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In the months after Fort Sumter fell, Missouri was riven by a civil war within a civil war. Missouri rebels, organized as the Missouri State Guard under Sterling Price, had been joined by a Confederate force under Ben McCulloch the threaten Nathaniel Lyon's small but well-drilled Union army in the southwestern part of the state. Lyon, hoping to catch the Rebels off guard, attacked their scattered camps along Wilson's Creek. The initial Union assault went well before the battle devolved into a grueling firefight. Confederate numbers eventually prevailed, but Lyon's attack might have succeeded.
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