(Left Side):A Union Plan
From this spot on August 10, 1861 the complicated fury of the battle of Wilson's Creek would have unfolded before your eyes. The large field in front of you is the south slope of Bloody Hill. Union troops approaching from your right (north) would gain control of the hill early in the fighting.
The open area to the left of Bloody Hill is Sigel's Final Position. Here Colonel Franz Sigel and his 1,200 Union troops went into position on both sides of the Wire Road. Sigel's objective was to strike the Confederate flank and rear.
In between the two Union forces, in the wooded valley below, stood over 10,000 Confederate soldiers. By early morning the state was set, the players in position and the terrible struggle had begun.
(Right Side):The Broken Pincer
The Union strategy was to trap the Confederates between the giant "pincers" of Sigel and Lyon's armies. The plan had been proposed by Sigel. At first, the idea of splitting an already badly outnumbered army seemed too risky and the plan was rejected. Still determined, Sigel later convinced General Lyon that a coordinated effort by two Union forces was the North's best hope.
At the battle's onset the strategy appeared to be successful. Lyon and Sigel's troops easily brushed aside Confederate resistance and secured high ground. Union artillery bombed the startled Southerners below.
As the morning progressed however, communications between the two commands would falter. The Southern troops were given valuable time to reorganize. Eventually hesitancy and mistaken uniforms would beat Sigel and the "pincer" would be broken.