I remembered the young officer whom I had encountered in the morning, and took them to the place I left him, but found he was not there. I could not be mistaken in the place, for the row of dead showed where their line had been formed, and I found some shreds of the flag, which he seemed to have cut or torn up to prevent it falling into our hands. I picked up the shreds, intending to say nothing about the flag, as I feared I might be censored for not having taken it from him. I afterwards found him in the barn of a deserted farm-house near by, where he with some others had managed to crawl. I hailed one of their ambulances, and got him put into it. He was shot in the groin, and it was just possible that he might recover. He was very faint, and did not seem to recognize me. I showed him my wounded wrist and some pieces of the flag; he then recognized me and called me back, grasped my hand, and thanked me.


Father never left his dangerous position on our front porch until firing ceased and the family emerged from their retreat.....wounded Confederate soldiers were brought in and the women were kept busy carrying basin's of water and towels.


Another, who had received a ball in the under side of the jaw, was taken to the surgeon to have it extracted. The surgeon probed the wound, but finding none, said to him that there was no ball there. "Yaw, dey vas von dere." Well, where is it?" said the surgeon. "Vy, he comed in my mouth, und he vas so little hot, so I shust spit um out." The novelty of this speech created considerable merriment among the sick in the hospital.


Some with a bullet hole in their forehead lay in the last slumbers of death, while the gory substance of the brain protruded from the opening; some with the deadly hole through their manly breast, from which the heart blood still slowly oozed forth; some with one half of their head carried entirely away by the fearful cannon ball; and others with their heads completely severed from their bodies. Some with a broken limb or other bloody wound lay or sat under the shade of the bushed around, fanning the swarm of flies away; while others less conscious, or unable to help themselves, lay in the burning sun, with the flies actually blowing their wounds. Some fully conscious of their awful situation, talked of their condition and prospect in future; while others insensible to their own state, were slowly, but surely passing away to eternity....scenes which I pray god it may never by my lot to witness again.


Wilson's Creek ran through the center of the battlefield, and dead horses almost filled the stream, which fact prevented us from drinking its waters,...


I have often read "The rivers ran with blood", but I came near seeing at Wilson Creek. Bleeding men and horses sought the creek that day, and in many places the stream was red with blood of friend and foe......Wilson Creek flowed, colored with the blood of as fine body of men as ever met in opposing columns.


When I reached my camp (near Texan's position) I found shed and building used as hospital. I saw several arms and legs cut off and dumped into a pile.


The surgeon was cutting a ball out of the back of a man's head, which had entered near the eye.


The doctors worked late that night. I watched some of the operations; they were very painful.


Rising next morning (it being Sunday) I went with the others of my company to one of our hospitals to move a wounded comrade. On our way the same scene of carnage and destruction appeared all along our way for a mile or more. We often had to turn out of the road to avoid running our carriage wheels over the dead, and to get by the slain horses and other obstructions in our way. The slain were by this time swelled to an incredible size, and their distorted features presented a blackish green hue, and they emitted the most sickening and offensive odor imaginable. The large number of dead horses lying around also tended to increase the already nauseating and disgusting smell as well as the more destructive appearance of the field. After passing along the road, which was lined with dead bodies of men and horses, together with broken guns, wagons, carriages, mess boxes, cooking utensils, strips of clothing, and various other articles of camp equippage, we presently arrived at the hospital. This had been a large nice dwelling, but it was fearfully changed now. Every bed, and other household article seemed to have been appropriated to the uses of the wounded and yet they were almost destitute of needful bedding and covering. Straw had been piled up in every nook and corner and on it lay hundreds of the poor fellows. The house was literally full of them, and the very outhouses were crowded to overflowing. Some were mortally, and others only tolerably badly wounded. I saw one man who had been shot through, the ball entering the breast on one side of the breast bone and going out on one side of his back bone. This poor fellow had been in this situation for twenty-four hours, without having his wound dressed of the least particle of assistance, although there seemed to be plenty of physicians and others there.


We were taken the next morning to a barn on the hill, where we lay on the floor till Thursday, exposed to the stench of....unburied federals and several hundred horses.

Leavenworth Times 8-27-61

The night after the battle, I saw the Conservative's correspondent, poor Frank Tracy; he was shot through the left breast, dangerously it would seem, but he bore it without a murmur.


Misery to all. Mine commenced on the second day. The severed muscle took involuntary jumpings whenever touched. I could in some measure quell it by grasping something, as mcgregor's leg will testify. My leg was probed, but no ball was found. It was bandaged and kept continually drenched with cold water. The green flies were thick and left their eggs all around. And maggots crawled over me and in my wound and up my back till the bedclothes were just filled. Thursday an ambulance came for me...Gentry died in six weeks, after having two amputations and suffering immensely.

(It would not be till World War One, that medical officials realized that maggots were actually helpful in a wound. Eating only dead flesh, they halted the growth of gangrene, and saved many a limb in later wars)


Would to God it had been our last, and the last of the war!


Early Sunday morning, Sergt. W.H. Tunnard, of Co. K, was detailed as sergeant of a large force to finish the burial of the enemy's dead. Armed with shovel, pick axe and spade, the detail proceeded to the principal point of the battle-field to complete this mournful task, which the enemy, unable to accomplish, had abandoned in despair. Fifty-three bodies were placed in a single grave, all gathered within the compass of one hundred yards. These were hastily covered with brush and stones, when the detail precipitately departed. The effluvia from the swollen, festering, blackened forms, already covered with worms was too horrible for human endurance. Hundreds of the unburied were left food for the worms, fowls and beasts of the earth. No conception of the imagination, no power of human language could do justice to such a horrible scene.


The boys who buried the Federal dead said the majority of them were shot through the head, although General Clark had ordered us to aim at their belt buckles.

McDonald (Interview with WF Steele)

In that hole thirty-seven bodies were rolled, one on top of the other....the men who had been detailed to bury the men found that an easy way to shirk the work.


We gathered up our dead and dug a hole at the camp, and buried all in it except Gen (sic) Weightman, who we made a coffin for out of one of the wagon beds and buried him at the door of his tent.


And drawn from the breasts of all who had souls anger and malice, and replaced them with pity and kindness.


I  was with Dr. Smith, Gen Rains' division surgeon, looking for wounded not far from 12 o'clock...Learning from Col. Emmett McDonald that Gen. Lyon had been killed...In a few minutes he took me to Gen. Price...Gen. Price took me by the hand, and turning to Gen. Rains asked if he knew where the body was......Went to the wagon, and on raising the blanket, which was over the face, I at once recognized my dead general...Gen. Rains then said "What are your wishes?"...I requested the body be removed to the Ray house, where I was acquainted.


After a while General Lyon's body was brought to our home and laid upon a bed in the front room. Doctor Melcher, an army surgeon and general James S. Rains, of the confederate army, were present.


Arriving there, some of the Confederates kindly carried the body into the house, and placed it on a bed in the front room, where I examined for wounds. There was one on the right side of the head, another in the right leg below the knee, and another, which caused his death was made by a small rifle ball, which entered about the fourth rib on the left side, passing entirely through the body, making its exit from the right side, evidently passing through both lungs and heart. From the character of this wound it is my opinion that General Lyon was holding the bridle rein in his left hand and had turned in the saddle to give a command or words of encouragement, thus exposing his left side to the fire of the enemy. At this time he had on a dark blue, single-breasted captain's coat, with the buttons used by the regular army of the united states...It was considerably worn and faded. He had no shoulder straps; his pants were dark blue; the wide-brim felt that he had worn during the campaign was with him, and there was no sword or other evidences of rank.


Shortly after noon straggling Union soldiers came to the plantation house and said, "we've been defeated - General Lyon has been killed." This news made me shudder, remembering....his request to my mother of three nights before. How could she fulfill her promise? I did not ask her but kept on feverishly with my assigned work of tearing up our household linen and rolling bandages...my mother decided quickly that my brother and I should take our seventeen negroes and join the retreating army....never can I forget that slow, dusty, often halting drive in the darkness behind the discouraged marching men, many of them gravely wounded. They only marched about fourteen miles, but it seemed like a hundred......at sunrise she...walked the mile and a half to Springfield..Went straight to the headquarters General Lyon had occupied. ...she said the stillness, as in a town destroyed by earthquake, was oppressive. She went into the dining-room and saw a man's body was lying on the table, covered with an army blanket. It was General Lyon's. She went to where she knew a coffin-maker lived and told him to make a coffin and have it ready by evening. Then she prepared the body for burial and sat by it.....The coffin-maker brought the plain pine box as evening fell. She placed the body in it with his help, accured a wagon from a friend who had not yet had his confiscated, carried the coffin and placed it in the back of the wagon with the help of her coffin-maker and her friend, and herself drove it back to the plantation. It was too late that night to dig a grave....She hid it in a sod-covered apple house for the time being. A few nights later she and george and one of the field-hand-slaves who had not gone with the rest, buried it in the family grave-yard.

(For her actions in securing the body of their fallen hero, the US Congress awarded Mrs Mary Phelps a monetary grant of $20M, which she used to open a home for orphans - from both sides)


Here it remained till August 22, when it was delivered to relatives of Gen. Lyon. On september 5, the body was buried at Eastford, Conn., his birthplace. (Lyon's body)


Here the Union army lost not only its General, and so many of its field officers as to come out of the fight under command of a major, but of the 3500 men that went into action nearly nine hundred were either killed or wounded.


Many of the wounded I fear will never recover...in the morning we will have several amputations to make..What a pitiful sight to ride through the brush and see so many dying in the scorching sun.


Our total loss, as near as can be ascertained, is five hundred and seventeen killed...

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