previous next

[510] the strength and position of the enemy, stationed in and about the town. The information was very conflicting and unsatisfactory. I however made up my mind to attack the enemy in their position, and issued orders on the 9th inst. to my force to start at nine o'clock at night to attack at four different points at daylight. A few days before, General Price, in command of the Missouri forces, turned over his command to me, and I assumed command of the entire force, comprising my own brigade, the brigade of Arkansas State forces, under General Pearce, and General Price's command of Missourians.

My effective force was five thousand three hundred infantry, fifteen pieces of artillery, and six thousand horsemen, armed with flint-lock muskets, rifles, and shot-guns. There were other horsemen with the army, who were entirely unarmed, and instead of being a help were continually in the way. When the time arrived for the night march it began to rain slightly, and fearing, from the want of cartridge boxes, that my ammunition would be ruined, I ordered the movement to be stopped, hoping to move the next morning. My men had but twenty-five rounds of cartridge apiece, and there was no more to be had. While still hesitating in the morning the enemy was reported advancing, and I made arrangements to meet him. The attack was made simultaneously at half-past 5 A. M., on our right and left flanks, and the enemy had gained the positions they desired.

General Lyon attacked us on our left and General Siegel on our right and rear. From these points batteries opened upon us. My command was soon ready. The Missourians under Generals Slack, Clark, McBride, Parsons and Rains, were nearest the position taken by General Lyon with his main force; they were instantly turned to the left and opened the battle with an incessant fire of small-arms. Woodruff opposed his battery to the battery of the enemy under Capt. Totten, and a constant cannonading was kept up between these batteries during the engagement. Hebert's regiment of Louisiana Volunteers, and McIntosh's regiment of Arkansas Mounted Riflemen, were ordered to the front, and after passing the battery, (Totten's,) turned to the left and soon engaged the enemy with the regiments deployed. Col. McIntosh dismounted his regiment and the two marched up abreast to a fence around a large corn-field, where they met the left of the enemy already posted. A terrible conflict of small-arms took place here. The opposing force was a body of regular United States infantry, commanded by Capts. Plummer and Gilbert.

Notwithstanding the galling fire poured on these two regiments, they leaped over the fence, and gallantly led by their colonels, drove the enemy before them, back upon the main body. During this time, the Missourians under General Price were nobly attempting to sustain themselves in the centre, and were hotly engaged on the sides of the height upon which the enemy were posted. Far on the right, Siegel had opened his battery upon Churchill's and Greer's regiments, and had gradually made his way to the Springfield road, upon each side of which the army was encamped, and in a prominent position he established his battery. I at once took two companies of the Louisiana regiment, who were nearest me, and marched them rapidly from the front and right to the rear, with order to Col. McIntosh to bring up the rest. When we arrived near the enemy's battery, we found that Reid's battery had opened upon it, and it was already in confusion. Advantage was taken of it, and soon the Louisianians were gallantly charging among the guns, and swept the cannoneers away. Five guns were here taken, and Siegel's command, completely routed, were in rapid retreat, with a single gun, followed by some companies of the Texan regiment and a portion of Colonel Major's Missouri cavalry. In the pursuit many of the enemy were killed and taken prisoners, and their last gun captured.

Having cleared our right and rear, it was necessary to turn all our attention to the centre, under Gen. Lyon, who was pressing upon the Missourians, having driven them back. To this point McIntosh's regiment, under Lieut.Col. Embry, and Churchill's regiment on foot, Gratiot's regiment and McRae's battalion were sent to their aid.

The terrible fire of musketry was now kept up along the whole side and top of the hill, upon which the enemy was posted. Masses of infantry fell back and again rushed forward. The summit of the hill was covered with the dead and wounded-both sides were fighting with desperation for the day, Carroll's and Greer's regiments, led gallantly by Capt. Bradfute, charged the battery, but the whole strength of the enemy was immediately in rear, and a deadly fire was opened upon them. At this critical moment, when the fortune of the day seemed to be at the turning point, two regiments of Gen. Pearce's brigade were ordered to. march from their position (as reserves) to support the centre. The order was obeyed with alacrity, and Gen. Pearce gallantly rushed with his brigade to the rescue.

Reed's battery was also ordered to move forward, and the Louisiana regiment was again called into action on the left of it. The battle then became general, and probably no two opposing forces ever fought with greater desperation; inch by inch the enemy gave way, and were driven from their position; Totten's battery fell back ; Missourians, Arkansians, Louisianians, and Texans pushed forward. The incessant roll of musketry was deafening, and the balls fell as thick as hail stones; but still our gallant Southerners pushed onward, and with one wild yell broke upon the enemy, pushing them back and strewing the ground with their dead. Nothing could withstand the impetuosity of our final charge; the enemy fled and could not again be rallied, and they were seen, at 12 M.,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Springfield, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (2)
Arkansas (Arkansas, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
McIntosh (8)
F. Siegel (6)
Sterling Price (6)
Pearce (6)
N. Lyon (6)
James Totten (4)
Sylvanus Greer (4)
Churchill (4)
Woodruff (2)
W. Y. Slack (2)
George B. Reid (2)
Reed (2)
Rains (2)
Plummer (2)
M. M. Parsons (2)
Collin S. McRae (2)
J. H. McBride (2)
Hebert (2)
Gratiot (2)
C. C. Gilbert (2)
Embry (2)
John B. Clark (2)
Carroll (2)
Bradfute (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
9th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: