The Battle of The Blue

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Mockbee Farm Battlefield

        From the Diary of Samuel J. Reader:

We thought Pop Price was quite a goose
To come so far for plunder;
We let our big brass cannon loose
To break his line asunder.

   The 2nd. Kansas Militia was now deployed in a line for battle, facing north and looking at the piece of high-ground where they had rested the previous forenoon.  Mounted men could be seen on the crest of the ridge, with others joining from beyond and there did not seem to be a great number of them.  Some of the men of the 2nd. assumed that the entire division would soon be ordered to advance and drive the Rebels from the field as they were of inferior numbers.
   The worm fence that the 2nd. had dismantled as they formed their battle line continued on up the road and disappeared from sight as it went over the ridge where the Rebel Army was now forming, leaving the entire field open in front of them.  The field itself had lain fallow for at least a year, with dried cornstalks and weeds among the furrows.  It sloped gently towards the south east and there was a low ravine to the right and rear of their line.  About 300 yards in front of their line was an  imperceptible depression which could hide a man from view, although the men from the 2nd. didn't know it.
   As the men from the 2nd. talked impatiently among themselves, someone said, "They may be some of our own men."  To which Colonel Veale answered, "They are not, they are Rebels - don't you see the Rebel flag?"  Most of the men hadn't noticed the Rebel Guidon, with its triangular shape and swallow-tail, which served as the Rebel battle-flag.
   Colonel Veale and Captain Huntoon now rode out on the field alone to ascertain the strength and position of the enemy. When they were about 100 yards out there came two or three jets of blue smoke in quick succession from the fence along the road, followed by the sharp report of rifles.  Rebel sharp-shooters had fired upon the men, leaving many to wonder how they were not hit.  One of their horses reared and plunged but they quickly returned safely to their line of battle, where Colonel Veale called out the order, "Give them grape, Captain Burns!"   The battle was now begun.

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