Today in History:

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

Page 88 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

large bodies of Arkansas and Texas cavalry. In this retreat we lost five cannon, of which three were spiked, and the color of the Third Regiment, the color-bearer having been wounded and his substitute killed. The total loss of the two regiments, the artillery and the pioneers, in killed, wounded, and missing, amounts to 292 men, as will be seen from the respective lists.

In order to understand clearly our actions and our fate, you will allow me to state the following facts:

1st. According to orders, it was the duty of this brigade to attack the enemy in the rear and to cut off his retreat, which order I tried to execute, whatever the consequence might be.

2nd. The time of service of the Fifth Regiment Missouri Volunteers had expire before the battle. I had induced them, company by company, not to leave us in the most critical and dangerous moment, and had engaged them for the time of eight days, this term ending on Friday, the 9th, the day before the battle.

3rd. The Third Regiment, of which 400 three-months' men had been dismissed, was composed for the greatest part of recruits, who had not seen the enemy before and were only insufficiently drilled.

4th. The men serving the pieces and the drives consisted of infantry taken from the Third regiment, and were mostly recruits, who had had only a few days' instruction.

5th. About two-thirds of our officers had left us. Some companies had no officers at all; a great pity, but the consequence of the system of the three-months' service.

After the arrival of the army at Springfield, the command was instructed to me by Major Sturgis and the majority of the commanders of regiments. Considering all the circumstances, and in accordance with the commanding officers, I ordered the retreat of the army from Springfield. The preparations were begun in the night of the 10th, and at daybreak the troops were on their march to the Gasconade. Before crossing this river I received information that the ford could not be passed well, and that a strong force of the enemy was moving from the south (West Plains) towards Waynesville, to cut off our retreat. I also was aware that it would take a considerable time to cross the Robidoux and the Little and Big Piney on the old road.

To avoid all these difficulty, and to give the army an opportunity to rest, I directed the troops from Lebanon to the northern road, passing Right Point and Humboldt, and terminating opposite the mouth of Little Piney, where, in case of the ford not being passable, the train could be sent by Vienna and Lynch to the month of the Gasconade, whilst the troops could ford the river at the mouth of Little Piney to re-enforce Rolla. To bring over the artillery, I ordered the ferry-boat from Big Piney Crossing to be hauled down on the Gasconade to the mouth of Little Piney, where it arrived immediately after we had passed the ford Major Sturgis assumed the command of the army. I therefore respectfully refer to his report in regard to the main body of the troops engaged in the battle.

With the greatest respect, your most obedient servant,


Commanding Second Brigade Missouri Volunteers.

Page 88 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.