This history was transcribed exactly as written from
LEXINGTON, MISSOURI; 1822 - 1972; Official Commemorative Book
The Higginsville Advance, Inc., Higginsville, Missouri." Pages 10 - 14.

Transcriber: Carmen F. Bein: I have placed all names of genealogical or historical significance in a bold font for easier research.

{page 10}

THE BATTLE OF LEXINGTON SEPT. 18, 19, 20, 1861
Copyright by John A. Gueguen, Jr.

The Confederate Troops, under General Sterling Price,
are shown in this old newspaper sketch of an assault on the
Federal entrenchments around the two buildings of the
Masonic College. The building at the left is the
Anderson House which was used as a field hospital. The
view is to the northeast. F. B. Wilkie, a prisoner in
the Rebel camp made the sketch during the fight. --Courtesy
of Cole County Historical Society, Jefferson City.

     In the spring of 1861, the town of Lexington, Missouri, located on the picturesque bluffs overlooking the broad Missouri River, was enjoying prosperity and had many reasons for looking forward to a promising future. The census of 1860 made Lexington, with a population of 4,122, the state's fifth largest community; by summer, 1861, the population figure had steadily increased, each arrival of a river steamer contributing its share of settlers to the city.

     Lexington, besides being the area's political, financial and educational seat, home of three colleges, was also the center of wholesale and retail trade for a river front,with its factories and warehouses, and the frequent arrival and departure of river steamers, presented an interesting and colorful spectacle.

     With the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April, 1861, war seemed remote and of not much concern to the citizens of Lexington, but as summer approached and the conflict grew into a full-scale war, the dark clouds came nearer. People began to realize that, after all, there was a chance their peaceful community could become a bloody battlefield.

     Lexington's people remained steadfast to the Union through the unsettled period preceding the war, but at the beginning of actual hostilities, a majority of Lexingtonians, many of them salve owners, took the side of the South. A large percent of the townspeople were not in favor of war, and, regardless of party ties, they preferred to remain neutral. The protection of lives and property, which might be endangered in an attack by either army, was the only thing considered important in Lexington.

     The first military post was established in Lexington late in May when Missouri's Governor Jackson, definitely pro-Southern in his beliefs, commissioned Major General Sterling Price to take charge at Lexington. General Lyon, commander of the newly organized Federal army of Missouri, died not allow Price to remain at Lexington long, however, for during the last part of June, he moved his army toward Lexington in a determined attempt to clear the state of secessionist forces. General Price, unprepared for conflict and having only a small band of inexperienced men who lacked organization and discipline, retreated to southwestern Missouri. On reaching Lexington, Lyon left a small force and continued on in pursuit of Price, hoping to catch and defeat him.

     Continued strengthening by the Federal headquarters made Lexington prominent in the chain of towns along the Missouri River between Saint Louis and Saint Joseph which the Federals were using to keep Confederate sympathizers north of the river from joining Price's army in southern Missouri.

     On August 10, Lyon finally caught up with Price at Wilson's Creek near Springfield, in southwestern Missouri, and Price won a decisive victory in the ensuing battle, during which Lyon was slain. Price's forces, then numbering about seven thousand, set up camp at Springfield to rest and to plan their strategy. Wishing to join forces with the small but numerous Rebel bands north of the river, Price was determined that his next move must be to break the Union blockade

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