...Over two hundred gravely wounded men of both armies, some dying, others already dead, had been left lying on the floor of the church in Springfield. To the immense task of caring for all these wounded with only one or two doctors and no trained nurses of any kind, my mother now gave herself....With few or no anesthetics, with surgery in the primitive state of that era, men dying in agony of gangrene, my mother thought she must not subject a child just fifteen, to the horrors of war.

Unknown The Heritage of Missouri

They were unloaded, covered with blood and dust...I had nothing to work with but a washpan and my handkerchief. The first thing I did when a wounded soldier was brought into the house was to wash his face...As fast as the men died within the building...The bodies were thrown out the window and hauled down on the Jordan for burial.


Joe Stiner

My name is Joe Stiner, I came from Amsterdam, I am a full-blooded Dutchman, from that there is no sham......It was such glorious fun. Then next we came to Springfield, and there we stopped and stayed - until our General Lyon had got his plans well laid. They say that Price has got most of all his secessionists - camped way down on Crane creek 'Twas in a pretty fix...What I seen there I shall never forget, seemed like the ground was all alive - with secessionists. Their blamed old rifles shot so true, I can not tell you why. They strikes us in our stomachs and they hit us in our eyes. They kills our General Lyon and they makes our Siegel run - Solomon hid in the college, I'll tell you it was no fun. They kills our men, they took our guns, they knocked us into fits. And many a prisoner too, they took but I gets up and gets. Now I am in Springfield, my legs were almost broke, and for the want of lager beer I was so nearly choked. This blamed old secessionist country, will never do for me, I vamish runs, I gets away, for the city of St' Louis. When I gets there may I be roasted done, if ever i shoot secessionist again, for money, love or fun. I sits myself down by my frau, I hears my children cry, and this shall be my Dutch prayer- I bid you all goodbye! (If you would like to hear this song, it is now on the net)


It was a new thing to most of them, this regular way of shooting by word of command, and it was, perhaps, the old-accustomed method of using rifle, musket, or shot-gun as gamesters or marksmen that won them the battle when pressed into close quarters with the enemy.


Nothing could excel the bravery of the United States Regular troops, who fought on their left wing. What told most against them was their strict adherence to military rigidity and form of discipline, by standing up close and maintaining their line in the open field, making themselves conspicuous marks for the fire of their opponents, who fought in open ranks and kneeled down, forming a less prominent mark. But the great advantage in favour of the Confederate troops was their practical skill as marksmen. Accustomed, as many of them were from their boyhood to shooting with ball while hunting bears, deer, wild turkeys, and other game in the woods or on the prairies, their certainty of aim was acquired by instinct.


Accordingly there was...fighting which had no equal on the american continent up to that time for bull-dog, hang-on tenacity.


Never before-considering the numbers engaged-had so bloody a battle been fought upon American soil;...


Since I penned my last, I have heard the roar of artillery and the rattle of musketry to my heart's content, I am no longer "spoiling for a fight" - at least, not with such great odds, as we have to contend against on the 10th inst.


Yhe battle is said by our officers to be one of the hardest fought engagements they ever witnessed.


...The battle of Wilson's Creek forever settled west of Mississippi, was that a "Mudsill" would fight. And another thing was forever settled, that one southern man could not whip five northern men. The delusion ended with Wilson's Creek. It was never asserted, west of Mississippi, afterwards.


Had General Lyon, with his forces and batteries, reached the little crest of the hill, they would have commanded the entire valley and in good range of our encampment and the valley, and this would have been an easy victory, in my opinion.


The Yankee officers were never able to get their men beyond the dead line formed by the cross fire of Guibor's battery (the guns loaded with buckshot, scrap iron, slugs, and gravel) and McBride's rifles.


Lyon was the greatest man I ever saw....He was Jeff Davis over again, but not as narrow and prejudiced as Davis. He was Davis, however, in intensity and tenacity, and about of the weight and leanness of Davis.

(In 1863, Pres Lincoln would emancipate all slaves in the infamous Emancipation Proclamation. But Thomas L Snead would have the distinction of being one of the first to have one of his slave's "officially" emancipated, within two weeks after this battle. On 12 Sep 1861, under what he called a "Deed of Manumission", Maj General John C. Fremont freed Hiram Reed from inservitude to Snead, for "insurrectionary movement against the government of the United States". This was in accordance with his earlier proclamation that all slaves of those that had taken up arms against the us were declared free" this proclamation was later annulled by President Lincoln, and Fremont was fired.)

Captain Francis J Herron

1st Iowa Infantry


Nothing I ever saw was more impressive than Lyon's death... He was the greatest character ever seen west of the Mississippi. His equal never arose to succeed him.


Senator Vest, in his speech....Referring to General Lyon, says: "If he had lived his fame would have rallied that of any in the Civil War."


Colonel Edwards...."If we had not killed General Lyon, General Grant would not have been known in the war."


But, true to his convictions; true to his flag; true to the Union men of Missouri who confided in and followed him; true to himself; and true to duty, he went out to battle against a force twice as great as his own, with a calmness that was as pathetic as his courage was sublime....Lyon had not fought and died in vain...By holding Price and McCulloch at bay, he had given the Union men of Missouri time...To establish a state government, which was loyal to the union, and which would use the whole organized power of the state...To sustain the Union and crush the south. All this had been done while Lyon was boldly confronting the overwhelming strength of Price and McCulloch. Had he abandoned Springfield instead, and opened to Price a pathway to the Missouri; had he not been willing to die for the freedom for the negro, and for the preservation of the union, none of these things would have been done. By wisely planning, by boldly doing, and by bravely dying, he had won the fight for Missouri.


If ever the Third Louisiana hold a regimental reunion they ought to pass a resolution of thanks to Col. Sigel for making their victory so very easy.

Jeff City Tribune 8-20-73 (memories of a Confederate veteran)

Both armies were of the same blood, and they both made their valor illustrious on that day...We esteemed a glorious victory for us, but by no means an inglorious defeat for the Federals.

Cosmopolite from letters by Kansas Troops

It was in truth "Greek meeting Greek", when those gallant men of the farther south charged up to the very muzzles of our batteries. Though they are enemies, they are honorable ones, and brave as men well can be. Once, twice, thrice, they moved in perfect order up the slopes, only as often to be driven back, leaving heaps of slain, upon the bloody field.


I sincerely hope that after their late defeat in Virginia and this one here that the people of the North may take the sober second thoughts and that none of us will ever be called on to witness another such day.

Mo Statesman 8-23-61

He stated further, that if the state troops had had bayonets on their guns, that he believed there would not be one federal soldier left to tell the story of their defeat. He said that he never saw people fight like the Missourians, and that the government might as well attempt to subjugate and overawe the devil himself, with his myriads of angels and legions of soldiers, as to undertake the subjugation of a people, who fought like the people of Missouri.

Battles and Leaders

Another participant, a Confederate officer, described it as "a mighty mean-fowt fight."


"We claim the Missouri battle as a victory...Having retreated in good order after General Lyon fell and left only a very few guns on the field. If these be victories, may we soon enjoy a few defeats!"


May a merciful God interpose and drive back the red cloud of war which hovers above us. May the angel of peace which has flapped her wings and left us, once more return to our beautiful and once happy country.

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