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Campaign for Wilson’s Creek: The Fight for Missouri Begins (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders Series)

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Campaign for Wilson’s Creek: The Fight for Missouri Begins (Civil War Campaigns and Commanders Series)

by Jeffrey L. Patrick

In early 1861, most Missourians hoped they could remain neutral in the upcoming conflict between North and South. In fact, a popularly elected state convention voted in March of that year that “no adequate cause” existed to compel Missouri to leave the Union. Instead, Missourians saw themselves as ideologically centered between the radical notions of abolition and secession.

By that summer, however, the situation had deteriorated dramatically. Because of the actions of politicians and soldiers such as Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson and Union General Nathaniel Lyon, Missourians found themselves forced to take sides.

Campaign for Wilson’s Creek is a fascinating story of high-stakes military gambles, aggressive leadership, and lost opportunities. It is also a tale of unique military units, untried but determined commanders, colorful volunteers, and professional soldiers. The first major campaign of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River guaranteed that Missourians would be engaged in a long, cruel civil war within the larger, national struggle.

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