Today in History:

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


Steele, of this State, commanding, left on August 2. I went forward with the Second Division, which embraced the greater portion of my infantry, and encamped with it some 12 miles northwest of Cassville.

the next morning a messenger from General McCulloch informed me that he had reason to believe that the enemy were in force on the road to Springfield, and that he should remain at this then encampment, on Crane Creek, until the Second and Third Divisions of the army had come up. The Second Division consequently moved forward to Crane Creek, and I ordered the Third Division to a position within 3 miles of the same place. An advance guard of the army, consisting of six companies of mounted Missourians, under command of Brigadier-General rains, was at this time (Friday, August 2) encamped on the Springfield road, about 5 miles beyond Crane Creek.

About 9 a. m. of that day General Rains' pickets reported to him that they had been driven in by the enemy's advance guard, and that officer immediately led forward is whole force, amounting to nearly 400 men, until he found the enemy in position some 3 miles on the road. He sent back at once to General McCulloch for re-enforcements, and Colonel McIntosh, C. S. Army, was sent forward with 150 men, but a reconnaissance of the ground having satisfied the latter that the enemy did not have more than 150 men on the ground, he withdrew his men and returned to Crane Cree. General rains soon discovered, however, that he was in presence of the main body of the enemy, numbering, according to his estimate, more than 5,000 men, with eight pieces of artillery, and supported by a considerable body of cavalry. A severe skirmish ensued, which lasted several hours, until the enemy opened their batteries and compelled our troops to retire. In this engagement the greater portion of General rains' command, and especially that part which acted as infantry, behaved with great gallantry, as the result demonstrates, for our loss was only 1 killed (Lieutenant Northcut) and 5 wounded, while 5 of the enemy's dead were buried on the field, and a large number are known to have been wounded.

Our whole forces were concentrated the next day near Crane Creek, and during the same night the Texas regiment, under Colonel Greer, came up within a few miles of the same place.

Reasons which will be hereafter assigned induced me on Sunday, the 4th instant, to put the Missouri forces under the direction, for the time being, of General McCulloch, who accordingly assumed the command armies.

A little after midnight we took up the line of march, leaving our baggage trains, and expected to find the enemy near the scene of the late skirmish, but we found as we advanced that they were retreating rapidly towards Springfield. We followed them hastily about 17 miles to a place known as Moody's Spring, where we were compelled to halt our forces, who were already nearly exhausted by the intense heat of the weather and the dustiness of the roads.

Early the next morning we moved forward to Wilson's Creek, 10 miles southwest of Springfield, where we encamped. Our forces were here put in readiness to meet the enemy, who were posted at Springfield to the number of about 10,000. It was finally decided to march against them in four separate columns at 9 o'clock that night, so as to surround the city and begin a simultaneous attack at daybreak. The darkness of the night and a threatened storm caused General McCulloch, just as the army was about to march, to countermand this order, and to direct that the troops should hold themselves in readiness to move whenever