Battle of Lexington, Missouri

(2006) Enlarge Battle of Lexington Monument
Mike Marshall photo

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Photo Contributors:
2013: Bill Bechmann, Cincinnati, OH
2006: Mike Marshall, KY
2002: Rick Jordahl, Kansas City, MO

Please contact Webmaster for any use of following photos

1. Battle Summary: Lexington, MO
2. First Battle of Lexington - Wikipedia
3. Second Battle of Lexington - Wikipedia
4. Battle of Lexington State Historic Site | Missouri State Parks
5. Battle of Lexington 150
6. First Battle of Lexington, Missouri, begins -
7. Battle of Lexington: Rebel Advance and War Crimes
8. Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial | Battle of Lexington
9. The Battle of Lexington, Missouri, from sketches by
10. Full text of "The battle of Lexington
11. Lion of Lucerne
Anderson House   2   3
Anderson House Carriage Pit Site
Anderson House Garden
Anderson House Original Entryway
Battle Damage   2
Battle of Lexington Hospital Attack
Battle of Lexington Monument   2
Battle of Lexington Monument (2)
Battle of Lexington Murals
Battlefield Entrance
Battlefield Map
Battlefield Visitor Center
Battlefield Visitor Center Displays
Colonel James A. Mulligan Headquarters
Colonel James A. Mulligan Monument
Federal Campsite
Federal Headquarters   2
George H. Palmer MOH Recipient
Hand to Hand Combat
Hemp Bales   2
Lafayette County Courthouse
Main Battlefield
Masonic College
Medal of Honor Recipient
Missouri River
Missouri River Bluffs
Missouri State Guard   2   3   4   5 
Steamer Sara Bell

Union Artillery
Union Cemetery
Union Earthworks   2   3   4   5   6   7
Unknown Union Soldiers Grave

(February 2013) Enlarge Battle of Lexington State Historic Site marker (entrance to the battlefield).

The Battle of Lexington took place September 18-20, 1861. The “
Battle of the Hemp Bales” gained its name from the large hemp bales the Confederate soldiers rolled down to the Missouri river and soaked with water. The bales were then used as a barricade from the flying shot and shells as they pushed them back up to the battlefield. The 100 acre battlefield is now preserved as a state historic site. The site also contains a visitors’ center filled with Civil War artifacts and a fifteen minute video which tells the story of the three day “Battle of the Hemp Bales.”
Bill Bechmann photo

(February 2013) Enlarge The Lafayette County Courthouse in downtown Lexington.

Courthouse History
Henry Renick, who was also the Justice of the Peace, built the first courthouse in 1824-25 on the square. The building was in use until 1832. It is claimed, (as told by William Chiles in a public address on July 4, 1876) that young “bucks” celebrated July 4th of 1831 by tearing down the walls and blowing up the foundation of the building. The following year the building was deemed unsafe, taken apart, and sold.

The second courthouse for the county, also on the square, was built in 1835. The three-story building was regarded as one of the finest in Missouri, as three-story buildings were rare during this time. The building was kept in use until 1849, when the present courthouse was occupied. The Baptist Female College bought the building in March of 1849. During the Civil War, it became a hospital, then a hospital for those infected with smallpox. It was later abandoned and sold for brick. There are no known illustrations of this courthouse building.

The business district of Lexington moved about one mile west after the town incorporated in 1845. The courthouse also moved to a new, more central location at this time. The court appropriated funds for the third and present courthouse and began putting plans for the new structure in March of 1847. The construction was completed in 1849, with the final cost being about $12,000. In 1854, a small annex was built to house the clerk’s office, followed by a two-story annex in the 1880s. At the turn of the 1900s a two story building addition was added on the East side of the Courthouse.

During the Battle of Lexington in 1861, the courthouse was fired upon, leaving a cannon ball in one of the columns.
Bill Bechmann photo


(February 2013) Enlarge Lexington was the site of one of the largest battles in the western theater of the Civil War. The Battle of Lexington is better known as the Battle of the Hemp Bales. On September 12, 1861, somewhere between 15 and 20 thousand Missouri State Guard's were led to Lexington by Major General Sterling Price. On September 18, Price began a siege against the Federal military post stationed in the old Masonic College. The Federal troops were commanded by Colonel James A. Mulligan. Price's army mounted a final assault using hemp bales as moving breastworks while they moved up the river bluffs and closed in on Mulligan's Headquarters. On the third day of the siege, Mulligan's troops surrendered. The combined casualties numbered 73 dead and 270 wounded. The battlefield remains today on the bluffs of the river in virtually pristine condition and is preserved as a state historic site.
In firing at Mulligan’s lines, one Southern battery overshot their mark and a cannonball hit and lodged in the leftmost pillar of the Lafayette County Courthouse. Although no one knows what happened to the original, the replacement cannonball seen there now has become an iconic symbol of Lexington.

Bill Bechmann photo

(2002) Located in Lexington, the Visitor Center pictured here commemorates the history of the Civil War siege and battle that took place September 12-20, 1861. It was here that perhaps 10,000 pro-South Missouri State Guard troops under Major General Sterling Price surrounded entrenched Federal forces under Colonel James A. Mulligan who had erected a series of elaborate defensive works around the city’s Masonic College.
Rich Jordahl photo


(February 2013) Enlarge The Battle of Lexington Visitor Center.
Bill Bechmann photo


(February 2013) Enlarge The Battle of Lexington Monument at the visitor center.
Bill Bechmann photo

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