Today in History:

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

Page 191 Chapter X. SIEGE OF LEXINGTON, MO.

the men maintaining a brisk skirmishing with decided effect upon the enemy. Climbing the rugged and precipitous height during the excessive heat of the day caused the men to suffer greatly for water, but nothing appeared to daunt their resolution, endurance, and valor. They had nighter blankets nor food, but they remained steadfastly at their posts during the entire night. In repelling these assaults I had the pleasure to recognize the gallant co-operation of Genera McBride and his command and the timely assistance of the batteries of Generals Rains and Parsons.

At 7.30 o'clock on the evening of the 18th instant, when a sally was anticipated from the enemy through the hospital position, designed to make a diversion favorable to the landing of anticipated Federal re-enforcement sand to burn steamers captured by us during the day, you were kind enough to afford me the valuable re-enforcements from General Steen's division, commanded by Majors Thornton and Winston, and the battery of Captain Kelly. The infantry I posted to strengthen the hospital position, and the artillery was so disposed as to command the wharf and the river. Colonel Congreve Jackson politely loaned me the use of a battalion commanded by Colonel Bevier, which I posted to cover the artillery. During the night I visited frequently the various positions of my command, and found both men and officers fully resolved and capable of maintaining themselves until morning.

On the 19th instant I moved Colonel MacDonald's command to the extreme left, thus perfecting my connection with General Rains' right flank. I directed a desultory fire to be kept up during the day by my sharpshooters along my entire front, and directed the line of some rude field fortifications. The commands of Colonel Green and Lieutenant-Colonels Hull and Brace, poorly provided with entrenching implements, perfected their defense wight astonishing perseverance. None contributed more to the zealous and efficient prosecution of the work than Lieutenant-Colonel Porter, of Colonel Green's regiment, who, although severely wounded in the head by a ball, continued to afford the most untiring example to the men by his zeal and self-sacrificing services. Where timber could be had as a shelter these field works could be constructed only at the expense of great physical exertion; but where the enemy had removed the means necessary for construction,t o extend the lines of defense involved great hazard of life. By a reconnaissance of the hospital position I became satisfied that the construction of flank defenses would afford greatly increased facilities for the annoyance of the enemy, while it would materially lessen the exposure of our men; but such had been the great exhaustion of our men, that I feared their power of endurance would be overstated should I impose this new task upon them. Captain Robinson, commanding the Callaway infantry, however, offered to attempt the task. I then directed Captain George A. Turner, of my staff, to request of you one hundred and thirty-two bales of hemp, which you promptly accorded. Captain Turner was intrusted with the general superintendence of transporting it to the points designated. To the extraordinary zeal, activity, and persevering industry of Captain Turner I feel under the greatest obligations. His services were invaluable to me during the entire engagement. I directed the bales to be wet in the river to protect them against the casualties of fire of our troops and of the enemy, but it was soon found that he witting so materially increased the weight as to prevent our men in their exhausted condition from rolling them to the crest of the hill. I then adopted the idea of wetting the hemp after it had bee transported to its position. In the arduous and extremely trying duty of transporting the hemp I

Page 191 Chapter X. SIEGE OF LEXINGTON, MO.