First Battle of Lexington

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First Battle of Lexington
Battle of the Hemp Bales
Began:

September 13, 1861

Ended:

September 20, 1861

Location:

Lafayette County, Missouri

Theater:

Trans-Mississippi Theater

Campaign:

Operations to Control Missouri

Outcome:

Confederate victory

33 star flag.png
Combatants
Conf Navy Jack.png

Garrison

Missouri State Guard

Commanders

James A. Mulligan
Colonel, USA

Sterling Price
Brigadier General, CSA

Strength

3,500

12,000

Casualties

159
Killed: 39
Wounded: 120
Remaining men captured

97
Killed: 25
Wounded: 72

  

Following the victory at Wilson’s Creek, the Confederate Missouri State Guard, having consolidated forces in the northern and central part of the state, marched, under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, on Lexington. Col. James A. Mulligan commanded the entrenched Union garrison of about 3,500 men. Price’s men first encountered Union skirmishers on September 13 south of town and pushed them back into the fortifications. Price, having bottled the Union troops up in Lexington, decided to await his ammunition wagons, other supplies, and reinforcements before assaulting the fortifications. By the 18th, Price was ready and ordered an assault. The Missouri State Guard moved forward amidst heavy Union artillery fire and pushed the enemy back into their inner works. On the 19th, the Rebels consolidated their positions, kept the Yankees under heavy artillery fire and prepared for the final attack. Early on the morning of the 20th, Price’s men advanced behind mobile breastworks, made of hemp, close enough to take the Union works at the Anderson House in a final rush. Mulligan requested surrender terms after noon, and by 2:00 pm his men had vacated their works and stacked their arms. This Unionist stronghold had fallen, further bolstering southern sentiment and consolidating Confederate control in the Missouri Valley west of Arrow Rock. (NPS summary)