The success of the Confederate attack at Independence on Ajugust 11th and the prevalence of Confederate recruiters in Jackson County had raised serious alarm for Union authorities.
By August 15, Confederate forces arrived and encamped near the town of Lone Jack in Jackson County.
In an effort to rid northwest Missouri of guerrillas and Confederate recruiting, the Federals planned a major counteroffensive.
A column of 800 troops under Major Emory Foster and another column of 600 troops under Brigadier General Fitz H. Warren were to converge on the small town of Lone Jack.
On the evening of August 15, Foster’s force arrived in Lone Jack. Foster's troopers skirmsihed in the darkness with Confederate pickets. Foster brought up his artillery and scattered the Confederates.
Foster made camp in the street with plans to pursue the enemy with Warren in the morning.
Warren would, for reasons unknown, take a long and winding route delaying his arrival until mid morning of the 17th.
The boom of artillery fire had alerted every Confederate in the area. Confederate Colonel Vard
Cockrell gathered a force of about 1500 troops and planned to attack at first light.
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