During his retreat from the loss to Confederate Major General Sterling Price at Lexington, Major General James Gillpatrick Blunt stops on October 20 and 21 to make a stand on the west banks of the Little Blue River. Major General Samuel R. Curtis orders Blunt to retreat, only to reverse the order the next day. Outnumbered, Blunt's defenders fall back to Independence, Missouri.
Immediately after retreating from Price's forces at the Little Blue River, Blunt's men defend the eastern portions of Independence from Price's onslaught in the Second Battle of Independence on October 21 and 22. General Price's troops advance into the center of the town on October 21, before being attacked the next day from the northeast by 10,000 Union cavalry reinforcements under command of Major General Alfred Pleasonton. Confederate Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke manages to repulse Pleasonton's advance, and Price's Army of Missouri continues its westward march toward Westport.