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[54] wounded. The confusion caused by this disaster spread over the entire Confederate line, and in broken masses they fell back to the shelter of the woods. At the same time, their wagon-train was on fire, its huge columns of black smoke in the distance giving heart to the Nationals by its seeming indications of a design on the part of the enemy to fly. But this they did not do. They held the field.

Thus ended, at eleven o'clock in the morning,

August 10, 1861.
the battle of Wilson's Creek,1 after a struggle of five or six hours, which was not surpassed in intensity and prowess, on both sides, during the great war that followed.2 The National loss was between twelve and thirteen hundred, and that of the Confederates was, according to the most careful estimate, full three thousand.3 The shattered National, troops were in no condition to follow up the advantage which they had gained in the closing contest. Their strength and their ammunition were nearly exhausted, and nothing remained for them to do but to fall back to Springfield. The order for that movement was given at the close of the battle, and the little army, joined on the way by a portion of the remnant of Sigel's column, reached the old camp, still under the protection of a body of Home Guards, at five o'clock in the afternoon. In the hurry of retreat, the body of General Lyon was left behind, but it was subsequently recovered.4

Under the general command of Colonel Sigel, the entire Union force left Springfield the next morning,

August 11.
at three o'clock, and in good order retreated to Rolla, one hundred and twenty-five miles distant, in the direction of St. Louis, safely conducting a Government train, five miles in length, and valued at one million five hundred thousand dollars.

1 The Confederates called this the Battle of Oak Hill.

2 The example of Lyon in the campaign, which for him ended at Springfield, inspired all of his followers, with the most soldierly qualities, and they were eminently displayed afterward. From his little army a large number of commanders emanated, and were conspicuous, especially in the West. Two years afterward, at writer in the Detroit Tribune said: “There was present at Wilson's Creek the usual complement of officers for a force of five thousand men. From them have been made six major-generals, and thirteen brigadiers; colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and majors by the score have sprung from those who were then either line or non-commissioned officers. From one company of the First Iowa Infantry thirty-seven commissioned officers are now in the service. Similarly, one company of the First Missouri has contributed thirty-two. It is a curious fact, that, of the officers who survived the battle of Wilson's Creek, not one has been killed in battle, and only one has died from disease. In every battle for the Union the heroes of this terrible contest are found, and nowhere. have they disgraced their old record. ‘ Is it not worth ten years of life to be able to say, I was in the campaigns with Lyon?’ ”

A poet of the day, apostrophizing the Spirit of Lyon as a terror to the conspirators, wrote:

For wheresoe'er thy comrades stand
     To face the traitors, as of yore,
Thy prescient spirit shall command,
     And lead the charge once more.

3 See reports of Major Sturgis, August 20th, 1861; of Colonel Sigel, August 18th, 1861, and of the subordinate officers of Lyon's army; also, reports of Generals Price and McCulloch and their subordinate officers. The National loss was reported at 223 killed, 721 wounded, and 292 missing. McCulloch reported the Confederate loss at 265 killed, 800 wounded, and 80 missing. At the same time, he reported the National loss to be over 2,000. He had previously said to a National officer, who was with a party at his quarters, under a flag of truce, “Your loss was very great, but ours was four times yours.” See Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War.

General Price, in his report (August 12th, 1861), says the loss of his command was nearly 700, or nearly one-fifth of his entire force.

4 Lyon's body was placed in an ambulance to be moved from the field, but in the hurry of departure it was left. From Springfield, a surgeon with attendants was sent back for it, and General Price sent it to the town in his own wagon. In the confusion of abandoning Springfield, the next morning, it was again left behind, when, after being carefully prepared for burial by two members of Brigadier-General Clark's staff, it was delivered to the care of Mrs. Phelps (wife of J. S. Phelps, a former member of Congress from Missouri, and a stanch Union man), who caused it to be buried. A few days afterward it was disinterred and sent to St. Louis, and from there it was conveyed to its final resting-place in a churchyard at East Hartford, in Connecticut.

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Nathaniel Lyon (6)
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