War hits close to home.
Services from government require services to the government, often in conflicts here and abroad.
Although the community had sent volunteers to the Mexican-American War in 1846, it was the internal strife that occurred 15 years later that was to hit the closest to home of any conflict before or since.
The Civil War had a traumatic and far-reaching effect upon the community. In August of 1861, the struggle to win the state culminated in a confrontation southwest of the city, along Wilson's Creek, between the forces of Union General Nathaniel Lyon and Confederate General Sterling Price. The first major battle west of the Mississippi River, it was also one of the bloodiest of the war with over 1317 Union and 1230 Confederate casualties. Among the casualties was General Lyon himself.
Though considered a Confederate victory, that army did not follow its advantage. Its progress toward St. Louis was thus blocked and it really lost the battle. In 1961, 100 years after the battle, thanks to a dedicated effort by a group of Springfieldians, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield was officially dedicated.
The city was occupied by the Union forces later in 1861, aided by Major Charles Zagonyi's legendary charge. Federal forces left in November but later recaptured the city in February. From 1861 to 1865, the city was under military rule.
On January 10, 1863, Confederate troops made an unsuccessful attack on the city from the south in the Battle of Springfield, leaving the Federals in control until the end of the war.
|Springfield was under military rule from 1861 to 1865.|
|The Battle of Wilson's Creek, southwest of the city, in 1861, was one of the bloodiest of the war.|
|The skeleton of one of the forts used to defend the city during the Battle of Springfield in 1863, was visible for several years thereafter on South Avenue.|
|General Nathaniel Lyon, commanding officer of the Union troops in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, was killed in that encounter.|
Page maintained by - Last updated March 14, 2001