Battle of Wilson's Creek: Civil War re-enactment marks 150th anniversary

Saturday, August 13, 2011 | 10:06 p.m. CDT; updated 4:11 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 14, 2011
A federal color guard holds the tattered flag of the Union during the Wilson's Creek Battle Reenactment on Friday, August 12, 2011, near Springfield. This was the first major victory for the Confederates in Missouri.

The Wilson's Creek Foundation hosted the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Wilson's Creek, according to the foundation's website. The event benefited the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield near Springfield.

On Aug. 10, 1861, Union forces met with their second major defeat after First Bull Run at Wilson's Creek in Missouri. The first major battle west of the Mississippi River also killed the first Union general in combat, Nathaniel Lyon. Though Missouri had voted to stay in the Union, Gov. Claiborne Jackson continued to advocate secession. He refused a federal call to supply regiments for the Union and plotted to seize the federal arsenal at St. Louis.

Learning of the plan, Lyon had most of the weapons secretly moved, futilely sought to resolve differences with Jackson and later pursued rebel forces into southwestern Missouri. Lyon's surprise attack on Confederates at Wilson's Creek began strongly but lost momentum amid bloody charges and countercharges as his forces finally withdrew, outnumbered. One Confederate general, N.B. Pearce, later wrote his troops under gunfire showed "no signs of wavering or retreat." The state — prized by both sides for abundant resources and proximity to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, saw much fighting in years to come.

A spectator walks through the period-correct Federal camp Friday evening August 12, 2011. The camps have been open to the public during the days, giving re-enactors the chance to demonstrate living conditions during the Civil War.
Spectators line the battlefield for the Battle of Wilson's Creek Reenactment on Friday, August 12, 2011, near Springfield. Organizers expected between 30,000 and 50,000 spectators to attend the three-day re-enactment ending Sunday.
Participants in the Civil War re-enaction cool off in Wilson's Creek near the Confederate camp before the afternoon battle re-enactment Friday, August 12, 2011. With temperatures in the high 80s, participants took any opportunity to beat the heat.
Confederate troops march onto the battlefield for the evening re-enactment Friday, August 12, 2011, near Springfield. About 3,000 people were expected to participate in the Battle of Wilson's Creek Reenactment to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Missouri's largest Civil War battle.

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