Today in History:

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

Page 36 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

retreat. The enemy, discovering the object of this movement, commenced a slow and sullen retreat by their right flank, Colonel Kelly, General Clark, and my battery promptly advancing upon them. The cavalry did not succeed in getting the position designated for them, in consequence of which the enemy were successful in recrossing Bear Creek and establishing themselves on a steep eminence on its south bank. Reconnoitering this position, which was about three-quarters of a mile from the first occupied by the enemy, I found the enemy's batteries stationed so as to completely command the crossing, which was about 30 feet wide, the creek itself being about the same distance in width, thick timber and undergrowth lining the banks of the stream on either side for about 30 yards in width to the right and left of the crossing for several miles above and below. On their right flank on the north side of the creek and to our left of the ford was a large field, its southern boundary being on the timber north of the creek. The enemy's batteries from the eminence on which they were posted completely commanded the field. Discovering their forces deploying to their right, and taking possession of the timber on their side of the creek, I found it absolutely necessary for the success of the day to make a rapid movement of the infantry through the field above mentioned and get possession of the timber on our side of the stream. This movement was executed with great gallantry by the following commands in my division; Major Dill's battalion close upon his right; Colonel O'Kane, of the Warsaw regiment, on the right, and Colonel Clark, with his usual promptness, co-operating upon my extreme left. The enemy used every effort in their power to prevent the success of this movement. They fired rapid volleys of grape, shell, and round shot upon this command in its advance thorough the field; yet our troops, without wavering, gallantly succeeded in gaining the south side of it, and, rapidly deploying, threw themselves over the fence and into the timber. In the mean time Colonel Weightman had planted his battery on our side of the creek in the road immediately in front of the enemy's and opened fire.

The action on the enemy's right with General Clark's infantry and mine now became general, the opposing lines having arrived within 30 or 40 yards of each other. Brisk volleys on both sides were kept up for nearly half an hour, and the enemy finally gave way and retreated under cover of their artillery.

Not being advised as to what was gong on to the right of the road and to the right of Colonel Weightman's battery, I then rode up a high point of ground which commanded a view of the enemy's position and our own lines to the right. I then discovered that the whole force of the enemy were in full retreat. I then ordered my infantry and artillery forward. Colonel Kelly, Major Dills, and captain Guibor, of the artillery, although having been engaged in a fatiguing action, promptly advanced. Having obtained position upon the open plain, I discovered that the enemy had obtained a position upon the plain about 2 miles from Spring River, having formed at a house merely as a feint to cover their retreat thorough the defiles on Spring River in the direction of Carthage. This river is about one and a half miles from Carthage. I advanced my infantry and two pieces of my artillery for the purpose of again giving them battle, but before my forces came up the enemy had accomplished their object, and again retreated.

When I arrived at Spring River, having ascertained that two pieces of my artillery, under Captain Guibor, had already crossed and were in the front, I delayed a while for my infantry to come up, which they did

Page 36 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.