Battle of Lexington, Missouri Page4
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(February 2013) Enlarge Position of the Steamer Clara Bell on the Missouri River. Clara Bell: Union Side-wheel steamer. 200 tons. Length 139 ft, beam 28 ft, depth 5 ft 6 inches. Built in 1860 at Louisville.
Confederate Gen. Price
ordered Col. Ben Rives, a pioneer Ray County doctor, to lead two regiments down 10th Street (then called Pine Street) to the riverfront and capture the steamboat Clara Bell and the steam ferry which was docked there.
These were the boats which Col. Mulligan could have used, but did not, to evacuate his forces during the previous weeks when Price’s forces had been resting at the fairgrounds.
When they reached the riverfront, Rives and his men came under fire from Union pickets holed up in the ruins of Morrison’s foundry, the flour mill and other building. Price sent reinforcements running down the hill and soon Mulligan’s sharpshooters were flushed from the buildings and sent scampering up the bluffs.
From the
Sept. 18, 1961 edition of the Lexington Advertiser-News.

Bill Bechmann photo


(February 2013) Enlarge The Battle of Lexington Monument (on the main battlefield).
Bill Bechmann photo


(February 2013) Enlarge   Marker Detail The Battle of Lexington marker (Hospital Attack). Rear of the Anderson House in background. Addition information

Prior to the battle, Union officers designated the Anderson House as a field hospital for wounded and sick soldiers. The neutrality of such a hospital, marked with a yellow flag normally would have been respected by both sides during the battle in accordance with the rules of war. Nevertheless, as a result of its strategic importance and the general confusion, it was attacked repeatedly by both sides.
Under General Price's orders, the Anderson House was occupied at approximately 1 p.m. on Sept. 18. Later that day, Mulligan ordered a counterattack. Eighty Federal soldiers of the Irish Brigade charged the house, losing half their men in the process. After reaching the house and dislodging Southern sharpshooters, the Union survivors were themselves surrounded and then driven out with heavy casualties. One Union soldier, George H. Palmer, was later awarded the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, by Congress for his gallantry on this occasion.
From the Battle of Lexington Walking Tour
Bill Bechmann photo


(February 2013) Enlarge   Marker Detail The Battle of Lexington marker (Battlefield). Additional information
Bill Bechmann photo


(February 2013) Enlarge Main battlefield (Confederate troops climbed the bluffs of the Missouri River pushing hemp bales up the bluff to defeat the Union positions).
Bill Bechmann photo


(2002) On September 20th, the last day of the Battle, brief hand to hand combat took place here as State Guard troops under Colonel Martin Green charged up the slope to engage thirsty and fatigued Union troops under Major F.W. Becker. Mulligan and Price allegedly exchanged messages about a possible Union surrender. Around this time, the Missouri State Guard had completely encircled the Union earthworks and began advancing up the slope using hemp bales which were rolled in front of them as cover.
Rich Jordahl photo

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