Carthage State Historic Site
(July 5th, 1861)
Battle of Carthage, waged on July 5th, 1861, was one of the very first battles
of the Civil War. The battle, fought two weeks before First Manassas and a
month before Wilson's Creek, was the opening battle of the early Missouri
Campaign which decided early in the war who would control the crucial border
state. Although Missouri was a slave-owning state, the state did not secede
from the Union with the other southern states because the citizens of the state
were essentially split in their loyalties.
Carthage State Historic Site is located in the town of Carthage, in south-western Missouri. The battlefield is off of I-44, on Highway 571.
Carthage State Historic Site is owned and administered by the State of Missouri. The site is located at the far edge of the town of Carthage, and can take a while to reach if your coming directly from I-44. Carthage Battlefield is actually quite peaceful, with a creek running through the 2 acre field and a small cave located near the entrance to the park. An informative panel explains the battle and its significance, and a very short walking trail curves around the creek and field. Although there isn't much to see here, the battlefield makes a nice addition to a trip to Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, for Carthage was a prelude to that much larger battle.