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[507] Spring, where we were compelled to halt our forces, who were already nearly exhausted by the intense heat of the weather and the dustiness of the roads.

Early the next morning we moved forward to Wilson's Creek, ten miles southwest of Springfield, where we encamped. Our forces were here put in readiness to meet the enemy, who were posted at Springfield, to the number of about ten thousand. It was finally decided to march against them; and on Friday afternoon orders were issued to march in four separate columns, at nine o'clock that night, so as to surround the city and begin a simultaneous attack at daybreak. The darkness of the night and a threatened storm caused General McCulloch, just as the army was about to march, to countermand this order, and to direct that the troops should hold themselves in readiness to move whenever ordered. Our men were consequently kept under arms till toward daybreak, expecting, momentarily, an order to march. The morning of Saturday, the 10th of August, found them still encamped at Wilson's Creek, fatigued by a night's watching and loss of rest.

About six o'clock, I received a messenger from Gen. Rains that the enemy were advancing in great force from the direction of Springfield, and were already within 200 or 300 yards of the position where he was encamped with the Second Brigade of his division, consisting of about 1,200 mounted men under Col. Cawthorn. A second messenger came immediately afterward from Gen. Rains to announce that the main body of the enemy was upon him, but that he would endeavor to hold him in check until he could receive reinforcements. Gen. McCulloch was with me when these messengers caine, and left at once for his own Headquarters to make the necessary disposition of our forces.

I rode forward instantly toward Gen. Rains' position, at the same time ordering Gens. Slack, McBride, Clark, and Parsons to move their infantry and artillery rapidly forward. I had ridden but a few hundred yards when I came suddenly upon the main body of the enemy, commanded by Gen. Lyon in person. The infantry and artillery which I had ordered to follow me came up immediately to the number of 2,036 men, and engaged the enemy. A severe and bloody conflict ensued, my officers and men behaving with the greatest bravery, and, with the assistance of a portion of the Confederate forces, successfully holding the enemy in check. Meanwhile, and almost simultaneously with the opening of the enemy's batteries in this quarter, a heavy cannonading was opened upon the rear of our position, where a large body of the enemy, under Col. Siegel, had taken position, in close proximity to Colonel Churchill's regiment, Colonel Greer's Texan Rangers, and 679 mounted Missourians, under command of Colonel Brown and Lieutenant-Colonel Major.

The action now became general, and was conducted with the greatest gallantry and vigor on both sides, for more than five hours, when the enemy retreated in great confusion, leaving their commander-in-chief, General Lyon, dead upon the battle-field, over five hundred killed, and a great number wounded.

The forces under my command have possession of three 12-pounder howitzers, two brass 6-pounders, and a great quantity of small-arms and ammunition, taken from the enemy; also, the standard of Siegel's regiment, captured by Captain Staples. They have also a large number of prisoners.

The brilliant victory thus achieved upon this hard-fought field, was won only by the most determined bravery, and distinguished gallantry of the combined armies, which fought nobly side by side, in defence of their common rights and liberties, with as much courage and constancy as were ever exhibited upon any battlefield.

Where all behaved so well, it is invidious to make any distinction, but I cannot refrain from expressing my sense of the splendid services rendered, under my own eyes, by the Arkansas infantry, under Gen. Pearce, the Louisiana regiment of Col. Hebert, and Col. Churchill's regiment of mounted riflemen. These gallant officers and their brave soldiers won upon that day the gratitude of every true Missourian.

This great victory was dearly bought, by the loss of many a skilful officer and brave man. Others will report the losses sustained by the Confederate forces; I shall willingly confine myself to the losses within my own army.

Among those who fell mortally wounded upon the battle-field, none deserve a dearer place in the memory of Missourians than Richard Hanson Weightman, Colonel commanding the First brigade of the second division of the army. Taking up arms at the very beginning of this unhappy contest, he had already done distinguished services at the battle of Rock Creek, where he commanded the State forces after the death of the lamented Holloway, and at Carthage, where he won unfading laurels by the display of extraordinary coolness, courage, and skill. He fell at the head of his brigade, wounded in three places, and died just as the victorious shout of our army began to rise upon the air.

Here, too, died in the discharge of his duty, Col. Ben. Brown, of Ray County, President of the Senate, a good man and true.

Brig.-Gen. Slack's division suffered severely. He himself fell dangerously wounded at the head of his column. Of his regiment of infantry, under Col. John T. Hughes, consisting of about 650 men, 36 were killed, 76 wounded, many of them mortally, and 30 are missing. Among the killed were C. H. Bennet, adjutant of the regiment, Capt. Blackwell, and Lieut. Hughes. Col. Rives' squadron of cavalry, (dismounted,) numbering some 234 men, lost 4 killed and 8 wounded. Among the former were Lieut.-Col. Austin and Capt. Engart.

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