Springfield Paranormal Research Group
Wilson’s Creek Battle field
Location: Greene County and Christian County
Campaign: Operations to Control Missouri (1861)
Date(s): August 10, 1861
Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon and Maj. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis [US]; Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, Missouri State Guard, and Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch [CS]
Forces Engaged: Army of the West [US]; Missouri State Guard and McCulloch’s Brigade [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 2,330 total (US 1,235; CS 1,095)
Description: 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
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.