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GENERAL LYON'S MISSOURI CAMPAIGN. BATTLE OF WILSON'S CREEK, AUG. 10, 1861.

We left General Lyon setting out | have or shall have a conspicuous part, I from Booneville at the beginning of July. would share it and the honors of it equalHe was firmly convinced of the necessity ly with every one who contributes to of action, and determined, in spite of sustain the great cause of our country, every disadvantage of means and re- which I have so much at heart. I havo sources, to make that action prompt and not received your notice of me in the effective. We may pause here a moment Journal of Commerce. Most of the noto notice a letter written by him a few tices by the press are more or less errodays before, to a near relative who had neous. But, alas! the past is nothingrequested some information on previous painfully, indeed, unfruitful of benefits to incidents of his life, doubtless with a our race. It is with the present we are view to their publication, for there were dealing, and let us all devote ourselves at this the few persons of whom the to it with a view to secure the future. public more desired to hear than of Gen- And let that future be blank and forever eral Lyon. It was a complimentary call oblivious rather than our cause fail bewhich most persons thus situated would fore the unscrupulous villainy now at war have found some means of complying upon it. Of the ultimate results I have with. But General Lyon was far too no doubts, though unfavorable incidents deeply engrossed with the concerns of may arise under frauds and misrepresenhis country to look at such a time into tations and a heretofore demoralized senhis past life for materials for eulogy. His timent at the North, so unfortunately reply exhibits the disinterestedness of the auspicious to our enemies. I am now man, his superiority to any personal deeply involved and concerned in the vanity or sense of importance, and his issues before me. My exertions and overwhelming conviction — a conviction will shall not be wanting, though they which he, more than most leaders of the may not go far to effect the result. What North, at that time felt-of the momen- is now before me in this region I hardly tous nature of the conflict upon which the know. The Governor and party have country had entered. He thus wrote gone South, and may make another from Bonneville, June 28th, 1861: "Dear stand ; though it is probable they intend Cousin,--I have your two notes asking to rendezvous in Arkansas and return for points of my military service. I with reinforcements. I have been unhave not answered, because I have no avoidably delayed by getting up a train, time, and do not think the subject of the but shall pursue, though I do not expect least importance. This great and wicked to catch the fugitives.” rebellion absorbs my whole being to the Having diligently collected a train by exclusion of any considerations of fame the purchase of wagons and animals from or self-advancement. In this issue, if I | the farmers of the country—he was not

GENERAL LYON'S ADVANCE.

515

the inan to wait for the Government ing from the extreme western part of manufacture of the regulation article— the State to hasten to Springfield. On General Lyon, on the 3d of July, 1861, the 11th the army, starting at sunrise, left Booneville in quest of the enemy. regardless of the heat, accomplished a He had with him at starting 2,700 men, march of twenty-seven miles by 3 o'clock. Iowa and Missouri volunteers, a com- " At sundown,” continues Dr. Woodpany of regulars, and Captain Totten's ward, the latest biographer of General battery of four pieces of artillery. Lyon, in his narrative of the expedition, Though the force was small, it was im- " the line of march was again formed. posing and effective, for the men of The road soon struck a heavy forest, which it was composed knew their duty, where the dense foliage of the overhangand were prepared to discharge it. A ing limbs shut out the glimmer of the body of pioneers, armed with Sharp's stars, leaving the men to grope their rifles and carrying axes and shovels, fol- way through almost total darkness. The lowed the regulars, who were placed in road was little travelled, and extremely advance as skirmishers. Then came the rough. Steep hills, deep gorges, swift artillery, succeeded by the infantry and streams, miry sloughs, gullies washed out a long train of supplies. General Lyon by the rains

rains rocks scattered about rode mounted on an iron-grey horse, ac- everywhere, stumps and fallen timber companied by a select body-guard of ten were among the obstacles which had to stout German butchers from St. Louis, be encountered in the darkness. Many mounted on powerful horses and armed were the bruised limbs and broken vehiwith revolvers and cavalry swords. cles. For thirty-six hours most of the Thus provided and equipped, the little men had hardly closed their eyes, and army, hardly more than a simple brig- now unsupportable drowsiness overpowade, made its way southward through ered them. If the line came to a the heat and dust of the sultry season. momentary halt, scores fell asleep in On the 7th, having secured the passage their tracks. Arousing as the column of Grand river, a branch of the Osage run- moved on; the men struggled bravely ning through Henry county, he was joined against fatigue till 3 o'clock in the mornat that ferry by 3,000 troops from Kan- ing, when General Lyon ordered a halt. sas, commanded by Major Sturgis, and the Scarcely was the order issued before whole force was passed over the stream nine-tenths of the army were buried in that night and early on the following slumber. Few waited to unroll their morning by a single small scow. With blankets or seek a sheltered spot for a similar expedition and success the army couch. Wherever they stood, they next day reached the Osage, striking the dropped upon the ground-officers and river in the heart of a dense forest ten men indiscriminately-with the earth for or twelve miles west of Oceola. Here a bed and the sky for a covering." considerable excitement was produced Within twenty-four hours the toil-worn in the camp by the news of Colonel force marched nearly fifty miles, over a Sigel's engagement at Carthage, which. rugged, disadvantageous country, in the in consequence of his retreat, was repre- heat of midsummer, to carry aid to a porsented as a defeat. It was resolved turn- tion of the army supposed to be in danger. Their exertions were rewarded the loch, was a person of some mark in next morning by hearing that Sigel's com- military frontier life. A native of Ruthmand was safe, and, thus encouraged, they erford county, Tennessee, the son of an marched leisurely to Springfield, which aid of General Jackson's warrior-friend, they reached on the 13th, accomplish- General Coffee, he had early addicted ing the distance of nearly two hundred himself to the hunter's life of the wildermiles, from Booneville, in eleven days. ness. In his younger days he acquired

The retreat of Sigel through the ene- some reputation as an adept in beai my's forces at Carthage, was a fiery in- hunting. When the tide of emigration dication of the storm of war gathering in began to set beyond the Mississippi, he the South-west, which, sweeping onward, made some ineffectual attempts to join was destined to overpower—though not parties of traders and trappers to Santa without a desperate struggle--the in- Fe and the Rocky Mountains. He then ferior bands of loyal men gathered round settled in Gonzales county, Texas, joinGeneral Lyon at Springfield-numbers ed General Houston at the first outbreak daily diminished by the expiration of with the Mexicans, and was present, in the time of enlistment of the volunteers, command of a gun, at the battle of San of which his force was mostly composed. Jacinto. When the province was anThe preparations making by the rebels nexed to the United States, and the war were the most formidable of their many became national, he raised a company of attempts in this quarter during the war. Texans, and joined General Taylor on Their army, collected from various the Rio Grande, accompanying him to quarters, at Cassville, to the south-west Monterey and Buena Vista, rendering of Springfield, near the Arkansas line of good service as a scout. He was thence Missouri, included a large body of Mis- transferred to the column of General sourians, under General Price, a force of Scott, and entered Mexico with the Arkansas troops led by General Pearce, triumphant army. After the war he rea regiment of Texan Rangers under Col- turned to his home, and received his onel Greer, a Louisiana regiment under reward in the appointment by President Colonel Hebert, and a regiment of mount- Pierce of United States Marshal in ed riflemen under Colonel Churchill, with Texas. He subsequently enjoyed another other commands comprehending the best appointment from President Buchanan, military talent of the South-west. Few who, oddly enough, sent him with the names of those who were distinguished army, when difficulties arose in the reat that time in the rebel service of the gion, as Peace Commissioner to Utah. South-western region were missing from At the first overt acts of the Rebellion the muster of forces which, advancing un- he was hovering about Washington, and der the command of General McCulloch, his name was frequently mentioned in were encamped on the 6th of August at connection with rumors of attacks upon Wilson's Creek, a position ten miles the city. He then disappeared from south-west of Springfield. The object was that quarter to become a more certain the investment and capture of the Union source of terror, and fulfil his destiny as forces of General Lyon at that town. the leader of the insurgents of Arkansas

The rebel commander, Ben McCul- and South-western Missouri.

BATTLE AT DUG SPRINGS.

517

It was General Lyon's intention to minutes, when some enthusiastic lieutenmeet the detached bodies of the enemy ant giving the order to charge, some on their route before they were concen- twenty-five of the gallant regulars rushed trated in their new position, and setting forward upon the enemy's lines, and, out from Springfield with this purpose dashing aside the threatening bayonets on the 1st of August, he had advanced of the sturdy rebels, hewed down the nineteen miles in a south-westerly direc- ranks with terrible slaughter. The tion, when, on the afternoon of the 2d, ground was left in our possession, being after a forced march of unusual severity, strewn with muskets, shot-guns, pistols, under a burning sun, he encountered a etc. Our men seized some fifteen musportion of the rebel forces under com- kets and the same number of horses and mand of General Rains, in a sharp action mules and rode off, when a large force of at Dug Springs. The engagement is thus the enemy's cavalry was seen approachdescribed by an eye-witness : “In or- ing from the woods, numbering some der," says the writer, the correspondent three hundred or more. At the instant of a New York journal with the army, when they had formed in an angle, Cap“ to understand the position of the par- tain Totten, who had mounted a six and ties, imagine an oblong basin of five twelve-pounder upon an overlooking hill, miles in length, surrounded by hills, sent a shell right over them ; in another from which spurs projected into the main minute the second — a twelve-pound hollow, covered with occasional thickets shell, a very marvel of gunnery practice and oak openings. The winding of the - which landed right at their feet, exravind round the spurs had the effect of ploding, and scattering the whole body concealing the strength of each party in the most admired disorder. The from the other, so that from the top of third, fourth, fifth and sixth were sent each successive ridge could be seen the into their midst. The horsemen could rear of the enemy's forces. At about not control their horses, and in a minute live o'clock a brisk interchange of shots not an enemy was to be seen anywhere." was .commenced by our skirmishers, The entire Union loss in this affair Captain Steele's regular infantry taking has been stated at 8 killed, 30 wounded ; the lead on the left, supported by a com- that of the enemy 40 killed, 44 woundpany of cavalry, the rest of the column ed.* Although, says the correspondent being back some distance. Presently just quoted, “the entire action cannot be we could see a column of infantry ap- raised to the dignity of a great battle, proaching from the woods with the de- for the whole affair lasted less than half sign of cutting of our infantry. Captain an hour, it was in reality a great Stanley immediately drew up his men, triumph. Our advanced cavalry was and as soon as within range, they open- alone engaged on our part, and they suced fire from their Sharp's carbines, when cessfully fought and drove off a force ten several volleys were exchanged. The times their number. It moreover renumber of the enemy's infantry was vealed the fighting animus of the enemy; seemingly about five hundred; our it revealed the state of their armament, cavalry not quite a hundred and fifty. and afforded a brilliant example for our The infantry kept up the firing for some

* Tribune Almanac for 1862, p. 45.

expectant troops. All supposed when this state of affairs a council of officers the crack of the cannon and wbistling of was held, it was determined to retire, shell were heard in such quick succes- and the force was brought back to sion, that the battle was begun, and that Springfield and its immediate neighbora trial of arms was to ensue ere night- hood. fall. Our men were under arms, cannon It appears to have been General in position, until the news of the in- Lyon's intention to attempt a night atglorious retreat of the vaunting rebels tack on the enemy's forces on the 7th, dispelled the prospect. The camps were and a portion of his command, under then pitched, and the necessary pre- Major S. D. Sturgis of the regular cavcautions taken against attack. No des- alry, was kept advanced on the road for cription can do justice to the labors of the purpose. Every preparation, in fact, the day. When the morning dawned was made for the movement ; but it was the men were put in motion. The heat abandoned in consequence, it is said, of was insufferable, the incessant running the loss of an hour or two by General about among the brush for miles on both Lyon, who, delayed by various business sides of the main road created the most at his headquarters, found, on proceeding suffocating thirst. The tongue became to the camp, that it was 3 o'clock in the swollen, the sweat was blinding, and the morning-too late an hour to take the dust profuse.

Even the hardiest men enemy by surprise. These attempted were glad to find shelter for a moment movements of General Lyon show the in some canebrake. The few wells or impatience of the man for action in the springs in the vicinity had given out. midst of the unfavorable circumstances Water was not to be had ; toward even- by which he was surrounded. He needed ing two dollars and a half being offered reinforcements and supplies, but called for a canteen of warm ditch water. for them in vain. “I fear,” he wrote on Many were victims of sunstroke and ex- the 31st of July, “the enemy may behaustion, and never were a set of men come emboldened by our want of activmore grateful than when the burning sun ity. I have constant rumors of a very cast his declining shadow over the west- large force below, and of threats to attack ern hills.” *

us with overwhelming numbers. I should The march was continued some miles have a much larger force than I have, further to Curran, with various skirmish- and be much better supplied. ing by the way, in which General Lyon's The troops were

now called into forces kept the advantage, but the for- Springfield ; a council of war was held, ward movement was not a successful and it was seriously debated among the one. The troops, with inadequate sup- officers whether the town should not be plies, were toiling with great inconveni- abandoned and a retreat ordered. The ence under the blazing sun of midsum- motive of this discussion was the superior ier, through a country stripped of the force of the enemy, which greatly outmeans of subsistence, with no little numbered the Unionists. General Mchazard to their communications from Culloch, in his report of the action which the swarming bands of the enemy. In ensued at Wilson's Creek, speaks of his * Correspondence of the New York World, Aug. 12, 1861. I effective force as 5,300 infantry, 15

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