Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Bird Checklists of the United States
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
- (1) Gibson Mill
- This area marks the northern end of the Confederate camps, with Missouri State Guard Gen. James S. Rains establishing the headquarters of his 2,500-man division near the mill. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon's dawn attack quickly drove Rain's division down the creek to the south. A trail leads to the Gibson house and mill sites.
- (2) Ray House and Cornfield
- The Ray house was used as a Confederate field hospital during and after the battle. Confederate Col. Richard Weightman died in the front room and the body of Union Gen. Nathaniel Lyon was brought here at the end of the fighting. The small stone building at the foot of the hill is the Ray springhouse, the family's source of water and the only other surviving wartime structure in the park. The only major fighting to take place on this side of Wilson's Creek occurred on the hill northwest of here in the Ray cornfield, from which Union forces were driven back across the stream. The wooded eminence on the western horizon beyond Wilson's Creek is Bloody Hill, where the most intense and savage fighting took place.
- (3) Pulaski Arkansas Battery & Price's Headquarters
- From the wooded ridge to the northwest, the cannon of the Pulaski Arkansas Battery opened fire on Bloody Hill, halting the Union advance and giving Confederate infantry time to form into line of battle and attack Lyon's forces. This battery from Little Rock, Ark., fired on Lyon's forces on Bloody Hill throughout the battle. Near here to the west, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, commander of the Missouri State Guard, established his headquarters in the yard of William Edwards' home in the middle of the 12,000-man camp of the Southern army. It was here that Price and Gen. Benjamin McCulloch first learned of the Union attack.
- (4) Sigel's Second Position
- On the ridge across Wilson's Creek to your left, Col. Franz Sigel's Union artillery heard Lyon's attack to the north and opened fire on the 2,300 Southern cavalry camped in this field. The Confederates were routed and fled into the woods to the north and west. Crossing to this side of the creek, Sigel halted about a quarter mile in front of you and formed his 1,200-man force into line of battle to oppose a Confederate cavalry regiment positioned in the north end of this field. After a 20-minute artillery bombardment, the Southerners withdrew and Sigel continued his advance.
- (5) Sigel's Final Position
- Sigel halted his advance on this hillside and formed his men into line of battle across the Wire Road. Here he was attacked and defeated by Confederate troops, whom he mistook for a Federal regiment. This critical error proved very costly, as it turned the tide of the battle in favor of the Confederates.
- (6) Guibor's Battery
- Not far from here Capt. Henry Guibor placed his battery in position with the Confederate line of battle. From its position, the battery dueled with Union artillery on the crest of Bloody Hill. On three separate occasions Confederate infantry mounted attacks through these fields and woods, but the Union line held and each attack was defeated. When the Southerners made their fourth assault up this hill, they found the Federals had abandoned the crest and were retreating.
- (7) Bloody Hill
- Throughout the battle General Lyon's 4,000-man command held this high ground against repeated attacks. At the peak of the fighting, the entire south slope of the hill was covered with battle smoke. When the fighting ended, more than 1,700 Union and Confederate soldiers had been killed or wounded here. Among the fatalities was General Lyon himself.
- (8) Historic Overlook
- The Union army passed through this field both upon their advance to and retreat from Bloody Hill. To guard against a Confederate attack, the 2nd Missouri Infantry Regiment and Du Bois' artillery battery were formed in line of battle in this area. The John Ray house is clearly visible to the southeast.
Return to Bird Checklist of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield