Flag Meaning
Union Forces

Bloody Hill starts to earn its new name


6:00 am

Lyon's men crest the hill Woodruff's cannons slow Union advance


General McCulloch....ordered us to Price's relief. We marched along the Springfield Road, down a hill....crossed a small stream, and, coming out into the open near a log house (afterwards used as a hospital), we were fronted into line, ordered to fix bayonets, and reserve our fire. We were then ordered at double-quick.


...we were ordered to proceed to the right of Woodruff's Battery. As we passed the battery we saw it had got into position, and the artillerymen bringing water from the creek to fill their sponge-buckets and prepare for action.


Observing a Federal regiment, uniformed in gray, advancing in fine order....having an excellent opportunity to enfilade it....We opened on it with the effect of breaking...and scattering it its full length...


Across the creek, which was not very far, perhaps about a third of a mile, a battery of artillery made a specialty of our ranks, opening out thunderously. We all lay down on the ground, and for some time the shells, round shot and canister were playing closely over our heads. Some few of the canister fell into our ranks. They were coarse cast-iron balls, about an inch and a half in diameter. Where they struck in the ground the boys hunted for them with their hands. The shells were shrapnels, being filled with leaden balls run together with sulphur. Our company did not have much to do for a while in the way of shooting....


As the position of the enemy's guns was masked, the gunners of my pieces were obliged to give direction to their pieces by the flash and the smoke of the opposing artillery.

James Butler Hickok

later to be known as

"Wild Bill Hickok"

photo courtesy Cal-Neva


"It was the first time I was ever under artillery fire, and I was so frightened that I couldn't move for a minute or so, and when I did go back the boys asked me if I had seen a ghost."


...the well-directed galling fire of Woodruff's Battery checked the Federal advance.


He was greatly assisted from the beginning by Woodruff, who had with true soldierly instinct thrown his pieces into battery on the bluff east of the ford, at the first sound of Totten's guns, and opened upon Lyon a fire, which checked his advance and gave the Missourians time to reach Cawthorn's position and form their line of battle there.


...He halted...and there lost his opportunity for success...For it gave our men time to recover from their surprise, to rally and form and fall upon him.


This battery was the same that was commanded by Captain Bragg at the battle of Buena Vista; and it was fighting Captain Totten of the same battery, who deserted the Southern cause in May, 1861. Here were two captains, who had stood side by side and worked the same guns, on many a hard-fought field, occupying opposite heights, and fighting each other with all the energy they could command.

Blue & Grey

His battery and ammunition was the property of the Federal government...


Woodruff's Little Rock Battery...The guns of this battery...were some of the identical pieces commanded by Capt. Braxton Bragg at Buena Vista, at the time Gen. Taylor rode up to him and delivered that memorable speech, beautiful for its brevity and impressiveness, "A little more grape, Capt. Bragg."


...A concentration of fire began in our neighborhood near the cannon. The duel was very interesting...


....The explosions of the artillery became one continuous roar that only now and then was broken enough to distinguish the sound of single guns.


....Lieutenant Weaver...received the death wound by a cannonball while sighting his gun.

Lt Omar Weaver

Pulaski Arkansas Battery

photo courtesy The Civil War in Arkansas


Weaver had been serving a gun of his section in person, rather than entrust the duty to others. The performance of such a duty is exhausting labor. He had just arisen from the act of directing a piece, and steeped aside from the gun...when a shell struck him on the right breast and shoulder, inflicting a ghastly wound....Cook at once went to Weaver's side, but seeing that he could not do anything for him, stepped back to his post and resumed his duties as cooly, as though nothing had happened. Weaver remarked to those around him "it is all up with me." He was then carried to a place of shelter....On being placed upon a pallet, the heroic youth, dying in the morning of life....uttered no complaint, gave vent to no murmur...Turning his eyes to the faces of his friends, he merely said with grave distinctness "Return to your posts", then pressing the hand of lt Brown, he added to him a last whisper "Louis, remember your promise."

(Lt Weaver and Lt Brown had promised each other, that if the other fell in battle, the living would see the other was buried at home. True to his word, Lt Brown and Pvt George Merrick took the body of 24 year old Omar Weaver home to his family in Little Rock,  Arkansas, where he was interred)


In a little while two pieces of artillery were run up on the ridge between our company and the company on the right.


The second battery or section of the enemy observed my movement, and opened fire on us. We were able to answer the enemy's third or fourth shot.


When we saw the puff of the artillery we dodged and went down flat, and in the course of fifteen minutes gained so much confidence that we felt no hesitation in walking around and seeing what we could see, knowing that we could dodge the artillery ammunition....We could see the shells in the air when they were coming toward us, and calculate their routes.

Capt James Totten

Co F 2nd US


photo courtesy of "Borderland Rebellion" by Elmo Ingenthron


....The cannonade with the hostile battery was continued half an hour or more, with the double purpose of checking it and for the effect on his infantry lines behind.

(interesting note - before the war, William Woodruff Jr had learned artillery in Little Rock, Arkansas from Battery Commander....James E Totten. Totten cast his lot with the Union, abandoning his guns in Little Rock. It was thee guns, and his former friends that he now faced in battle)


One of the large roan artillery horses was standing back of the gun and over the crest of the hill. A shell from the battery in front of us struck this horse somehow and tore off his shoulder. Then began the most horrible screams and neighing I ever heard. I have since that time seen wounded horses, and heard their frantic shrieks, and so have all the other soldiers, but the voice of this roan horse was the limit; it was so absolutely blood-curdling that it had to be put to an end immediately. One of the soldiers shot the horse through the heart.

Blue and Gray

The men and the horses were long associated together, and the latter were regarded as pets, somewhat after the fashion of those attached to the fire-engines in our large cities. While the cannon were at work the horses were sheltered in rear of the high ground,....

"M" under letters by Kansas Troops

As we moved over a hill which brought a part of the enemy's camp in full view, the fierce rattle of musketry to our left, in a cornfield, told us that the engagement was becoming more general.

 MO    KS    IA    

 MO     AR    LA    TX  

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