The Guns of Wilson’s Creek Battlefield: A Virtual Tour

Last month I offered up a “tour” of the cannons on the First Manassas battlefield, with a little help from Google maps.  At first I held off doing the same for Wilson’s Creek.  Although I’ve visited the battlefield recently and have notes to work from, the problem was this line up:

Wilsons Creek 185
Replica Carriages and Guns at Wilson's Creek

Last September when I visited, I figured these carriages and guns were waiting placement on the field in consort with the 150th observances.  My concern is that anything posted regarding cannon placement on the field might already be out of date.

But then again, the Google maps feature allows the editor to move pin points as needed.  So if my notes are out of date, perhaps a more recent visitor could coach me through updates.  With that in mind, here’s the location of guns at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield:

Guns representing Federal batteries appear in blue; Confederate in red; and purple are those guns used for general displays.  I’ve added photos to the call outs on the map and provided links back to blog posts about the particular type of gun.  All told I located ten authentic cannons at Wilson’s Creek, along with six replica guns.

The National Register of Surviving Civil War artillery lists a 6-pdr Field Gun Model 1835 on the battlefield.  But that piece was not on display in September 2010.  I believe it was moved to another park.

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Terrible field of view from the final position of Backoff's Battery.

Most of the guns used in the battle were 6-pdr field guns and 12-pdr field howitzers.  The Park’s collection however includes a number of non-representative types.  The James rifles are the Type 1 version, which at least have the exterior appearance of a 6-pdr field gun.  But the single Napoleon in the park is definitely out of place.  I can suggest a trade to another park, but I’m not the guy making that call!

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Totten's Battery on Bloody Hill

Although the guns at Wilson’s Creek are small in number, they have an important place for the park’s interpretation program.  Overshadowed by the “memory” of close quarters infantry combat, artillery played an important role at Wilson’s Creek.  Having the cannon on the field helps visitors understand the how the artillery was used in the battle and what impact the gunners had on the events.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

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