position. On they came, in overwhelming numbers. Not a breath was heard among the Iowas till their enemies came within thirty-five or forty feet, when they poured the contents of their Minie muskets into the enemy, and routed them, though suffering terribly themselves at the same time. Two Kansas companies afterward did the same thing on the eastern slope, and repulsed a vigorous attack of the enemy. Lyon now desired the men to prepare to make a bayonet charge immediately after delivering their next fire and the Iowas at once offered to go, and asked for a leader. On came the enemy. No time could be lost to select a leader. “I will lead you,” exclaimed Lyon. “Come on, brave men,” and with an unnatural glare in his eyes he had about placed himself in the van of the Iowas while Gen. Sweeney took a similar position to lead on a portion of the Kansas troops, when the enemy came only near enough to discharge their pieces, and retired before the destructive fire of our men. Before the galling fire from the enemy fell the brave Gen. Lyon. An hour earlier, when the enemy had nearly regained the heights from which the Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas Volunteers had partially expelled them, when Lieut.-Col. Andrews had been wounded and his horse killed under him, when Col. Deitzler and Col. Mitchell of the two Kansas regiments had both been disabled from wounds, when the General had lost his own horse and received two wounds himself, he exclaimed wildly to his Adjutant, Major Schofield, that the day was lost, but the Major said “No, let us try once again.” So the General gave orders to rally the men into line without reference to regiments, for the latter were so thoroughly cut to pieces as to make it an impossibility to get half of any one regiment together. Many were carrying their wounded comrades back to places of comparative safety, others were getting water, and many, very many, slept the sleep that knows no waking. The firing almost entirely ceased for half an hour. The enemy prepared for another onset, and our troops prepared to receive them. I passed where several horses, including the General's, lay dead and wounded, Dr. Comyn attending upon the mortally wounded Captain Gratz, and saw the dead of the enemy lying in scores over the ground, where the rebels had been repulsed. One of their wounded asked me for water, but I had none, and told him a man who would fight against his country poorly deserved water, when our own men were suffering for want of it. He replied that he had been forced into their army much against his will, and that he had been unable to get away, which might have been true, but was probably false. When Gen. Lyon fell he was picked up by his body-servant and one of his guard, and carried lifeless toward the ambulances, in one of which his body was placed to be conveyed to Springfield. Gen. Sweeney received a shot in his right leg, at the same fire, and limped back to the surgeon. The command now devolved upon Maj. Sturgis. There was no certainty that Siegel had been engaged in the fight at all, as our artillery had kept up such a constant roar that guns three miles distant were but little noticed. Under these circumstances, Maj. Sturgis had about determined to cross his command through the valley (the recent northern camp of the enemy) eastward, and, if possible, make a junction with Siegel on or near the Fayetteville road. Before he had time to give the necessary orders another attack from the enemy was announced by the volleys of musketry which were heard on our right. Maj. Sturgis directed his attention that way, and the enemy were again repulsed. Some twenty minutes now elapsed before the firing was resumed to any considerable extent on either side. I now determined to cross the creek, and see if I could find Col. Siegel, as a report had reached us that he was entirely cut to pieces. I had crossed the creek, and was passing through a portion of the corn-field adjacent to the spot where Dubois' shells had burst with such terrible effect upon the enemy, when the artillery and musketry again resounded on the hill behind me. I turned for a few moments to behold the terrible scene. The enemy, in overpowering numbers, were just on the southwestern brow of the hill, with five or six pieces of cannon, and it seemed as though surely the handful of their opposers would never be able to successfully resist them, much less drive them back. But all who had gone back with wounded, and for water, were rallied, and, after a sharp, severe, and unequalled contest, the enemy were again repulsed. Capt. Totten then reported his cannon ammunition nearly gone. This decided the course to be pursued, and Major Sturgis at once sent the ambulances toward the city, and Lieut. Dubois' battery back to the hill at the north end of the valley to protect the retreat. Then in good order, the remnant of the bravest body of soldiers in the United States commenced a retreat, even while they were victorious in battle. I had not proceeded far on the eastern side of the creek when I met the son of the Hon. John S. Phelps, who had left town upon hearing the cannonading, with a few mounted Kansas troops, and not discerning the exact position of the two armies, had busied himself taking prisoners on the Fayetteville road and west of it. When I met him he had captured half a dozen, including a negro belonging to an officer in a Louisiana regiment. Placing them upon the trail for our guards, and in charge of the Kansans, Phelps and myself proceeded, but found it unsafe to attempt to cross the Fayetteville road, and seeing the army retreating, we joined them and returned to the city. Gen. Siegel, upon hearing the battle opened by Gen. Lyon, at once began the work oh his side. He had already taken sixty prisoners, who, with several wagons, were engaged on farms in the vicinity of the camp digging potatoes,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
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.