Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
The Civil War was over 155 years and Missouri was right in the middle of it all. Often times brothers against brothers fought on opposite sides of the war. But all of that fighting brought on some great changes in our nation as well as state. A few weeks ago my family and I took a short weekend getaway to the Springfield, Missouri area and one of our favorite stops was The Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. We literally spent most of the day exploring the National Park, hiking some trails and even had a nice picnic lunch while we were there.
When you first arrive at the National Park you can head into the visitors center where you can watch a 29 minute film about the battle that was held there. It was a great video and got our visit off to a wonderful start. Then, we walked around the exhibit area and enjoyed several of the interactive displays all while learning a lot about the Civil War and the era.
Then, we got our coin from the park rangers so we could start on the 5 mile drive around the park. We of course found lots of things to see and do while at the park. Each of the eight stops included something new and exciting to see along with maps, artwork and exhibits telling the story of the battle that took place there. The eight stops include:
1. Gibson’s Mill is the first stop and this is where James S. Rains headquarters his 2,500 men division near the mill.
2. Ray House and Cornfield was my favorite stop along the trail. John Ray watched the battle from his porch which later became the Confederate Field Hospital. Each weekend this house is opened up and staffed with either volunteers or staff members that tell you all about the house. Here is part of the audio tour that we enjoyed at the Ray House.
3. Pulaski Arkansas Battery, Edwards Cabin/Price’s Headquarters was where the 12,000 Man Southern army’s camp was located.
4. Sigel’s Second Position is stop number 4, and then you progress to Sigels’ Final Position stopping at number 5.
6. Guibor’s Battery is where the three mounted attacks took place in the fields and woods.
7. Bloody Hill is where General Lyon held his high ground throughout the battle. It was also where 1,700 men were killed or injured there. It also happens to be where they were buried at but have since been moved to Springfield.
8. Historic Overlook area is the last stop on the tour. But from there you can see John Ray’s house as well as get a gorgeous view of the area. The pictures don’t due this stop justice, but by the time we were here it was getting dark and raining off and on. The day we spent at the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was full of history, memories and full of nature.
There are a total of 5 walking trails throughout the park as well as a 7 mile trail to use for horseback riding. The day we were there we encountered walkers, joggers, runners, bicyclists, tours and families enjoying the park. I highly suggest taking the tour if you are in the Springfield, Missouri area.