Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Wilson Creek Battlefield

Tuesday morning my dad and I toured the Wilson Creek Battlefield:
Wilson's Creek was the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River, and the scene of the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed in combat. The bloody Southern victory on August 10, 1861, focused greater national attention on the war in Missouri.  The nearly pristine landscape allows visitors to experience one of the best-preserved battlefields in the nation.

We took a rather round about way to get there. We turned left on a road when we should have gone right. Thankfully I had my iPhone with me and we were able to find the battlefield. The detour was actually fun. We saw some really neat houses and a turkey buzzard having breakfast on some road kill.

Went into the visitor's center where there was a very interesting movie on the battle.

Here are a few pictures of our tour.

They had these plaques in the sidewalk that were the dates of the major battle of the Civil War. The plaque right in front of the entrance was the one for Wilson's Creek.

 Next couple of picture are from the Ray House:
John Ray, his wife Roxanna and their nine children lived in this modest house during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Built about 1852, the Ray House is the only original surviving dwelling from the time of the battle. When the battle broke out, John Ray remained on his front porch. He witnessed fighting in his own cornfield and on Bloody Hill. Roxanna, the children, Aunt Rhoda (a slave) and her three children and Julius Short, a hired farm hand, all took shelter in the cellar. They would come out hours later to find their house littered with wounded and dying Southerners.
Union General Nathaniel Lyon died in the battle and was the first Union general to die in battle. His body was placed on the bed in this picture. This is in fact actual bed .

Jack in by one of the cannons.

Here's a little more on the battle itself:
Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon’s Army of the West was camped at Springfield, Missouri, with Confederate troops under the commands of Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch approaching. On August 9, both sides formulated plans to attack the other. About 5:00 am on the 10th, Lyon, in two columns commanded by himself and Col. Franz Sigel, attacked the Confederates on Wilson’s Creek about 12 miles southwest of Springfield. Rebel cavalry received the first blow and fell back away from Bloody Hill. Confederate forces soon rushed up and stabilized their positions. The Confederates attacked the Union forces three times that day but failed to break through the Union line. Lyon was killed during the battle and Maj. Samuel D. Sturgis replaced him. Meanwhile, the Confederates had routed Sigel’s column, south of Skegg’s Branch. Following the third Confederate attack, which ended at 11:00 am, the Confederates withdrew. Sturgis realized, however, that his men were exhausted and his ammunition was low, so he ordered a retreat to Springfield. The Confederates were too disorganized and ill-equipped to pursue. This Confederate victory buoyed southern sympathizers in Missouri and served as a springboard for a bold thrust north that carried Price and his Missouri State Guard as far as Lexington. In late October, a rump convention, convened by Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, met in Neosho and passed an ordinance of secession. Wilson’s Creek, the most significant 1861 battle in Missouri, gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri.

It was a wonderful bright sunny day. A great deal to learn a little history.

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