Attack Union Flank
Troops Struggle to Organize
attempt to flank hill
was in a post oak thicket and the smoke held its ground as no wind could
blow enough to carry it away.
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,.....
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.
was fearful. It seemed to me it lasted four or five days,...
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.
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.
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
Blue and Gray
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.
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....
amid this horrible scene we still maintained the deadly and unequal contest,
murdering & being murdered!
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.
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.
aide to Lyon
courtesy of "General Officers of the Civil War"
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.
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.
Slack received a very dangerous wound in the right groin,...
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
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!
to Private Henry Tubbs of Leavenworth Kansas Company G, 1st Kansas
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.
was horribly hot. The sun beamed down on the cactus beds and gravel on the
Bloody Hill until it was almost unbearable...
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.
line resembled a surging sea beating at intervals against a solid wall, which
crumbled but which could not be broken or leveled.
Sweeny...was especially distinguished by his zeal in rallying broken fragments
of various regiments, and leading them into the hottest of the fight.
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."
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.
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
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.
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
along our right as we moved up was very fierce and hotly contested.
courtesy "Kansas at Wilson's Creek" by Richard Hatcher 111 and Prof William
property of Dr Thomas Sweeney
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.
about twenty minutes it was hot and furious...
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
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.
our position until overpowered by numbers; and gradually fell back about
body were started back down the slope; the twelve-pounder was then loaded,
and assisted their flight.
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.
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,...
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
to scatter him, flag, and all, as if a keg of gunpowder had suddenly exploded
within his body.
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
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 Walter Lane
courtesy of "Confederates in Gray" by Ezra Warner
courtesy of "Copeland Coat of Arms"
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,...
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....
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.
of "Iowa Valor" by Steve Meyer
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
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 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.
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.
courtesy of Odessa History
immediately the batteries up the hill were turned and opened fire upon the
cavalry and seemed to litterly sweep them off the field.
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.
of my men were killed and wounded in this charge.
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
receiving the discharge from the battery, the enemy retired in double-quick
time, leaving a number of dead and wounded on the field.
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
was probably a Bonnie Blue flag)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
total silence reigned for twenty-five or thirty minutes.