Lexington in Lafayette County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Battle of Lexington
Sept. 18, 19 and 20, 1861
—Entrance to the Battleﬁeld —
Price had been in service to the state of Missouri for two decades. He had been speaker of the Missouri House, United States Representative and Governor. He had returned from the Mexican War as a Brevet Brigadier General and now commanded the State Guard. Tom Snead described him as “well born and well bred, courteous and dignified, well educated and richly endowed with that highest of all mental faculties, common sense.”
Col. James A. Mulligan commanded the Twenty-third Illinois Infantry referred to as the “Irish Brigade”. At only thirty-two this charismatic Chicago politician, was put in command of the Union garrison.
Inside these fortifications were 3,500 Federal troops hastily digging entrenchments. The elaborate defenses included a maze of pits lined with sharpened stakes as an assault barrier, double rows of entrenchments near the
By Sept. 12th Price had reached Lexington. He engaged Federal troops briefly then set up camp south of Lexington at the “fairgrounds” to await his ammunition train. On Sept. 18th, Price and his 20,000 State Guard troops advanced on the Union position completely encircling the earthworks.
As the Southerners pressed forward, the Federal defenders were forced back into the inner works, away from water supplies. It was not long before the Union troops and horses exhausted the water supply in the two cisterns located within their lines. At the outset of the battle Mulligan’s men began to suffer from thirst in the oppressive, late summer heat.
On the 19th both sides exchanged artillery fire. As the Fort took on more hot shot Maj. Van Horn noticed smoke coming out of the building’s windows and found a cannon
To the east lie five unknown Union soldiers who died during the Battle of Lexington. Their remains were found in 1932 during excavations near the site of the old Masonic College building, a few hundred yards southeast. The college building was used as Union headquarters during the siege of Lexington. Pieces of equipment found with the bodies suggest they may have been part of Col. Thomas A. Marshall’s cavalry.
During the battle, it is estimated that the Union losses amounted to 40 killed and 120 wounded, while State Guard casualties among the “enrolled” soldiers were approximately 38 killed and 150 wounded. However the casualties among the “irregular” Southerners were likely double that number.
Location. 39° 11.464′ N, 93° 52.68′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Missouri, in Lafayette County. Marker is on Wood Street 0.1 miles east of 13th Street. Touch for map. This marker is very near the main entrance to the battlefield on Wood Street. Marker is in this post office area: Lexington MO 64067, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named The Battle of Lexington The Battle of Lexington (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of Lexington (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of Lexington (approx. 0.2 miles away); Guibor's Battery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Wentworth World War Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Library Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); Mount Vernon Foundation Stones (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2011, by Tony Meyers of Liberty, Missouri. This page has been viewed 724 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 14, 2011, by Tony Meyers of Liberty, Missouri. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.