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

Page 58 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

were still lying at Rolla for transportation. We were consequently thrown upon such resources as the country afforced for subsistence. The heavy rains prevented the farmers from thrashing their wheat, and our daily expected supplies from Rolla failed to come, so that at no time could our troops have full rations of bread, and much of the time they had no coffee or sugar. In the event of a forward movement even these limited supplies must have failed. Under these circumstances, the general made frequent and urgent appeals to the Government for aid in the troops and provisions. It was well known that the strength of the enemy was rapidly increasing; that he was continually receiving small-arms and artillery from the South, with well-disciplined troops, whole our numbers were continually diminishing by the discharge of three-months' volunteers, and the strength of our troops wasting from privation, and large numbers of them were entirely without shoes.

To all these appeals for aid no favorable response was received. We were not even encouraged to hope for re-enforcements. Admits these embarrassments General Lyon early and frequently expressed the most gloomy foreboding for the future. He saw clearly the inevitable necessity of either retiring to Rolla, and abandoning to the enemy all the southwest portion of Missouri and Southern kansas, or of risking the utter destruction of his little army and the loss of all his material of war in a desperate engagement with a vastly superior force of the enemy.

It soon appeared that the enemy's design was to move upon Springfield in three different columns, by the routes leading to that place from Cassville, Harrisonville, and Greenfield. General Lyon at once determined to await their approach only till they were within about two days' march of our position, and then to move out and attack the strongest column, and in the event of success to turn upon the others.

In pursuance of this plan, it having been ascertained that the advance guard of the enemy had reached a point on the Casseville road about 18 miles from Springfield, General Lyon marched on the [1st] of August to the crossing of Wilson's Creek, 10 miles from Springfield, and was there joined by the force under Major Sturgis, then encamped near Little York, about 4 miles west from the crossing; two detachments, under Colonel Deitzer and captain Carr, which were absent, obtaining provisions, having been ordered to join the command as soon as possible.

A small advanced picket of the enemy was met at about 9 o'clock the next morning and fled upon our approach. Toward evening of the same day the enemy's advanced guard, of considerable strength, was met near Gug Springs, about 23 miles from Springfield, and after a brisk skirmish of several hours with a few companies of infantry, under Captain Frederick Steele, Second Infantry, and Lieutenant W. L. Lothrop, Fourth Artillery, a company of cavalry under Captain Stanley, and, finally, Captain Totten's battery, together with two pieces of the battery attached to Colonel Sigel's brigade, was driven in confusion from the field, suffering considerable loss.

The next morning a small force was again discovered at Curran Post Office, 3 miles from Dug Springs, but fled upon the first fire of artillery, our whole column moving forward and occupying their camp, the Second Regiment Kansas Volunteers (Colonel Mitchell) even pushing on by the left flank of our position to McCulla's, 2 miles beyond, without seeing any sign of the enemy in force. It was too late in the

Page 58 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.