Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

First Battlefield Of A Black American Regiment Preserved

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has recently aquired the site of the Battle of Island Mound and plans to preserve it as a state park. About fifty miles south of Kansas City, it was here on 29 October 1862 that the First Kansas Colored Volunteers defeated a large Confederate guerrilla force in what was the first engagement of an American black regiment.

The First Kansas had been organized by Jim Lane, a radical abolitionist senator from Kansas. The regiment was, in fact, illegal, as Abraham Lincoln had expressly forbidden him from arming blacks. Senator Lane was convinced that the only way the North would win the fight on the frontier was if it armed the black population. The First Kansas was made up of runaway slaves from Missouri and Arkansas, free blacks from Kansas, and mixed black/Indian volunteers from the Indian Territory.

The Department of Natural Resoucres plans to have the site fully open to the public in time for the Civil War Sesquicentennial in 2011.

I wrote about this battle for an issue of Missouri Life magazine several years ago and am currently pitching a book proposal on the regiment, so this comes as great news to me. Another researcher, Chris Tabor, has made an excellent website on the battle. He has also written a short monograph on the topic titled The Skirmish at Island Mound, now sadly out of print.

1 comment:

Larry said...

I like to read about history beyond what was taught in public schools.-Interesting.