Jesse James Connection
During the Civil War, Lexington was known as the headquarters for Quantrill’s Raiders. Eight weeks after the declared end of the Civil War, many of the guerrilla fighters, including Jesse James, refused to honor the cease-fire, but decided to turn themselves in at Lexington.

Riding into town, under a white flag, they fought with Union soldiers and Jesse James was severely wounded. Legend says that this pivotal event turned Jesse James into the legendary bank robber. James, with the rest of his gang robbed the Alexander Mitchell bank in Lexington – the second daylight bank robbery in United States history.

For additional information and updates on the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of the Hemp Bales and Lexington
Lexington Tourism Bureau
927 Main St.
Lexington, MO 64067
phone 660.259.4711
Toll-Free: 866-837-4711

Where to eat – Maid-Rite. Yes, Maid-Rite, famous for their loose meat sandwiches. Eddie has been at the grill for 18 years. Food is good, simple, and affordable. 1401 Main St, 660-259-4444, Mon-Sat, 10 am-10 pm; Closed Sunday. There are new franchises being built, but the Lexington Maid-Rite is an original. Read more about Maid-Rite and how it got the name.

Confederate Memorial State Historic Site, in Higginsville, Missouri is just 14 miles away.

More Striped Pot by Patsy Bell Hobson: The Civil War in Independence.


This is one of the best Civil War historic sites and a great day trip.

More Striped Pot Civil War by Patsy Bell Hobson

Read More 150th Anniversary Civil War stories by Striped Pot Writers.


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