LYON, NATHANIEL (1818-61). An American soldier. prominent in the contest between the Unionists and Secessionists in Missouri immedi ately preceding and in the early part of the Civil War. He was horn in Ashford, Conn.. graduated at \Vest Point in 1S41, served as second lieuten ant in the Florida War in 1841-42, and in the Mexican War in 1846-47, participating during the latter in all the important battles of the South ern campaign. and receiving the brevet rank of captain. From 1848 to 1861 he was on frontier duty at various posts. He became captain in 1851. and on February 7, 1861, was placed in command of the United States arsenal in Saint Louis, Mo., where he immediately asso ciated himself with Francis P. Blair, Jr., and other ardent Unionists, fur the purpose of balking the schemes of the Secessionists and of prevent ing the withdrawal of Missouri front the [Mon. }le organized and drilled recruits, took energetic measures to hold the arsenal against threatened attacks. and on April 21st, General Harney being temporarily removed, assumed command of the Department of the \Vest. On May 10th he surprised and captured a force of at Camp Jackson in Saint Louis, on Na- 17th was promoted to be brigadicr-general of volunteers, and on May 3 tst, by the President's appoint ment. again supplanted Barney as commander of the department. Finally breaking off all
friendly relations with Governor Jackson. the leader of the disloyal element in Missonri, he sent troops to the southwestern part of the State to ward off or meet a threatened Confederate attack from Arkansas and intercept the retreat ing Missouri Secessionists. and himself advanced at the head of a Federal force against the cap ital, Jetlerson City, which he occupied on June 15th. Ile defeated a Confederate force under General Marmaduke at Boonville on the 17th, and on August IOth attacked a greatly superior body of Confederates under General l'rice at Wilson's Creek, where. after fighting desperately for some time, he was instantly killed while lead ing a charge. (See WILSON CREEK, BATTLE OF. ) Ills entire fortune, 00.000. was bequeathed to the Federal Government for use in prosecuting the war. A series of able letters, dealing with the political situation in 1860, was published with a memoir soon after his death, under the title, The Last Political Writings of Gen. Na thaniel Lyon (18112). Consult: Peckham, Gen. Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861 (New York, 1866) ; 'Snead, Thr Fight for Missouri INew York, 1886) ; Carr, Missouri: J. Bone of Contention (New York, 1888) ; and Woodward. Life of General Nathaniel Lyon (Hartford. 1862).