The Battle of The Blue

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

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Alfred S. Roberts, Co. F and the Battle of Locust Grove

 As I started researching the lives of the men of the 2nd Kansas Militia, I discovered "William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas".  While reading through the bios of  many of these men, I realized the battle in which they fought at the Mockbee farmhouse had  been given a name back in the 1800's: it was then called  "the Battle of Locust Grove".   With the passage of time this moniker has all but disappeared and the "Battle of the Blue" has been the title given to this battle and the many other actions and skirmishes that took up most of 22 October 1864 near the Big Blue River, Missouri.  The "Battle of Locust Grove" eventually became lost in the bigger picture of the Battle of Westport, fought the following day at nearly the same place.  The fact that Union forces won the Battle of Westport was  partly due to the stubborn resistance of the 2nd Kansas Militia at the Battle of Locust Grove the day previous. 
   The subject of this sketch from Cutler's History of Kansas is Alfred Roberts, who was a private in Co. F and fought at the Battle of Locust Grove. Alfred migrated to Kansas in 1856 and was witness to the border "troubles" which plagued the Kansas/Missouri border in the years preceding the Civil War.  No doubt he had many stories to tell.
   
ALFRED S. ROBERTS, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 22, P. O. Big Springs, Douglas County. Owns 170 acres, fifty under cultivation, fifty in pasture, sixty in meadow and eleven in timber. He has thirty head of cattle. Came to Kansas in the spring of 1856 with his parents, his father locating on the section west of this. When he was of age he bought and improved a quarter section west of his father, but sold out and went to Chautauqua County in 1869, and remained there eight years, improving a tract of land and dealing extensively in stock, but having lost two children and his family being in poor health, he sold out and went to Colorado for his health. Came back to Leavenworth County, bought eighty acres of land, improved it, sold out and came to his present location in 1880. Has held all the different positions on the school board as well as township. Was in the State militia during the Price raid and was with his command at the engagements on the Big Blue and Locust Grove, in Missouri. He made his escape by having a good horse and taking desperate chances. Mr. R. was born in Ohio, January 7, 1841, and came from there to Kansas. He was married August 23, 1868, to Miss Ellen Crum, and has one child, Rosa. He is a member and elder of the Christian Church. Mr. Roberts' farm was the scene of a bloodless affray during the troublous times of 1856. A party of Texas Rangers came suddenly over a hill on the east side of his farm, but halted at seeing a few men and boys who had met hunting for stray horses. Among them was Mr. R., who on seeing the Rangers started to run, thinking they would make a charge on them, but the Texas Rangers, thinking they were the advance of Lane's men and that they were trying to draw them into pursuit, made a precipitate retreat, never stopping until they had reached the Kansas River.

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