Dick Simpson on “Wilson’s Creek, August 10, 1861”
Historian Dick Simpson presented a program on “The Battle of Wilson’s Creek”, the first major battle west of the Mississippi. In early August 1861, Confederate Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch’s army was camped at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, while Union Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon’s men were camped 12 miles away in Springfield, Missouri.
On the night of August 9, both sides had developed plans of attack on the opposing camp, but rain forced the Confederates to forgo the assault. At dawn the next day, Lyon led his army into battle. The attack caught McCulloch off guard, driving his army back. For more than five hours the battle raged on “Bloody Hill”. At about 9:30 a.m., Lyon, who had been wounded twice already, was killed while positioning his troops. Command fell to Major Samuel Sturgis, who ordered a withdrawal to Springfield at about 11 a.m., his ammunition nearly exhausted.