Flag Meaning
Union Forces

The quiet on Bloody Hill that had given Sigel the impression Lyon had won, was both armies taking a needed rest. Sigel had been attacked about the same time the battle on Bloody Hill resumed.


8:10 am

Union forces prepare for assault MSG launches 2nd attack on Lyon


During a lull in the action, by General Pearce's order, the battery was limbered up and moved to more elevated ground some one hundred yards to the right and rear of the first position.


There was for a short time a dead silence in both armies, except the low tone of command given by the officers in each line, which was distinctly heard by the men opposite.


During this lull the enemy appeared to be reorganizing, and Lyon concentrated his own forces into a more compact form on the crest of the ridge.


The First Missouri now took its position in front, upon the crest of a small elevated plateau. The First Kansas was posted on the left of the First Missouri, and separated from it some 60 yards on a account of a ravine. The First Iowa took its position on the left of the First Kansas while Totten's battery was placed opposite the interval between the First Kansas and First Missouri. Major Osterhaus' battalion occupied the extreme right,...


....The 2nd Kansas was held in reserve just in the rear of the Bald Knob...


Scarcely had these dispositions been made when the enemy again appeared in very large force along our entire front and moving towards each flank.


The stillness was finally broken by the enemy giving the order to move forward; I heard the word given distinctly.

Blue and Gray

Shortly after eight o'clock a great commotion was heard in front-the loud voices of command and the crackling of branches. "Here they are again!" "Here they come!" rang out from rank to rank,....

One Who Was There

Capt. Chenoweth commands the six companies on the right of the first; the four on the left seem without a leader.... Capt. Totten asks anxiously, "Who commands this division?" No one responds, and he repeats the question. Still no answer; and passing in front of the division, he asks: "Men, will you support this battery?" There is a shout of assent, but hardly has the echo died away, when "This battery" opens on the advancing columns of the foe.


In about forty minutes they moved to attack us, slowly at first, but faster as they came nearer, they halted to fire on us. But they were too far away for us to do them any damage. We sheltered ourselves behind the rim of the hill and very little damage was done.


At this moment our whole line advanced upon the enemy, when another general and bloody engagement ensued.

Eyewitness to Weekly Democrat

This pause is of short duration and the fight is resumed by the First Kansas and Osterhaus and Capt. Steele's battalions....Gen Lyon follows just in the rear of the right wing, far to the right, accompanied by myself and three orderlies. As we descend the hill we observe a regiment of Confederates drawn up in line on our right and facing the right flank of the Iowans....


...I called General Lyons attention to the line, he stopped and rode toward them. Three officers advanced, and asked who we were.

Maj Emmet MacDonald


photo courtesy of "Borderland Rebellion" by Elmo Ingenthron


A party of horsemen came out in front of this line of the enemy and proceeded to reconnoiter. General Price and Major Emmett MacDonald (who had sworn that he would not cut his hair till the Confederacy was acknowledged) were easily recognized. General Lyon started as if to confront them, ordering his party to "Draw pistols and follow" him, when the aide protested against his exposing himself to the fire of the line, which was partly concealed by the mass of dense underbrush, and asked if he should not bring up some other troops. To this Lyon assented....


After Colonel Burbridge had dressed his line, general clark rode down the line and ordered us to hold our fire until we could see the whites of their eyes, then to aim at their belt buckles. The federals had turned over the crest of the hill from us, and we could hear the officers' commands while dressing their line. In a few minutes they came over the hilltop at quick time. When they had gotten about half way from the top of the hill to the brush, they were then in plain view of Guibor's Battery on our right and McBride's rifles on our left. A simultaneous fire from our rifles, Guibor's Battery, and McBride's men mowed down so many of them that they scampered back over the hilltop. As soon as we reloaded our guns General Clark ordered us to charge them. We charged to the top of the hill, where we could plainly seem them formed ready to receive us, both front and reserve lines. We exchanged shots with them, then fell back to our friendly brush to reload, with the Feds in hot pursuit;....


(Lyon)...rode back to where our regiment, the 1st Kansas, was lying in reserve. He ordered the regiment immediately forward, marching us up the rear of the hill in the rear of Totten's and DuBois' Batteries, thence to the right to the brow of the hill...

One Who Was There

...The right of the First laying close down to the ground, and partly hidden by the brushwood. Col. Blair, of the Second, is watching closely their advance, and as the long line of grey emerges over the brow of the hill, he shouts his order - "Attention, battalion - fire low," ending off with an expletive more forcible than polite. A sheet of fire ran along the line; again the batteries belch forth their heavy thunder, and the rattle of small arms becomes incessant and terrible.

Writer from Iowa 8-22-61

Scarcely had the brave fellows formed a line of battle, when a most terrific fire was opened upon them by a larger force of Rebels concealed in the brush not over ten rods in front of them. Col. Dietzler immediately ordered his men...to lie down and wait until they could see the rascals, then take good aim and "Fire low, and give them hell."


The underbrush was so thick that a line of troops came up within twenty yards of my guns before I saw them, and nearly carried my guns. This only lasted twenty minutes, but it was very bloody.

New York Tribune

The three latter (H,I,K) were afterward placed in ambush by Capt. Granger of the Regulars. Lying down close to the brow of the hill, they waited for another attempt of the enemy to retake their position. On they came in overwhelming numbers. Not a breath was heard among the Iowans till their enemy came within thirty-five or forty feet, when they poured the contents of their minie muskets into the enemy, and routed them, though suffering terribly themselves at the same time. Two Kansas companies afterward did the same thing on the eastern slope, and repulsed a vigorous attack of the enemy.

Captain Francis M Cockrell

Missouri State Guard

later Brig Gen CSA

photo courtesy of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield


...We marched four abreast up to within fifty or seventy-five yards of the enemy's line unseen, in consequence of the Federal line being on the center of the ridge, and on the side of the ridge there was an offset with brush along it which enabled us to march that close without detection. We then turned to the right....as soon as we could get to the front, and I do not think we were over forty steps from the enemy, I heard his voice ordering 'Charge!'...I repeated it, and our three companies rushed up and got very nearly on the same ground on which the enemy had been standing...One of my men was shot dead and fell by the side of a Federal soldier.


...They kept coming toward us, firing as they came. When they got within range of our guns, we jumped to the top of the hill and took a hand ourselves....

One Who Was There

On the right, the rattle of musketry is growing fierce.... Nearer and nearer comes the storm, and then again the contest rages all along the line. On our right, the hardy second....To the left are the brave Iowans, moving with a firm and steady tread to the front.


...Regular infantry, under Capt. Steele, which had been detailed to the support of Lieutenant DuBois' battery, was during this time brought forward to the support of Captain Totten's Battery.


Totten's Battery was the center and key to the enemy's line, ....This was a strong position, and it was up this hill and against these Regulars that we were sent.....We got up rather close to Totten's battery, when a perfect storm of shot from the Regulars met us, and for a moment it looked like the whole regiment was either killed or wounded. We were stunned and staggered, and fell back. We went up a second time, with the same result, only this time we were firing at will....The infantry supporting the battery advanced when we fell back....


I cautioned our men to be ready, to take good aim, and not waste a shot. My order was obeyed in a most handsome and gallant style. The enemy reeled, tottered, and fell from one end of the line to the other.


About 9 o'clock Colonel Burbridge received a severe minie-ball wound on the head, which momentarily stunned him. As he fell from his horse he was caught by David H. Stewart and George A. Mudd, who carried him to the field hospital. Almost as he fell he gave, in a quick, ringing tone, the command: "Missourians, never run!" A moment later he ordered Major Clark to "Lead the men nearer the enemy, and pay no regard to me." Five minutes after Stewart and Mudd returned to the line the former was struck by a minie-ball, which passed through his body from side to side, injuring in its course one of the lumbar vertebra...Ten minutes after Mudd returned from bearing stewart to the rear, a shot plowed through the brachial muscle of his left arm.


...The Kansas First occupied this ground for over two hours...were ordered to charge the enemy...driving the enemy...and returning to the main force, when threatened by a flank movement, at their own imminent peril, and with considerable loss of life. While leading this charge, Col. Deitzler had his horse shot under him and was himself severely wounded.

Capt Powell Clayton

Co E

1st Kansas

photo courtesy of "General Officers of the Civil War"

Leavenworth Times 8-23-61

When Col. Deitzler led the charge down the hill after discovering that a large force of the enemy was closing into the right and left in an effort to surround his little force, he ordered a retreat. Amid the noise and confusion of the constant firing of musketry and roaring of artillery, the order was not heard by Capt. Clayton, who continued to advance until he came to the brow of the hill, where he discovered a regiment of men whom he supposed from their uniform to be Sigel's regiment, advancing toward him at right angles. Their Colonel asked the Captain where the enemy were. He replied by pointing in the direction of the retreating Rebel forces and immediately commenced aligning his company a point the right of the regiment. All at once Capt. Clayton mistrusted that he was in a trap, and looking towards the Colonel he recognized in him an old acquaintance, being no less than Col. Clarkson, of Kansas border ruffian notoriety, ex Postmaster of Leavenworth city. The captain then gave the command, "Right oblique, march." When he had moved his company a distance of about thirty paces await from the enemy's line, the Adjutant of the Rebel regiment rode rapidly towards him, and commanded him to halt.- He did so, and immediately brought his company to an "About face", fronting the enemy's line. The Adjutant asked, "What troops are these?" "I belong to the First Kansas Regiment," replied the captain; "Who are you?" "I am adjutant of the Fifth Missouri Volunteers." "What, Confederate or United States?" "Confederates." "Then dismount, g-d d--n you, you're my prisoner." Said the Captain presenting his pistol. He obeyed, and upon the demand of the Captain, delivered over his sword. "Now," said the Captain, "Order your men not to fire, or you're a dead man," and commenced moving back with his company, holding the Adjutant between himself and the Rebel forces. The Adjutant ordered his men to open fire, which they did, and the Captain shot the Adjutant with his pistol. At the same moment a Sergeant of Captain Clayton's company thrust his bayonet through the body of the Adjutant, pinning him to the ground and leaving his gun sticking in his body. The Captain then ordered his men to run for their lives, which they did, forming again immediately upon the brow of the hill.

(From a family member - the Clarksons were stockmen and farmers; Davy (Col Clarkson's nephew) farmed near Westport in 1859, but returned home to Dade County when "Uncle Jim" (Col James Clarkson referred to above) was forced to leave Leavenworth KS. James Clarkson, a Mexican War veteran, had been commander of the Kansas Territorial Militia (aka "Kickapoo Rangers"), and spent the 1850s terrorizing Freesoil Kansans at gunpoint. No wonder Dietzler recognized him on sight! The Dade County history reports his father, David S. Clarkson, (Davy's father and James' brother) did serve several terms as county judge, beginning in 1844. The extended Clarkson clan had come out to Missouri from Pendleton CO. KY in 1841. More info)


The left of our line was in front of Totten's Battery, and the fighting was very close and furious. Many of our men had double-barreled shotguns, and ten men in the company to which I belonged went into the battle without guns, but it was not very long before they got them.


I ordered Lieutenant Sokalski to move forward with his section immediately, which he did, and most gallantly, too, relieving and saving the Kansas Regiments from being overthrown and driven back.

Blue & Grey

To get the cannon in position so as to sweep the wooded land in front was a difficult task, and the horses were aided by the gunners and by details from the infantry.

Brig Gen William Slack

photo courtesy of "General Officers of the Civil War"


At this point of time General McCulloch came up, and directed Slack's division to charge Totten's battery in front, and the Arkansas troops on the right. This was the most terrific storm of grape and musketry ever poured out upon the ranks of any American troops. On both sides the men were mowed down like the ripe harvest before the sickle. My own regiment was then decimated, and Churchill's and McIntosh's Arkansas regiments suffered most severely.


....The First Iowa came to the support of the First Kansas and First Missouri, both of which had stood like veteran troops, exposed to a galling fire of the enemy.


General Clark....when severely wounded in the leg, he mentioned it to those near him and said it was "Nothing". When he became faint from loss of blood he told the boys he would have to go to the rear, "But," he added, "I know you will do your duty." This must have been at least an hour after he was wounded.

New York Tribune

...Lieut Murphy, when they once halted, wavering, stepped several paces forward, waving his sword in the air, and called successfully upon his men to follow him.


I noticed two men who in their death agony had torn their clothing from their front;...One had six bullets in his abdomen and chest, and the other had four. Twenty feet to my right a Federal Captain, an intelligent looking man of about forty or forty-five years of age, whose visible wound was an ugly one in the lower jaw, said to the man about to step over him, " For god's sake give me a drink of water!" "Got none, Bill," (to the man on his left) "got any water?" "No." "Pass the word down." The word passed us, but every response was "No." We had our canteens on, but not a drop of water, and we suffered greatly for want of it that furiously hot day. The word passed down to the right, with a like result. "Nobody has no water. I've got some whiskey in my canteen; would you like to have a drink of it?" "If you will be so kind." Raising the Captain's head with his left hand our man put the canteen to the lips of his enemy. "Got enough?" - after a generous draught had been taken. "Yes, heaven bless you." The man gently placed the captain's head upon the ground, stepped over him, and with us, who had stopped to watch the scene, went on to renewed murder.

(Mudd ends this short story by recognizing the paradox of war in a few amazing word's.)


The red harvest of death now commenced. The cannonading was most terrible, and the slaughter on both sides immense.


Colonel Burbridge and Major Clark....whenever we fell back a few yards - which we did several times when the enemy's fire seemed so fierce that nothing could live before it - they would indicate a new line for us to stand upon.


The rattle of musketry and the roar of artillery were deafening...The weather was so hot it was like fighting in a furnace.


....Men were reeling and falling like golden grain before the reaper-but it was the harvest of death!

Pvt William Quantrill

later leader of

Quantrill's Raiders

photo courtesy William Quantrill and the Lawrence massacre"
from : a Frontier State at War: Kansas, 1861-1865, by Albert Castel. Cornell up, 1958


...The enemy appearing in front often in three or four ranks, lying down, kneeling, and standing, the lines often approaching to within 30 or 40 yards, as the enemy would charge upon Captain Totten's battery and be driven back.


....The Rebel infantry, in its charge, worn down to a point, with its apex touched the twelve-pounder, and one man with his bayonet tried to get the Irish sergeant,who, fencing with his non-commissioned officer's sword, parried the thrusts of the bayonet.


We then fell back and formed again...we could hardly walk for fear of treading on someone. I found a canteen filled with water, took the strap from my gun and strapped it to my shoulder,...I gave to several who were wounded...

Spfld Patriot

The Confederates, having such vastly superior numbers, brought up fresh troops repeatedly, and made violent assaults upon our line,...

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