but I have never yet seen any reason to doubt the correctness of the views I then urged with even more persistence than my subordinate position would fully justify.
And this, I doubt not, must be the judgment of history.
The fruitless sacrifice at Wilson's Creek
was wholly unnecessary, and, under the circumstances, wholly unjustifiable.
Our retreat to Rolla
was open and perfectly safe, even if begun as late as the night of the 9th.
A few days or a few weeks at the most would have made us amply strong to defeat the enemy and drive him out of Missouri
, without serious loss to ourselves.
Although it is true that we barely failed winning a victory on August 10, that was, and could have been, hoped for only as a mere possibility.
himself despaired of it before the battle was half over, and threw away his own life in desperation.
In addition to the depressing effect of his wounds, he must probably have become convinced of the mistake he had made in hazarding an unnecessary battle on so unequal terms, and in opposition to both the advice of his subordinates and the instructions of his superior.
But this is only an inference.
had with the aid of Sigel
(as explained hereafter) decided to attack, and arranged the plan, not a word passed between him and me on the question whether an attack should be made, except my question: ‘Is Sigel
willing to undertake this?’
's answer: ‘Yes; it is his plan.’
We went forward together, slept under the same blanket while the column was halted, from about midnight till the dawn of day, and remained close together nearly all the time until his death.
But he seemed greatly depressed, and except to give orders, hardly uttered a word save the few I have mentioned in this narrative.
He was still unwilling to abandon without a desperate struggle the country he had occupied, thought the importance of maintaining his position was not understood