Baxter Springs in Cherokee County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Battle of Baxter Springs
October 6, 1863
Major General J.G. Blunt left Ft. Scott on October 4, 1863 en route to Ft. Smith. With him was his military escort consisting of about 125 men from Company I, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, and Company A, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry. They proceeded by way of the Military Road, intending to visit Ft. Blair on the way. Gen. Blunt seemed to care a great deal about military display. He was proud of his elegantly uniformed band which played in the plaza at Ft. Scott before they departed.
Advancing south toward Baxter Springs and Ft. Blair, they crossed the ford at Willow Creek on the afternoon of October 6, where they stopped to prepare to proceed to the fort. The members of the band were ordered to the front. Gen. Blunt and his staff rode in the new ambulance, and were followed by the cavalry soldiers. The supply wagons brought up the rear. The approaching army stood out in striking contrast to the dull brown background of the autumn afternoon. They were easily seen by Quantrill's men who were regrouping northeast of Ft. Blair intending to attack the fort a second time.
Noticing the mounted soldiers dressed in federal unifroms [sic]
Nearly all of Blunt's men were killed, perhaps as many as 95, although some reports differ about the number. Blunt was one of the few to survive. Quantrill's men, ignoring the rules of war, shot every man they encountered, even those trying to surrender. Many others were shot in the back of the head as they lay wounded on the prairie. The battle, known as the Baxter Springs Massacre, marked the end of Blunt's distinguished military careeer. After raiding the wagons for supplies and liquor, Quantrill and his men continued on south, hoping to spend the winter in Texas.
The next day was spent recovering and burying the bodies of the dead in the area directly north of the fort. There they remained until 1870 when they were disinterred and buried one mile west of town in the soldier's plot within Baxter Springs Cemetery. In 1886, a monument built by the government was dedicated to the memory of the officers and soldiers who were killed in Baxter Springs, October 6, 1863.
Erected by Baxter Springs Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is October 4, 1863.
Location. 37° 1.777′ N, 94° 44.062′ W. Marker is in Baxter Springs, Kansas, in Cherokee County. Marker is on 6th Street near Military Avenue (U.S. 69), on the right when traveling east. Marker is under the shelter in Fort Blair Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baxter Springs KS 66713, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Battle For Fort Blair (here, next to this marker); Fort Blair West Breastworks (a few steps from this marker); John Baxter (a few steps from this marker); Fort Blair Blockhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Blair Breastworks (within shouting distance of this marker); Baxter Springs Massacre Burial Site (within shouting distance of this marker); 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry at Fort Blair (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Blair (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baxter Springs.
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Fort Blair / Baxter Springs Massacre. (Submitted on November 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Fort Blair. (Submitted on November 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Blunt's Flag . (Submitted on November 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. General James Blunt. (Submitted on November 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,509 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 7, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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