News Release 258

Missouri State Parks hosts Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site dedication Oct. 27 in Bates County

Volume 39-258 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

A site associated with a significant Civil War milestone will be dedicated as Missouri’s newest state historic site Saturday, Oct. 27 in Bates County. Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site will be officially dedicated at 11 a.m. Saturday with activities both before and after the ceremony.

The Battle of Island Mound, which occurred on Oct. 29, 1862, was the first time African-American soldiers engaged in combat during the Civil War. Prior to the battle, troops of the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry commandeered the home of Southern sympathizers Enoch and Christiana Toothman to use as their headquarters. The new 40-acre historic site, administered by Missouri State Parks, preserves a portion of this significant site and interprets the battle whose outcome removed any doubts about the ability of African-American soldiers to perform in military engagements.

Activities to mark the dedication of the new site will begin Friday, Oct. 26 with a special reception and presentation at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center in Kansas City. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. with the 7 p.m. program featuring Brig. Gen. (Retired) Donald Scott and Jim Denny, Civil War historian, discussing the significance of the battle. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, activities at the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site will begin at 10 a.m. and go throughout the day until 4 p.m. The 11 a.m. ceremony will feature remarks by Brig. Gen. (Retired) Donald Scott and Chris Tabor, Civil War historians, as well as state and local officials. The master of ceremonies will be Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

“The Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site is significant in the history of both our state and our nation and interprets a very important chapter in the story of the Civil War. Missouri State Parks is honored to be able to preserve this site and help people understand the significance of what happened here 150 years ago,” Bryan said.

Activities throughout the day will include interpretive tram rides to Island Mound, various artillery and living history demonstrations and a display on the archaeology of the site. Crafts from the 19th century such as log splitting, wool spinning, blacksmithing and cooking will be demonstrated. Scholars and researchers will provide perspectives on the Civil War and there will be special displays and exhibits by the Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Various food vendors and period music will be available throughout the day. An official Battle of Island Mound postage stamp cancellation will be available on the site.

From 4 to 7 p.m., the Bates County Museum and Historical Society in Butler will offer black powder demonstrations, an exhibit on Fort Lincoln, stories of the Civil War, a ham-and-bean dinner and period music.

The dedication of Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site is being held in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the battle and as part of the commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

The Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site is located eight miles southwest of Butler off of Highway K in Bates County. Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center is located at 3700 Blue Parkway in Kansas City. The Bates County Museum is located at 802 Elks Dr. in Butler.

The Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site is administered as part of the Missouri state park system. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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