The first battle involving black troops, the battle of Mound Island in Bates County Missouri was fought on October 29, 1862. The First Kansas Colored Volunteers, consisting of run away slaves from Missouri and Arkansas was formed in August of 1862. At this time blacks were not allowed to join the Union army, and the First Kansas was not mustered into Federal service until January 13, 1863 as the 79th United States Colored Troops.
The First Kansas was sent to the Toothman Homestead in Bates County to break up a Confederate guerilla force. Finding the Confederates in greater strength than anticipated, the First Kansas fortified the Toothman Homestead with fence rails. Tuesday October 28 was spent in skirmishing around the Toothman Homestead.
On October 29, a fight occurred between a scouting party of the First Kansas and the Confederate guerillas. A general engagement ensued and the Confederates withdrew. Casualties were light, with the First Kansas suffering 8 killed and 11 wounded. Confederate losses are uncertain, although the First Kansas claimed to have inflicted 40 casualties on the Confederates. All in all a small affair, but an important milestone nonetheless.