feet in the misty valley of Wilson's Creek was a large encampment of Confederate
cavalry still enjoying their sweet morning slumbers; with the exception of
some enterprising cooks hovering over the camp fires preparing
moment an artillery fire was opened from a high point about 2 miles distant,
and nearly in our front, from which Colonel Sigel was to have commenced his
as the sun had risen over the eastern horizon and was dispelling the morning
mist in the valley below us, the loud boom of a cannon came rolling down
the valley of the creek, and informed us that gen. Lyon had commenced the
action. Our guns having been in position for some time, we presented our
morning compliments to the Confederate cavalry below us in the shape of half
dozen shells. Gracious, how the boys tumbled out of their blankets and struck
a bee line for the nearest wood.
soon gave the order to fire, which was responded to with rapidity, but our
guns being on an elevation, and the Confederates being in a field which sloped
toward the creek, the shots passed over their heads, creating a stampede
but doing little, if any, damage to life or limb. In vain I and others urged
the artillerymen to depress the guns. Either from inability to understand
english, or, in the excitement, thinking it was only necessary to load and
fire, they kept banging away till the whole camp was deserted.
Julius von Spindler
courtesy of great grandson Fred Runkel
serving the pieces and the drivers consisted of infantry taken from the Third
Regiment, and were mostly recruits, who had only a few days'
taken by surprise, but nothing will put soldiers in battle positions quicker
than a bombshell and grapeshot whistling through the air.
began to send us his tokens of affection from our rear, and his rude behavior
was another astonishing surprise to us.
officer afterward told me about our first shell. When the pickets gave the
alarm of our approach, the rebel commander ordered his forces to "turn out".
An Arkansas Colonel was in bed when the order reached him, and lazily asked,
"Is that official?" Before the bearer of the order could answer, our shell
tore through the Colonel's tent, and exploded a few yards beyond it. The
officer waited for no explanation, but ejaculated, "That's official, anyhow,"
as he sprang out of his blankets, and arrayed himself in fighting
a scene of greatest confusion and alarm ensued. Some began hurrying here
and there after their horses; some were bridling and saddling those already
in camp; some were loading their cooking utensils; and baggage; some were
hitching their teams; some were getting their guns; some running to and fro
hardly knowing what they were after; and some were beginning to form a line
at the urgent calls of their respective officers.
Hale, who made no military pretensions, called out to his company: "Git in
a straight row, here, boys! This is the war you all have heard talked about!
Them's the cannon; them's the muskets; that great big screeching thing is
a bung-shell; and them little fellows that sing like bumble-bees, are
minie-balls! Git in a straight row; we're gwine to work, now!"
were aroused from our reverie with the warning "The foe, they come, they
Frank to a little sapling and told Mr. Rorrison that I would go to the ford
of the creek, some 200 yards distant, and wash my face...While at the creek
I heard a cannon shoot nearly in front of me. A shell passed over and burst
a little to the left of where Frank was tied.
large portion of our cavalry was cut off from our army. They were stampeded
by the sudden onslaught and was out of the scrape.
scampering of wagons and rushing to arms was never seen...
shell from the enemy's guns passed high over my head. I well remember the
screech of that missile as it cut through the air and lost itself in the
burst near me and shattered a comrade's arm.
from the gun of totten's battery which gave us notice that...The enemy was
upon us, burst when Colonel Kelly, Colonel James Edwards,...And Isaac Fulkerson,
of St. Charles, an old steamboat captain,...were sitting around a fire on
which their breakfast was cooking. It broke two metacarpal bones for Kelly,
gave Fulkerson a slight wound on the hand, and demolished the coffee
pulled off a pair of tight-fitting boots, the first time for several nights;
I thought I would never get them on. I fell over the benches in the straw
several times, but finally succeeded in getting them on.
the whole world had exploded when it burst, and I suspect old master thought
so too, for he turned and let out for home on his race horse, and he never
stopped until he got there. But my horse, he reared and snorted and flung
me right off where the (?) shell busted, and I thought I was killed.
A, Third Texas Cavalry, was an unadultered specimen from erin, of the name
of B. Thomas. Mr. Thomas rode an incorrigible horse, who would eat the tether
that bound him to a tree, and, being loose, he would devour whatever was
eatable in camp. This equine marauder had pursued his evil bent to such an
extent, that many of the victims had become exasperated, and declared if
Mr. Thomas did not devise means for securing the horse, they would kill him-the
horse. As Mr. Thomas would have rather suffered crucifixion, head down, than
to have been left afoot in Missouri, he procured a chain and padlock, with
which he managed to secure the marauder. When Sigel's battery opened, just
before dawn on that memorable morning, and the bugle rang out "to horse!"
Mr. Thomas discovered that the mechanism of his lock was not perfect, for
the "bloody thing wouldn't work."
Hale, of Company D, was rather rough-hewn, but a brave, patriotic old
man,...While he had some of the bravest men in his company that any army
could boast of, he had one or two...stalwart bullies who were exceedingly
boastful of their prowess, of the ease with which Southern men could whip
Northerners, five to one being about as little odds as they cared to
meet....While we were moving out in the morning...Captain Hale was coolly
riding along at the head of his company, these two men came riding rapidly
up, one man holding their reins while the other was pressed across the stomach,
as if they were in great misery..."Captain Hale, where must we go? We are
sick." Captain Hale looked around without uttering a word for a moment, his
countenance speaking more indignation than language could express. At last
he said, in his characteristic, emphatic manner: "Go to h--l, you d--d cowards!
You were the only two fighting men I had until now we are in battle, and
you're both sick. I don't care where you go.".....One of our men,...when
I was forming the company,...was so agitated that it was a difficult matter
to get him to call his number.
immediately marched down into the valley, crossed the creek, took down the
fence, marched through the farm, crossed another creek and took the road
alongside of the woods,...in quick time, by fours, as the road or lane was
fire with my carbines, for the purpose of distracting the attention of the
enemy, being at too great a distance to do much execution.
firing ourselves on the guard of a drove of cattle as they were crossing
Tyrell's Creek where it enters Wilson's Creek.
Armistead, of this county, a contractor for furnishing our army with beef,
was killed in his camp, when at breakfast, by a company of dragoons. Several
others, among them his son, Walter, was with with him, but made their
courtesy of "General Officers of the Civil War"
Churchill remained at his quarters in camp, giving orders to the men until
all had left. Sigel's line was entering our camp before he left. His orderly
had failed to saddle his horse, and he rode out barebacked, making quite
a narrow escape from capture. Major Harper took command and formed the line
in the road....
Brazil, who originally hailed from Buncombe County, Tar River, North Carolina.
Mr. Brazil had a dozen ears of green corn on the fire when Sigel opened the
matinee, which he swore he wouldn't leave for all the d--d dutch in hell...
Lyon's army was composed so largely of Germans, that they were not called
by the Confederates "Yanks", but "Dutch"....When Mr. Brazil was satisfied
the corn was cooked thoroughly, he took the dozen ears up in his arm, mounted
his "war hoss", and with his old musket, as long as a fence-rail, lying in
his lap, went joggling along in the direction he supposed the regiment had
taken...."Hello! My man!" Exclaimed an officer, as he (Mr. Brazil) rode up
to one of Sigel's regiments, "Where are you bound, so early?" "O, by --,"
exclaimed Brazil, with his mouth full of corn, "I'm q'wine to ketch me a
Dutchman, I am, you bet!" "Take him in, boys," fell upon the startled ears
of the astonished Brazil, like the knell of doom.
regiment, the 1st Arkansas Mounted Riflemen, to which I belonged, literally
ran out from under the fire of Sigel's artillery and, tying their horses
in the wood by the side of the Springfield Road, fell into line near Sharp's
house on foot. I had come in late from a scout the night before, and was
sound asleep when our camp was fired on. It was a complete surprise to me
at least, and I made the best time I could until I came up with the company
at Sharp's house.