REPUBLIC, Mo. – Wilson’s Creek National Civil War Battlefield is hosting a handful of free festivities honoring the lives lost at the battle on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For the first time, this year’s event will combine the popular moonlight and luminary tours. The luminary tour uses 2,500 luminaries that are placed along the tour road to commemorate all of the lives that were lost during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is located in both Greene and Christian counties. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek was the first major Civil War conflict that was fought west of the Mississippi River. The Confederacy declared victory on August 10, 1861, giving the Confederates control of Southwest Missouri which eventually brought greater federal military action against the South. The battle also produced the death of the first Union soldier killed during the Civil War.
A Battlefield park ranger told The Heartlander that the battlefield normally holds the luminary tour closer to Christmas, but decided to hold the event closer to Veteran’s Day this year in order to combine it with their moonlight tour.
15-minute reenactment scenes of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek will be performed by locals at different stops during the tours, with a scene occurring about every 20 minutes starting at 5:20 p.m. Stops on the tour include a historical bookstore, souvenir shop and live music from the Civil War time period, among other things.
The visitor center will be closed during this particular event to ease congestion and guests are asked to practice social distancing while inside the park. The regular road tour will also close at noon the day of the event.
The tour will begin at 6424 West Farm Road 182 on the outskirts of Republic. Visitors must pass through the gates before 9 p.m. in order to access the tours and all vehicles must leave the park by 10 p.m.
National Park staff will keep visitors posted in case of bad weather. Visitors can check the park’s website for more information on the Battle of Wilson’s Creek tours and weather updates for the event.