Decades later, cross that marked general’s grave is returned

Group aims to save Civil War battle site
By Stephanie Howard
The Examiner

Tim Cox rallied the troops with an old song, honoring Civil War soldiers who stood in that very spot on Blue Mills Road.

"We all know the reasons why we’re here," Cox said. "We’ll do the best we can to continue the process."

Cox and members of The Guardians of the Little Blue and The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri met at Blue Mills Elementary School Saturday in hopes of raising money to preserve parts of the Little Blue Civil War battlefield and valley area.

The property is threatened by the proposed Little Blue Expressway.

"As development happens here, you’re going to have more home and commercial development," Cox said indicating the road is only part of his concern.

Cox’s hope is to get the site, where 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought, on a national registry that he says mandates consideration of the site in construction projects.

Another concern of Cox’s is the area has a lot of historic significance. Less than a mile down the road on Blue Mills is the Lawson Moore home, an old home that Frances and Robert "Lucky" Mason are restoring. Through research, Frances and her husband learned the home, sitting on 10 acres, was used as an infirmary during the Battle of Little Blue.

"I’ve seen where the blood was on the floors," Frances said. "It’s been through a lot of wear and tear."

The road project proposes clipping the very corner of the Masons’ property. Cox would like to see the road built to the east.

"We really don’t want the battlefield destroyed," Frances said.

The Masons plan to move into the home, next door to their current residence, once they finish restoring the property.

Robert has concerns about how the road will affect his property.

"I don’t want all the noise and the traffic," Robert said. "With it being an interstate or major highway, we’re getting an element of intercity, too."

Just down the road from the Masons, Mark Wealand’s ancestors are buried in a tiny cemetery in the middle of the field. The Lewis Gregg cemetery is the burial ground for revolutionary war soldier Nathaniel Lewis and his family.

Wealand is concerned the road project would make it difficult to preserve the cemetery.

"My interest is to get the road back open to the cemetery," Wealand said.

Besides the significance of who’s buried in his family cemetery, Wealand said the land is significant to the Civil War, too. Polly Gregg married Nathaniel Lewis’ son James and many of her family members rode with secessionist guerrilla William Quantrill, Wealand said.

Overall, Wealand thinks there needs to be some compromise.

"If and, most likely, when they will come through, I would appreciate if they had someone here to monitor digs and document what they find," Wealand said. "That gives us information about how the battle was fought."