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Trans-Mississippi Musings

Big Blue Battlefield, East

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1E. Big Blue Battlefield, East 2E. Price’s Wagon Train
3E. Federal Attack on Oct 23 4E. Dee’s Battalion Staging Area
5E. Dee’s Battalion River Crossing 6E. Byram’s Ford Road, East
7E. Byram’s Ford, East Bank

[Waypoint = 39.018664, -94.520517]

Tour in Google Earth (kmz)

Tour stop in Google Maps Tour Stop Description


This tour stop is located about 0.25 miles north of the intersection of Hardesty Avenue and E 63rd Street in Kansas City, Missouri. You should readily notice the openings in the brush on either side of Hardesty. There is also a sign indicating the Historic Byram’s Ford Road crossed at this point. 

There is a fairly wide shoulder on the west side of Hardesty Avenue. You should be able to easily pull off the pavement and park on the shoulder. Please be careful. Hardesty Avenue is a fairly busy street.


There’s not a whole lot to see at this stop. It’s a jumping off point for walking to other tour stops. Please keep in mind that you will be walking over the old Historic Byram’s Ford Road. In total it’s about a one mile hike of moderate difficulty over uneven ground. You will experience a total change in elevation of about 320 feet (uphill and downhill combined), although not all at once.

Of course, Hardesty Avenue did not exist in 1864. Its construction has cut a swath through the battlefield, changing the terrain a bit. But on either side of the road, you will be walking through the least disturbed part of the battlefield existing today. This section of the Byram's Ford Road is located in the Big Blue Battlefield Park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historical Vignettes

Lieutenant Colonel Bazel F. Lazear was in command of the First Missouri State Militia Cavalry, which was part of Brigadier General Egbert Brown’s First Brigade. The men in Pleasonton’s Provisional Cavalry Division had been in the saddle for a month or more. During a break in the fighting, Lazear wrote his wife a letter.

"Dear Wife … Often at night when I would be riding a long at night or sitting on my horse in the road would my thoughts wander away off and I would fancy I could see the children asleep and you Dear Wife rolling on an uneasy pillow thinking of one that you could not tell but he then was a cold and stiffened corpse on the battlefield and oh how I did wish that you could only know that that one was yet alive and well. Oh but war is a terrible thing to the poor women alone at home. You have none of the excitement of the camp the march and the battle field to keep you up. It is only hope and despair with you but thank god the battle is over."