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, May 27, 2011

Spread Too Thin

As the morning of the 22nd. faded toward noon, the men of the 2nd. could only wait and wonder about the current position of General Price's Army and what role, if any they would play in halting his invasion.  Many of the men told themselves that their leaders were competent and would be capable of giving a rough-handling to the Confederates if they dare attack.  But no one knew how thinly the Union forces were spread along the Big Blue River as they sought to simultaneously protect the cities of Westport and Kansas City. There were some who did believe there would be a battle and that the 2nd. would be in the thick of it. James Huggins, a sinewy Missourian from Co. D, told Sam Reader as much and although Sam gave the argument that the trained soldiers of the regular army would do the bulk of the fighting, James wouldn't hear of it.  "No, you're wrong - I've dreamed it all out three different times. We're going to have a battle and I'll be killed, my dreams never fail me."  He went further and told Sam what to do if confronted by enemy artillery fire: "If you see a blue streak come from where the cannon is fired off, keep your place, you are in no danger. But if you see no blue streak, then you get out of that mighty quick for the cannon-ball is coming straight for you."
    As the 2nd Division waited, their Commander returned from his meeting at Byrom's Ford bringing with him General M.S.Grant, who was in charge of their Brigade.  The other Divisions of the Kansas Militia under General Grant's command were all nearby, strung out along the river, attempting to stay in contact with each other in case they should confront the enemy.   Colonel Veale was instructed to return to his command and make an attempt to locate the Rebel Army; the General was attempting to place his chess pieces in their proper places for the impending attack.  One wrong move could spell disaster.

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