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Free Park Entrance on Veteran’s Day

In honor of the service and sacrifices of veterans, Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis has announced that all national park units will waive entrance fees on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11, 2015, including Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

Wilson’s Creek NB has always encouraged our active duty and veteran military personnel to visit the battlefield.  According to Supt Hillmer, “Military staff rides have occurred at the battlefield for decades. They study the topography, the weapons and command decisions on their visits.  Their next deployment is usually overseas to defend our country.”

Active duty military personnel are also encouraged to obtain a free Military Pass to the national parks and public lands.  The pass is available at the Wilson’s Creek visitor center and is valid for one year.  Military personnel must show their military identification to receive the pass.

American Solar Challenge

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and Republic High School are proud to support science innovation and celebrate the National Park Service Centennial by hosting a stop on the American Solar Challenge.  University teams from around the world will design and build solar-powered cars, and then drive them 1,800 miles on the open road during an 8-day rally.

This National Park Service Centennial event will take place from July 30 to August 6, 2016.  Over the course of the rally, the cars will stop at nine different National Park Service sites in seven states, including Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Missouri.  Visitors are invited to see the cars and enjoy the other activities offered the day of the rally stop, including a traveling exhibit.  You can find more special experiences in the national parks at FindYourPark.com.

As part of the 2016 Centennial, the National Park Service has challenged itself to provide more research and education around the effects of climate change on national park resources.  Among other things, the Green Parks Program encourages walking, biking, ride-sharing, and use of fuel-efficient or alternative-fuel vehicles.  The American Solar Challenge highlights these efforts by bringing solar-powered cars to parks.

Every two years, the Innovators Educational Foundation organizes the American Solar Challenge, which is a collegiate student design competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered vehicles in a cross-country time/distance rally event.  “We’re looking forward to the American Solar Challenge 2016 being part of the National Park Service Centennial and bringing the solar cars to 9 national park locations across the Midwest.  We hope visitors will take this opportunity to see the solar cars, meet the teams, and find their park,” says Event Organizer, Gail Lueck.

The American Solar Challenge will begin at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio on July 30, 2016 and end in Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota on August 6, 2016.  Midway stops include Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Homestead National Monument of America, and Scotts Bluff National Monument.  More information is available on the American Solar Challenge website.

Civil War Veteran Burial

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield staff and volunteers will be participating in the internment of a Major Raphael Guido Rombauer on Saturday April 11, at Park Cemetery in Carthage, Missouri. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. with graveside service at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

“If you have a love of history, especially the Civil War, you need to attend this ceremony, or at least pause at 1:30 p.m., to give honor to this father, husband, and Civil War Soldier, who will finally be laid to rest on Saturday”, according to Supt Hillmer. He continued, “This may be the last Civil War soldier buried in your lifetime.”

A native of Austria-Hungary, Rombauer immigrated to St. Louis, Missouri in the late 1840s. With tensions rising in the spring of 1861, he enlisted in Company A, 1st Missouri Infantry. A ninety-day unit, Rombauer was discharged before that unit’s participation at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Rombauer subsequently enlisted in an Illinois artillery unit and ended the war with the rank of major. Following the war, he settled in the Carthage area and became involved in coal mining and railroads. He eventually lived in Kirksville where he died in 1912 at the age of 75. His remains were sent to St. Louis for cremation, where they remained unclaimed for 102 years. His remains were brought to the attention of Elizabeth Young, his great granddaughter who claimed them. Rombauer will be interned in his family’s plot at Park Cemetery with full honors.

“A number of organizations have working together over the past few months to ensure that Major Rombauer’s remains are finally interned with dignity”, remarked Chief Park Ranger John Sutton. “The Carthage Community Band will provide music, the Holmes’ Brigade, a federal Civil War reenactment unit, will escort the remains. The Sons of Union Veterans and the Daughters of Union Veterans, the U.S. Army and the staff of Park Cemetery will all have a role. The National Park Service has been requested to fire an artillery salute, representing his artillery service during the Civil War.” Major Rombauer will be interned almost 150 years to the day after the surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox, Virginia which essentially ended the Civil War.

2014 Moonlight Tour Tickets Available

Superintendent T. John Hillmer Jr. announced today that tickets for the battlefield’s popular “Moonlight Tour” are still available. The tour will be held on Saturday, September 13, 2014 between 7:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m.  Tickets are $7.00 per person and proceeds are used to cover the cost of the program. This year’s tour will be located at the John Ray House and will incorporate several scenes associated with the Civil War in 1864—150 years ago.

Tickets may be obtained in person at the battlefield visitor center or by mail (for a limited time).  The mailing address is: Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, 6424 W. FR 182, Republic, Missouri 65738, attention:  “Moonlight Tour.”  Please make checks payable to:  “Eastern National.”  Mailed ticket requests must be received by Friday, September 5, 2014 in order to be processed and returned via USPS mail service prior to the tour.

The tour road will be closed to the public beginning at 5 p.m. on September 13 in order to prepare for the tour.

All visitors will be transported via buses from the visitor center to and from the tour sites.  In addition, those taking the tour should be prepared to walk a total of ½ mile and dress appropriately.  Due to the terrain strollers will not be allowed. No flash photography is allowed.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Ray House

2014 Fall Hours Announced

Fall hours of operation for Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield were announced today by Superintendent T. John Hillmer, Jr.  Tour Road hours will change to 8 a.m.-7 p.m. effective Tuesday, September 2, 2014.  The Visitor Center hours will remain at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An entry permit of $5.00 per adult or $10.00 per family is required for all persons using the battlefield including walkers, joggers and bicyclists.  Entering or remaining in the battlefield during other than the posted times is not permitted. Additional information can be found on the internet at www.nps.gov\wicr.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Anniversary Program

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield will observe the 153rd Anniversary of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek over the weekend of August 9 and 10, 2014, with a variety of programs and activities.

On Sunday, August 10, at 2:00 p.m., at the Visitor Center, the anniversary program will start with a presentation of colors, recognition of guests, and a special presentation by the battlefield’s Foundation. “The main speaker,” according to Superintendent Hillmer, “will be author James W. Erwin.  He will talk about his books and the importance of preserving these special places and educating the next generation about their important history.”

“Come and enjoy this special presentation by a Missouri author,” says Superintendent Hillmer.  Refreshments will be served and entrance fees for August 9 &10 will be waived.

Artillery and infantry small arms firing demonstrations are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, at tour road stop 5.  Volunteers will be depicting the Missouri State Guard, pro-Southern state militia that fought at Wilson’s Creek.  “The purpose of these programs is to relate to visitors the soldier’s combat experience during the battle,” remarked Chief Park Ranger John Sutton.  A special sunset artillery salute will take place at 8:15 p.m. at tour road stop 5 to honor the soldiers who were killed during the battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Guided tours of Bloody Hill will be offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  Visitors should meet at the Bloody Hill parking area for the tour, which should last about an hour.  An exhibit on Civil War prisoners and full scale prints of the new exhibits will be available for viewing at the visitor’s center.

Sons of Union Veterans Donate Artifacts

Phelps Camp No. 66, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War recently donated a collection of rare veteran and Grand Army of the Republic artifacts to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

Four Union veteran ribbons from southwest Missouri, three Missouri Grand Army of the Republic documents, and a poster advertising a trip on the “Frisco” line from Springfield, Missouri to the 1895 G.A.R. reunion in Louisville, Kentucky were included in the donation. The Grand Army of the Republic was founded in 1866 and open to honorably discharged members of the Union Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The last member of the G.A.R. died in 1956.

“We are very grateful to the members of Phelps Camp for purchasing and donating these precious artifacts. Material relating to the G.A.R. and Union veterans in Missouri is extremely scarce, and these items will be added to our museum collection, preserved in our climate-controlled storage area, and made available to researchers,” said Superintendent Hillmer, who is in the picture along with Robert Clanton, Commander of Phelps Camp.

Phelps Camp, the local chapter of the national Sons of Union Veterans organization, was formed in 1994. The Sons of Union Veterans is a patriotic and educational organization, founded on November 12, 1881 and incorporated by Act of Congress August 20, 1954. One of the purposes of the organization is to preserve the memory of those who saved the Union from 1861 and 1865. Phelps Camp has donated a number of Civil War documents and artifacts to public collections where they can be enjoyed by visitors and studied by scholars.

Daughters Donate to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

Mary Whitney Phelps Tent (Chapter) No. 22 Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865, of Springfield, Missouri, recently donated funds to purchase rare prints that will supplement the collection of trans-Mississippi Theatre items that Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield has within their collection.

Daughters of the Union Veterans

“Wilson’s Creek is very grateful to the members of the Mary Whitney Phelps tent No. 22 for donating these funds to purchase items within this unique history of the Civil War”, said Superintendent Hillmer, who is pictured along with Doris Jones, President, and Fran Black, Treasurer, of the Daughters of Union Veterans Mary Whitney Phelps Tent No. 22.

Mary Whitney Phelps Tent No. 22, the local chapter of the national Daughters of Union Veterans organization, was formed in 1999. The Daughters of Union Veterans are direct descendants of Veterans of the Union Army of the American Civil War, 1881-1865. They work to preserve our personal ancestral history and assist others to do the same. Abraham Lincoln stated, “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

Volunteer

Volunteer Program Meeting & Orientation

On Saturday, March 8, 2014 Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is hosting a Volunteer Recruitment Fair from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The day’s activities will begin with a short video introducing the NPS Volunteer in Parks (VIP) program followed by a thirty-minute presentation to address some of the specific volunteer needs for the 2014 spring and summer season. Anyone interested in volunteering at the battlefield is encouraged to attend.  Volunteers should be at least sixteen years of age to participate in activities.   Light refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required for the meeting.

After the 9:00 a.m. presentation, visitors and prospective volunteers will have the opportunity to stop by several volunteer exhibition tables set up throughout the visitor center. Each station will be hosted by a park staff member or one of the current volunteers at Wilsons’s Creek NB to provide an opportunity for the public to learn first-hand about the various volunteer positions. The volunteers will also share personal in-sight as well as some of their own experiences with the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield volunteer program.

According to Superintendent Ted Hillmer, “The programs presented at the park are strongly supported by volunteers.  Come and be a part of preserving our nation’s rich cultural history.”  A registration table will be available to pick up the necessary forms and information.

There is an immediate need for volunteers to assist during the busy spring school season (April/May) with providing educational tours of the historic Ray House as well short programs on Civil War medicine and other Civil War topics. These and other volunteer opportunities for FY 2014 will be discussed in further detail during the fair.

10th Annual Memorial Luminary Driving Tour

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield presents the 10th Annual Memorial Illumination Ceremony, featuring over 2,539 luminaries, representing those killed, wounded, or missing at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, August 10, 1861.  Admission is FREE!

WHEN:  Saturday, December 14, 2013.

WHERE: Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic, Missouri.  Directions: Travel west on the James River Freeway (Hwy 60) to exit Hwy M.  Go south on M for about ¾ mile to Wilson’s Creek Blvd. (Hwy ZZ).  Turn south on Wilson’s Creek Blvd., go one mile to Farm Rd 182.  Then, turn east on Farm Rd 182 and the first right is the entrance to the park.

 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

4:30 pm   Opening Ceremony at the Visitor’s Center

5:00 pm   Volunteer Procession through Illumination

5:15 pm   Memorial Illumination Tour Opens to Public

Over 2,000 people expected to tour Illumination from 5:15 pm to 9:30 pm

 EVENT DETAILS:  Over one hundred volunteers, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation members, Ozark Civil War Roundtable members, and other community organizations will participate in this event, assembling the luminaries and distributing them along the five-mile tour road through the park.

 A luminary is a paper bag filled with sand and a lighted candle. A special candle will be utilized this year to honor our park volunteers.

 Living history volunteers, carolers, and re-enactors at the Ray House will bring the past to life.  Visitors are encouraged to tour the Ray House and learn about the hardships faced by local families during the Civil War.  Music, refreshments, and information will be provided at the visitor center.

 Vehicles will use parking lights only for the five-mile driving tour through the National Battlefield, with stops at the Visitor Center and the Ray House. There are no restrooms along the tour route.

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