It was therefore determined to return to Springfield
was greatly depressed by the situation in which he was placed, the failure of expected reinforcements and supplies from St. Louis
, and an evidently strong conviction that these failures were due to a plan to sacrifice him to the ambition of another, and by a morbid sensitiveness respecting the disaster to the Union
people of southwestern Missouri
, (who had relied upon him for protection) which must result from the retreat of his army.
's personal feeling was so strongly enlisted in the Union
cause, its friends were so emphatically his personal friends and its enemies his personal enemies, that he could not take the cool, soldierly view of the situation which should control the actions of the commander of a national army.
could have foreseen how many times the poor people of that section were destined to be overrun by the contending forces before the contest could be finally decided, his extreme solicitude at that moment would have disappeared.
Or if he could have risen to an appreciation of the fact that his duty, as the commander in the field of one of the most important of the national armies, was not to protect a few loyal people from the inevitable hardships of war (loss of their cattle, grain, and fences), but to make as sure as possible the defeat of the hostile army, no matter whether to-day, to-morrow, or next month, the battle of Wilson's Creek
would not have been fought.
On August 9 General Lyon
received a letter from General John C. Fremont
, then commanding the department, which had been forwarded to him from Rolla
by Colonel John B. Wyman
The letter from General Fremont
to Colonel Wyman
inclosing that to General Lyon
appears among the published papers submitted by Fremont
to the Committee
on the Conduct of the War
in the early part of 1862, but the inclosure to Lyon