previous next
[54] Cassville that day. The other divisions, commanded respectively by Pearce and Steen, left the following day, and Price, without taking any command, accompanied Steen's division.

As soon as Lyon reached Springfield he began writing and sending representatives to St. Louis and Washington demanding reinforcements. But his demands received little if any attention. General Fremont was in command of the Western department, and did not seem disposed to help him. When assured that Lyon must and would fight at Springfield, he simply replied: ‘If he does he will do it on his own responsibility.’ Lyon chafed, and abused everybody. ‘If it is the intention,’ he said, ‘to give up the West, let it be so; Scott will cripple us if he can.’ At last two regiments—Stevenson's at Booneville, and Montgomery's at Leavenworth—were ordered to report to him at Springfield. But they never reached there. It was a question with Lyon whether to fight or retreat, and the first alternative seemed to be safer than the last. His only line of retreat was to Rolla, 125 miles distant, through a broken, rugged country, with the probability that Price's and McCulloch's mounted men would be thrown in his front, while their infantry pressed him desperately in rear. Besides, to retreat was to give up all he had gained, to allow Price to return to the Missouri river with an army and to begin anew a fight for the possession of the State. He had 7,000 or 8,000 men, thoroughly armed and equipped, and he determined to risk defeat rather than turn back.

On August 1st he learned that McCulloch, Price and Pearce were advancing on Springfield. He was deceived as to their line of march, supposing they were advancing by different routes, and determined to attack them in detail. With this view he moved out, his force consisting of nearly 6,000 men, infantry, cavalry and artillery. When he got within four or five miles of them and learned he was mistaken, he stopped and waited for them.

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) (4)
Rolla, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (1)
Montgomery (Alabama, United States) (1)
Missouri (United States) (1)
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.
Sterling Price (4)
Nathaniel Lyon (4)
Alexander E. Steen (2)
N. B. Pearce (2)
Ben McCulloch (2)
Scott (1)
Fremont (1)
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.
August 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: