Major General Sterling Price’s Raid on Missouri was ambitious in conception, flawed in execution. State and national elections were impending, and the masterplan was to seize Missouri, secure a Confederate governor and so discredit Lincoln that he lost the presidential election. Price was given the go-ahead and amassed a largely ill-supplied, ramshackle force (many ex-deserters), expecting to ‘snowball’ supporters once on Missouri soil. The ‘snowball’ effect failed to materialize, and Price incurred heavy casualties taking the strategically insignificant Fort Davidson, giving the Union time to reinforce St Louis and the state capital Jefferson City. Accordingly, he by-passed both and headed for Kansas. Looting and indiscipline at Sedalia and Glasgow marred the Confederates’ progress, but the raiders nevertheless overcame Union opposition at Lexington and Independence until a pincer movement by Union Generals Curtis and Pleasonton routed them at Westport. Now in full retreat, Price’s men suffered a string of defeats before the remnants escaped into Arkansas.
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