Carthage State Historic Site



Battlefield statistics


State  battlefield








The Battle-

(July 5th, 1861)


        The 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.  
     Both the North and the South considered control of the state crucial, for three major rivers; the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Missouri, traveled through the state's borders.  To ensure Confederate control of the state, the proslavery governor, Fox Jackson, asked President Davis to send both supplies and men.  On May 12th, in Jefferson City, C.S. General Stirling Price was named commander of the Missouri State Guard, a Confederate army.  The Unionist factions of the state counteracted these measures by making U.S. General Nathaniel Lyon the commander of Federal forces in Missouri.  
        By June 17th, General Lyon had marched onto Boonville, the temporary Confederate capitol, and had scattered the poorly trained M.S.G. By July 4th, Confederate forces in Missouri had been pushed into south-west Missouri, where the greatest concentration of Confederate support was located.  On July 5th, the Missouri State Guard, under the command of Governor Fox, met and engaged a column of Federal soldiers under the command of U.S. Colonel Franz Sigel.  Badly outnumbered, Sigel retreated east to join the main body of Federal soldiers in Springfield, and Governor Fox and General Price left Missouri for Arkansas to strengthen their forces.  The Civil War had come to Missouri.



The Battlefield-


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.


Picture Gallery-


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