In the fall of 1864, Major General Sterling Price led 12,000 Confederate cavalry on an ill-fated raid through Missouri. He was defeated at Westport on October 23, then pursued south by Federal cavalry. The demoralized Confederates were hindered by a train of approximately 500 wagons, loaded with captured supplies. Disaster struck again on October 25. Nearly half of Price's army was routed while protecting the wagons as they crossed Mine Creek in Kansas. The fugitives and wagons were pursued throughout the afternoon-their trail marked by discarded weapons, abandoned horses, and burning farms. Late in the afternoon, the wagons reached the Marmaton River at Douglass Ford, a mile northeast of Deerfield, Missouri-the only place where wagons could cross. To save his train, Price ordered Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby to slow the pursuers.