Today in History:

21 Series I Volume III- Serial 3 - Wilson's Creek


three-quarters of a mile from the timber, and threw a few spherical-case shot at Captain Shelby's company, which was ordered back to the main line. This movement, conducted in the face of both armies, was executed-with a precision worthy of the parade ground.

I then sent this company to the extreme right, to reconnoiter the timber and examine for a crossing. The action commenced by the enemy opening a heavy fire from their battery. This was promptly responded to by the artillery of General Parsons's command, which had unlimbered on the left of my division. Captain Bledsoe, under the direction of Colonel Weightman, then opened a steady and well-directed fire upon the densest of the enemy's masses, forcing them to take refuge in the depression of prairie and finally to retire some 200 yards, when Colonel Weightman promptly and gallantly advanced his whole brigade in battle order and reopened his fire from Captain Bledsoe's guns. By this time I had led the cavalry on the right through the corn field with a view of our flanking the enemy, or, if the ground was suitable, of charging their battery.

The enemy opened with some execution a well-directed fire of grape and spherical-case shot upon our advancing column, which sustained itself with much gallantry, and Colonel Sigel, fearing that his army would be outflanked, and suffering very much from the rapid and well-directed fire from Captain Bledsoe's battery, retired under cover of his battery across the creek.

Colonel Weightman, in his report, speaks in the highest terms of the coolness and steadiness of the First Brigade throughout this portion of the engagement, and I bear grateful testimony as to the eagerness with which the cavalry desired to charge over the most unfavorable ground. Our loss up to this time was very small.

Colonel Weightman, now joined by colonel Hurst's reigment, advanced, and perceiving the enemy posted on a ridge beyond the creek, unlimbered within 400 yards of the enemy's battery and opened upon them with round shot and canister, while the infantry advanced to engage the enemy at close quarters. This point was severely contested and the loss great.

The officers of Captain Bledsoe's artillery are reported to have most gallantly served their guns in person, two of them (Lieutenant Wallace and Higgins) after being wounded; the latter falling exhausted under the muzzle of his piece.

Lieutenant-Colonel O'Kane, in the most gallant style, pressed forward with his command, and, aided by a portion of General Clark's division, repulsed the enemy from their position.

Colonel Sigel again commenced a retrograde movement, and retreated across a prairie 5 miles to Spring River, closely followed by the infantry and artillery. The cavalry under my command, joined by a regiment of General Slack's division, commanded by Colonel Rives, endeavored to outflank them on the right, but the retreat ws so rapid as to defeat our object. On nearing Spring River we attempted to intercept the enemy's crossing, but they again opened a heavy and destructive fire from their artillery, which compelled us to take a crossing higher up, and pushing forward, endeavored to surround the town.

For the details of the actions of the First Brigade in their several contests for the city I refer you to the able report of Colonel Weightman.

As I was enabled to reach the rear of Carthage, I dismounted the whole command, who eagerly pressed to the support of their comrades