Newtonia, Missouri

The Battleground of the Second Battle of Newtonia. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Notable Events:

  • First Battle of Newtonia (September 30, 1862)
  • Second Battle of Newtonia, nearby (October 28, 1864)

Today the town of Newtonia, Missouri counts only about 200 residents in its population, but during the Civil War, it was the site of two notable battles. The first, on September 30, 1862, resulted from the return of Confederate forces to southwest Missouri after a period of absence following the Confederate defeat at Pea Ridge. Union forces, supported by bases in Springfield, Missouri and Fort Scott, Kansas, attacked the secessionists at Newtonia, but Confederate reinforcements caused the federals to withdraw. The disorganized retreat soon dissipated into a full-blown route. The second Battle of Newtonia went better for the Union, as the tide of the war had changed in Missouri and nationally. After one of the largest cavalry raids of the war, Confederate Major General Sterling Price had lost the Battle of Westport in modern-day Kansas City, Missouri, and then his forces faced the possibility of annihilation in a long retreat toward Arkansas. Two miles south of Newtonia, Union Major General James G. Blunt's cavalry again caught up with Price and dealt another crippling blow in the last battle of Price's Raid. Price and the remainder of his forces withdrew to Indian Territory.