“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kirksville in Adair County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Battle of Kirksville

August 6, 1862

Battle of Kirksville Marker front image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael E Sanchez, Jr., March 24, 2017
1. Battle of Kirksville Marker front
Inscription.  (side 1)
Confederate Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Porter of Lewis County had been recruiting and harrying in Northeast Missouri throughout the summer of 1862. Adair County farmer Captain Mathias (Tice) Cain (Confederate), in command of irregulars from Schuyler County, sent word to Porter that he held Kirksville, then a village of 700 extending only a few blocks from the courthouse square. Their combined force was about 2000. Only about 500 were well equipped and took part in the battle: fully 1000 were unarmed, raw recruits. Porter arrived before noon on August 6. Colonel John McNeil (Union), Command of the Northeast Division of the District of Missouri, had been following Porter since July 29. McNeil's forces were based in what is now Memorial Park. After unnerving the enemy with an artillery barrage, the Federals arrived on the edge of Kirksville about 10 a.m. The focal point of the battle was the courthouse square. McNeil sent in a squad who drew fire from the rebels concealed in the courthouse and the houses and shops around the square. The Confederates being discovered, the battle was joined, with Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer
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in charge of the Union
(Continued on other side)
(side 2)
(Continued from other side)
right wing while Major Caldwell commanded the left. McNeil used about 500 of his 1250 soldiers in the battle. As the two wings met and succeeded in driving the Confederates from the courthouse area. Porter yielded ground and concentrated his forces behind a fence on the western edge of town. From this position the Confederates poured withering fire into McNeil's men, who moved against the line and drove it to the west, while the left wing took full possession of the southern part of Kirksville. The battle lasted about three hours, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Many residents evacuated town before the battle, and only two civilians were killed. McNeil reported five of his troops killed and thirty-two wounded, against 150 Confederates killed, 300 to 400 wounded and forty-seven taken prisoner. A number of rebels were tried and executed for violation of parole on August 7 and 8. The day after the battle Colonel McNeil ordered Kirksville residents to bury the Confederate dead. The Battle of Kirksville is regarded as consolidating Union control of Missouri.
Erected 2006 by Adair County Historical Society, Inc.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is August 6, 1862.
Battle of Kirksville Marker back image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael E Sanchez, Jr., March 24, 2017
2. Battle of Kirksville Marker back
40° 11.696′ N, 92° 35.002′ W. Marker is in Kirksville, Missouri, in Adair County. Marker is at the intersection of North Franklin Street and West Washington Street, on the left when traveling north on North Franklin Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 106 West Washington Street, Kirksville MO 63501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Early Days of Adair County, Missouri (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cyclone (within shouting distance of this marker); Adair County, Missouri Courthouses (within shouting distance of this marker); La Plata Square Historic District (approx. 12.8 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on January 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 20, 2020, by Michael E Sanchez, Jr. of Kansas City, Missouri. This page has been viewed 419 times since then and 165 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 20, 2020, by Michael E Sanchez, Jr. of Kansas City, Missouri. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 1, 2023