Branson, MO Friday Nov. 8
Our last night in Branson. The weather continued to be great and we took a drive to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield just southwest of Springfield Missouri. Wilson’s Creek pre-dated the battle at Pea Ridge which we commented on previously.
Missouri was in a unique position during the Civil War. It was legal to have slaves in Missouri. Most Missouri slaveholders had less than 20 slaves. The state Legislature and Governor had major battles to try to put Missouri into the Confederacy or keep it in the Union. The governor and the head of the state militia wanted to secede. The U.S. congressman and general in charge of the St. Louis armory wanted to keep the state in the Union. The legislature was divided but had initially voted not to secede. Most just wanted neutrality.
The general, Nathaniel Lyon, drove the Confederate leaning state’s militia along with the legislature from the capital. By early July, 1861, the Governor, much of the legislature, and the state militia were in the southwest corner of the state. A new governor and legislature voted to keep Missouri in the Union. The old Governor and southern leaning legislators, without a quorum, voted to secede from the union. Thus there were Missouri representatives in Washington DC and in Richmond Virginia.
The Union’s Gen. Lyon pursued the Confederacy’s state militia General Price into the southwest portion of the state. By early August, both armies were around the Wilson’s Creek area. Without going into battle details, the Confederacy basically won the battle and forced Gen. Lyon’s troops to withdraw. General Lyon was killed in the battle. Casualties were heavy on both sides.
The following spring, March 1862, the battle of Pea Ridge marked a setback for the Confederates. The Union’s forces won that battle and prevented the Confederates from seriously attacking Missouri again. There were continued battles and skirmishes, however. In fact, Missouri had the third highest number of battles and skirmishes of any state.
We observed the battlefield by walking the 5 mile loop auto route which also provided for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Our companions proved to be two does and one buck and some farmers who leased battlefield land to grow corn. This is appropriate since this area was farmed and raising corn at the time of the battle in 1861.
Our lunch was in the restaurant at the corporate Bass Pro Shop store and headquarters in Springfield. The store is as large as a small enclosed mall. Is a destination for many shoppers and tourists. We continued to not buy anything.
After returning to the resort, we made our last dip in the hot tub and finishing the evening writing this blog. Tomorrow we head off to Hot Springs Arkansas.
Ed and Chris Friday Nov. 8