Byram's Ford, MO

Date: October 22-23, 1864

Campaign: Priceís Missouri Expedition [1864]

Battles in Campaign:


  • Maj. Gen. Sterling Priceís Army of Missouri was headed west towards Kansas City and Fort Leavenworth.

  • Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtisí Army of the Border, in and around Westport, was blocking the Confederatesí way west and Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasontonís provisional cavalry division was pressing Priceís armyís rear.

  • Price had nearly 500 wagons with him and required a good ford over the Big Blue River to facilitate the passage of his supplies.

  • Byramís Ford was the best ford in the area and became a strategic point during the fighting around Westport.


  • Union: Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt and Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton

  • Confederate: Brig. Gen. Joseph Shelby and Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke

Principal Forces:

  • Union: 1st Division, Army of the Border and provisional cavalry division

  • Confederate: Shelby and Marmadukeís Divisions


  • On October 22, Maj. Gen. James G. Bluntís division held a defensive position on the Big Blue Riverís west bank.

  • Around 10:00 am on the 22nd, part of Brig. Gen. Joseph O. Shelbyís Confederate division conducted a frontal attack on Bluntís men.

  • This attack was a ruse because the rest of Shelbyís men flanked Bluntís hasty defenses, forcing the Federals to retire to Westport.

  • Priceís wagon train and about 5,000 head of cattle then crossed the Big Blue River at Byramís Ford and headed southward toward Little Santa Fe and safety.

  • However, Pleasontonís cavalry was in close pursuit of Priceís army.

  • Brig. Gen. John S. Marmadukeís Confederate division held the west bank of the Big Blue at Byramís Ford to prevent Pleasonton from attacking Priceís rear.

  • Pleasonton attacked Marmaduke at Byramís Ford, around 8:00 am, on the 23rd.

  • After three hours of fighting, Marmadukeís forces fell back toward Westport.

  • When Pleasonton crossed the river, he was an additional threat to Price who was fighting Curtisí Army of the Border at Westport. Price had to retreat south.

Slide Presentation: None

Classification2: B

Casualties3: Unknown

  • Union:

  • Confederate:

Results: Union Victory Miniature Union Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Missouri Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 12/16/2016