Wilson’s Creek: Living Monument of Missouri

Monument at Wilson Creek

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, fought on August 10, 1861, was the second significant Civil War engagement that had a significant impact on Missouri. After five hours of ferocious combat, more than 2,500 Union and Confederate men had been lost, injured, or gone missing. Locals like exploring the battlefield’s history and the peaceful walking trails by strolling around the grounds. Learn more about Wilson’s Creek below.

History of Wilson’s Creek

General Nathaniel Lyon along with Colonel Franz Sigel launched an early-morning assault on the Southern forces of Generals Benjamin McCulloch and Sterling Price who were stationed along Wilson Creek on August 10, 1861.

Before daybreak, Sigel’s artillery and Lyon’s engagement with Missouri State Guardsmen forced the Southern cavalry from their camp in a farm field. Later, three attacks by Southern forces against Lyon’s fortifications on “Bloody Hill” were unsuccessful in severing the Union line. Lyon was fatally injured during the second attack. Surprised, McCulloch’s soldiers soon overran Sigel. Union soldiers had to retire due to high losses and inadequate ammunition.

The home of John Ray was converted into a temporary field hospital by Southern soldiers following the war. Soldiers located Gen. Lyon’s body and transported it to the Ray residence, where the family formally disposed of it on their finest bed.

Wilson’s Creek was a tactical triumph for the South, but they were unable to capitalise on the potential advantage that resulted from their success. The victory for the South did draw more public attention to the conflict in Missouri. In the end, the state experienced more conflict in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the Civil War than any other.

A Lot Can Be Done on Your Visit

Trail Walk, Horse Riding and Hiking

Visitors can take a self-guided driving tour with eight informational stops at notable points along the 4.9-mile, paved tour road. There is a pedestrian lane on the tour road for bikes, runners, and walkers. From the tour route, there are five walking paths that range in length from a quarter to a third of a mile. A pedestrian lane is also present on the tour road for bicycles, runners, and walkers. The tour route leads to a 7-mile network of hiking and equestrian riding trails. There is parking available for horse trailers only off the tour road.

The Ray House

Following the conflict, Southern soldiers were treated in a makeshift field hospital at the 1850s-era Ray House. The body of General Nathaniel Lyon was taken home and laid on a bed for an inspection. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, The Ray House is open every day.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, some weekends feature living history activities that reflect the daily lives of Civil War soldiers, musket and cannon shooting displays, Civil War medical, and other relevant themes.

If you are an history enthusiast or you enjoy long trails and walking with your loved ones, you will enjoy Wilson’s Creek for sure. It offers everything a soothing place can offer and the experience is worth enjoying. 

You can read some related articles here to find out more about the tourist attractions in Springfield Missouri.

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