that day. The other divisions, commanded respectively by Pearce
, left the following day, and Price
, without taking any command, accompanied Steen
As soon as Lyon
he began writing and sending representatives to St. Louis
But his demands received little if any attention.
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.’
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
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.