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[512] when we halted for two hours, at which time Captain Gilbert's company of regulars and Major Osterhaus' battalion were thrown out as skirmishers on either side of the column, and we moved forward.

Shortly after five o'clock a party of rebels, acting as a picket, were seen scattering over the hills to give the alarm; but a portion of our column had already penetrated far enough to cut off their route, unless they took a very circuitous one, in which case we should reach camp ahead of them. We soon came in sight of the valley in which they were encamped. A thousand tents, stretching off into the distance, and partially screened from view by a hill jutting into an angle of Wilson's Creek, were before us, presenting as animated appearance as a young city. The enemy's camp extended from the head of the valley, overlooked on the north, east, and west sides by hills and ridges two or three hundred feet in height southward about a mile, thence eastward a mile and a half, and then southward half a mile, following the windings of the creek, along whose banks the gently sloping hills on either side afforded the most excellent camping ground.

Near the northern end of the valley lived John McNary, formerly from Indiana, who, finding the rebels within five miles, on Tuesday last packed up his few worldly goods, took his family, and started for the good old Hoosier State, where it is not a crime to be loyal to the Government under which we live. Not less than twenty or thirty families, living on farms in the vicinity, started about the same time, most of them having little or no idea where they were going, except to escape from the danger which threatened them.

The battle-field viewed by your correspondent, where the most severe fighting was done, was along the ridges and hills on either side (mostly on the west) of the stream for the first mile mentioned above, where the creek runs in a southerly direction.

As we crossed the hill on the north, moving in a southwesterly direction, Captain Wright, with the mounted Home Guards, was sent to the east side so as to cut off a party of rebels seen in that direction. Adjutant Hascock, with a glass, rode to the brow of the hill, where, looking down, he could see every movement of the enemy beneath him. His appearance in full view caused a great hubbub in the rebel camp, which had already been thoroughly aroused by our appearance, and camps and baggage were hastily loaded and moved toward the south. We had completely surprised them. The evidence of that fact was everywhere visible; but they had got quickly into line of battle — their clouds of cavalry were visible, and their twenty-one pieces of cannon were not long silent after ours had opened the engagement.

On the sides of the first ridge on the western side of the valley, Colonel Blair's regiment, at ten minutes after six o'clock, encountered a heavy force of infantry, not less than a full regiment, and after a severe contest they gained the summit, and the defeated rebels dispersed rapidly, going in a direction which rendered it impossible for any considerable number of them to again participate in the battle. Totten's battery then threw a few balls as feelers, to draw out the enemy's cannon.

Colonel Blair's regiment moved forward, and were soon met by a well-equipped regiment of Louisiana troops, whom, after a bitter contest of forty-five minutes, they succeeded in routing, though suffering severely themselves. Captain Lathrop's company of rifle recruits now assisted them, and together they, with Major Osterhaus' men, moved up the second hill, which was considerably larger than the first, and, meeting a third regiment, finally succeeded in driving them back with the assistance of Totten's battery, and gaining the summit. In this part of the fight the gallant Missouri volunteers acted bravely; indeed, no words of praise could more than do them justice.

Of course, many acts of valor were performed not witnessed by me; but among those I saw Captain Gratz, leading his men against overwhelming odds, and falling in death just as he had repulsed the foe; Lieutenant Murphy dashing forward ahead of the line, waving his sword high in the air, shouting onward to the almost wavering men, who gained fresh courage from the exhibition, and, pushing forward, drove the enemy from the field. In this fight many of our brave soldiers fell to rise no more; while Colonel Andrews had his horse shot from under him, and was wounded himself slightly. General Lyon suffered in a similar manner. Captains Cavender, Cole, and Yates, each slightly, or at least not dangerously wounded; Lieutenants Brown and Johnson, and Corporals Conant and Rogers, more or less severely wounded.

During this engagement, two companies of regulars were sent to the east side of the creek, to engage a force which was operating against Captain Wright's cavalry, sheltering themselves behind a fence. Captain Plummer and Captain Gilbert, with their companies, marched close up to the fence and delivered an effective fire, but were compelled by great odds to retire, which they did, but again renewed the attack. The enemy, being largely reinforced, and having now at least three thousand men, jumped over into the corn-field, and Captain Plummer's gallant band was imminently threatened with annihilation. They retreated rapidly, firing as they did so, when Lieutenant Dubois, having got his battery under headway on the hill near the Missouri volunteers, seeing the position of affairs on the opposite side of the valley, threw in the most precise manner several shells, which exploded lust as they reached the dense mass of secessionists, scattering them lifeless on the ground in scores, while all who could were glad to run for dear life.

The gallant men in Colonel Blair's regiment


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