Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Union General Killed

Union General Nathaniel Lyon was killed August 10th 1861 during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Nathaniel Lyon was born on the family farm July 14th 1818 in Ashford, Connecticut, the son of Amasa and Kezia [Knowlton] Lyon. He applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Lyon graduated in 1841. He served with the 2nd United States Infantry during the Seminole and Mexican - American Wars. Following these wars Lyon was posted on the frontier, where he fought in several Indian battles. He was serving at Fort Riley in Kansas in 1861.

When the Civil War started Lyon was in command of Company D of 2nd United States Infantry. He received a promotion to Brigadier General after a fight to hold the arsenal in St Louis, and given command of the Army of the West. A few miles south of Springfield, Missouri Lyon’s army met up with the Confederate troops on August 10th 1861 bring on the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Lyon’s men were greatly out numbered. He was shot in leg, chest and head; the first Union General to be killed, while he was trying to rally his troops. When the Union troops retreated from Wilson’s Creek Lyon’s body was left behind. He was buried near a farm outside of Springfield. Lyon’s body would latter be moved to the family plot in Eastford, Connecticut.

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