When you think of Civil War battles, Kansas usually isn’t the first place that comes to mind. However Pleasanton, Kansas, is the location of one of the largest mounted cavalry engagements during the Civil War. I’m referring to The Battle of Mine Creek.
It was cold and damp on the morning of October 25, 1864. On the horizon, 2,600 Union Soldiers came into view. It was reported the ground shook as they charged stirrup to stirrup, towards a line of 7,000 Confederate men, trapped between the sea of blue heading towards them and the rain-swollen, Mine Creek. Seeing they were clearly outnumbered, just 200 feet shy of the Rebel line, the Union brigade stopped. Despite yells from Colonel Benteen, the men remained frozen. Major Abial R. Pierce, of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, rode in front of the men charging towards the enemy line. Seeing this, the men quickly followed, cutting right through the Confederate line, and winning the battle for the Union.
Mine Creek Historic Site
We arrived at the Mine Creek Historic Site Saturday around 10:30 a.m. When you first pull up, you’ll see the large visitor’s center. Just inside they have souvenirs. I bought my daughter a horse, which ended up keeping her entertained for a short, but interesting film about the battle. Next, we toured the museum where we saw a variety of artifacts found on the battlefield. The one that touched me the most, was a ring, believed to be a wedding band.
On to the battlefield
After the museum, we took the self-guided tour of the battlefield, which we really enjoyed. If you’re lucky, you may spot deer. A variety of wildlife can be spotted along the trail. The trail winds through the battlefield. There’s informative signage along the trail with pictures and first-hand accounts of the battle. Also along the trail, you’ll find signs with boxes that you wind up to hear the stories – something my daughter really enjoyed doing.
At the back of the trail, just outside the boundaries of federal land, sits a beautiful Confederate memorial donated by The Sons of The Confederacy. Many times during the Civil War, families once close, became divided. Fathers fought against sons, brother against brother. (If you are unable to walk the 2.6-mile walking trail, you can still get a great view of the battlefield from the huge bank of windows inside the visitor’s center.)
Upcoming EventsPleasanton - Mine Creek – Heritage Day Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Visitors can see a Civil War artillery demonstration, Dutch oven cooking, a blacksmith, and leather works. There will be Experts on hand from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. to help visitors identify their own objects and artifacts. Admission is $5 Adults, $2 Students, Veterans and current military are free with ID.Mine Creek – Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018
Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site is participating in Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on September 22, 2018, by offering two free admissions, per household, per address. Visit Smithsonian Magazine to print your tickets.
Plan your visitLocation: 20485 K-52 Pleasanton, KS Take U.S. 69 to Mound City Exit, head west one-half mile on K-52 Phone: 913-352-8890
For a self-guided tour of the battlefield, the trail is open dawn to dusk, free of charge. The visitor’s center and museum are open March 14, through October 13, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. The cost for the museum is as follows: $6 for adults, $3 for children 5-17, and $5 for college students with an ID, seniors 65+, and active military. Kansas Historical Society members, free. The visitor’s center and museum are wheelchair accessible. The trail, however, is made up of short, dense grass. A great place to take kids, most people spend about two hours here.