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Trans-Mississippi Musings

Price’s 1864 Missouri Raid – Mockbee Farm – October 22, 1864

Posted by The Muse (themuse) on Oct 22 2013
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Major General Samuel R. Curtis [Library of Congress]On the morning of October 22nd, Brigadier-General M. S. Grant was in command of approximately 1200 Kansas State Militia. Grant had been ordered to fortify Russell's Ford across the Big Blue River on the road between Westport and Hickman Mills. After receiving the 9:00 a.m. message from Major General Samuel R. Curtis that the Confederates were moving his way, General Grant reacted to the request by Curtis to “send scouts out” by sending out large reconnoitering parties in all directions. As a result, Grant's command became scattered. When the Federals had to withdraw from Byram's Ford, Grant was in danger of being cut off. He ordered his substantially reduced force to pull back towards Kansas City in an effort to join forces with Jennison. Grant had just reached the farm of Unionist, Thomas Mockbee, when he was attacked by the Confederate forces of Colonel Frank B. Gordon and Colonel Sydney D. Jackman. [1]

Major John Edwards [Biography, Memoirs, Reminiscences and Recollections by Edwards]Shelby's Adjutant, Major John Edwards, described the fighting that took place at Mockbee Farm: [2]

Not a shout, nor yell, nor battle-cry as the men neared the blue spot … down went the Federal infantry to a man, rear rank and front rank, and a forest of bayonets seemed growing there and waving in the weird twilight. Death was everywhere … the Federal cannoniers were devoted soldiers and deserved a better fate … but in the murderous pistol combat they were no match for the Missourians, and rushed away toward Westport, disorganized and broken …

[The] fierce, short combat occurred just at dark, ended by Gordon and Jackman rushing together upon a Federal battery and two infantry supporting regiments, capturing the guns … and leaving in one ghastly heap upon the lone prairie two hundred and seventeen dead Kansas Jayhawkers, who had burned their last house and harried their last county in Missouri. Two hundred and seven prisoners were sent to the rear.

Captain Richard J. Hinton, Kansas State Militia described the fighting that took place at Mockbee Farm. [3]

The rebel force in our front was under Jackman, and … their advance was for some time checked … The gallant militia formed under a galling fire, and maintained the unequal conflict for about forty minutes … [the rebels] charged with a yell, almost overwhelming the little band … it became evident that an attempt at escape must be immediately made. The battery boys stood at their guns, each vying with the other, until all were shot down; all dead or wounded, or taken prisoners. Not a member of the detachment escaped.

Colonel George W. Veale [Kansas Cyclopedia]Colonel George W. Veale, commanding Second Kansas State Militia, described the attack in his official report. [4]

It is not for me to say upon whom rests the responsibility of scattering our forces in such a manner as to preclude the possibility of concert, or unity of action. I can only say, I acted under orders, and by so doing lost twenty-four brave Kansans killed, about that number wounded, and eighty-eight taken prisoners, among them four officers; also one twenty-four pound brass howitzer, and one hundred horses.

Colonel Sydney D. Jackman [Wikimedia Commons]Confederate Colonel Sydney D. Jackman described the attack in his official report. [5]

The enemy having fallen back to the cover of some small timber and in the rear of their artillery, which was playing upon us, I ordered a charge and the whole command swept forward in gallant style, driving the Federals, utterly routed and demoralized, from their shelter, pursuing them across the prairie, killing and capturing them in considerable numbers. They were completely broken.


[1]OR Series 1, Volume 41, Part 1, 666-667; Monnett, Action Before Westport, 72, 81.

[2]Edwards, Shelby and His Men, 425-426.

[3]Hinton, Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas, 135-137.

[4]Hinton, Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas, 140.

[5]OR Series 1, Volume 41, Part 1, 675.

Last changed: Oct 22 2013 at 8:47 AM