Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
The first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River claimed the life of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general to die in the conflict. Although it was considered a Confederate victory, they suffered heavy losses and were prevented from making inroads into Missouri. The land around the so-called Bloody Hill remains much as it was when the battle raged here on August 10, 1861. Even the home of farmer John Ray, who watched the event from his porch as his family took refuge inside, is well preserved from the time when it was used it as a Southern field hospital. The Ray House (open Memorial Day to Labor Day; check ahead for days and hours) displays the bed upon which General Lyon’s body was placed for examination.
The visitors center has military exhibits, a 30-minute video, a fiber-optics battle-strategy map, and a well-stocked bookstore. You can take a self- or cell-phone-guided 4.9-mile driving tour, featuring 8 interpretive sites, or explore on foot along one of 5 short trails off the tour road. In addition, 7 miles of hiking and horseback-riding trails wind through the park. On select summer weekends, volunteers in period costume gather here for living-history demonstrations that re-enact both civilian and military life. Each year, the anniversary of the battle sees a special program that includes keynote speeches.
6424 W. Farm Rd. 182
- Republic, Missouri 65738
- 37.11769500, -93.41904300
- Visitors Center: daily 8 to 5.
- Visit Website
- (417) 732-2662, ext. 227