Today in History:

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


made by Sigel or any of his officers to rally their men and join Lyon's division, although the battle raged furiously for hours after Sigel's rout, and most of his men in their retreat passed in rear of Lyon's line of battle.

On our return to Springfield, at about 5 o'clock p. m., Major Sturgis yielded the command to Colonel Sigel, and the latter, after consultation with many of the officers of the army, decided to retreat toward Rolla; starting at 2 o'clock a. m., in order that the column might be in favorable position for defense before daylight. At the hour appointed for the troops to move I found Colonel Sigel asleep in bed, and his own brigade, which was to be the advance guard, making preparations to cook their breakfast. It was 4 o'clock before I could get them started. Sigel remained in command three days, kept his two regiments in front all the time, made little more than ordinary days' marches, but yet did not get in camp till 10 and one occasion at night. On the second day he kept the main column waiting, exposed to the sun on a dry prairie, while his own men killed beef and cooked their breakfast. They finished their breakfast at about noon, and then began their days' march.

The fatigue and annoyance to the troops soon became so intolerable that discipline was impossible. The officers, therefore, almost unanimously demanded a change. major Sturgis, in compliance with the demand, assumed the command.

My position as General Lyon's principal staff officer gave me very favorable opportunities for judging of General Sigel's merits as an officer, and hence I appreciate his good as well as his bad qualities more accurately than most of those who presume to judge him. General Sigel, in point of theoretical education, is far above the average of commanders in this country. He has studied with great care the science of strategy, and seems thoroughly conversant with the campaigns of all the great captains, so far as covers their main strategic features, and also seems familiar with the duties of the staff, but in tactics, great and small logistic, and discipline he is greatly deficient. These defects are so apparent as to make it absolutely impossible for him to gain the confidence of American officers and men, and entirely unfit him for a high command in our Army. While I do not condemn General Sigel in the unmeasured terms-so common among many, but on the contrary see in him any fine qualities, I would do less than my duty did I not enter my protest against the appointment to a highs command in the Army of a man who, whatever may be his merits, I know cannot have the confidence of the troops he is to command.

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


Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.

SAINT LOUIS, MO., February 17, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK,

Commanding the Department of the Missouri:

GENERAL: The undersigned officers of the Army of the United States, who been constantly more or less connected with the service since the present trouble commenced in Missouri, entirely agree with the facts, strictures, and sentiments expressed in the annexed communication of Brigadier-General Schofield, and concurring as we do with these