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American Battlefields
Byramís Ford  

Other Names: Big Blue River

Location: Jackson County

Campaign: Priceís Missouri Expedition (1864)

Date(s): October 22-23, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt and Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton [US]; Brig. Gen. Joseph Shelby and Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke [CS]

Forces Engaged: 1st Division, Army of the Border and provisional cavalry division [US]; Shelby and Marmadukeís Divisions [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: Maj. Gen. Sterling Priceís Army of Missouri was headed west towards Kansas City and Fort Leavenworth. Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtisís Army of the Border, in and around Westport, was blocking the Confederatesí way west and Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasontonís provisional cavalry division was pressing Priceís armyís rear. Price had nearly 500 wagons with him and required a good ford over the Big Blue River to facilitate the passage of his supplies. Byramís Ford was the best ford in the area and became a strategic point during the fighting around Westport. On October 22, Maj. Gen. James G. Bluntís division held a defensive position on the Big Blue Riverís west bank. Around 10:00 am on the 22nd, part of Brig. Gen. Joseph O. Shelbyís Confederate division conducted a frontal attack on Bluntís men. This attack was a ruse because the rest of Shelbyís men flanked Bluntís hasty defenses, forcing the Federals to retire to Westport. Priceís wagon train and about 5,000 head of cattle then crossed the Big Blue River at Byramís Ford and headed southward toward Little Santa Fe and safety. Pleasontonís cavalry was hot on the tail of Priceís army. Brig. Gen. John S. Marmadukeís Rebel division held the west bank of the Big Blue at Byramís Ford to prevent Pleasonton from attacking Priceís rear. Pleasonton assaulted Marmaduke at Byramís Ford, around 8:00 am, on the 23rd. Three hours later, Marmadukeís men had enough and fell back toward Westport. With Pleasonton across the river, he was now an additional threat to Price who was fighting Curtisís Army of the Border at Westport. Price had to retreat south.

Result(s): Union victory

CWSAC Reference #: MO026

Preservation Priority: IV.1 (Class B)

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