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“Battle of Lexington / Marijuana Bales”

Battle of Lexington State Historic Site
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Lexington
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Attraction details
Owner description: People called Oliver Anderson’s house “the best arranged dwelling house west of St. Louis.” But it became more famous as the center of a bloody three-day Civil War battle in 1861. Walk through the Anderson House at Battle of Lexington State Historic Site and marvel at the bullet holes still in the walls and evidence of the cannon shots. The battlefield is peaceful now, dotted with orchards and gardens, but battle scars remain. A visitor center provides a comprehensive view of the battle that raised Southern spirits that the war was winnable and made Unionists in Missouri think twice about whether they could hold the state. The site is located in the town of Lexington and is one of the closest Civil War sites to Interstate 70.
Naples, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Battle of Lexington / Marijuana Bales”
Reviewed 24 May 2014

The Battle of Lexington, MO or "Battle of the Hemp Bales" may be unique in Civil War history.
The Hemp or Marijuana bales were moved forward to protect advancing Southern troops. But there was a risk that the Marijuana bales would catch on fire, thus the bales were soaked with water to prevent them from burning. Some did catch on fire, but it is unknown how many troops were high... (Some wags believe this resulted in a surge in recruitment by Confederates of young men from Colorado and Oregon :)

Confederate General Price's men advanced behind mobile (Marijuana) breastworks, made of hemp, close enough to take the Union works at the Anderson House. Northern Colonel Mulligan requested surrender terms, turned in their weapons,and gave the South control of much of western Missouri.

Admission is Free, but optional guided tour of Anderson House is $4.00

Visited May 2014
1 Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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45 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kansas City
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Make sure and go in the Visitor's Center!”
Reviewed 7 February 2014

Disclosure--I grew up in Lexington. Having said that, I had not been to this site since I was a young sprout and I recently went back out of nostalgia. There is a new (not sure how new) visitor's center there, and it was absolutely fantastic! One of the best displays I have ever seen at a Civil War battlefield, and I've been to a lot of the big ones. There are some letters displayed in there from a citizen of Lexington written to a family member. Take the time to read them because they are incredibly fascinating! They capture the feel of what it was like to live in those times in a way that few of the primary documents of the time do. Also, if it's nice weather, it's worth wandering around the battlefield. A lot of the terraces have been plowed away in attempts to restore the kitchen gardens, etc. but you can still see where the troops dug in and there are gorgeous views of the Missouri River. The Anderson House itself is of course an awesome piece of history because it was used by both sides as a field hospital. Unfortunately, that is not something that has improved with time. The house used to be a lot neater to tour because more of it was open to the public and it hadn't been as "staged" as it is now with fake displays that are supposed to give you a feel for what it must have been like when it was a military hospital that are cheesy in my opinion. Plus, you used to be able to see the bloodstains all over the floors of the upper level rooms and it looks like most of that has been covered over by rugs and fake hospital displays. Oh, well, there's still plenty of bullet holes in the walls and the masonry to look at! Also, there were a ton of employees wandering around the house in period dress which would have been fine if they were there to offer tours or explain features of the house, but their sole purpose seemed to be shadowing people to make sure they didn't take anything because they would follow people from room to room watching them and saying nothing. It didn't make you want to linger to look at things because it was uncomfortable. PS, when you walk around the outside, you will see a window that is bricked over. That is supposedly because of a ghost that would go down the stairs every night and then go screaming up the stairs and out a window on one of the upper levels. Supposedly, the window was bricked up to see if that would solve their ghost problem and it did. There was a feature about it on the evening news that you can look up on YouTube, so if you're a ghost story lover, this is also a good attraction. This is not a site that is particularly wheelchair friendly, FYI. The stairs going into the house and inside the house are steep, but the visitor's center is accessible to all. Also, I bought some of the fresh dried herbs that were grown in the kitchen gardens for use at home. Good stuff....

Visited August 2013
Thank busitrav33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mushroom Capital
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A must for a Civil War history buff”
Reviewed 29 September 2012

The Battle of Lexington State Site has been redone over the years into a very respectable historical site. The visitors center has a number of artifacts from the era, as well as a short video on the Anderson Home and battlefield. And don't forget to check out the cannon ball that is still located in the columns of the court house from the battle.

Visited October 2011
Thank Masher63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kidder, MO
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great piece of history”
Reviewed 24 September 2012

You can see the bullet holes in the bricks from the Civil War!

Lexington is a small town on the Missouri River. Historical homes sit on both sides of the main road that lead into the Historic square. You can walk from shop to shop and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of locals.

There are 5 different historical sites in Lexington. On the Missouri River you can see where Lewis and Clarke camped on their trip into the "wild"; there is this historical Battle Of Lexington site where you'll learn how the Union Army fought off the Confederate Army (with one of the only black plattoons!); around the corner from the house is a site where the plattoon fought off troops coming up hill from the river, using hemp bales as cover; there is Wentworth Military school ( I often threaten to send my children there!); and don't forget to see the cannonball stuck in the Court House!

After you've spent some time there, you'll have a desire to buy one of the grand old homes! (I keep trying to convince my husband we need another project!)

Definately worth the trip. Great for children and adults. There are a couple of war memorials that you shouldn't miss, either. (One has lots of stairs, though!)

This is just a stone's through from KC.

Visited June 2012
Thank MysticGrayStar_2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lexington, Missouri
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful site!”
Reviewed 12 July 2012

So much to see, excellent displays in the Visitors Center. Do not miss the films! Tour the house for authentic step back into the past. Civil War battle site.

Visited July 2012
Thank Susan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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