Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dug Springs

A group of reenactors and other Civil War enthusiasts placed a monument at Clever, Missouri, on October 7 in commemoration of the skirmish at Dug Springs that occurred near present-day Clever along the Old Wire Road on August 2, 1861. The skirmishers on the Federal side were part of a force of over 5,000 men under General Nathaniel Lyon, and those on the Confederate side were part of a force of about 3,000 men under General James S. Rains of the Missouri State Guard. The action at Dug Springs, a precursor to the Battle of Wilson's Creek a week later, was considered a Union victory, since Rains retreated, leaving the field of battle in Federal hands. However, as was almost always the case during the Civil War, each side minimized its own losses and exaggerated the other side's losses in reports filed after the action. Rains, for instance, suggested that as many as fourteen Union soldiers were killed during the skirmish, but the facts seem to suggest that the number of men lost in killed and seriously wounded by each side during the skirmish could probably be counted on one hand. As Ozarks historian and folklorist Silas Turnbo said in regard to a similar skirmish that took place at Forsyth eleven days earlier, the action at Dug Springs "was not a big fight, but it was hot enough to be remembered" by those who took part in it. A solider who fell at Dug Springs was just as dead as the thousands who gave their lives in epic battles like Gettysburg.
By the way, my first job out of college was teaching high school at Clever.

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