Day -12 – Civil War Continued

fortscottYay, the government shutdown is over, that means we can go to another National Park.  Today it was Wilson’s Creek in Missouri.  The site of another Civil War skirmish, only six and a half hours long, but involving over 20,000 soldiers.  Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is actually done pretty well.  An extended museum is in the works, the staff is friendly (maybe because they just got two weeks paid vacation), the grounds are pretty awesome.  Lots of trails for both foot and horse traffic.  I really enjoyed our visit and the completion of another Junior Ranger badge.

Next day’s visit is Fort Scott in Kansas.  We were busy touring off-road parks all day, so didn’t get an early start to our National Park tour, and this was one place we needed it.  Sometimes you can gather all the info you need in a little more than an hour.  Fort Scott is not one of those kinds of parks.

We are going to have to go back, we were able to see the movie, part of the museum and an overview of the buildings, but there is a lot of history here.  The fort was built in 1842 for the purpose of keeping the Indians on the west side of the Mississippi, away from what they thought was “civilization” at the time.  Throughout the next couple of decades, times changed and the Indians were displaced again, the Civil War and the slavery debate created many conflicts in which the Fort participated.  The army sold the property and had to lease it back more than once.  It wasn’t until 1873 that the army left for good.  The city grew up around the Fort, creating a frontiersland home from a wide, open prairie.

It was a good visit, not near long enough to see everything, or get my Junior Ranger badge, that will take more work.  The best part, again today, was the staff, just ask a couple of questions and they will keep you way past quitting time to share what they know.  I love that.

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