...The Battle of Wilson's Creek, the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River.
On this morning, in 1861, General Nathaniel Lyon led his Union troops out of Springfield, MO and into a pre-dawn attack on the Confederate troops which were camped at nearby Wilson's Creek. The Confederates had been advancing towards Springfield intent on securing southwest Missouri for the southern states. The Union's surprise attack caused the Confederates to panic and begin retreating from the area, but they soon got their wits about them and marched back towards Lyon's men.
The Union troops were outnumbered nearly 2 to 1 and after several hours of fighting in the extreme heat and humidity, the Union soldiers retreated back to Springfield. They were disorganized and low on ammunition. They had also lost their leader. General Lyon had been injured twice and then killed on "Bloody Hill" during the conflict. He was the first Union General to be killed in the Civil War.
ALSO ON THIS DAY:
1821 - Missouri is recognized as the 24th state and is the first official state located entirely west of the Mississippi River.
1977 - "Son of Sam" serial killer, David Berkowitz, is arrested in New York.
1949 - The Department of Defense is established when President Harry Truman signs the National Security Bill
1981 - The severed head of six-year-old Adam Walsh is found in a canal in Vera Beach, Florida.