Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site preserves and interprets the Toothman Farmstead (christened "Fort Africa" by the black soldiers who occupied the site) and interprets the nationally significant battle that took place at Island Mound. The African American soldiers who fought at Island Mound were members of the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry. The site’s connection to the Underground Railroad stems from the fact that many of the soldiers who comprised the First Kansas Colored were former Missouri Slaves who had escaped into Kansas and freedom. In October of 1862, several months before the Emancipation Proclamation, these African American soldiers marched into Bates County with orders to clear out the band of southern sympathizing guerrillas who had gathered there. Fort Africa, where they camped, is significant as the base of operations for the First Kansas Colored. The Battle of Island Mound took place about a mile south of Fort Africa. It was at the Battle of Island Mound that black soldiers engaged in combat for the first time in the Civil War. The bravery shown by these black men and their white officers received national publicity and helped to pave the way for the acceptance of African Americans into the U.S. army.
The site is open from sunrise to sunset - year-round.
Managed by Stockton State Park, 19100 S. Highway 215, Dadeville, Missouri 65102.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 7 miles west of Butler MO on NW 1002 Rd., GPS coordinates - 38.236962,-94.438665, Bates, 65102
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Missouri State Parks
Location Type: Site