The Battle of The Blue

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Collection At

  One of the first resources I discovered when I found out about the story of the 2nd Kansas Militia was a website called Kansas Memory.  Kansas Memory uses primary sources from the Kansas State Historical Society and does a great job organizing these resources by category.  It was at this website where I came across the diary of Samuel Reader - more specifically, the volume of Reader's diary which relates his experiences as a member of the 2nd Kansas Militia. Sam was  the Quartermaster for the 2nd and a lifelong diary keeper. His account provided many essential details for this blog which couldn't be found anywhere else and the Kansas Memory website featured all of its 364 original images.  A text only version of the diary is available, which was a huge time saver for ease in reading.   The drawings which Reader included in this diary greatly enhanced it and I have sprinkled these illustrations liberally throughout the blog - with permission from the KSHS of course. 

   It is a good idea to check Kansas Memory often, as they are constantly adding resources and content.  Yesterday I found yet another hand-written book kept by Sam Reader but it wasn't one of his diaries.  It turns out that Sam was also the secretary for a group of survivors from the 2nd Kansas Militia called " The Society of the Anniversary of the Battle of the Blue". link  This group was organized in May of 1895 at the occasion of the donation of a  monument to the Topeka Cemetery by Guilford Gage.  The Society elected officers and was to meet each year on the 22nd of October to promote keeping the memory of the Battle alive.  The book contains the minutes from each meeting and also vital records such as the roster of the 2nd K.S.M., addresses of survivors and a list of those men who passed away the previous year.  The society apparently faded to obscurity as it lost its members to old age.   
   Lovers of history are fortunate that websites such as Kansas Memory exist.  Without this particular resource, chances are I might have decided not to tackle writing this blog for lack of primary sources.  Lovers of Kansas history are also fortunate that Sam Reader was such a compulsive diarist.  Thanks Sam.

1 comment:

  1. It was very exciting to see my two great-great grandfather's names listed on the actual roster of Battle of Big Blue. psensney