October 29, 1862: Battle of Mound Island

The First Kansas Colored Volunteers was formed of escaped slaves from Missouri and Arkansas in August of 1862.  Because blacks could not officially join the Union Army at the time, the regiment was not mustered into Federal service until January 13, 1863.  Eventually it would be designated the 79th United States Colored Troops.

On October 27, 1862, the First Kansas was sent to the Toothman Homestead in Bates County, Missouri to break up a Confederate guerilla force near there.  The First Kansas found more guerillas than anticipated, supported by Confederate Missouri State Guards, and fortified the Toothman Homestead.  October 28 was spent in skirmishing.

On the 29th a skirmish between a First Kansas patrol and the Confederates led to a general engagement.  The Confederates withdrew.  The First Kansas sustained casualties of 8 killed and 11 wounded.  Confederate losses are uncertain although the First Kansas claim to have inflicted around 40 casualties.

All in all a small affair, but still an important milestone as one of the first instances of black troops fighting in the Civil War.  Go here to view a first-rate interactive map on the battle.



  1. AND brushing the Confederates back. That can’t have made them happy.

    • No doubt! Howell Cobb, prominant Georgia politician, had the intellectual honesty to admit during the War: “If slaves will make good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong.”

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