Trip Ideas: The Civil War in Southwest Missouri
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.
Morning
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.
3575 N. Smallin Road, Ozark MO 65721, 417-551-4545
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
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.
6424 W. Farm Road 182, Republic MO 65738, 417-732-2662
Hours: Visitor center: Daily, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Evening
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.
7 W. Ohio St., Butler MO 64730, 660-679-3380
Hours: 24 hours
End your day with a home-style meal. The menu here offers comfort foods aplenty and the atmosphere is casual and friendly.
27 W. Dakota St., Butler MO 64730, 660-679-5400
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 6 a.m.-2 p.m.; Thur.-Fri., 6 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Afternoon
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.
1111 E. Chestnut St., Carthage MO 64836, 417-682-2279
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
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.
212 W. Walnut, Nevada MO 64772, 417-667-9602
Hours: May-October: Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.