First Battle of Independence

Monday, August 11, 1862

Colonel John T. Hughes, killed at the First Battle of Independence. Courtesy of the National Park Service.

Seeking to consolidate recruiting gains made in northwestern Missouri, Confederate Colonel John T. Hughes and guerrilla leader William Clarke Quantrill lead a force of over 700 soldiers against Union forces at Independence, Missouri. The Union forces are taken mostly by surprise in the pre-dawn attack, resulting in 14 killed, 18 wounded, and 312 missing or captured Union soldiers. George Todd, a Confederate guerrilla, summarily executes two Union prisoners at the Independence Jail. The victory proves to be Pyrrhic, though, as the Confederate force loses much of its leadership in the fight, including Colonel Hughes, and fails to take Kansas City and Westport. The federals maintain a slim military advantage in Jackson County. 


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