A block away from the square we stumbled on the Civil War museum. Success. Assuming it was open, it would not only be interesting to visit, it would also certainly have the directions to the battlefield. For its size, the museum was impressive inside, and the person manning it was very knowledgeable. It turns out that the property representing the main battle is actually private, but over the course of the skirmish the fighting spilled into the town itself - we were actually on the battlefield the whole time! Since Carthage was burned during the war no building remains from the era, but there is a state historic site situated on the campground of the Union forces before the battle and the Confederate forces after the battle. One of my favorite things to do when I visit a place with historical significance is to imagine what it was like at the time, and it's not hard at all envisioning the soldiers milling around the creek talking about the events that were unfolding. This was one of the first major land battles of the Civil War.
The Civil War Museum