Today in History:

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


succeeded in capturing the pickets of the enemy, taking him by surprise, and for a time sweeping everything before him with his artillery.

After clearing the camp said to have been occupied by McCulloch and Mcintosh, his command, supposing, perhaps, that there was nothing more to be done, went to plundering the camp, or in some way became disorganized. While in this state, some Louisiana troops came down upon them, when they fled, leaving the battery to the enemy without having fired a shot. It appears that Sigel and Colonel Salomon, in their flight, took a different direction from that taken by their troops, and made their way into Springfield with all possible haste, Sigel being attended only be one orderly, a private of cavalry.

As Sigel and Colonel Salomon abandoned their commands and left the rest of our little army to their fate, and arrived at Springfield before the severest part of the battle was over, it seems fair to conclude that they were more solicitous about their own personal safety than that of their companions in arms or the reputation of the flag.

Had Sigel rallied his men, and come to the assistance of General Lyon, in all probability the contest would speedily have terminated in our favor; whereas the mystery which enveloped his operations prevented our pushing the advantages we had gained over the enemy. Sigel, knowing our position, might, by communicating with us, have relieved our perplexity, and left no doubt as to the course for us to pursue.

Charles E. Farrand, then second lieutenant First U. S. Infantry, in command of a troops of Second U. S. Dragoons, collected together several hundred men of Sigel's command, and seeing that the battery had been abandoned by the enemy, who after having taken it turned their attention to Lyon's command, through to carry it off, but found the horses belonging to it either wounded or missing, except those for one piece, where but one was disabled. This horse he replaced by the fresh one, and took off the piece with the caisson and the men whom he had collected. With this party he made his way unmolested by the enemy to the Little York road, which he reached 3 or 4 miles from our right flank.

In the mean time great solicitude was felt by the officers of Lyon's command in regard to the whereabouts of Sigel. The question was frequently asked, "What has become of Sigel?" His men being dressed in the same color as the Arkansas and Louisiana troops, the latter were several times mistaken for Sigel's men, and on two distinct occasions escaped severe punishment at our hands. Du Bois battery was making great havoc among the Louisiana (in the corn field), when Major Sturgis informed Du Bois that he was slaughtering Sigel's men, and ordered him to cease firing. At another time one of the Louisiana regiments marched by the flank in front of our line within musket range, and were allowed to pass us unharmed, being mistaken for Sigel's men. We were also interrupted in our operations by the appearance of Sigel's flag in front of our line with Lyon's name emblazoned upon it, which flag it appears had been captured by the enemy, and displayed to us out if bravado. It should be mentioned in this connection that about 200 of Sigel's men were taken prisoners by the enemy, and that those whom Lieutenant Farrand picked up, or most of them, had thrown away their arms. Lieutenant Farrand, with his troops of cavalry, one piece of artillery, and the remnant of Sigel's command, joined us on the Little York road, about 6 miles from the battle-field. He was obliged to abandon the caisson on account of some of the horses having given out.