Flag Meaning
Union Forces

Texan's Attack Union Flank


10:00 am

Union Troops Struggle to Organize Texans attempt to flank hill


The firing was in a post oak thicket and the smoke held its ground as no wind could blow enough to carry it away.


To us, in the valley, it was deafening, and sounded like pandemonium, turned loose. To our right we could see Price's men, behind trees and rocks, pouring in a deadly fire on the enemy. We saw many of the old, gray-haired men.....standing behind a protecting boulder or tree, taking deliberate aim with those old, long squirrel rifles,.....


After I found a position beyond the range of musketry, the artillery would insist upon searching me out. While I was seated under a small oak-tree, with my left arm through my horse's bridle, and my pencil busy on my notebook, the tree above my head was cut by a shell. Moving from that spot, I had just resumed my writing, when a shell tore up the ground under my arm, and covered me with dirt.


The conflict was fearful. It seemed to me it lasted four or five days,...


His men were grumbling about being shot at and being unable to return the fire. Capt. Tribble took off his hat and waving it over his head called out to his company to follow old grey and they would get where they could shoot.


Assistant-Surgeon Sprague, Medical Department, attended the wounded with as much self-possession as though no battle was raging around him, not only took charge of the wounded as they were brought to him, but found time to use a musket with good effect from time to time against the enemy.


"Long" Henry Thruston..was reputedly the tallest Missourian in the Confederate army. He was 7 feet, 7 1/2 inches in height in his "sock feet" and rode the tallest horse in the 1st Missouri Cavalry....The cavalry was ordered to dismount and support the infantry. Thruston marched into combat with his comrades, his head and shoulders towering far above them. When progress was halted for a moment, the eyes of the infantry commander happened to fall on Thruston, whom he had never seen before. "You fool," the infantry commander shouted, "Get down off that stump!" "I ain't no fool and I ain't on no stump!" Thruston shouted back.

Blue and Gray

They came out at times singly or in squads, and after delivering their fire returned to their places. In this manner the boldest of them were shot down.


..After the fourth advance and retreat, I was knocked out of the game by a hot ball taking my scalp. The last thing I remembered was seeing Captain McIntyre, pass his immediate front with blood gushing out of both sides of his face and mouth. A bullet had passed through his face, breaking the jawbone....This was about nine o'clock....


Here amid this horrible scene we still maintained the deadly and unequal contest, murdering & being murdered!


The flash and roar was incessant, and the determined southrons repeatedly advanced nearly to the muzzles of the pieces of their foes, only to be hurled back before the withering fire as from the blast of a furnace and to charge again with a like result.


Here too, many officers and men of the Second were killed and wounded....The regiment under Lieut. Col Blair fell back in order, to the brow of the hill, where they formed and at which place the remaining companies of the First Kansas formed upon their left, three companies having been posted on the brow of the hill and on the right of the battery.

Major Isaac Shepherd

Senior aide to Lyon

Photo courtesy of "General Officers of the Civil War"


In front of the Second Kansas and the section of Totten's Battery on our right, the rebel line continued to advance under a galling fire of musketry and canister to within about one hundred steps, when they came to a stand-still. Then for about three-quarters of an hour it was give and take.


...Joseph H. McHenry, of Company I, rose incautiously on his knee to cap his musket, but had scarcely done so ere a musket ball tore through his head scattering his blood and brains upon his comrades on either side of him.


....General Slack received a very dangerous wound in the right groin,...


...I was with Maj. Osterhaus' battalion of the 2nd MO. When it made its...bayonet charge, and received a gunshot wound in my leg which disabled me.

One Who Was There

And then Tubbs-Tubbs, the butt of the whole company, of whom many amusing things might be said - holds up his shattered arm with an attempt to smile, and goes off to the hospital wagon. Poor fellow!

(referring to Private Henry Tubbs of Leavenworth Kansas Company G, 1st Kansas Volunteers)

Leavenworth Times 8-23-61

It is a wonder that Judge Halderman did not get killed, for he was riding about cheering up the Kansas boys, when the balls threw as thick as rain.


The day was horribly hot. The sun beamed down on the cactus beds and gravel on the Bloody Hill until it was almost unbearable...


In the mean time our disordered line on the left was again rallied and pressed the enemy with great vigor and coolness, particularly the First Iowa Regiment, which fought like veterans.

Blue & Grey

Price's line resembled a surging sea beating at intervals against a solid wall, which crumbled but which could not be broken or leveled.


Gen Sweeny...was especially distinguished by his zeal in rallying broken fragments of various regiments, and leading them into the hottest of the fight.


A lieutenant of the First Missouri Infantry reported that he saw one of the men of his regiment sitting under a tree during the battle, busily engaged in whittling a bullet. "What are you doing there?" said the officer. "My ammunition is gone, and I'm cutting down this bullet to fit my gun." (The soldier's musket was 54 caliber and the bullet was 59 caliber) "Look around among the wounded men" was the order, "and get some 54 cartridges. Don't stop to cut down that bullet." "I would look around, Lieutenant," the soldier responded, "but I can't move. My leg is shot through. I won't be long cutting this down, and then I want a chance to hit some of them."


One poor fellow who fell mortally wounded, called to is comrades to raise him up, which he did, and placed him in a sitting posture leaning against his knee. "Now" says the dying man, "give me my gun." That was placed in his hands; he drew it up to his face, took aim and fired......dropped his gun and uttered the words "Keep it bright," and fell back immediately expired.


....I found myself upon the brink of a high, steep and rocky hill....To the north west of which was Bloody Hill and the valley between, in which hostile thousands were engaged.


As soon as the enemy was driven out of the brush we wheeled our companies into line with the regiment, to face a brigade of McCulloch's troops advancing upgrade in our front.

Spfld Patriot

At this time a force of infantry moved from the direction in which Sigel's cannonading had been, and advanced in column toward the front of our left wing. These troops wore a dress resembling that of Sigel's men, and carried the united states flag. So impressed were all that this was Sigel's brigade, that preparations were begun to move to the left and front and join him. Meanwhile the column moved down the hill, within easy reach of our artillery, but was unmolested until it had reached the covered position at the foot of the ridge on which we were posted, and from which we had been so fiercely assailed before.


The fight along our right as we moved up was very fierce and hotly contested.

Sgt Arthur Gunther

Alexander Banks

2nd Kansas Infantry

photo courtesy "Kansas at Wilson's Creek" by Richard Hatcher 111 and Prof William Piston

photo property of Dr Thomas Sweeney

Blue & Grey

Portions of our lines were many times broken by these demonstrations, but the troops were easily rallied and kept up to the mark. These momentary advantages of the enemy were celebrated by tumultuous yells and cheers, which were taken up by their companions to the right and left and by the reserves. To silence or capture our batteries occupied their thoughts.


...For about twenty minutes it was hot and furious...


Captain Lloyd P Halleck.....his family consisted of Alonzo, his Orderly Sergeant, aged nineteen; William, aged thirteen, ...The mutual affection of all three was noted. Scarcely an hour after the battle began Captain Halleck received a bullet in his forehead and died in the presence of his two anguished sons. Our first advance was now made, and one hour later Alonzo dropped his gun, threw up both arms, staggered, fell with his head resting on Will's lap, gave a gasp, and died. A bullet had pierced his heart. The little fellow cried as if his heart would break. Just then we made another advance; fifteen minutes later Will Halleck came up to the line and fought through to the end.

Spfld Leader Dockery

Captain Halleck of Macon County and his two boys, Lon and Will, were all killed. I knew them well. The father was a veteran of the Mexican War. Mortally hit with a musket ball, he fell....His boys, seeing him fall, rushed to his relief; only to be struck down with deadly missiles.


We maintained our position until overpowered by numbers; and gradually fell back about eighty yards,...


The main body were started back down the slope; the twelve-pounder was then loaded, and assisted their flight.


Du Bois' artillery paid its respects by scattering them like chaff - the flag and bearer went down together. Another man seized it and attempted to climb over the fence with it, but as he was astride the top rail.

Dr. Lyon

As he stood astride the fence for a moment, balancing to keep the heavy flag upright, a...cannon ball struck him in the side, cutting him completely in two, so that one-half of his body fell on one side, while the other half on the other side, while the flag itself lodged on the fence,...


Our firing lulled, and as the smoke cleared away, sitting on the fence in front of us, on the edge of the meadow, was a standard-bearer, waving a hostile flag. I do not know its description, but it was not a union flag. The firing having ceased, we were ordered back and told to lie down, but the boys would not do it until the rebel artillery opened on us again. Several wanted to shoot at the man on the fence, but the officers went along the line threatening to kill the first man that raised a musket....In the mean time, however, a little Irish Sergeant, who appeared to stand about five feet high, and sported a large fiery mustache, turned a twelve-pounder on the man, who was waving the flag on the fence in such a foolhardy way. The gun went off, the rebel flag pitched up in the air, and the man fell to pieces gradually over the fence; and at least a thousand men on our side, who saw it, cheered in such loud unison that it could have been heard as far as the report of the twelve-pounder.


...Seemed to scatter him, flag, and all, as if a keg of gunpowder had suddenly exploded within his body.


Our men were so exhausted they could scarcely cheer when the enemy retreated. The ground was so covered by the dead and wounded that it was necessary to carry them together to get room to work our guns. The trees had been stripped of all their lower branches by the shot of the enemy, and everything was covered with blood.


It was an awful sight to see the ground strewn with mangled bodies of lifeless men who but a short time before were filled with life and animation. It opened our eyes to the seriousness of the business in which we were engaged. It put an end to the braggadocio of big mouthed boasters on both sides that one of "our men" could whip a dozen of 'the enemy".

Col Elkanah Greer


3rd Texas Cavalry

Lt Col Walter Lane

3rd Texas Cavalry

Greer photo courtesy of  "Confederates in Gray" by Ezra Warner

Lane photo courtesy of "Copeland Coat of Arms"


Col. Greer ordered us to form in line fronting the position, for the purpose of charging it. We were in the woods where the earth was covered with the thickest undergrowth, and in turning horses and getting raw, undisciplined troops into position, every officer trying to get his men into position, and being assisted by many of the men in ranks, all contributed to produce such disorder that the order was only heard by a small portion of the command near the officer. The result was that Capt. Taylor, of Cherokee, with his company, and but a fraction of the others made the charge.In this I saw Col. Greer, Col.Lane, and Capt. Taylor leading the way in a dashing and gallant maneuvering for the charge,...


With a yell all along the line, a yell largely mixed with the Indian warhoop, we dashed down that rough, rocky hillside at a full gallop....


...The 2nd Kansas...as they advanced in columns the Rebel cavalry having made a detour around the right flank of the troops, charged down the hill and directly towards the advancing 2nd and towards the rear of the battery and troops on the hill. Col. Mitchell ordered the 2nd to halt, faced towards the advancing cavalry, fixed bayonets and prepared to receive the charge.

Col William Merritt

1st Iowa Infantry

courtesy of  "Iowa Valor" by Steve Meyer


...led the two companies, A and F, over the hill, halted them, and ordered them to about face and fire on a squadron of the enemy's cavalry advancing to charge on a section of Totten's battery. The fire was executed with promptness and effect...


...Cavalry coming...we advanced down the hill toward them about forty yards to where our view was better, and rallied in round squads of fifteen or twenty men as we had drilled to do, to repel a cavalry charge.


As soon as they saw but a portion of the regiment charging, they fell back into position and calmly waited until we were in some forty paces, when we were invited to stop by about half their fire.


Captain Totten instantly wheeled his four pieces and as they were then riding along at a distance of three hundred yards, he opened upon them with round shot and shell. The effect was absolutely awful.

Lt Matthew Ector

3rd Texas Cavalry

photo courtesy of Odessa History


...Almost immediately the batteries up the hill were turned and opened fire upon the cavalry and seemed to litterly sweep them off the field.


In the mean time, over our heads our artillery took up the fight; then the cavalry scattered through the woods, leaving the wounded horses and men strewn around....We kept firing, and awaited their approach with fixed bayonets. Our firing was very deadly, and the killing of horses and riders in the front rank piled the horses and men together as they tumbled over one another, from the advancing rear.


Several of my men were killed and wounded in this charge.


We here discovered that our charge was a failure, and we wheeled to the left to take our places in the regiment, when the enemy discharged their minnies at us....One of the finest horses in our regiment, taken a few days before by one of our boys from a Tory Surgeon in a scouting party, was shot down just before me....


...After receiving the discharge from the battery, the enemy retired in double-quick time, leaving a number of dead and wounded on the field.


A flag was seen lying on the ground about 150 yards in front of us, but no one was ordered or cared to undertake to go and bring it in. In a few minutes a solitary horseman was seen coming towards us, as if to surrender, and the cry therefore rose from us, "Don't shoot!" When within about twenty yards of that flag the horseman spurred his horse, and, leaning from his saddle, picked the flag from the grass, and off he went with it a-flying. The flag bore the "Lone Star" of Texas, and we didn't shoot at the horseman because we liked his display of nerve.....In a few minutes a riderless horse came dashing over the ground, and as he passed a bush, a man with a white shirt, covered with blood, rose from the ground, stopped the horse, slowly and painfully mounted, and rode off. The cry passed, "Don't shoot!" And the man escaped.

(This was probably a Bonnie Blue flag)


The 2nd resumed its advance, passing up the hill just to the right of the batteries and in the rear of the remnants of the regiments that had already been so hotly engaged.

Spfld Patriot

The struggle on the left lasted about a half-hour after Lyon's fall, when the Confederates fled, leaving the field clear as far as we could see, and almost total silence reigned for about thirty minutes.


Peculiar in all its aspects, strange in all its surroundings, unique in every way, the most remarkable of all its characteristics was the deep silence which now and then fell upon the smoking field - fell upon it, and rested there undisturbed for many minutes, while the two armies, unseen of each other, lay but a few yards apart, gathering strength to grapple again in the death struggle for Missouri.


I went to the rear for surgical assistance, and after having the bullet extracted by Lieut. Lothrop, of the 4th U.S. Art., proceeded to inspect the field, and wandered about among the dead and wounded. In this way I espied Private Edw. Lehman, of Co. B, 2nd U.S., crouching by the side of a body which was covered with a U.S. Army overcoat. I asked Lehman if the body was that of the General. He answered with a nod of his head.


We boys on the death of Lyon wanted Totten to take command. His manner during the fight and his omnipresent way of getting around pleased us all. And in addition to that his lurid and picturesque language, and his volcanic commands, "Forward that caisson, G-d d--n you, sir," "Cut that shell one second and give them hell, G-d d--mum," pleased us.


...Major Sturgis assumed command. He at once called together the chief officers in his vicinity, and consulted with them as to the course that should be pursued. The question was a very perplexing one. Nothing had been heard from Colonel Sigel for a long time. No one could tell where he was or what he was doing. Should we move forward in pursuit of the enemy without knowing whether we should receive any support from Sigel, should we take a detour to the left and attempt to join him, or should we withdraw from the field?


I happened to look to the rear, and saw Colonel James Edwards, aid to General Parsons, sitting on his dead horse, his back to the battle, eating his breakfast.....Before the battle ended he had another horse killed under him.


...Almost total silence reigned for twenty-five or thirty minutes.

  MO    KS    IA    

 MO     AR    LA    TX  

Return to Index To Next Page

Copyright © 2000-2010David Long

All Rights Reserved