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Union forces

Union Army Retreats


11:30 am

Union forces retreat from battlefield

Courtesy "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 officers.


Captain Granger now proposed to me to take my infantry, and with a section of artillery to advance. The men were cheering for victory.


Captain Granger, acting assistant Adjutant-General on my staff...Now sighting a gun of Dubois' battery, and before the smoke had cleared away sighting one of Totten's; at one moment reconnoitering the enemy, and the next either bringing up re-enforcements or rallying some broken line.


...Sturgis came up and ordered me to take position about four hundred yards in rear and protect a retreat. I was never so astonished in my life.

"M" Under Letter by Kansas Troops

We left slowly, followed by the artillery, and soon were off the field. As we were leaving, a shell thrown by the enemy fell and burst near us, killing our third lieutenant, Robert Newell, from Oskaloosa. He was struck on the back of the head, and killed instantly.

New York Tribune

....They assembled in large numbers, and, raising their traitorous banner, made an effect at cheering.

John Elisha Phelps

son of John S and Mary Phelps

photo courtesy of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

New York Tribune

I had not proceeded far on the eastern side of the creek when I met the son of the hon. John S Phelps, who had left town upon hearing the cannonading, with a few mounted Kansas troops, and not discerning the exact position of the two armies, had busied himself taking prisoners on the Fayetteville road and west of it. When I met him he had captured half a dozen, including a negro belonging to an officer in a Louisiana regiment. Placing them upon the trail for our guards, and in charge of the Kansan's, Phelps and myself proceeded but found it unsafe to attempt to cross the Fayetteville road, and seeing the army retreating, we joined them and continued to the city.

Spfld Leader Dockery

With his life blood slowly ebbing away, Weightman noted that the firing had ceased and caught the distant sound of cheering and feebly asked: "Who won?" Some one answered, "We did," and with a smile upon his face, he passed away.


...just after the order to retire was given, and while it was undecided whether the retreat should be continued, or whether we should occupy the more favorable position of our rear, and await tidings of Col. Siegel, one of his non-commissioned officers arrived, and reported that the colonel's brigade had been totally routed, and all his artillery captured, Col Sigel himself having been either killed or made prisoner. Most of our men had fired away all their ammunition,...

One Who Was There

Worn down with exertion and pressed by hunger, our force is led by the heroic major from Wilson's Creek, four miles through the timber and out upon the prairie, where we halt and form, anticipating pursuit, though such fear was, as it proved, groundless.

courtesy "Embattled Arkansas

The Prairie Grove Campaign of 1862

by Michael E Banasik

Col Dandridge McRae

3rd Arkansas Inf


As soon as it was known that the Union army was retreating General Price urged McCulloch to pursue, but urged him in vain...twenty-seven hundred of their mounted men, and two thousand of their infantry had hardly fired a shot, and Bledsoe's and Reid's batteries were both intact.Besides these there was the Third Louisiana, a splendid regiment, which could still muster five hundred men flushed with their victories over both Plummer and Sigel; and there were McRae's battalion, and O'Kane's, which, though they had been under fire, had not been scathed. And in addition to all these there were two thousand unarmed missourians, who could have been equipped and sent in pursuit before sunset, for now there were arms for all, and to spare...Even the fact...that then enemy had lost their valiant leader did not shake mcculloch's fixed purpose. He would not pursue; but ordered the troops, instead, to care for the wounded and bury the dead...Nothing excuses that brave soldier's conduct on this occasion except the fact that the Confederate government was then opposed to an aggressive war, and therefore objected to the invasion of any state which had not seceded and joined the Confederacy. In entering Missouri at all he had violated both the orders under which he was acting, and the wishes of the Confederate Secretary of War...

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