The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 5, 2010

Carthage marks date of Civil War battle

CARTHAGE, Mo. — According to his family’s oral history, the great-great-great-uncle of Paul Lewis, of Carl Junction, fought in the 1861 Battle of Carthage.

At the time, the family lived just southeast of Carthage, Lewis said, and his relative had joined a volunteer militia to aid the Union troops against the Confederate army.

“I just feel a little tied to it,” Lewis said Monday as he surveyed the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site. “I feel a draw to it. He sacrificed and he volunteered to (fight) to protect the area of the home.”

Lewis was among a handful of residents who attended Monday’s Civil War vespers service at the battle site to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who fought there. This year marks the 149th anniversary of the conflict recognized as the first major land battle of the Civil War.

Lewis, who said other ancestors fought for both sides during the Civil War, said the battle is often overlooked by most people.

“We need to keep our history alive,” he said, invoking the common saying that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

The battle began July 5, 1861, as roughly 6,000 members of the Missouri State Guard — which had Confederate sympathies — marched toward Southwest Missouri for training. A force of 1,100 Union troops led by Col. Franz Sigel already had arrived to cut them off, according to author and historian Steve Cottrell, who spoke at Monday’s service.

Like Lewis, Cottrell said the battle, though one of the Civil War’s lesser-known battles, is just as important.

“I guarantee you the men who fell here at the Battle of Carthage, they sacrificed just as much as any who fell at Gettysburg or Shiloh,” he said.

Cottrell said the battle paved the way for the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, near Springfield, one month later and also influenced events that led up to the Battle of Pea Ridge in Northwest Arkansas in March 1862 — a battle that established Union control of Missouri.

Its significance cannot be overlooked, he said. If the Carthage battle had played out differently, “the whole story of the war out here west of the Mississippi would have been different,” he said.

The soldiers of the battle weren’t the only individuals honored Monday. Carthage historian Marvin VanGilder, who for years organized the service, was recognized for his work. Cottrell said this was the first year that VanGilder, whom he called the “modern-day champion of the Battle of Carthage,” had to miss the service because of his health.

In VanGilder’s absence, the service was led by members of the Carthage Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Committee members also are planning for a July 2011 service and commemorative festival that will mark the 150th anniversary of the battle, as well as a re-enactment of the battle scheduled for May 2011.


The battle began about nine miles north of Carthage and eventually swept southward, with the Union forces finally retreating to Sarcoxie. About 50 men died and 150 were wounded, and the battle made the front pages of newspapers across the country, with both sides proclaiming a victory, according to local historian Steve Cottrell.

Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4.3 magnitude quake reported in northern Oklahoma

    The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Update: 4 workers injured in SE Kansas oil refinery fire

    A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire.

    July 29, 2014

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter