June 10, 2009

Battle Line at Railroad Cut - Independence, Missouri

On my way home from the UN Peace Plaza, I saw this roadside marker and decided to stop. I always love these markers, though my knowledge of Civil War history isn't as good as I wish it were so I don't always understand the context of the markers. Still, I like the concept that I'm standing somewhere that someone else has stood before 200 years ago. I like the idea that a specific spot of geography can be so marked by a historical event that all this time later, maybe I can stand there and be some small part of that history, even if it is just the imprint of my sneakers on the grass.

This is what the marker says: "During the Battle of Independence on October 21 and 22, 1864, this was an unfinished railroad cut. As darkness approached on the 21st, the Confederates advancing from the east stopped here. Union troops withdrew to the Big Blue River during the night. The Confederate divisions of Marmaduke and Shelby and Price's wagon train advanced to Rock Creek and camped. On the 22nd Pleaston's Union cavalry pursued the Confederates through town and were confronted by Marmaduke's division. Fighting continued during the night as the Confederates withdrew to Byram's Ford on the Big Blue River."

Not everyone who has come to see this marker seems to have the same interest in history as I do. Someone was nice enough to graffiti "BARF" on the side with an arrow pointing away. I'm not quite sure what they meant by it. Maybe during a wild night out, someone pulled over by this spot and while their inebriated friend emptied the contents of his stomach and another friend was kind enough to alert us of this incident with graffiti. Or maybe some kid thought he was clever to deface a historical marker. Ooo, how punk!

Click here to see more photos!

Total Travel Distance: 18 miles
Total Trip Time: 30 minutes
Soundtrack: "I Bificus" Bif Naked


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