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eagir for a fight. The rebels were was joined by 3,000 troops from Kan. largely superior in cavalry, while Sigel sas, under Major Sturgis. Il news in was much better supplied than they in regard to Sigel had reached him; but up. artillery. The battle began about half- on reaching Springfield he was cheered past ten in the morning. The enemy's to find Sigel and his men comparatively large body of cavalry gave them great safe. advantage, and seriously endangered. The storm of war was lowering Sigel's position more than once; but heavily over Missouri, and Gen. Lyon nothing could withstand the force of was but inadequately furnished with our artillery and the charges of the in- men and means to meet the rebels. fantry. The rebels were driven at His numbers, small enough at best, various times and occasions, but rallied were daily growing less by the expira. again; and Sigel retreated to Dry tion of the time of enlistment of the Fork Creek, and thereby saved his bag- volunteers. The rebel preparations gage train. With his men in complete were among the most formidable of order, but greatly wearied with heat and their many attempts in this quarter fatigue, Sigel first took position on the during the war. Their army, collected heights beyond Carthage; thence, after from various quarters, at Cassville, to another severe struggle with the rebel the south-west of Springfield, near the cavalry, he continued his march to Arkansas line of Missouri, included a Sarcoxie, fifteen miles eastward. Our large body of Missouri, Arkansas and loss was thirteen killed, thirty-one Texas troops, under command of some wounded; the rebel loss was estimated of the most talented officers in the at fifty killed, 150 wounded.

south-west. Advancing under the As during the night and next day, command of Gen. McCulloch, they enGen. Price brought several thousand carped, on the 6th of August, at Wil. Arkansas and Texas troops, under Mc- son's Creek, a position ten miles south

Culloch and Pierce, to join west of Springfield. The object was 1861.

" Jackson, it was well that Sigel the investment and capture of the retired when he did. Indeed, it be- Union forces of Gen. Lyon at that came necessary for him to leave Sar-town. coxie and proceed to Springfield, where, Lyon, however, thinking it best to on the 13th of July, he took his place meet the detached bodies of the enemy under Gen. Lyon's command. This before they were concentrated in their devoted soldier and patriot, as above new position, set out, on the 1st of noted, with a force of less than 3,000 August, from Springfield, advancing men, but men who could and would about twenty miles south - westerly, fight, set out in pursuit of the enemy, and, on the afternoon of the 2d, after determining, as every way the wisest, a forced march under a burning sun, to strike the blow himself rather than encountered a part of the rebel forces, wait to be attacked. He crossed the under Gen. Rains, at Dug Springs. Grand River on the 7th of July, and The engagement, though not long, was

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CH. VI.]
GEN. LYON AT WILSON'S CREEK.

85 sharp and decisive. It was principally rate columns, so as to surround and fought by our cavalry, which, with un- attack it at day break; but they did equalled spirit, succeeded in driving not do so. Gen. Lyon, on his part, back a force ten times theirs in made all his dispositions on Friday number.*

afternoon, for an attack on the enemy A forward movement was made to on Saturday morning at daylight; Curran, but it was soon thought best Lyon attacking on the left, and Sigel to retire to Springfield. This was on the right. During the night they done, and Gen. Lyon proposed to at approached the rebel encampment at tack the enemy on the night of the Wilson's Creek, ten miles south of 7th of August. Circumstances, how- Springfield, and the battle

1861. ever, prevented; he was very greatly was begun at dawn of day. It in need of reinforcements and supplies; was fought gallantly and nobly by our and he pleaded earnestly to have men men; but the great disproportion of sent to him, or he must run the risk numbers very soon became evident, and of being overpowered. A council of seemed to show that, in dividing his war was held to determine whether, troops into two columns, he committed with a force of about 5,000, he should an error. Sigel at first drove the rebels undertake to meet the rebels, number before him, and secured a good posiing over 20,000; the troops, too, of Gen. tion for his battery. But with only a Lyon were, many of them, freshly scant force, Sigel was assailed by two raised, inexperienced recruits, who had batteries and a column of infantry. been hastily summoned to take the His men were thrown into confusion; place of the three months' volunteers the cannoneers were driven from their who had gone home.

pieces, the horses killed, and five guns Under ordinary circumstances it captured; and most of the force under would probably have been more judici- Sigel fled, leaving the brunt of the ous to retreat; but in the present case, battle to fall upon Lyon's column. Gen. Lyon knew too well the prodigi.. This part of our little arıny was ous effect such a course would have for speedily at work. Totten's and Du. harra to the Union cause. It was re- bois's batteries were very effective, and solved, therefore, to make a stand, at our infantry won great honor by their any cost, and to meet the enemy at the steady, unflinching maintenance of their earliest practicable moment. Friday, ground against immense odds. The the 9th of August, was fixed upon for rebels were repeatedly driven back in an advance; the rebels had the same confusion, but our men were too few to purpose in view, and meant to march follow up their advantage. Lyon, on Springfield that night, in four sepa- brave almost to recklessness, was, as is * The day was an exceedingly trying one; the heat supposed, igutugu

supposed, fighting this battle against and dust were oppressive in the extreme; no water his real convictions; his horse was killwas to be bad at any price; and stricken down by the

ed, and he received a wound in the leg sun and exhausted, the men were very grateful when evedjog drew on ard they could gain some relief. and one in the head. He walked

slowly a few paces to the rear, and said / doing anything for more than a month. despondingly, “I fear the day is lost.” In reality, it was a triumph to the Union A horse was immediately offered him, cause, though a triumph dearly bought which, in a few minutes, he mounted, at the sacrifice of Lyon's life.* and swinging his hat in the air, called Early in July, Gen. J. C. Fremont to the troops nearest him to follow. was ordered to take charge of the westThe 2d Kansas gallantly rallied around ern department, embracing the state of bim, headed by the brave Col. Mitchell. Illinois and the states and territories In a few moments the colonel fell, se- west of the Mississippi and east of the verely wounded ; about the same time Rocky Mountains, including New Mexa fatal ball was lodged in Gen. Lyon's ico. In many respects, no more popular breast, and he was carried from the appointment could have been made for field a corpse.* .

the West, where Fremont's name carried Major Sturgis now took command, great weight with it, and would be cerand after a three hours' fight, the rebels tain to enlist much enthusiasm and were forced from their camp and the earnest support. Gen. Fremont hastenfield; while our men, almost without ed, at an early day, to the field of his ammunition, and considerably reduced, labors, and as very much was left to his slowly took up their march for Spring- discretion and judgment, he entered field, which they reached at five o'clock, with unusual zeal and energy upon his P.M. The enemy did not venture on work; so great, indeed, that it was not any pursuit; but, as it was evident long before he came into collision with that Springfield could not be held the authorities at head quarters. One against the force the rebels possessed, great object which he was directed to Col. Sigel conducted the retreat to have in view was, to accomplish the Rolla with the remnant of his army, descent of the Mississippi; for which his baggage train, and $250,000 in spe- purpose he was to raise and organize an cie. So far as appears, he was not at army as soon as possible. all molested, and reached Rolla, Aug. The prospect of affairs was gloomy 19th. Our loss in the battle at Wilson's enough in Missouri. The state was Creek was, in all, 1,236. The rebelloss largely hostile; the disaster at Bull was reported as 1,347. . ' Run depressed the Union men while it

The rebel authorities endeavored to gave the secessionists cause for exultamagnify this battle into a victory, tion; faction prevailed; the recruits which it certainly was not. In fact, it were badly supplied and badly paid; checked rebel operations under Price and the rebels had some 50,000 men in and McCulloch, and prevented their

* Gen. Lyon's loss was universally deplored. His

body was recovered from the field and entombed at * Pollard, in speaking of Gen. Lyon, indulges in Springfield. Subsequently his remains were removed great bitterness, calling him a “dangerous man,” to his native village, Ashford, Conn. Every honor “without a trace of chivalric feeling or personal sensi- was bestowed upon his name and memory, and Conbility," etc., at the same time acknowledging his abili. gress, at its session, in December, passed joint resoluty and decision of character.—" First Year of the War," tions expressive of their sense of his ominent and pa

triotic services.

p. 140

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