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  • Engraved memorial marker dedicated to lives lost in Cow Creek skirmish

  • Not every historical museum can claim to be actually located on the site of history, but the Crawford County Historical Museum may be one of the lucky ones.

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  • Not every historical museum can claim to be actually located on the site of history, but the Crawford County Historical Museum may be one of the lucky ones.
    “The last battle in the Cow Creek Skirmish was almost in the museum’s front yard,” said Mark Dulek, museum volunteer.
    On Sunday, 147 years and one week later, an engraved memorial marker was dedicated on museum grounds to those who lost their lives in the Civil War skirmish. It is in a brick-lined enclosure near the museum’s front door.
    Jerry Lomshek, who has made an extensive study of the event, spoke briefly about the skirmish, which occurred on Oct. 23, 1864.
    “A wagon train of refugees had come from Fort Smith, Ark., and was escorted by troops from the Sixth Kansas Cavalry under the command of Col. William Campbell,” Lomshek said. “These were local men, from Cherokee, Crawford and Bourbon Counties. Their enlistment was over, and they were on their way to Leavenworth to be dismissed from service. They ran smack dab into the First Indian Brigade led by Maj. Andrew Jackson Piercy.”
    Lomshek added that Piercy hadn’t been looking for trouble when he encountered the wagon train.
    “This skirmish never should have happened,” he said. “It was human error all the way around.”
    The encounter began at a site near the location of the Pittsburg Waste Water Treatment Plant and continued to the north when a small group of wagons broke away in an desperate, ultimately unsuccessful rush to safety.
    “The Confederate troops caught up with them and burned the wagons about a quarter of a mile west of where the Home Depot is today,” Dulek said.
    Death toll was three Union soldiers and 13 civilian men who had been with the wagon train. Lomshek said it was likely that one of the Confederates had also been killed.
    The inscription on the polished granite marker reads “Near this Site/COW CREEK SKIRMISH/October 23, 1864/In Memory of the Fallen.”
    The Turkey Creek Fusiliers, a color guard of Civil War reenactors, paid tribute to the fallen. Steve Cottrell, Carthage, Mo., a member of the group, is a Pittsburg State University graduate who worked with Lomshek and Dulek to create an educational kiosk on the Cow Creek Skirmish for the museum. The kiosk was built by PSU construction management, construction engineering technology and graphics and imaging technology departments.
    Cottrell arranged for the acquisition of the monument, which was donated by Park Cemetery and Mausoleum, Carthage, Mo., which includes a monument company. Neel Baucom, also owner and general manager of Knell Mortuary, offered to donate the stone itself, while Denzel Davidson, museum curator, paid for the cost of having the monument company engrave the inscription.
    There’s a special reason why Cottrell has been interested in the Cow Creek Skirmish, and why the Sunday memorial ceremony had a personal meaning for him.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I had an ancestor who served in the Sixth Kansas Cavalry,” Cottrell said. “His name was Daniel Jennings, and he was a private. He wasn’t involved with the Cow Creek Skirmish, though. He died in a skirmish in Arkansas.”

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