Battle of Westport Map Marker 

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From previous marker continue south on Wornall Rd, right turn on 55th St to Pennsylvania. Park and walk north 100 yards into Loose Park to markers and artillery. This marker is located in Loose Park just north of the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 55th Street.

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The map shows the location of the opposing forces at 11:00 a.m. on October 23.

The artillery piece is a replica of a 10-pounder Parrott Gun. This rifled gun used a 10 pound shell that was three inches in diameter. The gun had a range of more than 1,800 yards when elevated at 5 degrees. Both sides had 10-pounder Parrotts in use during the battle.

By late morning, Brig. Gen. Jo Shelby’s lines had pulled back to this location. Instead of running east-west, the Confederate line ran at a shallow angle from southwest to northeast because of the threat to their left flank. When Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis and Col. Thomas Moonlight had attacked the Confederate left flank, Col. Sydney D. Jackman had refused his line to face this new threat. Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson, in command of Shelby’s Iron Brigade, was being pressed by Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt’s advance up the hill and onto Bent’s Farm. The Federal artillery was throwing shells and canister into the Confederate ranks.

Shelby appeared to be holding this position when events turned against him. The Federal assault by Major General Alfred Pleasonton four miles to the east at Byram’s Ford had succeeded in breaking Maj. Gen. John S. Marmaduke’s defense line. The Confederate right was collapsing and Major General Sterling Price sent word to Shelby telling him to withdraw south to protect the wagon train. Shelby’s Adjutant, Major John N. Edwards, recalled Shelby’s words.

Tell General Price I cannot fall back now … he must send me reinforcements. Every man shall die at this wall before I leave my wounded or give up a single piece of artillery … I will save this army yet.

Shelby decided the best he could do was to divide his division. He ordered Jackman to pull out of the line withdraw south to shore up the right. He was going to rely on his Iron Brigade to handle things here. Shelby described the situation in his official report.

About 12 o'clock I sent Jackman's brigade back to the road taken by the train, for it was reported that General Marmaduke had fallen back before the enemy … and thus my whole right flank and rear were exposed. Jackman had scarcely reached the point indicated when he met an order from General Fagan to hasten to his help at a gallop, for the entire prairie in his front was dark with Federals.

Faced with fighting four Federal brigades, the Iron Brigade was unable to hold on for much longer. Shelby ordered what remained of his division to withdraw south.

Col. Thomas Moonlight

Thomas Moonlight

Maj. John N. Edwards

John N. Edwards

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