sight was fearful! Yea horrible! To behold! Around us in every direction
lay the mangled and gory bodies of our fellow men; some with their pale and
ghastly features turned toward us, lay locked in the slumber of death; some
groaning from the excess of tormenting pains; some crying for water, for
which they were almost suffocating; some unconscious lying and uttering feeble
groans as the life-blood oozed from their mortal wounds; some almost inaudibly
gurgling from their mouths and nostrils; and some gasping, as the last convulsive
throes of dying misery and pain, were fast ebbing away.
were two hundred and sixteen of the enemy left dead on the point where we
fought them, on about an acre square. At one place I could nearly walk across
the ground on the dead bodies of the enemy.
through the cornfield to the north, we saw our first Federal dead, lying
among the cornfield, hands and faces blackened by the heat of the august
sun. Turning west across the creek, on what was afterwards called "Bloody
Hill", on which the severest fighting took place, we found a number of Federal
dead and wounded. Some of the wounded groaning and writhing in agony, others
in silence, patiently bearing their suffering. One poor fellow, with both
legs mangled, the death pallor on his face, muttered in half audible voice,
bitter curses about being deserted. Holding my canteen to his lips he drank
deeply, looking the thanks his lips failed to speak. To other wounded we
gave water till the contents of our canteens were exhausted. Over the heads
of some of the wounded, friends, and all were friends now, had stuck bushes
to ward off the sun's hot rays.
slaughter of that day was terrible.
older brother was in the Confederate army w/ Breckinridge)
command of Co. "H", which numbered, in action,...76 men, - lost in action,
18 killed and 22 wounded.
blood of the land has been poured out to water afresh the tree of
carnage had been frightful on both sides, we had lost one third of our
due to my regiment of infantry to state that their force on the day of the
engagement was only 142 men, and the report showing a loss of fifty killed
John David Keith
Company A, 5th Arkansas
Infantry, Color Bearer
had 74 men when we went into battle and 47 were killed and wounded.
lost 142 in killed and wounded and missing, from my command of 650 men.
which the battlefield presented after the fighting ceased mars all
suffered a great loss. About forty-eight men were in action and we lost
twenty-five killed and wounded.....Capt. Kelly's company irish, of Col. Wakeman's
regiment went into battle with thirty six men and came out with eighteen
and eleven of those wounded.
The Heritage of Missouri
this level spot and down over the edges of the hill lay the dead, their faces
white against the gray rock and the green grass.
the battle was over...we found also what was left of the marksman...the six-pound
ball...with riven fragments of bark and wood, had struck him about the middle
of the body and literally blew him to pieces.
I noticed after the execution done by our squirrel rifles in the ranks of
the enemy: I counted forty-three union men dead on the field, shot through
the head by these guns.
one brave boy of this company who fell on that bloody field - Moneain Sims.
His brother, Thomas H Sims, was also a member, and received a severe wound
at the same time.
Montcalm Simms of the Hempstead Rifles died immediately, and his brother
Thomas Hamilton Simms , received a fatal wound, according to a letter by
James P Erwin of the same company)
there is a grandeur in a battle, there are many horrors, and unfortunately
the horrors are wide-spread - they go home to the wives, fathers, mothers,
and sisters of the slain.
a sad sight to see so many of the brave boys lying dead on the field and
to think of the sad news we had to send home to relatives....
Father and Mother - It is with feelings of a peculiar and sad character that
I shall endeavor to write you a few lines. We had arrived thus far on our
march to Springfield. ...On the morning of the 10th we were very fiercely
attacked by the enemy under Lyon and Sigel. In this fight my dear brother
fell. I was denied the poor consolation of standing by his side but have
it from those who saw him that he died the death of a soldier and I have
hope that his brave and noble spirit is now resting on the bosom of his maker.
Our regiment was put in great confusion by the attack which was a complete
surprise. My dear brother, though, was one of those who breasted the storm
with the calmness of one who, relying upon the consciousness of a life of
unstained honor and rectitude fears not to meet death...He was buried as
well as could be done by kind hearts and strong arms and I send you a lock
of his hair given to me by Capt. Gibbs. I was myself seriously though not
dangerously wounded consequently did not have the sad privilege of paying
the last duties to my brother...I start with the wounded for springfield
this evening - will have to get Dr. Lawrence to conclude as the wagon is
now waiting. May god help you all is my sincere prayer. Truly yours - Robert
Neill.....H. Neill, esq. My dear sir - Robert is doing well and will recover.
Your other brave boy fell fighting like a southern patriot and soldier. I
hope you and your family will be resigned and consoled when you are assured
how nobly your dead and living boys have acted. God never blessed parents
with two better boys...Truly yours - William Lawrence
Neill was shot in the thigh by a minnie ball. After a year of recovery at
home, he rejoined his command. His brother, Job, died in the
H. Neill - I received your letter for Dan. James.... I had heard of Job's
death several days since. I can't remember ever having received news that
shocked me so much; I was entirely unprepared for it. True, I knew somebody
must fall, all who enter the service are liable to a similar fate but I had
hoped and almost made myself believe that a special providence would preserve
through the conflict one so gifted and gallant, for he certainly was the
most promising young man of all my acquaintance. I had fondly hoped that
after we had gained our independence and peace had once more smiled upon
this land, that we should all meet in joy again. But he is gone, 'tis vain
to lament; he did his duty and fell at his post covered with glory, and
henceforth his name is immortal...Yours truly - L.A. Dickson
madam...It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of your husband
and my friend. He was killed at the battle of Wilson Creek on the 10th inst.
Many a noble fellow looked upon the world that morning for the last time.
Jones was at his post with his company fighting bravely and cheering on his
men when suddenly he said to Joe Gilliford, who was by his side, "Joe i'm
shot". Joe asked "Where". Jones answered "in my hip". Just at that moment
a bullet came whizzing past Joe's head - he turned his head and saw Jones
fall, shot once again in the left breast in the region of the heart with
a minnie ball. It killed him instantly and he never spoke again. We were
together much during our long tedious march. And Jones always said he should
be killed at the first battle - alas his foreboding proved true....Jones
said I expect we'll be both be killed but if I go under and you come out
safe I want you to write to Hattie and tell her my last thought was for
to be written by 2nd Lt Edwin S Nash of his friend 1st Lt Levant S Jones
Co F 1st KS)
passed over the field in a short time after the battle ceased, and found
many wounded soldiers begging for water. I gave all (the) water that I
down this beautiful valley, men in blue and men in gray lay writhing in the
agonies of death!
never before witnessed such a heart-rendering scene - State, Federal, and
Confederate troops in one red ruin, (blent) on the field.
is not a single mortal that would purposely desire to behold such an agonizing
scene as I beheld - wounded, dying, and dead soldiers blocking Bonnie Wilson
for more than a mile, and as the water rushed over and under its human
obstructions Bonnie Wilson lost its former silvery twinkle.. It was wounded
too - becoming a vivid stream of blood, Yankee blood, Rebel blood, same hue,
no distinctions in the blood, for American hearts...."
Wilson is how some locals referred to Wilson's Creek)
on among hundreds of dead and wounded, mangled and wounded in all manner
for freedom's cause they perished
may their fearless spirits rest-
their glorious name be cherished
in their country's grateful breast.
on we found one poor old Missouri Home Guard who was wounded. He had dragged
himself up against a black jack tree and was waiting patiently for some chance
of being cared for. We halted and were speaking to him, when one of his
neighbors, a southern sympathizer, came up, recognized him and began to abuse
him in a shameful manner. "Oh, you d--d old scoundrel," he said, "If you
had been where you ought to have been you wouldn't be in the fix you are
now." They were both elderly men, and evidently lived only a few miles away,
as the southerner had time to come from his home to see the result of the
battle. I felt tempted to shoot the old coward, and thus put them on an equality,
and let them quarrel it out.
Leavenworth Daily Times
of our friends and comrades lie dead upon the battle-field, and while we
know that their lives have been sacrificed in a most sacred cause, we cannot
but lament their loss.