rode up..."Gen McCulloch, are you going to attack Lyon or not?" Mcculloch
said that he was undecided. "Then," cried Price, "I want my own Missouri
troops, and I will lead them against Lyon myself if they are all killed in
the action, and you, Gen. McCulloch, may go where in the devil you
please!"....McCulloch yielded at last, and ordered the army to be in readiness
to move that night (august 9), at nine o'clock.
issued in the evening of the 9th of 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.
nine o'clock, our bugle sounded the call for "boots and saddles"...while
all this was going on,....the lightning was flashing, and the thunder was
commenced raining. Price's Missourians had no cartridge boxes.The riflemen
carried their ammunition mostly in their pockets; those with shotguns had
their powder horns and shot pouches.
that time a slight rain began to fall, and the order to march was countermanded,
the officers being instructed, however, to hold their men in readiness to
move at any moment.
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 gen price this 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
order came to protect our ammunition from the rain that began to pour down
about this time,....
to horse," as it were, all night, waiting for orders....
pickets guards being drawn in everything semed ready for such a move, but
for some cause unknown to me we were not marched off nor did we break up
supper but were not permitted to unsaddle our horses. We slept some, holding
our bridle reins in our hands.
our men, becoming weary with standing and waiting, lay down at the feet of
their horses, reins in hand, and slept.
one is weary, a blanket on the ground is just as comfortable as a bed under
a slate roof.
had orders to get ready to move at a moment's warning. After everything was
in readiness to move lieutenant dawson called to John Toomer and said: "John
get your fiddle and let's have a little dance and fun; it may be the last
time we will ever dance together." How true the prediction, for before the
morrow's sun had gone down their spirits, with those of the others killed,
had flown, and their bodies lay stark in death's icy embrace.
the order came to lie on our arms, being very tired, we tied our horses to
the blackjacks and rolled into the hazel brush whole-booted and
continued, but not heavy;...Though the rain ceased about eleven o'clock and
the night became fine, nothing was said about marching. Another postponement?
The suspense was becoming unbearable. The men sought the driest place they
could find to lie down. The weather looked better, and it was supposed that
we should march forward at dawn of the day.
position we remained until daybreak when we were ordered back to our camps.
When the "forward movement" commenced, our picket guards were ordered in
and we, expecting to move at any moment, the pickets were not sent out again.
Our men, having lost a night's sleep, when they reached their camps fell,
many of them, upon the ground and were soon asleep.
General McCulloch then revoked our marching orders and we all began hunting
sheltered places to sleep, but sleep was out of the question for I believe
every mosquito along wilson creek was on the warpath....
note - had it not rained this evening, one of the most bizarre situations
could have happened. Lyon's forces moved out of Springfield to the west,
then south to sneak up on the Confederates. Sigel moved south, then west.
The battle plan for McCulloch involved moving northeast along the wire road.
Had both gone through with their individual plans, both armies would have
shown up at opposing places the morning of the 10th, and effectively switched
positions without a shot fired. This would have put Lyon in a serious situation,
as he would have been completely cut off)
found some of the men up, starting fires to prepare coffee for breakfast,
while the majority were sleeping on the ground, and numbers of our horses,
having slipped their reins from the hands of the sleeping soldiers, were
grazing in the field in front of the camp.
dawn General Price sent me to ask General McCulloch what he proposed to do.
He and McIntosh returned with me to Price's quarters on the west side of
the creek, at the foot of bloody hill which sloped down toward us from the
north-west. As our breakfast of cornbread, lean beef, and coffee, was about
to be served, McCulloch and McIntosh were invited to share it.
E Young, MSG
of Confederate Veterans
I called up Parsons Creek, Sid a bright colored boy, the general's servant,
and whom he had brought with him from home. Sid soon had breakfast such as
it was, ready-roasting ears, coffee made of cornmeal browned and "sow" belly.
The general and I breakfasted together although I was a private soldier on
detail. The general had known me from infancy, and always treated me though
I was his own son. The general was a small eater, and was soon done, and
ordered his horse, a beautiful blooded bay, with black mane and tall black
legs, not a white hair on him, to be saddled. He sat there joking me about
my eating, and declaring that I ate so much it made me poor to carry it.
I was about the sparest-built man in camp. Capt. Standish, adjutant of staff,
being nearly as slim as myself, often said: "bob, you and I are safe if we
keep sideways to the enemy, for we are so thin we would split a bullet."
Cawthorne, who was in immediate command of rains' mounted brigade, sent out
a picket.... This picket had not advanced more than a mile and a half beyond
gibson's mill, when they discovered that an enemy was in their front.
the smoke hanging over the enemy's camp was fully before us.
Under Both Flags
a rude cabin near a cow-path, and in the door stood a group of children dressed
in their night clothes who had been roused from their beds by the commotion.
They looked with surprise at so many hunters all dressed alike, and evidently
wondered what particular game we were in search of. The innocents of Oak
Hill had not long to wait for sights and sounds which they would remember
for many a day.
riding three horses out to pasture....When a mounted stranger came riding
rapidly and shouted..."Children, get out of here: they'll be fighting like
hell in less than ten minutes."
learned...That some sort of a force was coming toward him from the northwest.
He accordingly directed Colonel Snyder, of his staff, to go and "see what
was the matter.".... Lyon, seeing that his approach was at last known to
the Confederates and that his further advance would be contested, now deployed
his men into line,...Snyder, on reaching the prairie, saw the federals
approaching. Hurrying back to Rains, he told him that the Federals were advancing
in great force, "their soldiers and cannon covering the whole prairie." Rains
ordered him to report the facts instantly to General Price.
was greatly alarmed when we came running to tell her what the stranger had
told us, for she knew the Confederate troops were encamped in a valley a
short distance from our farm,...She knew of course that there would be a
battle royal if General Lyon moved his troops from Springfield, ten miles
away, to meet the Southerners...."
courtesy of "Borderland Rebellion" by Elmo Ingenthron
coming up almost breathless with haste and excitement, said that Lyon was
approaching with twenty thousand men and 100 pieces of artillery, and was
then within less than a mile of rains' camp....McCulloch, believing that
this was "one of Rains' scares," told Snyder to say to that officer that
he would himself come to the front directly. In two or three minutes another
officer came dashing up and said that Rains was falling back before overwhelming
numbers, and needed instant and heavy reinforcements.
Gen James Rain's 8th division of the Missouri State Guard had a rough beginning.
At the battle of Carthage, they earned the nickname, "blackberry pickers"
when union forces surprised them while they were picking blackberry's and
sent them running. At Dug Springs, just a few days before the battle of Wilson's
Creek, union forces would discover the Confederate force approaching
Wilson's Creek. Rains division was in front of the confederate army,
and made a hasty retreat. For this action, McCulloch began using the term
"Rain's scare". And here at Wilson's Creek, Rains once again would have the
misfortune of being stationed in the spot the union army decided to surprise
attack from. But before the day was finished, Rain's men would prove
they were no cowards)
found father on the front porch. There he was holding the baby, calm as you
please, with mother trying to convince him that all of us would be killed
if we didn't run to cover. All she could get out of him was 'Roxanna, don't
be alarmed. Some fellow told the children this story to frighten them'...Just
as father was telling mother not to be alarmed all of us saw what appeared
to be a black line moving in the distance, and as we watched it we recognized
it as an army of marching men.
H, Captain Yates, was at once thrown out as skirmishers, closely followed
by the regiment in column of companies, and advancing up the hill, the action
was commenced by a shot from my skirmishers at 10 minutes past 5
thereupon retreated, and Lyon moved forward as rapidly as the ground would