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, April 19, 2012

The Muster Roles of the 2nd Kansas Militia

  I recently sent for and received the original muster roles of the 2nd Kansas Militia from the Kansas State Historical Society.  These roles provide a wealth of information about the men who volunteered to fight for Shawnee county and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they also contained the full rosters of the companies who didn't fight in the Battle of the Blue. Previously mentioned in this blog only as "home defenders", these companies were part of the 2nd KSM but remained in Topeka to protect the city in case General Price's Army of Missouri broke through and invaded Kansas.  In order to properly identify these mostly unrecognized members of the 2nd Kansas Militia I will reorganize the roster section of this blog and attempt to clarify the rosters of each company during their deployment.

  The muster roles provide information such as where each man joined and was sworn in, the number of days served, pay per day (53 and 1/3 cents on average) and remarks such as if they had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner.  Of interest to me was the muster role of  "Company D of the colored troops, irregular service" under the command of Captain Thomas Archer.  Although there is no indication that this unit saw action at the Big Blue River, there was a familiar name added to the very end of the role: Moses Banks.  Moses had been previously given credit as being a member of Co. D from Indianola and was one of the men historically listed as killed in action. This remark was included on the muster role next to Moses name: "Killed in action Oct 22,1864 Big Blue, Mo, as per annexed affidavit (Name added May 25th, 1866)  Affidavit on file."
  Perhaps "Company D of the colored troops, irregular service" was attached to the 2nd KSM and was  at the Mockbee farm that day.  The muster role doesn't offer much more except this conclusion signed by Adj. General James Hughes on August 26th, 1907: "The muster roles and the payroll of this Co. do not show the Regt. or Col. but there is signed affidavit showing that it belonged to the Second Regt."