BATTLE OF WILSON’S CREEK
Understanding the Battle of Wilson’s Creek
Location: Approximately 10 miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri
The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, (Aug. 10, 1861) was a battle of the Civil War and was considered the second major battle that occurred two weeks after the First Bull Run Battle that happened in Virginia. It is the first major battle that took place west of the Mississippi River. The war was between an aggressive Union army and a superior force, the Confederate soldiers plus the pro-secessionist Missouri State Guard (MSG) who were looking to Missouri’s future. The war erupted due to Nathaniel Lyon’s aggressiveness that was a fierce pro-Union officer of the federal army anxiously looking at crushing the secessionist forces. At this time, the state of Missouri had been fractured leading to the division that had followed the election of Lincoln. As such, much of the army population included new governor who sympathized with the disunion activities that were present in the Deep SouthfootnoteRef:1. 1: Louis S. Gerteis, The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2012).
Lyon had a bloodless victory at “Camp Jackson” that later turned into a disaster that sparked a riot after his men decided to parade the captured prisoners through the streets of St. Louis. Irrespective of what transpired during the riot, Lyon was promoted to become a brigadier general, which gave him command over Missouri’s Union forces. The day after the massacre at “Camp Jackson,” the MSG was created and it had a pro-secession learning and was dedicated to preserving the laws of the statefootnoteRef:2. The amateur force that MSG was had military experience regarding leadership even though they lacked regular uniforms and their arms were insufficient and antiquated. Sterling Price was their overall commander who was a former governor and a Mexican War hero. At this point, Lyon noticed that the State Guard was a direct threat to the interests of Unionists and this prompted him to meet Governor Jackson in June 1861. Their meeting was aimed at discussing the fragile situation that existed between the federal forces neutrality of the State Guard. The meeting did not go well after Jackson suggested having a mutual disarmament and thus, saw Lyon declare war. 2: Jeffrey L. Patrick, Campaign for Wilson’s Creek: The Fight for Missouri Begins (Buffalo Gap, TX: Mcwhiney Foundation Press, 2011).
This saw Lyon keep…