The Civil War in Southwest Missouri

See Photo Location

You might be surprised to learn just how much Civil War history happened in Southwest Missouri. A major battle took place near Springfield, and African-American troops saw combat for the first time in this region.


A. Smallin Civil War Cave

Smallin Cave was the first documented cave in the Ozarks. The cave entrance is 55-feet tall and 100-feet wide. It holds a cache of Ozark history. Civil War Lantern Tours are offered in the fall. Gather around the campfire for an evening of southern food, storytelling and a lantern-light trip through the mysterious Smallin Civil War Cave. Reservations are required.

B. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

Fought on August 10, 1861, the Battle of Wilson's Creek was a pivotal battle in Missouri and the second major battle of the Civil War. More than 2,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or declared missing during the five hours of intense fighting.


A. 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Civil War Monument

In Butler, this life-size bronze statue honors the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry, the first uniformed all Black American unit to fight in the Civil War. The unit fought in the October 1862 Battle of Island Mound, also known as the Battle of Fort Toothman.

B. Southside Cafe

End your day with a home-style meal. The menu here offers comfort foods aplenty and the atmosphere is casual and friendly.


A. Battle of Carthage State Historic Site

This is the location of the final confrontation of a 12-hour Civil War battle on July 5, 1861, where 6,000 Southern troops forced Union soldiers to retreat to Sarcoxie.

B. Bushwhacker Museum and Jail

At this museum, you'll learn why this region of Missouri, and Nevada in particular, was referred to the "Bushwhacker Capital" during the Civil War.