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Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served

Mound City Cemetery Soldiers' Lot

Mound City, Kansas

Union Soldiers' Monument
The Union Soldiers’ Monument
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs,
National Cemetery Administration, History Program

Consisting of two adjacent lots within Woodland Cemetery in Mound City, Kansas, the Mound City Soldiers’ Lot is the final resting place for 80 Civil War soldiers.  Many of these soldiers fought and died during the 1864 Battles of Marais des Cygnes and Mine Creek, which occurred just a few miles north of Mound City.  The Soldiers’ Lot is the final resting place for Colonel James Montgomery, one of the most famous Jayhawkers of the “Bleeding Kansas” era prior to the Civil War.

In the fall of 1864, Confederate Major General Sterling Price and his cavalry set out from northern Arkansas into Missouri, where they began a series of raids.  By late October, Price reached Westport, Missouri, near Kansas City, where more than 20,000 Union soldiers defeated the 8,500 Confederates, resulting in Price’s retreat south into Arkansas.  Union forces gave chase after Price and his men, meeting on October 25 at Marais des Cygnes River and Mine Creek.  Although the Confederates outnumbered their opposition, the Union cavalry under Major General Alfred Pleasanton won the day, forcing Price to again retreat.

Later that same day, Union cavalry caught up to Price as he and his men were crossing Mine Creek.  The Union troops were once again initially outnumbered, but as reinforcements arrived throughout the fighting, they were ultimately able to surround the Confederate troops.  The Union took more than 600 prisoners, including Confederate Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke and Brigadier General William L. Cabell.

The first interments at Mound City Soldiers’ Lot were 30 Union soldiers who died during the two 1864 battles.  In 1888, remains from additional Union and unknown soldiers were reinterred in the soldiers’ lot from sites across Linn County.  The following year, the United States erected the Union Soldiers’ Monument, a granite statue of an infantryman holding his musket and looking to the east.  An artillery piece was set in the Soldiers’ Lot circa 1880, and a limestone memorial dedicated by the Linn County Historical Society was set in 2001, replacing an earlier wooden memorial.

The Soldiers' Lot occupies Lots 262 and 263 of Woodland Cemetery, covering less than 0.2 acres.  The Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a stone wall and a post-and-chain fence to enclose the lot in 1940.

Perhaps the most famous person buried at Mound City is Colonel James Montgomery, an ardent abolitionist, who moved to Linn County where he and his “Self-Protective Company” sought to drive pro-slavery forces from the Kansas Territory.  In 1861, Montgomery entered the 3rd Kansas Volunteer Infantry.  After serving for two years, he received a transfer to South Carolina, where he led the 2nd Negro Regiment.  After the war, Montgomery retired to his farm, where he died in 1871.  He is buried in Section 1, Site 76.
Plan your visit

Mound City Soldiers’ Lot is located within the confines of Woodland Cemetery, at the intersection of North 5th St. and West Elm St., in Mound City, KS.  The soldiers’ lot is open for visitation daily from sunrise to sunset.  No cemetery staff is present onsite.  The administrative office is located at Leavenworth National Cemetery, and is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm, and is closed on all Federal holidays except for Memorial Day.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 913-758-4105, or see the Department of Veterans Affairs website.  While visiting, please be mindful that our national cemeteries are hallowed ground.  Be respectful to all of our nation’s fallen soldiers and their families.  Additional cemetery policies may be posted on site.

Mound City Soldiers’ Lot was photographed to the standards established by the National Park Service’s Historic American Landscapes Survey. 

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