Civil War reports - August 27, 2011
From the pages of the Madison Daily Courier
Saturday, August 27, 2011 5:00 AM
Note: The Battle of Wilson's Creek was fought on Aug. 10, 1861, near Springfield Missouri between Union forces and the Confederate Missouri State Guard. It was the first major battle of the war west of the Mississippi River and is sometimes called the "Bull Run" of the West." Gen. Lyon, commander of the Union force of 6,000 men, was killed during the battle while he was trying to rally his troops. He was the first Union general killed in the war. Confederate Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch's force of 12,000 men forced the Union troops to retreat to Springfield, giving the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri.
Latest By Telegraph!
The Battle Near Springfield.
Aug. 14, 2p.m.
Rolla, Mo. Aug. 13
The following additional account of the battle near Springfield is furnished by an eye witness, who left Springfield Sunday morning, and came through to this place on horseback.
The attack was made in two columns by Lyon and Sturges, Sigel leading a flanking force of 1,000 men and 4 guns on the south of the enemy's camp. The fight raged from sunrise till 1 or 2 p.m. The rebels in overwhelming force charged Totten's battery three times but were repulsed with great slaughter.
General Lyon fell early in the day. He had been previously wounded and had had a horse shot from under him. The Colonel of one of the Kansas regiments having become disabled, he cried out: "General! you come and lead us." He did so at once, and while he was cheering the men on to the charge he received a bullet in the left breast and fell from his horse. He was asked if he was hurt much and replied: "No, not much;" but in a few minutes he expired without a struggle.
Gen. Sigel had a very severe struggle and lost three of his four guns. His artillery horses were shot in their harnesses and the pieces disabled. He endeavored to haul them off with a number of prisoners he had taken, but was finally compelled to abandon them, first, however, spiking the guns and disabling the carriages.
About one o'clock in the afternoon the enemy seemed to be in great disorder and retreating, and they set fire to their train of baggage wagons. Our forces were too much fatigued and cut up to pursue and the battle may be considered a drawn one....
It was thought Sigel would fall back no further than Lebanon, where reinforcements would meet him.
Aug. 19, 1861
Thos. B. Lincoln, at one time a resident of Madison, but now hailing from Texas, has been arrested at Cincinnati, suspected of being a spy. He was arrested at the Madison House on Saturday. When officers informed Lincoln that he was suspected of being a spy, and must submit to an arrest and search, he replied that it was a mistake, and very excitedly remarked that he was too smart to have any documents in his possession to implicate him. He said he was a citizen of Texas and that he had been to the Manassas fight on the 21st of July.
The officers searched his trunks and found the following letter in his possession:
Washington, D.C., March 1, 1861
To his Excellency, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States:
My Dear Sir: Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance my friend, Thomas B. Lincoln, of Texas. He visits your capital mainly to dispose of what he regards as a great improvement in fire arms. I commend him to your favorable consideration as a gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable in every respect.
Very truly yours,
Jesse D. Bright
Note: Jesse D. Bright was a U.S. Senator from Madison, Indiana. In 1862, largely because of the above letter, he became the only Senator from the North expelled from the Senate for supporting the Confederacy.
Aug. 21, 1861
Jesse D. Bright came passenger on the mailboat, from Cincinnati, as far as Warsaw, Ky. yesterday. We learn he was loud in talking treason. Among other things, he said the South was fighting for her rights, and the North for money....Possibly Jesse could be prevailed upon to make a speech in favor of peace and the white flag in this city - his old home, and to whose people he is indebted for his first start in life?