Like the Union Confederate Monument Site in Kansas City, the Mound City Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot is a smaller part of a larger facility - in this case, the Woodland Cemetery in Mound City, Kansas. Despite that small size, however, there is still a wealth of stories behind the men resting there. The Lot began life in 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, as 30 Union soldiers killed in the Battle of Mine Creek and the Battle of Marais des Cygnes are laid to rest in a small, 48 by 158 foot plot within the larger cemetery. Twenty four years later, in 1888, a number of other Civil War era soldiers were interred in the Lot before it was closed off to new additions. The next year, a large granite monument depicting a Union soldier carrying a rifle and staring into the distance was built to commemorate the site and make it stand out from the rest of the Cemetery.
Perhaps the most notable soldier laid to rest in the Lot is Union Colonel James Montgomery, who spent a number of years as a Jayhawker and abolitionist fighting in the Missouri-Kansas border war that served as a prologue to the Civil War itself. During the war, Montgomery led the soldiers at both Mine Creek and Marais des Cygnes in late 1864, managing to successfully defeat the numerically superior Confederate forces, taking over 600 prisoners in the process, despite losing the thirty men that would be the first burials at the Soldiers’ Lot. Montgomery would later participate in the Battle of Westport before retiring to his Eastern Kansas farm after the war, where he died in the winter of 1871.
The Soldiers’ Lot would remain essentially unchanged for decades to follow until 1940, when the Lot would get a makeover of sorts. As part of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, designed to give public works jobs to millions of Americans in the wake of the Great Depression, the Mound City Cemetery would see the construction of a stone wall, as well as a utilitarian chain fence, around the perimeter of the Lot. Outside of this WPA addition, there have been no alterations to the Lot since the nineteenth century - a time capsule for those wanting to see how the Civil War was commemorated when it was still in living memory.