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Wilson's Creek National Battlefield facts for kids

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Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.jpg
Location Brookline Township, Greene County, Missouri, USA
Nearest city Republic, Missouri
Area 1,749.91 acres (7.0816 km2)
Established April 22, 1960
Visitors 160,000 (in 2014)
Governing body National Park Service
Website Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Nearest city Springfield, Missouri
Area 1,750 acres (710 ha)
Built 1861 (1861)
NRHP reference No. 66000113
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield at 6424 West Farm Road 182 near Republic, Missouri, preserves the site of the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Fought on August 10, 1861, it was the first major American Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River. The Confederate's failure to exploit their victory here resulted in keeping Missouri in the Union. Major features include a 5-mile automobile tour loop, the restored 1852 Ray House, and "Bloody Hill," the scene of the major battle. The site is located just southwest of the city of Springfield, in southwestern Missouri.

Battle of Wilsons Creek
Battle of Wilson's Creek, by Kurz and Allison, 1893.

Battle at Wilson's Creek

See also: Wilson's Creek Union order of battle and Wilson's Creek Confederate order of battle

The Battle of Wilson's Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, was fought on August 10, 1861, near Springfield, Missouri. Union forces were striving to defeat the Missouri State Guard and preserve Missouri for the Union, along with St. Louis, a major port on the Mississippi River.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Park

The battle site was established as Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Park on April 22, 1960, and was redesignated a National Battlefield on December 16, 1970. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the battlefield was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

The Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and contains exhibits about the battle, a twenty-nine-minute film, an eight-minute fiber optics map program and a bookstore. In compliance with ADA standards, assisted listening devices are available for use with the orientation film.

All park facilities are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

The visitor center offers brochures about the 4.9 mile self-guided tour of the battlefield, and is the location for special events. The 4.9 mile paved tour road provides a self-guided auto tour. There are eight interpretive stops at significant battle-related locations. There are five walking trails off the tour road, varying in length from 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile. A seven mile trail system for horseback riding and hiking is accessible from the tour road. In addition, there is a cell phone tour that provides interesting facts and fascinating stories relating to the Battle of Wilson's Creek.

The Wilson's Creek Civil War Museum (formerly the General Sweeny Museum), contains artifacts relating to the war west of the Mississippi and exhibits about the war and war life, and is located north of the visitor's center.

The anniversary of the battle is observed with a special program and ceremony on August 10.

The 1850s Ray House is a historic house museum that was the site of a temporary field hospital for Southern soldiers after the battle. The house is open on weekends in the summer, with interpreters dressed in period clothing giving guided tours.

Ray House

The Hulston Library

Holdings: The John K. and Ruth Hulston Civil War Research Library was founded in 1985. A new library building was dedicated in April 2003. The core of the library collection was donated by Springfield attorney John K. Hulston and his wife Ruth. Currently the library contains approximately 10,000 volumes concentrating on the Civil War period and the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi Theater.

Public Use: All of the library's volumes are non-circulating, but are available for use on-site.

Reference Services: Staff members are able to perform limited research for patrons by regular mail, e-mail, telephone or in person. Extensive research on a particular topic should be done in person.

Genealogy: The library has electronic access to the National Archives Compiled Service Records of all Confederate soldiers, and Union soldiers from selected states. Copies can be requested free of charge from the Hulston Library or ordered for a fee from the National Archives. Forms to obtain copies of National Archives records are available at the Hulston Library, or National Archives forms can be downloaded and records ordered on-line by clicking here. The library also has published rosters giving basic information on all Civil War soldiers, and will search for particular names on request.

Regimental Histories: The library contains many histories of individual Civil War regiments, especially Union units. In addition, many Northern state adjutant general's reports and other regimental materials are available. Limited information is available on Southern units.

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System and other Internet databases: Those seeking ancestors via the Internet should also consult the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, a database that contains brief service histories (name, rank and unit) for most Civil War soldiers. To go to the CWSSS, click here. Those seeking information on Missouri soldiers should also consult the Missouri State Archives Soldier Database. To go to the State Archives database, click here.

Hours: Hulston Library hours are currently Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-Noon and 1-4 p.m. The library is located next to the Visitor Center.

To search the library catalog, go to the Springfield-Greene County Library's Coolcat system at


Note: For those visitors using GPS devices, the battlefield's physical address is 6424 West Farm Road 182, Republic, Missouri.

By Plane Springfield is serviced by the Springfield/Branson Regional Airport.

By Car From I-44: exit at Exit #70 (Missouri Highway MM). Continue south to U.S. Highway 60 (traffic light). Proceed through the intersection. MM changes to Missouri Highway M. Continue 1/2 mile to Missouri Highway ZZ, where you will find a traffic light and Republic High School. Turn right on ZZ. Continue south 1 and 1/2 miles to Farm Road 182 (Elm Street). Turn left; the entrance to the battlefield is on the right.

From U.S. Highway 65 (north of Springfield): exit on James River Expressway (U.S. Highway 60). Continue west on James River Expressway PAST the Missouri Highway FF/Battlefield exit. Take the U.S. Highway 60 (Republic) exit. Turn left (south) on U.S. Highway 60. Continue 2 miles to Missouri Highway M and turn left. Continue east on Highway M for 1/2 mile. Turn right at the traffic light onto Missouri Highway ZZ and travel 1 and 1/2 mile to Farm Road 182 (Elm Street). Turn left; the entrance to the battlefield is on the right.

From U.S. Highway 65 (south of Springfield, Branson and the lakes area): turn left on Missouri Highway 14 at Ozark. Continue west on Highway 14 through the town of Nixa to Missouri Highway ZZ. Follow ZZ north to Farm Road 182 (Elm Street). Turn right; the entrance to the battlefield is on the right.

From Missouri Highway 13: note that Highway 13 becomes Kansas Expressway upon entering Springfield. Follow Kansas Expressway south to U.S. Highway 60 (W. Sunshine). At the intersection turn right on U.S. Highway 60. Continue west and south on Highway 60 to the Missouri Highway MM/M intersection. Turn left on Highway M. Continue 1/2 mile to Missouri Highway ZZ and turn right at the traffic light. Continue south 1 and 1/2 miles to Farm Road 182 (Elm Street). Turn left; the entrance to the battlefield is on the right.

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