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Thousands Of Candles To Light Up Civil War Battlefield

Wilson's Creek

During this time of year, most people use lights to show off their holiday spirit and creativity. But, this weekend, thousands of lights will be used to remember soldiers who fought during a very difficult time in U.S. history. KSMU’s Jamie Givens reports.

This Saturday, paper bags filled with sand and candles will light up the five-mile road through Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield to honor soldiers who fought there during the Civil War almost 150 years ago.

John Sutton is Chief Park Ranger for Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

“Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is set aside to preserve and commemorate the battle that was fought here on August 10, 1861. The battle was critical in determining what would happen to Missouri during the first year of the Civil War,” said Sutton.

Saturday will mark the 5th Annual Memorial Illumination Ceremony at the battlefield in Republic. More than 2,500 luminaries, representing killed, wounded or missing soldiers from the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, will line the road through the park.

Photo of luminaries at Wilson's Creek

Visitors will be able to drive through the park where so many people fought during a critical time in U.S. history.

Sutton says the self-guided tour will include two stops: one at the Visitor Center and another at the Ray House where visitors can see what a Civil War Christmas was like, as well as the bed where the Union’s General Nathaniel Lyon died.

“Well, it provides visitors an opportunity to see the battlefield in a different way. And, hopefully, the message about the sacrifices that were done by our ancestors years ago for our freedom will be remembered,” said Sutton.

Saturday’s event will begin at 4:30 p.m. with an opening ceremony at the Visitor’s Center. The illumination driving tour will be open to the public from 5:15 to 9:30 p.m.

Visitors are asked to only use the parking lights on their vehicles while driving along the road, which will already be illuminated by the candles.

Admission for all guests to the event is free.

For more information and driving directions to the battlefield, you can visit our website at KSMU.org.

For KSMU News, I’m Jamie Givens.

Driving directions:

Travel west on the James River Freeway (Hwy 60) to exit M. Go south on M for about 3/4 mile to Hwy ZZ. Turn south on ZZ for one mile to Farm Rd 182. Then turn east on Farm Rd 182 and the first right is the entrance to the park.


Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Foundation Website

National Park Service Webiste