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The Carthage Town Square

Tour Stop

Battle of Carthage Tour Stop 8 Town Square

Directions: The Carthage Town Square tour stop [ Waypoint = N37 10.570 W94 18.637 ] is located at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets in Carthage, Missouri 64836.

  • Get back onto Civil War Avenue heading south.
  • The name of the road will change to Francis Street.
  • Continue on Francis for a few blocks until you reach Central Avenue (SR 571/SR 96).
  • Turn left (east) onto Central Avenue.
  • When you reach Garrison Avenue (about four blocks), turn right (south).
  • Travel on Garrison about three blocks and turn left (east) on 4th Street.
  • After three or four blocks you will be in the Carthage Town Square.
  • Find a parking space.
  • Walk to the northeast corner of the town square in order to find the Battle of Carthage Historical Marker [Waypoint = N37 10.614 W94 18.599].
  • The Carthage Civil War Museum [Waypoint = N37 10.654 W94 18.578] is located just one block north of the town square at 205 Grant Street, Carthage, MO 64836. The museum houses a number of small displays of Civil War artifacts along with numerous interpretive displays about the battle. What makes this stop worth your visit is the excellent diorama that displays the entire battle so you can get a "bird's eye view" of the events on July 5, 1861.

The Battle of Carthage Historical Marker The Carthage Civil War Museum

Description: This stop on the tour brings you to the center of Carthage where Sigel's Brigade arrived sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Federal Colonel Franz Sigel must have thought that being late in the day would bring an end to the Southern pursuit. Sigel decided to order his troops to get some well-deserved and well-needed rest. Sigel attempted to calm the residents of the town. All day long they had heard the fighting north of town and feared for their safety. He assured the residents that there was no danger. [60]

Franz Sigel as Brigadier-General of Federal volunteers

In his official report, Colonel Franz Sigel wrote about occupying the town of Carthage: [61]

Our rear guard took possession of the town to give the remainder of the troops time to rest, as they had, after a march of 22 miles on the 4th and 18 miles on the 5th, been in action the whole day since 9 o'clock in the morning, exposed to an intense heat, and almost without eating or drinking.

But the Missouri State Guard kept coming. The Missouri State Guard were able to get across the Spring River and deployed Bledsoe's artillery battery on the south side of the river. They opened to fire on Carthage. This was cover for their advancing infantry. Now Sigel was under attack again and decided to abandon Carthage and head for Sarcoxie. Instead of resting, the Federals were forced to march southeast out of the Carthage Town Square. As Sigel's forces left Carthage, they were being attacked from all directions by the Missouri State Guard. Now the Missouri State Guard was firmly in control of the town square. Sigel attempted to establish a defensive line to protect his retreat from Carthage to Sarcoxie. The Missouri State Guard advanced to attack the Federal's position. The Federal artillery successfully prevented the Missouri State Guard from pressing the attack. It was getting late and darkness was setting in. The Missouri State Guard was exhausted and retired from the field spending the night at Carter's Spring just outside of Carthage.

The following is taken from the official report of Colonel Franz Sigel, Third Missouri Volunteer Regiment (US): [61]

The enemy, taking advantage of his cavalry, forded Spring River on different points, spread through the woods, and, partly dismounted, harassed our troops from all sides. I therefore ordered the retreat towards Sarcoxie, under the protection of our artillery and infantry, taking first position on the heights behind Carthage, and then at the entrance of the road of Sarcoxie into the woods 2 ½ miles southeast of Carthage. From this place our troops passed unmolested to Sarcoxie.

Brigadier-General John B. Clark, Sr.

The following is taken from the official report of Brigadier-General John B. Clark, Sr., Missouri State Guard: [62]

When we had effected a crossing we heard the firing of cannon in the direction of Carthage, about 1 mile in our advance, to which point we rapidly hurried. On arriving there we found the enemy still retreating in the direction of Carthage, but occasionally firing his artillery to cover his retreat. At Carthage a sharp conflict occurred, of some fifteen or twenty minutes, between the enemy and portions of the cavalry, infantry, and artillery of the several divisions, when he again retreated, and were pursued for several miles beyond Carthage, and until the darkness of the night caused a cessation of the pursuit.

Brigadier-General William Y. Slack

The following is taken from the official report of Brigadier-General William Y. Slack, Missouri State Guard: [63]

In the town of Carthage the enemy took his next position, taking shelter in and behind houses, walls, and fences. This stand of the enemy was an obstinate one, dealing shot and shell freely from their batteries into our ranks . . . [then] a deadly fire was opened upon them by our infantry.

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