Wilson's Creek, MO

Battle of Wilson's Creek

[Battle of Wilson's Creek, by Kurz and Allison, 1893 - Courtesy of Wikipedia.]

Date(s): August 10, 1861

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield (national battlefield), Missouri, United States

Campaign: Operations to Control Missouri [1861]  

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon and Maj. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, Missouri State Guard, and Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Army of the West

  • Confederate: Missouri State Guard and McCullochís Brigade


  • Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyonís 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 Wilsonís Creek about 12 miles southwest of Springfield.

  • Confederate 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 Sigelís column, south of Skeggís 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.

  • The victory at Wilsonís Creek gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri.

Photo Gallery:2

Gibson's Mill Site

Ray Springhouse

Ray Springhouse

Ray's House

Ray's Spring House

The Ray Family

Map Showing Location of Troops in Ray's Cornfield

Ray House

Ray House

Ray House

John Ray Watched Battle from Front Porch

Map Showing Location of Price's Headquarters

Desription of Action of te Pulaski Arkansas Battery

Map Showing Location of Price's Headquarters

Description of Price's Headquarters

Pulaski Arkansas Battery

Pulaski Arkansas Battery

Pulaski Arkansas Battery

Early battlefield map showing Sigel's attack

Description of Sigel's attack on tne Confederate camps

Location of the Sharp cornfield

Rout of Sigel's column

Sigel's Union forces were defeated

Guibor's Confederate artillery battery

Guibor's Confederate artillery battery

Guibor's Confederate artillery battery

Bloody Hill

Confederate units attacked Union positions on this hill

Union artillery battled wit Confederate batteries and Union General Lyon was killed

Union troops were outnumbered two to one and with their ammunition nearly gone they retreated to Springfield


Classification3: A


  • Union: 1,235

  • Confederate: 1,095

Results: Confederate Victory Miniature Confederate Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Missouri Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of civil-war-journeys.org."

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 03/01/2013