:: The Battle of Island Mound
This Civil War battle was significant because it was the first battle fought by trained black soldiers under the command of black officers.
The Battle of Island Mound began on October 27, 1862, when over 200 1st Kansas troops marched into Bates County from Ft. Lincoln, Kansas. Their mission was to clear out a confederate stronghold on Hog Island. They commandeered the Enoch and Christiana Toothman farm which was on the old Butler, Ft.Scott road. The battle occurred on October 29th and marked the first time in American history that black soldiers engaged the enemy during the Civil War.
Because of the attack on Lawrence, Kansas in August 1863 by Missouri guerrillas, General Thomas Ewing issued his infamous Order #11. This order included the counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates and Vernon and forced the residents in Bates County to vacate their homes within 15 days. Bates County was the only county that was totally depopulated and left in absolute ruins. When the people of Bates County returned, they found burnt out structures and desolate land. During this time, courts were held in locations other than the county seat.
In October 2008 the citizens of Bates County dedicated a statue of 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantryman, which is located on the grounds of the Courthouse. The State of Missouri purchased a portion of the Toothman farm and developed the State's newest State Historic Site, "Battle of Island Mound". Bates County is proud to remember and honor its past. The people who endured this time and place are a testament to the American spirit. Remembering our ancestors and honoring them for their sacrifices gives even greater meaning to the high cost of freedom and liberties enjoyed today by all Americans. Photo: Statue on the courthouse lawn honoring the 1st Kansas Colored Soldiers.