JEFFERSON CITY - The state is creating a historical site on land in western Missouri where black soldiers are believed to have engaged in their first Civil War battle.
The state Department of Natural Resources has acquired 40 acres where the Battle of Island Mound occurred — about 8 miles southwest of Butler in Bates County.
Two battalions of the First Kansas Colored Infantry had been sent into Bates County, which had become a base for Confederate recruiters. A skirmish occurred on Oct. 29, 1862, when about 30 black troops were ambushed by about 130 rebel horsemen near a low hill known as Island Mound.
The first step for the new historical site will be an archaeological assessment. The department hopes to have the site open by 2011.