Today in History:

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

Page 746 OPERATIONS IN MO, ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

upon Springfield. The latter was preferred, and orders issued on the evening of the 9th August to be ready for the march at 9 o'clock p. m., so as to bring on the attack at daylight on the 10th. At the hour named for the march there fell a little rain, with strong indications of more, which caused the order to march to be countermanded after a conference with General Price. That was thought to be prudent, as we had an average of only 25 rounds of ammunition to the man, and no more to be had short of Fort Smith or Baton Rouge. Not more than one man in four was furnished with anything better than bags made of cotton cloth in which to carry their cartridges. The slightest rain or wet would have almost disarmed us, as many of the men had nothing but the common shot-gun and rifle of the country, without bayonets. However, the enemy unwisely concluded to attack us in our position, which was well selected for the kind of arms we had to use against their long-range rifled muskets. On the morning of the 10th information of the approach of the enemy's advance down the creek was on followed by a precipitate retreat of a portion of General Rains' mounted men, mixed up with camp followers to the number of probably several thousand, and this, too, before the firing had begun. I mention these facts to show the unorganized condition of the Missouri forces, and what great risk we ran of a panic being communicated to the fighting men of the army by having such material among hem. Very nearly at the same time the enemy opened upon us both above and below on the creek, the two extremes of our camp being composed of mounted men from Missouri, whose duty it was to have kept pickets on the roads, both and below, on which the enemy advanced. I have never been able to learn who ordered these pickets to leave their posts, night before at 9 o'clock. Be that as it may, the fault was theirs, and not mine, that the enemy was allowed to approach so near before we were notified of it. However, I never considered anything lost by their manner of attack, as we never were in a better condition to make battle, every man being ready with gun in hand ot receive the enemy, when at other times thousands of our men would be miles from camp hunting something to eat for themselves and horses.

In thus going into details on this subject I wish to show how unreliable were a portion of the troops under General Price, but by no means do I wish to reflect upon the bravery of General Price himself, or his infantry and artillery, who fraught heroically at the battle of Oak Hills.

The battle over, it was ascertained that the camp followers, whose presence i had so strongly objected to, had at the same time had taken those left by the enemy. I tried to recover the arms thus lost by my men, and also a portion of those taken from the enemy, but in vain. General Pearcemade an effort to get back those muskets loaned to General Price before we entered Missouri the first time. I was informed he recovered only 10 out of the 615. I then asked that the battery be given me which was won by the Louisiana regiment at the point of the bayonet. The guns were turned over, by order of General Price, minus the horses and most of the harness. I would not have demanded these guns had General Price done the Louisiana regiment justice in his official report. The language used by him was calculated to make the impression that the battery was captured by him men instead of that regiment. My official report was written after General Price's was printed in Springfield. Let them both be read, and let unprejudiced men say which was best calculated to keep up a feeling

Page 746 OPERATIONS IN MO, ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.