Today in History:

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

Page 42 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

intending to remain until 5 o'clock in the afternoon before resuming the march. While the men were cooking dinner, I was waited upon by a man giving his name as Benjamin F. Hays, and representing himself to be sheriff of Cass County, who stated that he had come to meet the command, for the purpose of ascertaining who they were and what its object was, stating that the citizens of Harrisonville were very much alarmed, and that men were collecting with arms to dispute my march; that if he could get an assurance in writing that no person would be molested he believed he could allay the excitement and prevent trouble. I gave him a note stating "that I was an officer in the service of the United States, under military orders, on my march to a point south of Harrisonville; that my route lay through the town; that i had no intention of molesting any one, but that to the extent of my power every citizen, without even inquiry as to his feelings towards the Government, would be protected in person and property, if he remained peaceably at his home or business; that none but those in arms against the authority of the Government would be molested, and warning all such to disperse." He then left my camp, first pledging his honor to return at 5 o'clock p. m. and report to me the result of his mission to the people. He never returned, and I have strong reasons for believing that he used his position as sheriff to gain admittance to my camp for the purpose of ascertaining the strength of the command.

About 2 o'clock p. m. parties of horsemen were discovered on the prairie within 400 yards of my camp, and I sent Adjutant Spiers and 3 mounded men to ascertain their characters. He reported from 350 to 400 men within half a mile, mostly mounted, but one company on foot, and that the officer in command desired an interview. I rode out, and was introduced to "Colonel Duncan," of Jackson County, Missouri. After stating to him in substance what was written for the sheriff, and calling his attention to the United States flag, which was in full view, he informed me that "the people of that part of the country had determined that no United States troops should be stationed among them, and that if I persisted in marching forward I would meet with resistance." I then rode back to my command, which had meantime been drawn up in line in front of the timber, and within fifteen minutes fire was opened upon us. My position was in the edge of a body of timber, the right of my command resign upon a corn field, in the edge of which were two log houses; the left upon a ravine, on the opposite side of which, and about 150 yards distant, was a small log cabin. The effort on the part of the attacking force seemed to be to turn our flanks, and get the cover of the timber in our rear. To prevent this, I stationed a squad of 15 men, under Second Lieutenant O'Neil, of Company B, aided by Private Sharkey, at the cabin on the left, and afterwards occupied the ravine with another squad of 10 men, under Captain Millar.

It was on this flank that most of the fighting was done, the officers and men behaving with great gallantry and steadiness, holding back the whole force of the enemy's cavalry for three hours, and finally repulsing them from the field. On the right, in the standing corn, and covered by a log house or stable, I placed a squad of 15 men, under Second Lieutenant Klingler, Company A, to prevent a surprise from the corn field. Learning that a body of foot had passed during the parley in the direction west the corn field, I detailed 12 men, under First Lieutenant Loos, to the rear of the right, to take possession of the third house and guard the woods in that direction.

A force of some 50 men had succeeded in passing entirely round the corn field, and were approaching our rear through timber and thick un-

Page 42 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.