On October 6, 1863, Gen. James Blunt and about
100 men were met near Baxter's springs by William Quantrill
and several hundred Confederates masquerading as
Union troops. As Blunt's band was preparing a musical
salute the enemy fired. This surprise attack prevented
organized resistance, and though Blunt escaped nine-tenths
of his men were killed. The raiders also attacked Lt. James
Pond and 95 men encamped at the springs. This force was
likewise caught off guard but resisted until the enemy
retired. These battle sites are in present Baxter Springs.
Some of the victims are buried in the national cemetery
one mile west of town.
Baxter Springs was established in 1866 on the Fort
Leavenworth-Fort Gibson military road. For several years
it was important as a trading center for Texas cattle.