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

Page 748 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

Before separating from General Price I called on him twice, for the purpose of forming some plan upon which to meet the enemy. It was thought best for me to occupy some position between Pineville, which he was to fall back to if the enemy advanced, and the Telegraph road. This I did, and at the same time sent two regiments, under Colonel McIntosh, one from Texas and one from Arkansas, to a point some 30 miles in advance of my position. From these regiments scouts were thrown forward to and beyond Springfield, keeping me informed of the movements and strength of the enemy's forces as they arrived at that point. In the mean time General Price came again into the center of my column without giving me the least notice of his intention. I rode in the direction of his headquarters and met Governor Jackson, and suggested the propriety of a conference with General Price. We met next day at a point between the two armies, where it was agreed upon by all the Missouri generals that we should await an attack from the enemy, the ground to be selected by General Price and myself. The day after I want to see General Price, and we arranged a plan to co-operate in the event either was attacked. Soon my scouts brought the information of the advance of the enemy, 12,000 strong, under General Sigel, some 10 miles on the Telegraph road. I ordered back the two regiments under Colonel McIntosh, with directions to destroy the forage, also some mills that were useful to the enemy; in the mean time preparing to give the enemy a warm reception notwithstanding the disparity in our numbers, his being over 30,000, mine about 5,000, and General Price's about 12,000.

At this time General Price had fallen back to Pineville, in accordance with our agreement. I wrote him, proposing to draw the enemy, if he did advance and follow us, into Arkansas, to what is called the boston Mountain. If we could have effected this it would have doubled my force, by calling in my two regiments from Texas, then in the Indian Nation, and the Indian regiments also. This he objected to, saying his men would not consent to go out of the State of Missouri, at the same time expressing a desire to see me. I again met him, and told him if we fought the enemy where we were it would amount to nothing but a repulse of his infantry, as he would never bring his baggage wagons and artillery into so rough a country; whereas if he could be got down to the Boston Mountain, some 60 miles, we would get all his cannon, 120, and most of his army, with their arms. He said again his men would not leave the State; whereupon I agreed to fight them in our present position, though I believed it would result in little good to Missouri.

In a day or two my scouts brought me the news of the retreat of the enemy from Springfield; General Hunter towards Sedalia, with over 15,000 men; General Lane towards Kansas, with 4,000 men; and General Sigel towards Rolla, with 12,000 men. Whilst I was making ready to make a forced march with my best-shod horse to overtake the rear of General Sigel's column, who was three days behind the others in leaving Springfield, a note was handed me from General Price, asking me to join him in pursuing General Lane, who had carried off some 600 negroes belonging to the people of Missouri. I declined to join in the pursuit, on the ground that he could not be overtaken, he having some seven days and 100 miles the start of us. I informed General Price of my intention to make a forced march a forced march after General Sigel, but received no reply, nor did I hear anything more of his movements, except such as was brought by travelers, who are seldom to be relied upon. It has

Page 748 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.