Today in History:

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


Numbers 32. Report of Brigadier General N. B. Pearce, commanding First Division, Army of the Arkansas.

Camp near Springfield, Mo., August 11, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagement of yesterday:

At about 5 o'clock a.m. one of my escort came hastily into camp and informed me that the enemy were in force a short distance to the east of camp. About the same time Captain Carroll informed me that General McCulloch had received information of their approach on the west. I immediately formed the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infantry, Arkansas Volunteers, and posted them as follows: The Fourth and Fifth on the heights to the east to support Reid's battery, which had been ordered posted there. Woodruff's battery was ordered to take position on the eminence north of camp, and the Third Infantry ordered to support it. I took position with the Fourth and Fifth Infantry and Reid's battery, holding Captain Carroll's company of cavalry in reserve in the ravine. Soon the enemy (General Sigel's brigade) appeared in our rear in the field formerly occupied by General Churchill's cavalry. They had infantry, cavalry, and artillery, but being some distance off, I was unable to determine the character of this force, as they displayed no flag until the marched across the field and had fired several rounds with their artillery. With a glass I discovered the Stars and Stripes unfurled, and at once ordered Captain Reid to open on them, which he did with terrific effect. I am informed the enemy lost several killed and wounded, and several artillery horses killed by this fire enabled the infantry of Colonel Hebert's regiment to charge and take the battery. The movement of the enemy's appearing to be directed to our left, I ordered Colonel F. A. Rector to take command of the Fourth and three companies of the Fifth and support the battery, and hold his position at all hazards. Colonel McIntosh informed me that the enemy was pressing our right, on the west. I sent two pieces of artillery from Reid's battery and seven companies of the Fifth to their assistance, and went myself and took the Third, Colonel Gratiot commanding, and led it into action. Here was the fiercest and most terrific part of the battle. Here our volunteers met and repulsed the regular troops of the Federal Army. Colonel McIntosh arrived with the artillery and seven companies of the Fifth, and entered into the fight with all the vigor and determination of veterans. I deem it lost time for me to attempt to sound the praises of the brave and chivalrous McIntosh. Always in the midst of the fight cheering and leading his men forward to victory, his name and conduct were a host in our behalf.

In this part of the engagement many of the gallant Third fell. We mourn the loss of the gallant Captain Bell, the chivalrous and gentlemanly Captain Brown, the noble and brave Lieutenant Walton. Among our wounded are Lieutenant-Colonel Neal, of the Fifth Infantry, and Major Ward, of the Third. A full report of casualties is hereto appended. Captain Woodruff's battery was engaged early in the action against Totten's (Federal) battery, and drove it back, and afterwards, when the enemy were retreating, did efficient service by playing on them in their retreat. We are pained here to have to record the death of Lieutenant Weaver, of this battery, who acted gallantly, and received the death-wound by a cannon ball while sighting his gun.