Today in History:

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


posted into a ravine, which effectually concealed him from our view. Supposing his design by such movement was to gain a position on our left and to make an attack on our flank, the several commands changed their direction from the south to the east, each marching in separated columns, Colonel O'Kane forming the extreme right, with Major Dills on his left, Colonel Kelly on my right, and my column forming the extreme left. Continuing in this direction for half mile, and upon ascending the hill, I discovered the enemy, who seemed to be rapidly forming into line of battle about one mile and half from his first position, behind a cluster of trees, and upon an eminence on the south side of Bear Creek. Immediately in the front and for some miles above him was a skirt of thick brush timber, though which the creek ran, and upon which his line was being formed. We immediately advanced to the timber on the north side of the creek and took a position near the enemy, when a sharp an incessant fire of small-arms no either side occurred, lasting for about thirty minutes; but by well-directed fire from the battery of Captain Bledsoe, which early in the engagement was run near the enemy, and the fatal aim and steady advance of the infantry, the enemy was driven from his second position and forced to make a rapid retreat, losing one piece of his artillery and suffering a heavy loss of killed and wounded.

In this engagement my command, having engaged the enemy at a distance of from forty to fifty yards, and in attempting to cross the creek to charge the enemy, suffered a loss of 10 men killed and wounded. At this engagement Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Price had his horse killed under him while gallantly urging and cheering forward the forces.

A detailed report of the surgeon is hereto attached, and made a part of this report.*

When the enemy commenced his second retreat my forces were compelled to make a detour of half a mile up the creek before they could find a crossing, the depth of the stream, together with the abruptness of the banks, being of such a character as not to allow crossing at a shorter distance. When we had effected a crossing we heard the firing of cannon in the direction of Carthage, about 1 mile in our advance, to which point we rapidly hurried. On arriving there we found the enemy still retreating in the direction of Carthage, but occasionally firing his artillery to cover his retreat. At Carthage a sharp conflict occurred, of some fifteen or twenty minutes, between the enemy and portions of the cavalry, infantry, and artillery of the several divisions, when he again retreated, and were pursued for several miles beyond Carthage, and until the darkness of the night caused a cessation of the pursuit.

Thus ended a conflict in which the citizen a soldierly of Missouri have given to the world an earnest of their defemination to defend their rights and redress their wrongs, and which inspires hope of success in the stormy future upon which we are now entering.

I have no means at hand to give an accurate of the loss of the enemy. From the number of his dead and wounded scattered upon his line of retreat it cannot be otherwise than great.

In this connection it gives me pleasure to state that my entire command, officers and soldiers, acquitted themselves with honor, and deserve the gratitude of the country; and I desire in this public manner to bear my testimony to their valor and zeal, and to make my public acknowledgement to my entire staff and to Colonel J. Q. Burbridge, Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Price, and Major John B. Clark, jr., of the First Regiment of


*Not found.