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General Lyon Memorial

Placed: 6-29-02

Placed By: WWW (Formerly known as Chuck and Molly)
Location: Eastford Connecticut, Windham County
Rated: Very Easy

(Store Bought Stamp)

From the intersection of routes 198 and 44 in Phoenixville, proceed south on route 198, quickly taking a left turn onto General Lyon Road right after the commuter parking lot. Proceed down the road to a cemetery on the right. It is .4 of a mile from the intersection of routes 198 and 44. Park along side the road. Go through the main gate and proceed to the Lyon monument which is the tallest with an eagle on top. From the front of the monument take a reading of 310 degrees and proceed to the back of the cemetery to a shag bark hickory tree on the other side of the wall. There is some small debris around the tree. Between the wall and the tree is the letterbox covered with a small flat stone and leaves. For a small town, the cemetery has quite a few stones of soldiers that died in various locations during the civil war.

Who was General Lyon?

Nathaniel Lyon was born on July 14, 1818. He attended West Point and graduated 11th in his class of 52 in 1841. After graduation, Lyon went on to serve in both the Seminole and Mexican wars. After the Mexican War, Lyon was promoted to captain and was assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas. There, he found himself in the middle of the turmoil associated with "bleeding Kansas". In 1861, when Lyon was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri was sharply divided between a pro-Confederate governor, Claiborne F. Jackson, and a pro-Union legislature, with a valuable arsenal in St. Louis as the prize for the victor. When the governor called out the state militia, allegedly to train for home defense, Lyon grew suspicious and spied on the militiaís camp. Concluding that Jackson intended to use the militia to seize the arsenal for the Confederacy, he surrounded the camp with his own soldiers and captured it. It was an ill-timed, hot-headed gesture, and a riot broke out in St. Louis when Lyon paraded his prisoners through the city. Nevertheless, he had saved the arsenal, and probably Missouri, for the Union. His action provoked Jackson to openly declare for the Confederacy and call for outright insurrection. Lyon, who had been promoted to brigadier general on May 17, mounted a campaign to drive him from the state. The Confederates were waiting for Lyon on August 10 at Wilsonís Creek near Springfield, Missouri. In a bloody battle generally considered a Confederate victory, he was killed, impetuously trying to lead a last charge.

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