Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First battle of Civil War west of Mississippi fought in the Ozarks in 1861

The first major battle in the Civil War west of the Mississippi River took place on this date in 1861 south of Springfield in what is known as the Battle of Wilson's Creek, or if you're a Southerner, the Battle of Oak Hills.

From Wikipedia--Battle of Wilson's Creek:

Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon's Army of the West was camped at Springfield,
Missouri, with Confederate troops under the commands of Brig. Gen. Benjamin
McCulloch approaching. On August 9, both sides formulated plans to attack the
other. About 5:00 a.m. on August 10, Lyon, in two columns commanded by himself
and Col. Franz Sigel, attacked the Confederates on Wilson's Creek about
12 miles (19 km) 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. When General Lyon was killed during the battle
and General Sweeny wounded, Major Samuel D. Sturgis assumed command. Meanwhile,
the Confederates had routed Sigel's column, south of Skegg's Branch. Following
the third Confederate attack, which ended at 11:00 a.m., 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 out an ordinance of secession. Wilson's
Creek, the most significant 1861 battle in Missouri, gave the Confederates
control of southwestern Missouri.

Here's a link to official records of the battle: Civil War Home.

Here's the National Park Service link for the battlefield. It's worth a visit to the battlefield; look at this website first.

Here's a website you'll want to bookmark and visit over and over again.

HistoryNet.com has another good page of information.

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