Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The Second Battle of Lexington was a minor skirmish taking place on October 19, 1864, in Lexington. It formed a part of Confederate Gen Sterling Price's Missouri Expedition. 

Like the first Battle of Lexington it resulted in a Confederate victory. Its overall importance, however, was not nearly as significant as the first battle, which had cemented Southern control of the Missouri Valley and significantly raised Confederate morale in the region.

In the fall of 1864, Price was dispatched by Gen Edmund Kirby Smith, to attempt to seize Missouri for the Confederacy. Unable to attack his primary objective, St. Louis, Price decided to execute Smith's back-up plan for a westward raid through Missouri and into Kansas and the Indian Territory. The ultimate goal was to destroy or capture Union supplies and outposts, which could negatively affect Abraham Lincoln's chances for reelection in 1864.

After his victory at the Battle of Glasgow, MO, he continued his march toward Kansas City and Fort Leavenworth, headquarters of the Federal Department of Kansas. But his progress was slow which gave the Union Army a chance to concentrate their forces. 

Union Gen William Rosecrans, commanding the Department of the Missouri, proposed a movement to trap Price and his army, but was unable to communicate with Gen Samuel Curtis, commander of the Department of Kansas, to formalize the plan. Curtis was experiencing difficulty because many of his soldiers were Kansas militia and they refused to enter Missouri. However, a force of about 2,000 men under the command of Gen James Blunt did set out for Lexington.

On October 19, Price's army approached Lexington and collided with Union scouts and pickets about 2:00 PM, driving them back and engaging Blunt's main force. The Union resisted at first, but Price's army eventually pushed them through the town to its western edge, then pursued them along the Independence Road until nightfall. Deprived of Curtis's entire force, still encamped in and near Kansas City, the Union army never stood any real chance of stopping Price's force at Lexington. Blunt did, however, further slow the Confederates' already slow march and gain information on the size and make-up of Price's command. 

Price's army continued its successful, although short-lived drive.  His triumphs would be undone by the Battle of Westport on Oct 23.  This defeat ended his campaign and ended any further significate Confederate military action in Missouri. 

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