....The 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.


There 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.


Passing 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.


The slaughter of that day was terrible.

(Halderman's older brother was in the Confederate army w/ Breckinridge)


I had command of Co. "H", which numbered, in action,...76 men, - lost in action, 18 killed and 22 wounded.


The best blood of the land has been poured out to water afresh the tree of liberty


...The carnage had been frightful on both sides, we had lost one third of our company.


It is 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 and wounded.


John David Keith

Company A, 5th Arkansas
Infantry, Color Bearer



Our company had 74 men when we went into battle and 47 were killed and wounded.


I have lost 142 in killed and wounded and missing, from my command of 650 men.


The scene which the battlefield presented after the fighting ceased mars all description.


Our company 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.

Unknown The Heritage of Missouri

All over 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.


After 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.


One thing 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.


I remember 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.

(Joseph 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)


...while 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.


It was 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....


My dear 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

(Robert 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 battle.)


Capt. 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

Letters to Hattie

Dear 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 her....Your friend

(believed to be written by 2nd Lt Edwin S Nash of his friend 1st Lt Levant S Jones Co F 1st KS)


...I 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 could.


....all down this beautiful valley, men in blue and men in gray lay writhing in the agonies of death!

Spfld Leader Hughes

I have never before witnessed such a heart-rendering scene - State, Federal, and Confederate troops in one red ruin, (blent) on the field.


...there 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...."

(Bonnie Wilson is how some locals referred to Wilson's Creek)


I passed on among hundreds of dead and wounded, mangled and wounded in all manner of ways.

Leavenworth Times 8-20-61

Proudly for freedom's cause they perished

Calm may their fearless spirits rest-

but shall their glorious name be cherished

shrined in their country's grateful breast.


Further 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 8-17-61

Many 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.

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