Q. Is there a cemetery on the battlefield where all the soldiers killed in the battle are buried?
A. No. Following the battle nearly all the soldiers killed in the fighting were buried on the battlefield. In 1867, the Springfield National Cemetery was created and the Union dead were removed there. A short time later, the Southern dead were taken there as well and placed in an adjacent plot (now part of the National Cemetery). Unfortunately, only a handful of the Wilson's Creek dead at the Springfield National Cemetery are identified.
Q. When is the next "reenactment" of the battle?
A. It is widely believed that a reenactment of the Battle of Wilson's Creek is held every year on the original battlefield. In fact, only two major battle reenactments have been held (one in 1991, the other in 2000). Both were done on private land and were hosted by groups or individuals, not by the National Park Service.
Current NPS policy does not allow for battle reenactments (simulated combat with opposing lines and casualties) on NPS property.
The alternative is called "living history." in which park volunteers and staff members dress in reproduction clothing, fire weapons, drill, and give soldier life talks, but do not engage in simulated warfare. A schedule of these activities may be found on our Schedule of Events page.
Q. Who won the Battle of Wilson’s Creek?
A. Technically the Southern forces won a tactical victory at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek because they held the field at the conclusion of the battle.
Q. Was Jesse James at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek?
A. No. At the time of the Battle at Wilson’s Creek, Jesse James was about a month away from his fourteenth birthday. His older brother Frank James, William Clarke Quantrill, and Cole Younger did participate in the battle as members of the Missouri State Guard. Jesse joined his brother and friends as part of the guerrilla band led by “Bloody Bill” Anderson in 1864.
Q. I have heard that Missouri was the scene of hundreds and battles and skirmishes during the Civil War? Is that true?
A. Yes, Missouri was the third most "fought over" state during the Civil War, with about 1,162 battles and skirmishes. According to Union veteran and historian Frederick H. Dyer, only Virginia (2,154) and Tennessee (1,462) saw more fighting.
Q. What happened to General Lyon after he was killed?
A. General Lyon was fatally wounded at about 9:30 a.m. on August 10, 1861. Those near him at the time of his death carried his body behind the Union line of battle and placed it in a wagon to be taken to Springfield. In the confusion of the Union retreat, however, his corpse was removed and left on the field. Later that day, Lyon was discovered by the Southerners and transported to the Ray House. Lyon’s body then made the journey to Springfield, where, accordingly to some sources, it was accidentally left behind again when the Union Army retreated to Rolla. Mary Phelps, wife of U.S. Representative John S. Phelps, cared for, guarded, and finally buried Lyon’s body on her family's farm. Soon Lyon’s relatives arrived and transported the body to Connecticut for proper burial. On the long trip back to Connecticut, many people came to view the casket of a hero of the Union, the first Union general to die in the Civil War. Although buried in Connecticut, a monument was erected in his honor in Springfield in the 1880s, and can still be seen at the Springfield National Cemetery.
Q. Why was Missouri so important during the Civil War?
A. Strategically, Missouri shared a border with both Union and Confederate states and territories (Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, the Indian Territory, Kentucky and Tennessee), and contained vital waterways (the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers), which were critical to both transportation and communication. In addition, the state was rich in resources, including agriculture products (hemp, mules, etc.), and raw materials such as iron and lead. Missouri was the eighth most populous state in 1860, and provided a total of about 150,000 volunteers for the Union and the Confederacy.