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Wilson's Creek National Battlefield takes ownership of 2 historic items related to the Civil War

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield cannon
Randy Stewart
A cannon outside the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Visitor Center

The transfer of ownership from the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Foundation took place Monday.

Two historically important artifacts are now in the care of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Springfield. The Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation transferred ownership earlier this week.

They include an unpublished manuscript memoir of Mary Whitney Phelps (1812-1878) that was recently purchased by the foundation.

Phelps was the wife of John Smith Phelps of Springfield who represented Missouri in the U.S. Congress but who returned home to fight for the Union. He late became governor of Missouri.

After the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, which was a defeat for the Union, Mrs. Phelps stayed behind to see to the burial of the fallen General Nathaniel Lyon and to care for wounded soldiers rather than flee with other prominent Unionists, according to a news release.

The other artifact is a Civil War Reunion Ribbon believed to be worn at the 1897 reunion, 32 years after the close of the war.

The foundation purchased the ribbon from the family of George Matkov, a past member of the Civil War Roundtable of the Ozarks.

“We are thankful for the donation of the Reunion Ribbon and Phelps manuscript to the park’s museum collection,” said Park Superintendent Sarah Cunningham in the news release. “These objects are tangible reflections on the remembrance and commemoration of historical events such as the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.”

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.