Battle of Byram's Ford

Benjamin D. Mileham painting of the Battle of the Big Blue (Byram's Ford). Courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

Notable Events:

As a part of his great cavalry raid, Confederate Major General Sterling Price eyed a ford on the Big Blue River as a strategic crossing for his 500 wagons of supplies. After winning back-to-back victories at Glasgow, Lexington, the Little Blue River, and Independence, Price's strategic position in northwest Missouri grew precarious as Union Generals Samuel R. Curtis and Alfred Pleasonton threatened to trap Price between them. At Byram's Ford on the Big Blue River, Union Major General James G. Blunt defended the west bank of the river. Confederate Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby attacked and outflanked Blunt's defenders, causing the Union forces to fall back to Westport. Price successfully crossed the river and advanced to the town of Little Santa Fe. The following day, on October 23, Union General Pleasanton attacked Confederate Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke's forces, who were attempting to hold Byram's Ford to protect Price's rear. Around 11 a.m., the Confederates lost Byram's Ford and regrouped as one force. The consolidated Confederate force fell under attack by Union Major General James G. Blunt, and what would become known as the Battle of Westport ensued.