The Civil War in Independence, Missouri

The first and second Battle of Independence
In Jackson County, two major battles took place within the city of Independence, Missouri. The first Battle of Independence, one of the first urban battles of the Civil War, was August 11, 1862.

The second Battle of Independence/Battle of the Little Blue, was October 21-22, 1864, when the Union and Confederate armies fought along the Little Blue River in Eastern Jackson County.

First Battle of Independence marker

First Battle of Independence marker. Photo By William Fischer, Jr.

First Battle of Independence: August 11, 1862

First Battle of Independence Marker is located: 39° 5.537′ N, 94° 25.001′ W. Marker is on Lexington Avenue near Main Street.

The Battle of Independence was fought Aug. 11, 1862. On that day, a force of Confederate soldiers launched a surprise attack on the Union garrison at Independence, forcing surrender. It was the worst Federal defeat in Missouri since the Battle of Lexington in September of the preceding year. Assisting in the attack was the guerrilla leader, William Quantrill. The Confederate victory was a costly one. Any strategic gain was offset by the loss of several able officers including the commander, Col. John T. Hughes.

The year of 1862 started well for the Northern cause in the Trans-Mississippi West. Victories at Pea Ridge, Ark. in March and at Island No. 10/New Madrid, Mo. the following month seemed to point to secure Federal control of this theater. Two developments, however, were to dispel any such hope for the Union high command. The first was the eruption on Missouri’s western border of a guerrilla warfare that was to grow in viciousness with each succeeding year of the war. The most notable of the guerrilla leaders, William C. Quantrill, was, in early 1862, already acquiring a fearsome reputation for ambushing and killing Yankees.

Second Battle of Independence:  October 21- 22, 1864

Start you tour here: Second Battle of Independence Marker is located: 39° 5.633′ N, 94° 24.948′ W. The marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Truman Road.

Price’s Confederate army forced Blunts cavalry to retreat to the Big Blue River after heavy fighting at the Little Blue River, leaving a rear guard in town. Late on the 21st, Shelby’s Confederates reached town. After a fast fight, Union troops were driven west of town. Price’s army and wagon train then camped in and around Independence. On Oct. 22nd, Pleasanton’s Union cavalry, pursuing Price from the east, made a charge through town driving Fagan’s Confederates west.

For More Information
Independence Department of Tourism
111 East Maple
Independence, MO 64050
Phone: (816) 325-7111
Toll-Free: (866) 657-6338

A Civil War walking/driving tour brochure which highlights 15 sites of the 1st and 2nd battle of Independence is available on site or online. Independence Department of Tourism .

Additional Information
Independence would become the site of a second Civil War battle, in October 1864, as part of General Sterling Price’s Missouri Campaign that culminated in his defeat at the Battle of Westport.

Independence is 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City and 40 minutes from Kansas City International Airport.

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