Lexington, MO: October 14-19, 1864

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Price’s raid on Missouri and Kansas, KHC is featuring excerpts from “Price’s March of 1864” Shared Stories of the Civil War reader’s theater script. The Shared Stories of the Civil War reader’s theater project is a partnership between KHC and the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.                                                                                                  

Joseph O. Shelby

Photo via: www.usmarshals.gov.

NARRATOR: On October 14, Price’s army overwhelmed the town of Lexington, Missouri, forcing the town to surrender.

READER 2: The city of Lexington, having this day surrendered to me by the Mayor thereof, in the name of the Confederate Government, I have the honor to issue the following General Order:

The rights of non-combatants and private property must be respected and preserved…All public property belonging to the Federal Government in this city is taken possession of, in the name of the Confederacy…All male white citizens between the ages of seventeen and fifty are ordered to report to headquarters at the Court House, within twenty-four hours…If any shots are fired from houses in the city upon Confederate troops, or any force under my command, such houses are ordered to be burned to the ground…This order to be rigidly enforced.

General Joseph Shelby, Confederate Army of the Missouri.

READER 4: I dashed with my command into the town on the morning of the 17th, a little after sunrise…I found but very few citizens in the streets, and they all women and children; but as soon as they learned that “Feds” occupied the town, what few male citizens there were left commenced crawling out of their holes, and the citizens generally commenced crowding around us — some in tears, some in smiles, and some in rags.  They generally appeared much rejoiced at our arrival, and offered us the hospitalities of the town, inviting us to their homes, and acting as if they could not do too much for us.

The citizens of Lexington have had a reign of terror, both loyal people…and rebels.  The enemy have plundered and robbed indiscriminately, taking everything of value they could carry away, and have left many poor families very destitute.

Major J. Nelson Smith, Union army.

Will Price’s army cross the border into Kansas? Check back on October 21 for the answer.

READER 3: Between 3,000 and 4,000 Federals (Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri Federal troops), were at Lexington…The advance, under Shelby, met them about 2 p.m., and a battle immediately ensued.  For a time the Federals fought well and resisted strenuously, but finally giving way, they were pressed by our troops, driven well past Lexington, and pursued on the road to Independence until night put an end to the combat.  That night the enemy evacuated Lexington in great haste and confusion.

General Sterling Price, Confederate Army of the Missouri.

READER 5: It was now evident that Price’s entire army was moving westward, aiming directly at Kansas.

Captain Richard Hinton, Kansas, Army of the Border.

Will General Price cross in to Kansas territory? Find out on October 21st!