Fort Davidson State Historic Site

Quick Facts

Fort Davidson State Historic Site

Missouri

(573) 546-3454

Map Directions

Things To Do

   

Overview

Today, the Arcadia Valley in Iron County is a peaceful setting in one of Missouri's most scenic areas. But in 1864, the valley was the scene of one of the largest and most hard-fought battles waged on the state's soil - the Battle of Pilot Knob.

Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price invaded Missouri from Arkansas, leading an army of 12,000 men. On Sept. 26-27, 1864, while en route to the St. Louis area, Price attacked the weakly defended Union post of Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob.

This proved to be a mistake. Fort Davidson was defended by a garrison of 1,450 men led by Gen. Thomas Ewing Jr., the brother-in-law of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. The Confederates lost nearly 1,000 men in attacking the small earthen fort and its 11 cannons.

Fort Davidson State Historic Site preserves Fort Davidson and the Pilot Knob battlefield where so many Confederate and Union soldiers lost their lives. A visitor center interprets the battle and Maj. Gen. Price's raid. It features exhibits, a research library, an audiovisual presentation and a fiber optics diorama of the battle. Nearby, a playground and picnic area make Fort Davidson State Historic Site an ideal place to get away with the family.

Map of Fort Davidson (MO)

Latitude, Longitude: 37.621234, -90.640125

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Activities

  • Historic Sites

    Fort Davidson State Historic Site preserves Fort Davidson and the Pilot Knob battlefield where so many Confederate and Union soldiers lost their lives. A visitor center interprets the battle and Maj. Gen. Price's raid. It features exhibits, a research library, an audiovisual presentation and a fiber optics diorama of the battle.

    The playground area includes a multi-function set and tot-swings. A small "fort" for children to re-create the battle scene is also nearby.

  • Picnicking

    A playground and picnic area make Fort Davidson State Historic Site an ideal place to get away with the family.

Directions

Driving

From St. Louis Take I-55 south out of St. Louis to U.S. Hwy. 67, just south of the Festus (Route A) exit. Turn right (Exit 174) onto southbound U.S. Hwy. 67 and drive past Bonne Terre, Park Hills, Leadington and into Farmington. On the south side of Farmington is the Route W overpass. Exit onto State Road 221 and travel for 18 miles to the town of Pilot Knob. Cross under a railroad bridge at the entrance to town. The historic site is on the left. The trip is about one and one half hours long.

From Jefferson City Take U.S. Hwy. 50 east out of Jefferson City to U.S. Hwy. 63. Turn right onto U.S. Hwy. 63 and travel to Vichy. At the junction of U.S. Hwy. 63 and Hwy. 68, turn left onto Hwy. 68. Stay on Hwy. 68 through St. James. South of St. James at the junction of Hwy. 68 and Hwy. 8, stay to the left. You will be on Hwy. 8. Travel on Hwy. 8 to Potosi. As you leave Potosi, turn right onto Hwy. 21. Stay on Hwy. 21, passing Elephant Rocks State Park. At the junction of Hwy. 21 and Route NN, turn right staying on Hwy. 21. Travel two and one half miles to State Road 221; turn left. At the stop sign, turn right. The historic site is on the right. The trip is about 2 hours 40 minutes long.

From Springfield/Joplin Take I-44 out of Springfield toward St. Louis. Exit at the St. James Overpass (Exit 195) and turn right onto Hwy. 8/68. Stay on Hwy. 68 through St. James. South of St. James at the junction of Hwy. 68 and Hwy. 8, stay to the left. You will be on Hwy. 8. As you leave Potosi, turn right onto Hwy. 21. Stay on Hwy. 21, passing Elephant Rocks State Park. At the junction of Hwy. 21 and Route NN, turn right staying on Hwy. 21. Travel two and one half miles to State Road 221; turn left. At the stop sign, turn right. The historic site is on the right. The trip is about 4 hours 15 minutes long.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(573) 546-3454

Links