Today in History:

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


to keep by saddle. Captain Gilbert, with a part of his company, was not present, but I have subsequently learned that he proceeded Directly to the battery, and took part in the defense of the position until nearly the close of the action, at which time he was wounded and compelled to leave the field.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, First Infantry, Commanding Battalion.

Second Lieutenant JAMES POWELL,

A. A. A. G. First Brigade, Army of the West.

Numbers 6. Report of Captain James Totten, Second U. S. Artillery.

SPRINGFIELD, MO., August 19, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to instructions, I have the honor to make the following report relative to the part taken by my company in the battle on Wilson's Creek, August 10, 1861:

Light Company F, Second Regiment of Artillery, marched, in company with the other troops composing General Lyon's command, from Springfield on the evening of Friday, August 9, for the position occupied by the enemy. Early on the following morning (August 10, 1861), the camp of the Southern army was discovered about one mile and a half south of the head of General Lyon's command, and soon after the infantry of our advance was fired upon by the pickets of the enemy. From this time hour march, as directed by General Lyon in person, lay through a small wheat field, across a hill, and down into a small valley which debouches into that through which Wilson's Creek runs at the point immediately occupied by the front of the enemy, had just where the main road to Springfield enters the valley. Keeping somewhat to the west, our advance crossed this road along the foot of the hills, and soon afterwards our skirmishers found those of the enemy, and the battle opened. Here the left section of my battery, under Lieutenant Sokalski, was at first brought to bear upon the enemy in the woods in front, and shortly afterwards the other four pieces were thrown forward into battery to the right on higher ground. A fe rounds from the artillery assisted the infantry of our advance in driving the enemy back from their first position, and they fell back towards the crests of the hills nearer and immediately over their own camp. I now conducted my battery up the hills to the left and front, and soon found a position, where I brought it into battery directly over the norther position of the enemy's camp.

The camp of General Rains (as I afterwards learned) lay directly beneath my front and to the left, very close to my position, and a battery of the enemy to my front and right, within easy range of my guns. The camp of General Rains was entirely deserted, and therefore my first efforts were directed against the battery of the enemy to the right and front. The left half battery was then brought into position, but the right half battery, in reality occupying the most favorable ground, was principally directed against the enemy's battery, although the whole six pieces, as opportunity occurred, played upon the enemy's guns. As the position of the enemy's guns was masked, the gunners of my pieces were obliged to give direction to their pieces by the flash and smoke of the opposing artillery.