The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

May 16, 2013

Our View: Pass on the legacy

— Forty hungry members of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry began gathering corn at the Rader farm near the village of Sherwood when they were ambushed by a guerrilla band of about 70 Southern sympathizers.

Fifteen black soldiers were shot and killed. Most of the regiment’s white escorts escaped on horseback, but they were chased down and also killed.

When Union reinforcements arrived and found the soldiers’ bodies, many of which had been mutilated, orders were given to place them in the Rader house and burn it down.

That was 150 years ago. On Saturday, we will remember the Civil War ambush northwest of Joplin and the service of those who deserve to be honored.

Set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Peace Church and Fountain roads, the public is invited to attend and learn more about the Rader farm. The land there was purchased more than three years ago by the Jasper County Commission, and plans were made for a permanent memorial.

That work has been set aside during efforts to rebuild following the May 2011 tornado. Immediate duty called.

But we think it’s our duty to honor the sacrifice made by those soldiers here in Jasper County. Efforts are under way to preserve the homestead as a memorial. While local historians and community leaders have made progress toward that goal, it will take donations and volunteers to see it through.

Let’s honor those who fought for the freedoms of all by making sure that future generations remember them.

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