Today in History:

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


simultaneously at 5.30 a.m. on our right and left flanks, and the enemy had gained the positions they desired. General Lyon, attacked us on our left, and General Sigel on our right and rear. From these points batteries opened upon us. My command was soon ready. The Missourians, under Generals Slack, Clark, McBride, Parsons, and Rains, were nearest the position taken by General Lyon with his main force. They were instantly turned to the left, and opened the battle with an incessant fire of small-arms. Woodruff opposed his battery to that of the enemy under Captain Totten, and a constant cannonading was kept up between these batteries during the battle. Hebert's regiment of Louisiana volunteers and McIntosh's regiment of Arkansas Mounted Riflemen were ordered to the front, and after passing the battery turned to the left, and soon engaged the enemy with regiments deployed. Colonel McIntosh dismounted his regiment, and the two marched up abreast to a fence around a large corn field, when they met the left of the enemy already posted.

A terrible conflict of small-arms took place here. The opposing force was a body of regular United States infantry, commanded by Captains Plummer and Gilbert. Notwithstanding the galling fire poured upon these two regiments, the leaped over the fence, and, gallantly, led by their colonels, drove the enemy before them back upon the main body. During this time the Missourians, under General Price, were nobly attempting to sustain themselves in the center, and were hotly engaged on the sides of the height upon which the enemy were posted. Far on the right Sigel had opened his battery upon Churchill's and Greer's regiments, and had gradually made his way to the Springfield road, upon each side of which the army was encamped, and in a prominent position had established his battery. I at once took two companies of the Louisiana regiment which were nearest me, and marched them rapidly from the front and right to the rear, with orders, to Colonel McIntosh to bring up the rest.

When we arrived near the enemy's battery we found that Reid's battery had opened upon it, and it was already in confusion. Advantage was taken of it, and soon the Louisianians were gallantly charging among the guns, and swept the cannoneers away. Five guns were here taken, and Sigel's command, completely routed, were in rapid retreat with a single gun, followed by some companies of the Texas regiment and a portion of Colonel Major's Missouri regiment of cavalry. In the pursuit many of the enemy were killed and taken prisoners, and their last gun captured.

Having cleared our right and rear, it was necessary to turn all our attention to the center, under General Lyon, who was pressing upon the Missourians, having driven them back. To this point McIntosh's regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Embry, and Churchill's regiment on foot, Gratiot's regiment, and McRae's battalion were sent to their aid. A terrible fire of musketry was now kept up along the whole side and top of the hill upon which the enemy were posted. Masses of infantry fell back and again rushed forward. The summit of the hill was covered with the dead and wounded. Both sides were fighting with desperation for the day. Carroll's and Greer's regiments, led gallantly by Captain Bradfute, charged the battery (Totten's), but the whole strength of the enemy were immediately in rear, and a deadly fire was opened upon them.

At this critical moment, when the fortunes of the day seemed to be at the turning point, two regiments of General Pearce's brigade were ordered to march from their position (as reserves) to support the center.