was strange - all was silent! It must have been 9 o'clock a.M. or very near
to it, when the firing on both sides temporarily ceased....
the lull some of the Federals examine the abandoned Confederate camp)
of the tents were open - a musket with fixed bayonet being forced into the
ground, butt up, and the flap of the tent held open by being caught in the
flint lock....Half an hour later, some straggling parties from the 3d and
5th Missouri, set fire to some wagons and camp equipage.
Dr John Arnold's
Center Point Riflemen
courtesy of "John Harvey
Churchill's camp were then on fire: tents, and wagons, with mules tied to
them. The mules would pull back on the halters, and bray, and seem to beg
for mercy; but the halters would have to burn in two, or break, or they would
have to stand there, and burn to death. I saw mules burning, and pulling
on their halters, til finally they would have to give up and sink to the
ground, and die. Some times they would get loose, by the halter burning in
two, and they would start off with fire all over them.
victorious Confederate troops of Ray's cornfield move south toward
way to the centre we crossed the creek. In the stream were several dead and
wounded horses, and at the edge of the water were several wounded men who
had managed to crawl there....our men, parched with thirst, drank and filled
their canteens....Our major came along in great distress....he was in a sad
plight. His horse had been shot under him. It had fallen upon his leg and
hurt his foot, having partly rolled over on him....his clothes were all dirtied
and torn, and he had lost his hat. The sun was burning his head, which he
was trying to protect with his hand. "Here is a hat for you, Major!" cried
one of the boys, picking up a wretched old torn straw hat which had been
lost by some of the wagon drivers in the morning while hurrying back with
their wagons to the rear. The Major, seeming to think that at that time at
least the nature of the hat was of less importance than the preservation
of the head that was in it, said it would be better than nothing, and put
it on amid the laughter of the whole regiment.
courtesy of "3rd Louisiana Infantry History"
3rd Louisiana, Col Hebert, came down the road at a quickstep, as fine a body
of troops as ever made a track.
was on the right as usual, and Colonel McIntosh rode by my side. Colonel
McIntosh, though very affable and pleasant in his manner, had nevertheless
something so commanding in his deportment that he carried men with him in
spite of themselves, and, although I would just as soon have been somewhere
else than to be the first man marching up to that battery, yet I felt that
I would rather die three times over than display the slightest fear under
the eye of that man.
following him came Col. Churchill with his Ark. Regt, ...they were also anxious
and eager to try their mettle. I will never forget how confident and proud
they quickstepped down the road,.....Col Churchill rode up and down his line
looking as proud as a peacock. He was dressed in a common blouse, white hat
with a long black feather....
moved onwards we passed Price's battery, which was silenced. The place here
showed signs of rough work; the ground was much ploughed up by cannon shot,
and the dead and wounded lay thick. The place was enveloped in smoke from
the burning grass and debris....This was all the better for us, as it hid
our approach from the enemy.
William H Tunnard
Co K Pelican
courtesy of 3rd Louisiana Infantry History
battery had taken a position within point-blank range of Sigel's guns, with
the disadvantage of being in the valley. As the Louisiana Regiment passed
this battery to charge the enemy's guns, only a single man stood near it,
his head bandaged with a red handkerchief, his face and person blackened
with powder and smeared with blood. One gun was upset, the ammunition-wagon
scattered in pieces around, the horses lying around dead, horribly mangled,
the ground trodden down in many places, and, in others, torn up by the plunging
shot, actually grimson with gore. As the regiment passed the spot, the men
exclaimed, "Give it to them boys. They have ruined our battery, killed our
men and our ammunition is gone." He looked the impersonification of one of
war's grim demons. That scene will not soon be forgotten by those who witnessed
got to the center we found that a large number of Price's troops were falling
back down the hill in confusion. Colonel McIntosh was immediately amongst
them. "Back, back, men, and stand to your colors. Why, here is a brigade
that has already thrashed the enemy's regulars and cut them to pieces, and
they are now come to help you." The men immediately rallied round him,....General
McCulloch then rode up, and saying something to Colonel McIntosh, the latter
turned the 2nd and 3rd Arkansas regiments up the hill to the support of price,
while McCulloch himself led our regiment towards the left and against the
battery on the enemy's right.
marched until we were within thirty or forty yards of this battery, which
was on a steep hill.
and his men were in blissful ignorance of all that was happening in their
front. For between them and the valley, in which their foes were gathering,
stood a dense wood through whose luxuriant undergrowth no eye could pierce.
Now and then a skirmisher, or an adventurous officer, would make his way
to the bluff which overhung the little stream, and catch sight of the smoke
that darkened bloody hill, and sometimes one more daring than the rest would
venture far enough to see indistinctly what was going on in the upper part
of the valley, towards the ford. At last one of these saw a gray-coated regiment
hurrying down the road toward Skegg's Branch. Knowing that the First Iowa
wore a gray uniform, he at once concluded that this must be the First
at some distance in front of the command, I saw a body of men moving down
the valley toward us, from the direction we last heard Gen. Lyon's guns.
was reported to me by Dr. Melcher and some of our skirmishers that Lyon's
men were coming up the road.
along the bank we went cautiously, under cover of the smoke and keeping below
the range of fire, the general leading the way. We got so close that we could
see the muzzles of the guns and a body of infantry in a hollow to the left
of the battery.
smoky, and objects at a distance could not be seen very distinctly....Sigel
could not see them. Not seeing their colors, I suggested to Sigel that he
had better show his, so that if it was our men they might not mistake us
- Sigel's brigade not being in regulation uniform.
near the top of the hill I ordered a halt, and went up to see the position
of the enemy,...I was much surprised to find myself in front of and about
fifteen feet of the battery.
Sigel turned and said; "Color-bearer, advance with your colors, and wave
them - wave them three times."
waved their flags instead, in joyful welcome.
to Col Sigel
courtesy of "Gateway Heritage" Vol 7, Number 2 Fall 1986 from article "Sigel's
Flanking Column:Costly Mistake at Wilson's Creek" by Alfred von Rohr
order was being obeyed, Lieut. Farrand, with his orderly, arrived from the
Arkansas camp, each bearing a Rebel guidon, which they had found, and with
which they had found, and with which they rode from the right of the line,
near Sharp's house, directly in front of the color-bearer of Sigel's
in the morning, when the fight first commenced, captured Gen. Churchill's
flag, and for quite awhile fooled Gen. Pearce and Capt. Reed's battery with
that flag. When our battery fired upon them they would wave the flag, Capt.
Reed fired upon them once or twice with his battery, and they brought up
the flag again. Gen. Pearce was near on his horse and Capt. Reed said to
him: "I will not fire upon them any more, they are our own men. "General
Pearce said, "i will go and see."....He was gone only a few minutes, came
back and said, "Dog-gone you, fire on them, I say." They fired four pieces
of artillery from five to six times a minute for about five minutes.
attacked him, under my personal orders and supervision. Sigel's movement
was a bold one, and we really could not tell, on his first appearance (there
having been no fight with Churchill), whether he was friend or foe....But
with a glass I had already discovered that the troops were Federals - the
flag-bearer in climbing the fence let go its folds, and the wind extending
the flag, I saw that it was the stars and stripes, and at once, ordered Capt.
Reed to open on them....
in this moment expected with anxiety the approach of our friends, and were
waving the flag, raised as a signal to their comrades, when at once two batteries
opened their fire against us, one in front, placed on the Fayetteville Road,
and the other upon the hill on which we had supposed Lyon's forces were in
pursuit of the enemy,...When Bledsoe's battery again opened against us, it
did little harm, but Reed's battery enfilated our whole line with its
we could not see opened with grape, making a great deal of noise as the shot
struck the fence and trees, but not doing much damage...except to scare the
men, who hunted for cover like a flock of young partridges, suddenly disturbed.
The confusion was very great, many of the men saying, "It is Totten's
battery!"....The impression seemed to be general that Totten was firing into
us, after seeing the rebel guidons of Farrand,...
separating his force, Sigel had no idea what was happening with Lyon. Assuming
Lyon was advancing and the Rebels had been defeated, Sigel and his men were
convinced that they were now being mistaken as Confederate and Lyon's artillery
was in fact attacking him. Early in the war, the distinctive blue and grey
uniforms that would distinguish the armies in later conflicts, was not in
place. The Iowa 1st wore grey uniform's and it was this unit that Sigel thought
was advancing toward them from the north. Unknown to Sigel, the Iowa First
was still on Bloody Hill, and the Louisiana 3rd, also dressed in grey, was
advancing to attack his position)
Tod, a private of co. K,...skipped out from the ranks, and walked down the
bluff a few steps and asked in a loud voice: "Who are you?"
man appeared on the edge of the hill. The General then ordered us to halt,
and asked the man whose forces those were. He replied, "Sigel's Regiment,"
at the same time raising his rifle to shoot, but ere he had time to execute
his design the sharp crack of a Mississippi Rifle carried a messenger of
death to him.
courtesy of 3rd Louisiana Infantry History
he got was a rifle shot, which pierced his forehead and killed him
thus to corporal Henry Gentles, of my company, belongs the honor of having
saved the General's life....The general then turned to me and said, "Captain,
take your company up and give them hell."
Lieut. Emile Thomas, the only officer of his company that had the grit to
stay, to reform the men....a confederate cavalry battalion suddenly appeared
in our front, on the line of retreat. For a moment the two commands gazed
upon each other, and then came a terrible rattle of musketry, and a great
hubbub and confusion in the direction of Sigel's command, which was just
around a bend in the road to the rear.
battalion in line crawled up the bluff of Skegg's Branch on our left flank.
Only our left flank files could see them-they were in grey uniform; some
one shouted, "Don't shoot! They are the 1st Iowa, sent by General Lyon,"....they
were the 3rd Louisiana Infantry, and when within fifteen paces of us, fired
fire was poured upon the infantry and the guns simultaneously, and our men
rushed forward and drove the artillerymen from the guns. They were taken
completely by surprise and broke in confusion. Some of the artillerymen did
succeed in limbering up, but horses and men were shot down before they could
courtesy of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, unknown donator
struck by a piece of cannister on my breast, but my breast was protected
by my blanket being rolled and carried on my shoulder. But I was knocked
senseless, and fell in the middle of the Fayetteville Road.
immediately fell back, and they fired two guns over us; the shot from one,
as I afterwards learned, struck your horse as you were leading the left to
our support. I then ordered, "Fire," when all fired and charged the
on the brow of the hill, Lieutenant Lacey, of the Shreveport Rangers, sprang
on a log, waved his sword, and called, "Come on, Caddo!"
all sides we were showered with gunfire and rifle fire. All who valued their
lives sought shelter as quickly as possible.
hundred of the gray-coated Third Louisiana dashing up the steep bluff with
McCulloch and McIntosh at their head, and Rosser and O'Kane's Battalion
following, broke through the thick brush, and charged right upon the Federal
"They (Lyon's troops) are firing against us," spread like wildfire through
passing harmlessly over the heads of the infantry, knocked the greater number
of the drivers of the artillery out of the saddle, and the fright produced
on the horses by the rattle of the musketry added to the discomforture of
the drivers; made them plunge, as with one accord, into the infantry columns
of the Third Missouri Volunteers,.....it hurt our artillery horses and
principally the drivers. One poor wheel driver got eight bullets in him and
lived an hour. The artillery horses rushed into our infantry column, and
we instantly were a big crowd of men, horses, guns and caissons all mixed
together, all running to the south,...
Duster...was ordered to dismount.....He fell to the ground, when a Dutchman
stabbed him with a bayonet, which went through his shoulder and grated on
the rocks below. As the Dutchman aimed to withdraw his bayonet, Buster caught
the gun and was pulled to his feet. Being a very large and stout man, he
held on to him until several of the boys were upon him and gave him
a taste of bayonets, which ended him.
twinkling, men, horses, wagons, guns, all enveloped in a cloud of dust, rushed
toward us, and in spite of Lieut. Thomas' utmost efforts, Company F started
with all speed down the Fayetteville Road toward the Confederate cavalry.
The latter, seeming to think that they were being charged upon, wheeled and
got out of the way very quickly!
was nothing left for us but to run, and run we did like good fellows.
courtesy of 3rd Louisiana Infantry History
tried to rally and retake the guns, but were driven back by our fire, and
they retreated away through some corn-fields.
mounted myself, on finding an old gentleman sitting by the road with his
whole lower jaw shot off. I quietly took the reins of a saddle horse out
of his hands and gently told him he would not use a horse in heaven, while
I needed his horse on earth.
around, one of the first men that I saw at the guns was Colonel McIntosh.
That man seemed to be everywhere. After getting the two Arkansas Regiments
set to work in the center, he had galloped over to join in the attack on
the battery. But we had quickly to stand back from the guns. A shot from
one of our own batteries killed two of our own men (one of them a Captain),
knocking a spoke out of a wheel, and making a deep dent in one of the guns.
Reid's Battery on our left was still playing on this battery, and did not
know that it had been taken.
from Reed's battery (which was ours) made us give way once, and killed Captain
Hinson and his brother-in-law, Private Whetstone, of the Morehouse
the enemy's battery after a fire of about three minutes.
a funny sight to see them running about in confusion.
with other prisoners, was compelled to take from the field a cannon. We went
south from the battlefield down the main road. After going some distance
we turned to our left and came to a large mill pond....we ran the cannon
in the pond and left it there.
four others were captured before sunrise, at a spring where they had gone
for water, and placed for safe-keeping in a Dutch Regiment, under full fire
from their friends. In the fortunes of the contest they were forced near
a battery on the summit of a sharp hill which ran down into our camps. Watching
their opportunity they seized one of the cannons, a six-pounder, and away
they went down the declivity at a rattling rate, under heavy fire from both
armies, Waddell mounted on the piece, and all of them yelling like wild Indians.
They came triumphantly into our lines, with but one of them slightly
Murray. He was taken prisoner by Sigel while executing an order, and as soon
as the enemy commenced retreating before the galling fire of the Bledsoe
Artillery he mounted one of their cannon and cheered the Louisiana Regiment,
exclaiming that the enemy was in full retreat.
pursued by Greer's Texas Rangers and run down and shot in the cornfield like
cowboy's after jack rabbits.
finding myself with my company alone, I retired in a southerly direction,
and accidentally meeting one of the guides (Mr. Crenshaw), who had been employed
in taking us to the enemy's camp, I forcibly detained him until I could collect
some of the troops, whom I found scattered and apparently lost.
brigade, which left St. Louis two months before so full of promise, was now
an irrepable wreck.
with WF Steele)
on the lawn, in the space between the walnut tree and the rosebrush, thirty-five
men fell in a death agony.......A man of Sigel's regiment, a mere boy with
fair German face, lay dead there with his arms wrapped around the tree trunk
and his head against it.
courtesy of Civil War family photo's and Richard Pollard
in the rear of the battery was a pretty substantial farm-house with extensive
barns and out-houses. All the buildings were completely riddled by the shot.
I was sent with a small party to search all the houses, in case some of the
enemy had taken refuge or hidden themselves there. We found several of the
enemy in a hay loft who surrendered as prisoners. I forced the back-door
of the dwelling-house which was locked and entered the kitchen. Several cannon
shots had passed through it, and the floor was strewn with dust and broken
crockery. I examined the other rooms but found nobody. I was about to retire
when one of the boys called to me that here was a stair down to a cellar
and we might catch some one down there. I went down, and caught a tartar.
A women jumped up and confronted me. "What do you want here? Get out..."
she cried, as she launched into a tirade of abuse about how their house and
property had been destroyed and themselves almost killed. I desired her to
compose herself, as I was only looking to see if any of the enemy had taken
refuge there. Looking round the place, I saw a younger woman, a man, and
some children who were crouched in a corner behind some barrels and a large
pile of apples. "Is that your husband?" Said I. "Yes, he is my husband and
them is my children." "Oh, very well, we will not molest you further," said
I, calling out to the boys, who were helping themselves to the apples, to
desist, and we turned to go upstairs. "Oh, take the apples," said she, "take
a plenty of them; take them all if you like. Are you Lincoln's folks or Jeff
Davis' folks?" "Jeff Davis' folks," said I. She then asked if the fuss was
over. I said I did not know, but that I thought it would be over at this
part of the field, as we had taken the enemy's guns that had been in the
front of her house. "Then burn the pesky things," said she. "My head is split
to pieces, and the children has got fits, and my old man has got quite deaf
with the big noise of them." I felt like saying that, considering her gift
of speech, a worse thing might have happened to the old man. But the old
man, having regained his hearing and a little assurance, asked me as we were
ascending the stair if it would be safe for them now to come up, as they
had been down there ever since the fuss began. I said it would, but if they
heard firing to go down again. They were quite safe in the cellar from any
kind of shot, but that a shell, if exploding in it, might have set the house
on fire. The old woman was up first, but on seeing the wreck, and looking
out and seeing the dead men and horses lying in front of the house, she broke
out in a greater fury than ever. Who was going to pay for all this? Who was
going to take away them dead folks and dead horses? Was she to have them
lying stinking round her house? So that I was glad to get away and join the
regiment, which was now forming to proceed to another part of the field.
with Dr. Smith, Gen. Rains' division surgeon, looking for wounded...
surgeons were among those taken prisoner. One was released by Dr. Melcher,
who afterward accompanied him to the rebel camp,....
story - Totally oblivious to the battle ahead of them, supply wagon's from
Arkansas approached the south end of the battlefield, northbound on the
Fayetteville Road just as Sigel's men panicked and began to run south. As
Sigel's men crested the hill, the approaching Rebel's thought they were being
attacked, turned their wagon's and rushed south also. Thus, for a few moments
you had Southener's running from Northerner's running from
"the Wilson's Creek Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour" by Major George Knapp
and published by Combat
Studies Institute. The US Army and the National Guard use battlefields
like Wilson's Creek to assist in teaching military history to its