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Cool Things - Price Raid Painting

Price Raid painting

An eyewitness painted this scene from  memory of an important Civil War battle in the Kansas City area.

Almost 10,000 Union troops were involved in a series of events known as Price's Raid.  This running battle happened very near the Kansas-Missouri border in the fall of 1864.

Confederate troops under General Sterling Price had moved into Missouri in September. Over several weeks, Union forces pushed them west to the vicinity of Kansas City, where the opposing armies clashed at Lexington and at the battles of the Big and Little Blue rivers. Price was defeated at Westport on October 23, 1864, and forced to retreat south along the border.  A decisive engagement at the Battle of Mine Creek two days later crushed the rebel forces.

This painting depicts the taking of Union prisoners by Confederate forces following the Battle of the Blue on October 22. It is captioned:

Members of the 2d Reg't Kans. State Militia, prisoners of war. "PRICE RAID," October, AD. 1864. An eyewitness. On the way to "Camp Ford" prison pen, near Tyler, Texas

The artist was Samuel Reader, quartermaster in the Second Kansas State Militia. Reader, born in Pennsylvania in 1836, had moved to Kansas with his family in 1855. From his teenage years until his death in 1914, he diligently kept a journal, often punctuating his narrative with small watercolor sketches.

Reader was among fifty members of the regiment taken prisoner at the Battle of the Blue and transferred to a Texas prison camp.  He soon managed to escape by posing as a Confederate soldier. A four-day walk brought him home to Indianola, just north of Topeka, where he recorded these adventures in his journal.

Entry: Cool Things - Price Raid Painting

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: November 1997

Date Modified: December 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.