Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Springfield Missouri

A Battle of Brother Against Brother.*

On August 10, 1861, Wilson’s Creek was the site of the first major battle west of the Mississippi River. General Nathaniel Lyon was killed, the first Union general to die in combat. There were more than 2,300 casualties on the Union side, the Confederates lost 1,100 men.

Bloody Hill

The view from Bloody Hill. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

The battle gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri. Although the battle was a Confederate victory, the South failed to capitalize on its success. Price’s army won the battle and began to withdraw the main Missouri State Guard units from the state.

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek led to increased military activity in Missouri. Remnants of the Missouri Guard remained in the state and fought isolated battles throughout the war. Wilson’s Creek set the stage for the Battle of Pea Ridge Arkansas in March 1862.

Ray Cornfield

The Ray Cornfield conflict is easy to visualize using the cell phone tour sites. Photo Patsy Bell Hobson.

In 1960, the National Park Service, designated Wilson’s Creek a National Battlefield. The 1,750-acre battlefield remains one of the most historically pristine battle sites. This is a beautiful park, suitable for picnics, horse back riding, or family bicycling.

The entrance fee to the park is $5.00 per adult or $10.00 per vehicle. Visitors can drive, walk or bicycle the 4.9 mile paved tour road. There are eight interpretive stops at significant points on the tour road.

The Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Cell Phone Tour – listen to audio clips using your personal cell phone. Call 1 (417) 521-0055 and follow the command prompts. Each stop is assigned a number giving you an overview of that tour stop as you view the battlefield. Dial the above number, push pound#, then push the appropriate stop number on your cell phone device.

Battle of Wilson’s Creek Reenactment – August 12-14, 2011. The Civil War reenactment will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Due to the high level of interest, this will be a well-attended event, with more than 3,000 reenactors and huge crowds of spectators.

Springfield National Cemetery Two years after the war ended, the Springfield National Cemetery was created. The dead of both the North and the South interred there, though separated by a low stone wall.

Springfield National Cemetery, 
1702 East Seminole Street, Springfield, MO 65804, Phone: (417) 881-9499 Visitation Hours:
 open daily from dawn until dusk.

Smallin walkway

Guided tours last about 1 hour. Photo by Jeff Hobson

Smallin Civil War Cave, Springfield Missouri  3575 North Smallin Road, Ozark, Missouri 65721 phone: 417-551-4545 email Read more about the cave tours at Striped Pot The Smallin Civil War Cave, Springfield Missouri.

Where to stay – The new green Hilton Garden Inn Springfield Missouri. Support the businesses that support our community. Check-in is 3:pm and check-out is 12:pm. Hilton Garden Inn is small-pet friendly, call ahead and check out the details. The hotel is completely smoke free, and comfortably accessible. Read more about Hilton Garden Inn on Striped Pot.

Springfield Tourist Information Center:  3315 E. Battlefield Road. Downtown Visitor Information Center: 815 E. Saint Louis St., Suite 100, Springfield. (800) 678-8767 or (417) 881-5300 – fax (417) 881-2231 Email:

* The phrase “brother against brother” is often used the Civil War. At Wilson’s Creek it was literally true. Joseph Shelby (Missouri State Guard) and his stepbrother Cary Gratz (1st Missouri Infantry, U.S.) fought on Bloody Hill. Gratz was killed during the battle.


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