Union Line 11:00 A.M. October 21, 1864
Historical Marker C
"Moonlight's Union cavalry brigade, with five guns and 1000 men, was driven from the Little blue River by Marmaduke's and Shelby's 5000 Confederates of Price's Army. Moonlight stopped here and was joined by Jennison's and Ford's brigades of Blunt's division with 10 guns and 2000 men. A defensive line was formed running north and south for a mile. Charges and counter charges continued until 2 PM, when Blunt withdrew. Ford fought a series of delaying actions back into Independence, pursued by Shelby's dismounted troops."
| Map | Waypoint = N39 08.094 W94 20.495 |
Directions to Historical Marker C: Drive down Old Lexington Road back to US Hwy 24. Drive west on US Hwy 24 for about one mile. Turn right (north) at the traffic light onto Blue Mills Road. Take the first left and the marker will be about 100 yards ahead on your left. This tour stop is located near Independence, Missouri 64056.
Description: All night long, Blunt had been arguing with Curtis to let him make a stand on the Little Blue River. He finally got approval and was just preparing to leave when he received a message from Moonlight that they were resisting but falling back. Blunt took Jennison's First Brigade and Ford's Fourth Brigade and raced down the Independence-Lexington Road toward the Little Blue River. He met up with Moonlight about a mile west of the river near where you are standing.
Near where you are standing on the north side of the Independence-Lexington Road, Blunt placed Moonlight's troops on his left flank. Moonlight was supported by the four gun battery of the 11th Kansas Cavalry. In his center on the south side of the road, Blunt placed Ford's brigade supported by McLain's Colorado Battery of six rifled guns. On his right flank, Blunt placed Jennison's brigade supported by Barker's Battery of five mountain howitzers. In all, Blunt had about 3,000 troops to defend against Price's Army of Missouri.
Drive back to Blue Mills Road and park in the Salem Church parking lot across the street. If you then walk east up the lane through the cemetery, you will be able to look back to the east. Marmaduke's and Shelby's divisions (about 15,000 men) would be attacking from the east. Around 11:00 AM Blunt's dismounted men moved forward to engage the enemy. The dismounted Confederates charged up the hill screaming their rebel yell. For an hour the fighting was intense. Their artillery gave the Union troops an advantage and Blunt was able to push the Confederates back a half mile to the east. Because his flanks were being threatened, Blunt ordered his men to withdraw to the top of the hill. The artillery pounded away at the Confederate troops.
Around this time Curtis arrived and ordered the positions of McLain's battery and two howitzer's moved to an open field. This turned out to be a mistake because it exposed the artillery to Confederate attack. It also caused a great deal of confusion in the Union lines. Shelby focused his attack on the exposed Union artillery in an attempt to silence and capture the guns. There was fierce fighting but the Federals were able to save the guns. Curtis returned to Independence and Blunt continued to fight a delaying action against Price's entire army The Federals had been fighting all day and were running low on ammunition. Blunt continued to withdraw back towards Independence alternating his two brigades in fighting a rear guard action