On October 29, 1862 the Battle of Island Mound was fought southwest of Butler not far from the Marais des Cygnes River. The skirmish between the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and Bates County southern guerrillas was memorable because it marked the first armed action and encounter between black soldiers and the enemy. It was not until January 1, 1863 that the Union Army began enlisting African-American men to serve. The Battle of Island Mound proved to the War Department in Washington that black soldiers would perform their duties efficiently and display courage on the battlefield. The 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry went on to gain a reputation for being formidable and brave in battle.
Today we remember the men of the 1st KCVI and the men in Bates County who fought what would become a significant turning point in the Civil War. In 2008, a statue was dedicated on the Courthouse lawn and in 2012, marking the 150th anniversary, the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site was dedicated.