The Battle of The Blue

The Battle of The Blue
Rebel forces charge the Topeka Battery at Mockbee farm, original painting by Benjamin Mileham

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Second Regiment Departs Kansas

                                         The 2nd. crosses into Missouri, 21 October 1864 

 As General Price's Army of Missouri continued to advance toward Kansas,  the newly-formed 2nd. Militia from Shawnee County said good-bye to their families on October 12th and rode east to the border, which they reached in two days.   Here at a place called Shawneetown, the men turned in their old carbines for nearly new Enfield rifles, which no doubt brought home the reality that they were truly going into battle.  As they waited for nearly a week before receiving the order to cross over into Missouri, they had time to ponder the fact that although they now carried adequate weaponry, their mounts were of dubious quality.  The horses that the men of the 2nd. were preparing to ride into battle on were mostly farm horses that had never heard a gunshot, much less had a gun shot from the top of them.  According to Quartermaster Sam Reader, " My steed, however, Was not at all satisfactory as a war horse.  He was hard in the mouth, fractious and unreliable.  Fire arms were his especial terror, and his courage in general was of very low grade."  
   The waiting game at the border had perhaps lulled the men of the 2nd. into believing that they wouldn't be seeing duty at the front of the battle, but were to be kept at arms length in case of emergency.  By the morning of Friday, October 21st. though, supplies and rations were handed out and it seemed that the time to head into Missouri had come.  The weather had turned cold and though there was a light snow the night before, it had disappeared as evening approached and the Companies of the 2nd. formed a marching line.  In addition to the 2nd., which consisted of seven companies of mounted men, were five companies of the Kansas 3rd.Regiment, one company of the 19th Rgt. and Burn's Topeka Battery, consisting of one 24 pound Brass howitzer.  The whole force numbered approximately 500 men.

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