The Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site, Missouri’s newest state park facility, is to be dedicated today. Activities will began Friday evening with a reception at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center in Kansas City. Presentations on the battle’s significance will be given by Brig. Gen. Donald Scott and Jim Denny, Civil War historian.
The dedication today at 11 a.m. at the historic site west of Butler will include living history activities and military demonstrations. Activities will continue throughout the day and evening at the Bates County Museum in Butler. The historic site’s dedication is being held in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Island Mound..
The Battle of Island Mound marked the first time that African-American troops were used in Civil War combat, nearly a year before the battle depicted in the film Glory. Battle of Island Mound State Historic site encompasses Camp Africa, where the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry were camped in 1862 before a pitched battle with pro-Confederate forces near a low hill named Island Mound.
When the site is developed, it will interpret the battle, as well as the effect that the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry had on later Union decisions to allow African-American units to fight.