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Civil War Round Table of Kansas City

September 2019

At our dinner meeting on September 24, Bjorn Skaptason gave a very interesting presentation about the 2nd Colorado Cavalry. The title of his talk was: "The Coloradoes in Missouri: Counterinsurgency and Conventional Warfare in Western Missouri, 1864." The main points of Bjorn's presentation are as follows:

  • The 2nd Colorado cavalry was organized in St. Louis in October of 1863, by consolidating the 2nd and 3rd Colorado Infantry regiments.
  • The 2nd Colorado were tough, mountain men, who worked in the gold and silver mines in Colorado. They originally came from the east and wanted to get away from wherever they came from. For these men, life was cheap.
  • The 2nd Colorado had trouble getting enough horses. They had to utilize foot scouts, who would hide in the brush and watch the comings and goings of the Confederate guerrillas.
  • The guerrillas would leave Missouri in the winter, go to Texas, and then return in the spring. The guerrillas had a lot of good thoroughbred horses that were supplied by local farmers.
  • By 1864, the counties of Jackson, Cass, and Bates in western Missouri had already been cleaned out by General Ewing's Order #11.
  • On July 6, 1864, Captain Wagner's Company C of the 2nd Colorado got into a firefight with approximately 100 guerillas, commanded by George Todd. The action took place in a ravine, located near the intersection of Little Blue Road and Woods Chapel Road in Lee's Summit, near the Grinter Farm.
  • Todd sent out four scouts to act as bait, in order to trap Captain Wagner's 25-man patrol. Todd's guerillas fired into Wagner's men from the escarpments on both sides of the ravine.
  • Wagner's men suffered heavy casualties. The bodies of Captain Wagner and seven other members of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence MO. Todd is also buried in Woodland Cemetery, but he was not killed during the fighting.
  • The Civil War in western Missouri was a brutal and bloody affair, In some cases, the Union counterinsurgency utilized torture to try and get information on the whereabouts of the guerrillas.
  • The 2nd Colorado was mustered out of service at Fort Leavenworth KS on September 27, 1865.

Civil War Round Table of Kansas City
P.O. Box 6202
Shawnee Mission, KS 66206

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