Historian fights to preserve battle ground

By Deb Wolfe

Among rolling Ozark Hills are the buried remnants of a once forgotten battlefield.

But thanks to the efforts of Lake Area historian and an Air Force veteran John Wilson, the fallen soldiers of Monday Hollow will come alive for future generations.

The mournful sound of taps brought a hush to the crowd gathered at a small cemetery, tucked away behind the Beulah Baptist Church. Located 22 miles south of Camdenton, the modest surroundings belie the historic significance of a brief but devastating battle.

Wilson described the scene from a vantage point overlooking the site.

Two hours of battle, gun smoke, mini balls, yelling, shooting, horses running around, Wilson explained. It was a very, very large skirmish.

It is on this land where the Union Forces led by Colonel John B. Wyman squelched an advance by the Confederate forces of Colonel William W. Summers on Oct. 13, 1861.

On the battlefield lay 62 Confederate soldiers, Wilson said. The Union Army went back to the battlefield and gave those soldiers a proper burial and then continued on to Linn Creek to resupply General Hunter, who needed supplies very bad.

Inspired by the search for the unmarked grave of a Civil War ancestor who died in the Battle of Blue River, near Kansas City, Wilson spent three years researching the Camden County skirmish.

After moving to the Lake Area I discovered the Battle of Monday Hollow, Wilson said. And found that there were soldiers here lying in unmarked graves, too.

Wilson now strives to bring equal honor to the sacrifices made during the conflict and is pleased that his efforts have resulted in the installation of a headstone in the tiny church cemetery that memorializes the fallen.

We remember WWI, Korea and WWII, Wilson said. These were actual living men with families who fought in a hard battle on American soil, brothers against brothers. Let TMs not forget the Civil War.

He noted that the clashes that took place in Missouri during the Civil War are far more significant than many people understand. Few people realize that the state saw more than 1,200 distinct fights, overshadowed only by Virginia and Tennessee in number of conflicts.

By highlighting Missouri wartime contributions, Wilson also hopes to increase area tourism and educate future generations about our Civil War heritage.

As for the Battle of Monday Hollow, was it forgotten, Wilson said. Not really, 149 years later we have a monument erected for generation so they will never forget the men who fought this battle.

History buffs believe interest in Missouri TMs battlefields will play an important role in commemorating the war TMs 150th anniversary in 2011.

Plans are in the works to bring a full reenactment of the Battle of Monday Hollow to Camden County by 2012.

Get more information about Missouri TMs Civil War history

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off