Carthage, MO

Date: July 5, 1861

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Carthage, Missouri, United States

Campaign: Operations to Control Missouri (1861)

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Col. Franz Sigel

  • Confederate: Governor Claiborne Jackson

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Brigade [1,100]

  • Confederate: Missouri State Guard divisions [4,000]


  • Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon had chased Governor Claiborne Jackson and approximately 4,000 State Militia from the State Capital at Jefferson City and from Boonville, and pursued them.

  • Col. Franz Sigel led another force of about 1,000 into southwest Missouri in search of the governor and his loyal troops.

  • Upon learning that Sigel had encamped at Carthage, on the night of July 4, Jackson took command of the troops with him and formulated a plan to attack the much smaller Union force.

  • The next morning, Jackson closed up to Sigel, established a battle line on a ridge ten miles north of Carthage, and induced Sigel to attack him.

  • Opening with artillery fire, Sigel closed to the attack. Seeing a large Confederate force—actually unarmed recruits—moving into the woods on his left, he feared that they would turn his flank. He withdrew.

  • The Confederates pursued, but Sigel conducted a successful rearguard action. By evening, Sigel was inside Carthage and under cover of darkness; he retreated to Sarcoxie.

  • The battle had little meaning, but the pro-Southern elements in Missouri, anxious for any good news, championed their first victory.

Photo Gallery:2

The Battle of Carthage State Historic Site

Battle Movements

Line of Battle Marker #2


Classification3: C


  • Union: 44

  • Confederate: 77

Results: Confederate Victory Miniature Confederate Victory

Battlefield Website:

Lodging and Restaurants: Missouri Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of"

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 12/16/2016