The Battle of Wilson's Creek—Concluded
The Confederates Enter Springfield — McCulloch's Proclamation — Price's Proclamation — Joy and Congratulations — Disposition of the Body of Gen. Lyon — Full and Interesting Particulars of How it was Cared for from the Time when it Lay Stretched on the Battle-Field Until its Final Interment in the Family Grave-yard, at Eastford, Connecticut.
THE CONFEDERATES ENTER SPRINGFIELD.
The battle of Wilson's Creek ended at about noon of August 10; but not until about 11 o'clock of the next day, or nearly 24 hours after the close of the battle, did the first Confederate troops (save a few prisoners), set foot within the town of Springfield. Sturgis, with the remains of Lyon's corps, was not pursued at all. Sigel's "flying Dutchmen" were chased but a few miles, while no attempt at formidable pursuit or to follow up the victory was made by either McCulloch or Price. Whether this was because, as the federals claimed, that the Southerners themselves were so badly damaged as to be unable to follow the Federals, but had to wait and allow them to go out of the county before moving camp, or whether Gen. McCulloch himself expected to be attacked, or had other good reasons for sitting quietly by, cannot here be stated.
Lyon's body had been sent in. Certain citizens of Springfield had gone from town to the Southern camp, and back and forth had ridden many a man, but no movement was made until late Sunday morning. At about 11 o'clock some Missouri and Texas cavalry rode into town and halted. No pursuit worthy of the name was attempted after the vast crowd of citizens and soldiers and citizen-soldiery making its exodus from Greene county, in some respects like unto that crowd of fugitives led by the Jewish Lawgiver and guided by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Soon the town was pretty well filled with troops, and Price and McCulloch came in., The stores were visited and the proprietors interviewed, and there was great activity in mercantile circles for a time; thousands of dollars worth of goods changed hands in a few hours. Everything was paid for on the spot, —in Confederate, or Missouri scrip.
The 11th was Sunday, but as Gen. McCulloch remarked, "it was just as good as any other day in war time," and so the troops were distributed around, encampments laid out, and preparations made to permanently occupy the land. On the next day, Monday, the 12th, Gen. McCulloch issued the following proclamation, which was distributed not only through this county but throughout the greator portion of the southern part of the State:
PROCLAMATION OF GEN. M'CULLOCH.
Headquarters Western Army,
This proclamation was well received by the people of the county, especially the Union portion, who expected nothing else and nothing less than that they were to be treated with great severity. All looked forward to a season of security, if not absolute peace. It is painful to be compelled to state, however, that Gen. McCulloch's proclamation was not long observed. Despite its declarations Union men were arrested and their property and that of their secession neighbors seized and appropriated whenever it pleased the subordinate Confederate officers to do so.
In connection with his proclamation and on the same day McCulloch issued the following congratulatory order to the troops under his command over the result of the battle of Wilson's Creek:
Gen. M'Culloch's Order.
General Price was also seized with the proclamation fever and a few days after the occupation of Springfield, that is to say on August 20th , published the following:—
GEN. PRICE'S PROCLAMATION.
To the People of Missouri:—Fellow-citizens: The army under my command has been organized under the laws of the State for the protection of your homes and firesides, and for the maintenance of the rights, dignity and honor of Missouri. It is kept in the field for these purposes alone, and to aid in accomplishing them, our gallant Southern brethren have come into our State. We have just achieved a glorious victory over the foe, and scattered far and wide the well-appointed army which the usurper at Washington has been more than six months gathering for your subjugation and enslavement. This victory frees a large portion of the State from the power of the invaders, and restores it to the protection of its army. It consequently becomes my duty to assure you that it is my firm determination to protect every peaceable citizen in the full enjoyment of all his rights, whatever may have been his sympathies in the present unhappy struggle, if he has not taken an active part in the cruel warfare, which has been waged against the good people of this State, by the ruthless enemies whom we have just defeated. I therefore invite all good citizens to return to their homes and the practice of their ordinary avocations, with the full assurance that they, their families, their homes and their property shall be carefully protected. I, at the same time, warn all evil disposed persons, who may support the usurpations of any one claiming to be provisional or temporary Governor of Missouri, or who shall in an other way give aid or comfort to the enemy, that they will be held as enemies, and treated accordingly.
It will be observed that the terms of Gen. Price's proclamation differed somewhat from McCulloch's. The latter declared that prisoners of the Union army would be released and allowed to return to their friends, while Gen. Price declared that no man who had taken an active part in the "cruel warfare which had been waged against the good people (i. e., the secession good people) of the State," should be protected in his rights. And yet Gen. Price was as much a friend of the Union people and Union troops as Gen. McCulloch, and showered them as many favors.
Capt. Dick Campbell's company of Greene county men had their homes in the neighborhood, and knew the Union men of the county almost to a man, and were able to inform Gen. Price with reasonable accuracy which of them were entitled to special favors and which were not. This company, as before narrated, had fought at Wilson's Creek, and now was assigned to permanent duty at Springfield and in Greene county. 
JOY AND CONGRATULATIONS.
The news of the battle of Wilson's Creek was received with great joy throughout the Southern Confederacy and everywhere that the Confederate cause had sympathizers, and the event did much for that cause in Missouri, by stimulating, recruiting and causing many an undecided individual to come down off the fence and stand on the Southern side. Some time afterward, November 4, 1861, when the "Claib. Jackson Legislature" (as the Legislature that passed the Neosho ordinance of secession was called), was in session at Cassville, it passed the following resolution, introduced by Mr. Goodlett, under a suspension of the rules:
Resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring therein: That the thanks of the State of Missouri are hereby cordially given to Major General Price and Brigadier Generals Parsons, Rains, Slack, Clark, McBride and Steen, and the officers and troops of the Missouri State Guard under their command, and to Brigadier General McCulloch and officers and the troops of the Confederate States under their command, for their gallant and signal services and the victory obtained by them in the battle of Springfield.
The following resolutions were introduced into the Confederate Congress, on the 21st of August, by Mr. Ochiltree, of Texas1 and were passed unanimously:
WHEREAS, It has pleased Almighty God to vouchsafe to the arms. of the Confederate States another glorious and important victory, in a portion of the country where a reverse would have been disastrous, by exposing the families of the good people of the State of' Missouri, to the unbridled license of the brutal soldiery of an unscrupulous enemy; therefore
Be it Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States, That the thanks of Congress are cordially tendered to Brig. Gen. McCulloch and the officers and soldiers of his brave command for their gallant conduct in defeating after a battle of six and a half hours a force of' the enemy. equal in numbers and greatly superior in all their appointments, thus proving that a right cause nerves the hearts and strengthens the arms of the Southern people, fighting as they are for their liberty, their homes and friends, against an unholy despotism. 
Resolved, That in the opinion of Congress, Gen. McCulloch and his troops are entitled to and will receive the greatful thanks of all our people.
DISPOSITION OF THE BODY OF GEN.LYON.
Ah, Sir Launcelot! Thou there liest that never wert matched of earthly hands. Thou wert the fairest person and the goodliest of any that rode in the press of knights. Thou wert the truest to thy sworn brother of any that buckled on the spur; * * * and thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever laid spear in rest.
For the purpose of ascertaining the truth concerning the death and burial of the body of Gen. Lyon, the writer hereof caused certain newspaper publications to be made in the St. Louis Republican and other journals, making inquiries pertinent to the case. Many and varied were the replies, some of which, perhaps, ought to be given, as illustrating the different lights in which men see the same object, and the morbid desire for notoriety on the part of others, which leads them to lie like book-agents, in order that their names may be published in connection with some notable event. No less than ten newspaper articles were published and thirty-two written communications were received by the compiler relating to the death and burial of Gen. Lyon. The result was 42 different versions thereof.
The work of ascertaining the truth was thereby complicated instead of being facilitated. A dozen or more claimants for the distinction of having first discovered the body on the battlefield appeared. Half a score bore the corpse to Gen. Price's tent. Twenty saw the body, noted its appearance carefully, etc. Knowing from incontrovertible proof how the general was dressed when he was killed, the writer inserted a test question asking that his garb be described. Two ex-officers, one Union, the other Confederate, answered that he was "in full general's uniform." A minister of the gospel, who was also the "first to discover the body," promptly replied that he was "dressed in a complete suit of black broadcloth, white shirt, fine boots and kid gloves." The majority of the answers, however, were to the same effect, that he was dressed in his old fatigue uniform of his former rank, that of captain in the regular army—without epaulets or shoulder straps. After much labored investigation the writer has ascertained the following facts, which he can easily substantiate:—
Gen. Lyon was killed while placing the 2d Kansas Infantry in position by a rifle or navy revolver ball through the region of the heart. 
He was borne to the rear by Lieut. Schreyer, of Capt. Tholen's company, 2d Kansas, two other members of the same regiment, and Ed. Lehman, of Co. B, 1st U. S. Cavalry, the latter the soldier who caught the general's body as it fell from the horse. As the body was borne to the rear, Lieut. Wm. Wherry one of the general's aids, had the face covered, and ordered Lehman, who was crying like a child, to "stop his noise," and tried in other ways to suppress the news that the general had been killed. The body was placed in the shade of a small black-jack, the face covered with half of a soldier's blanket, the limbs composed, and in a few minutes there were present Surgeon F. M. Cornyn, Maj. Sturgis, Maj. Schofield, Gen. Sweeney, and Gordon Granger, and perhaps other officers. Cornyn examined the body, and from the side of the face wiped the blood made by the wound in the head.
Maj. Sturgis ordered the body to be carried back to a place selected as a sort of field hospital and there to be placed in an ambulance and taken to Springfield. While the body was here lying, a few Federal officers examined it and one of them reports that the face had again become bloody, from the wound in the head, and that the shirt front was gory from the death wound. About twenty minutes after the body had been brought back, Lieut. David Murphy, of the 1st Missouri, who was already badly wounded in the leg, and Lehman placed the body in an army wagon, being used as an ambulance, and belonging to Co. B, 1st U. S. Cavalry. This wagon was about to start to Springfield, and contained already some wounded men. A few minutes later, a sergeant of the regular army came up and ordered the body taken out, saying, "There will be an ambulance bore in a minute for it." The corpse was then carried beneath the shade tree where it had before reposed.
The Federal army now retreated, and the ambulance ordered never came up. Before the Confederates came on to the ground where the body lay, which location was 200 yards northeast of "Bloody Hill," half a dozen slightly wounded Federal soldiers had gathered about the dead hero, and an hour after the Federal retreat a party of Arkansas skirmishers came upon them and discovering the occasion of the crowd instantly spread the news that Gen. Lyon had been killed. Immediately there was a great tumult and the report was borne to Price and McCulloch by half a dozen. Many were incredulous and did not believe that a body so plainly dressed,—in an old faded captain's uniform, with but three U. S. buttons on the coat and a blue (or red) cord down the legs of the trousers to indicate that he was in the military service—was that of Gen. Lyon. 
The body had been placed in a small covered wagon, used as an ambulance, to be conveyed to Gen. McCulloch's headquarters (not Gen. Price's) when an order arrived that it should be taken to Price's and delivered to Dr. S. H. Melcher, of the 5th Missouri, who as, before stated, had come upon the field in company with Dr. Smith, Gen. Rains' division surgeon. Dr. Melcher had been informed by Col. Emmet McDonald that Lyon had been killed and at once asked for his body. When the little covered wagon containing the corpse had driven up and Gen. Price and Gen. Rains and other officers had viewed the body, it was turned over to Dr. Melcher. A number of Southern soldiers standing by drew knives and made attempts to out off some buttons or pieces of the uniform as relics, and one or two expressed a wish to "cut his d—d heart out;" but Gen. Rains drew his sword (or revolver) and swore he would kill the first man that touched the corpse, and Emmett McDonald denounced the ruffianly would-be violators in the harshest terms and McDonald could be harsh when he wanted to be!
Beside the body of Gen. Lyon was a wounded man; who was now taken out, and then Gen. Rains himself and some of his cavalry escorted the wagon to the house of Mr. Ray, on or near the battlefield. It is proper now to give the testimony of Dr. Melcher himself, as given to the writer and furnished the press for publication. Speaking of the courtesy of Gen. Rains in escorting the body to Ray's house, Dr. Melcher goes on to say:
Arriving there the body was carried into the house and placed on a bed; then I carefully washed his face and hinds, which were much discolored by dust and blood, and examined for wounds. There was a wound on the right side of the head, another in the right leg below the knee, and another, which caused his death, was by a small rifle ball, which entered about the fourth rib on the left side, passing entirely through the body, making its exit from the right side, evidently passing through both lungs and heart. From the character of this wound it is my opinion that Lyon was holding the bridle rein in his left hand, and had turned in the saddle to give a command, or words of encouragement, thus exposing his left side to the fire of the enemy.
At this time he had on a dark blue single breasted captain's coat, with the buttons used by the regular army of the United States. It was the same uniform coat I had frequently seen him wear in the Arsenal at St. Louis, and was considerably worn and faded. He had no shoulder-straps; his pants were dark blue; the wide-brim felt hat he had worn during the campaign was not with him. After arranging the body as well as circumstances permitted, it was carried to the wagon and covered with a spread or sheet furnished me by Mrs. Ray.
When I was ready to start Gen. Rains said: "I will not order any to go with you, but volunteers may go;" and five Confederate soldiers offered their service of escort. One drove the team; the others, being mounted, rode with me in rear of wagon. The only name I can give is that of Orderly Sergt. Bracket of a company in Churchill's Arkansas regiment. Another of the escort was a German who in 1863 was clerking in Springfield, and during the defense of Springfield against the attack of Marmaduke, January 8, 1863, did service in the citizens' company of 42 men which was attached to my "Quinine Brigade" from the hospitals. 
The following is a copy of a paper written at Mr. Ray's house. The original I now have:2
Gen. James S. Rains, commanding Missouri State Guards, having learned that Gen. Lyon, commanding United States forces during action near Springfield, Mo., Aug. 10, 1861, had fallen, kindly offered military escort and transportation subject to my order. I have also his assurance that all of the wounded shall be well taken care of and may be removed under the hospitable flag, and that the dead shall be buried as rapidly as possible.
About half way to Springfield I saw a party under flag of truce going toward the battlefield. Arriving at Springfield, the first officer I reported to was the ever faithful Col. Nelson Cole, then captain of company E, 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry, who, with what remained of his gallant company, was guarding the outposts. I passed on to the camps of Gen. James Totten and T. W. Sweeney. Here Gen. Totten relieved my escort and sent them back to their command, a new driver was furnished, and I delivered the body of Gen. Lyon to Maj. J. M. Schofield, 1st Missouri volunteer infantry— now Maj.-Gen. Schofield, U.S.A.—at the house that had been used previous to the battle by Gen. Lyon for his headquarters.
It is proper to state that Dr. Melcher's testimony is corroborated in part by two survivors of the 1st Arkansas, and by Mrs. Livonia Green, now of Lane county, Oregon, and also by Mrs. Jerome Yarbrough, of this county, both, of the latter being daughters of the Mr. and Mrs. Ray mentioned. (Mr. and Mrs. Ray are now dead). 
After Sturgis' army had gotten well on the road to Springfield, it was discovered that Gen. Lyon's body had been left behind. Sturgis immediately started back a flag of truce party under Lieut. Canfield, of the regular army, with orders to go to Gens. Price and McCulloch, and, if possible, procure the remains and bring them on to Springfield. Lieut. Canfield and party went to the battlefield, saw Gen. McCulloch, obtained his order for the body (the general remarking that he wished he had a thousand other dead Yankee bodies to send off) and there ascertained that the body had already started for the Federal lines.
When the corpse was deposited in the former headquarters of the general, on the north side of College street, west of Main, in Springfield, word was sent to Sturgis. He and Schofield and other officers held a consultation, and decided that the body should be taken with the army to Rolla, if possible.. There not being a metallic coffin in the place, it was determined to embalm it, or preserve it by some artificial process. Accordingly, the chief surgeon, Dr. E. C. Franklin, was sent for. Responding to the inquiries of the writer, Dr. Franklin says:
About ten o'clock p. m., on the night when it arrived at headquarters, I was summoned there and then first saw the body of Gen. Lyon lying upon a table, covered with a white spread, in a room adjoining the one where two or three of the Union officers were seated. Gens. Schofield, Sturgis, and others consulted me as to the possibility of injecting the body with such materials that would prevent decay during, its transit to St. Louis. I prepared the fluid for injection into the body, but discovered that instead of being retained within the vessels it passed out into the cavity of the chest. This led me to suspect a laceration either of one of the large arteries near the heart, or, possibly, a wound of the heart itself. This hypothesis, coupled with the fact that there was an external wound in the region of the heart, confirmed my opinion of the utter uselessness of attempting the preservation of the body during its passage to St. Louis. These facts I reported to the commanding officer, who then gave me verbal orders to attend to the disposal of the body in the best possible manner. At this time preparations were being made and the orders given for the troops to retreat and fall back upon Rolla, some fifty or more miles nearer St. Louis. Returning to the general hospital, of which I was in charge, I detailed a squad of nurses to watch by the body of Gen. Lyon till morning, which order was faithfully carried out. I then disposed of my time for the best interests of the wounded and sick under my charge. 
Dr. Franklin was furnished with money and directed to have the general's remains well cared for, and he ordered an undertaker, Mr. Presley Beal, to make a good, substantial coffin at once. Early the following morning, in some way, word was sent to Mrs. Mary Phelps, wife of Hon. John S. Phelps, that the body of the great Union leader was lying stiff and bloody and neglected in the temporary charnel house on College street. Soon she and the wife of Mr. Beal were by his side, and watching him. Not long thereafter came the wife of Col. Marcus Boyd and her two daughters (one of whom, now Mrs. Lula Kennedy, still resides in Springfield), and kept them company. And so it was that women, last at the cross and first at the tomb," were those who kept vigil over the corpse of the dead warrior, who, although he died the earliest, was one of the greatest Union generals the war produced.
The body had now lain about twenty-four hours in very hot weather. It was changing fast, and its condition made it necessary that it should he buried as soon as possible. Mrs. Phelps left Mrs. Kennedy and her daughters and went to see about the coffin. Dr. Franklin came in and sprinkled the corpse with bay rum and alcohol. Mr. Beal brought the coffin, and soon a wagon—a butcher's wagon—was on its way to Col. Phelps' farm with all that was mortal of the dead hero, and with no escort save the driver, Mrs. Phelps, Mr. Beal and one or two soldiers.
Col. Emmett McDonald, than whom the war produced no more knightly a soldier, had been made a prisoner by Gen. Lyon, at the capture of Camp Jackson. When Lyon was killed, Col. McDonald not only assisted Dr. Melcher in recovering the body, but Dr. Franklin says of him:
Here let me do justice to Col. Emmett McDonald, who called upon me at the general hospital and after some conversation in regard to the circumstances attending the death of Gen. Lyon; tendered to me an escort of Confederate troops as a "guard of honor" to accompany Gen. Lyon's remains to the place of burial, which I refused from a too sensitive regard for the painful occasion, and an ignorance of military regulations touching the subject.
Mrs. Phelps was practically alone at the time. Her husband was in his seat in the Federal Congress, her son, John E. Phelps, had followed off the Federal army, and even her faithful servant, George, had accompanied his young master. But Mrs. Phelps was a lady not easily daunted, or one that would shrink from what she considered a duty, no matter how unpleasant it might be. The body was taken to Mrs. Phelps' residence, and not buried at once, it being the understanding that it would be sent for soon. Mr. James Vaughan, who owned a tin-shop in Springfield, was ordered to make a zinc case for the coffin, to assist in the preservation of its contents.
The coffin was temporarily deposited in an out-door cellar or cave, which in summer had been used as an ice-house, and in the winter as an "apple-hole," and was well covered with straw. It was here placed about two o'clock on the 11th. A day or two later, the slave, George, returned. While the body of Gen. Lyon lay in Mrs. Phelps' Cellar, the place was visited by some citizens and many Southern soldiers. It is much to be regretted that some brutes there were among the soldiers that treated the remains of the dead man with all disrespect, cursing them and him openly and in the vilest terms. One young officer is reported to have said to Mrs. Phelps: "There is quite a contrast betwixt the resting place of old Lyon's body and his soul, isn't there, Madame? The one is in an ice-house; the other in hell!" he added with a heartless chuckle.
At last some drunken ruffiins, by threatening to open the coffin and "cut out the d—d heart" of the body for a relic, so frightened Mrs. Phelps, causing her to fear that the remains would be mutilated in some horrible manner, that she asked Gen. Price to send a detail and bury the body. This was done by volunteers from Guibor's and Kelly's infantry, of Gen. Parsons' division, at that time encamped on Col. Phelps' farm. It is believed the body was not buried until the 14th. The slave, George, dug the grave, which was in Mrs. Phelps' garden. Some of the soldiers stamped on the grave in great delight. An Irishman told Capt. Guibor, "Be jabers, we shtomped him good."
On the 22d of August there came to Springfield a party in a four- mule ambulance, bearing with them a 800-pound metallic coffin. This party was composed of Danford Knowlton, of New York City, a cousin of Gen. Lyon; John B. Hasler, of Webster, Mass., the general's brother-in-law, and Mr. Geo. N. Lynch, the well-known undertaker, still of St. Louis. From Rolla in, the party was accompanied by the gallant Emmett McDonald, who had been up to arrange for an exchange of prisoners, and from whom Mr. Hasler says, they received many attentions and favors.
Arriving at Springfield, Mr. Hasler says, they visited Gen. Price and handed him a letter from Gen. Fremont explaining their mission, which was to bear away the body of Gen. Lyon. As the letter was directed "To whom it may concern," Gen. Price, after glancing at the address, threw it contemptuously aside, saying he could read no document thus directed. At the same time he offered to grant them every facility for procuring the body of their dead relative.
Repairing to Phelps' farm the party disinterred the body and placed it in the metallic coffin, after removing the zinc case made by Mr. Vaughn. Gen. Parsons, whose division was encamped on the farm, came up, introduced himself, and Mr. Hasler says, "showed us numerous civilities. Among other attentions he tendered a guard for the body and team over night, which was accepted."
The next day the party left Springfield and were in Rolla on the 25th, and in St. Louis the 26th. Here a military escort joined. From thence the party proceeded to Eastford, Connecticut, the birthplace of the general, which place was reached September 4th, there being great receptions and honors paid the body in the cities and towns en route. Sept. 5th the body was buried in the family burying ground at Eastford.
"Upon the coffin as it lay in the Congregational church when the funeral ceremonies were being rendered," says Mr. Woodward, who was present, "were placed the hat, a light felt, which the general had waved aloft when rallying his ranks at Wilson's Creek, and also the sword, scarred and weather-beaten from sharing in the long hard service of its owner." The hat was brought from the battlefield by the wounded men in the wagon in which the general's body was first placed, and was given to Mr. Hasler by the driver, who had preserved it. Both hat and sword were given to and since have been in the possession of the Connecticut Historical Society.
General Lyon was born in Eastford, Connecticut, July 14th, 1818. If entered West Point in 1837; graduated in 1841, standing eleventh in a class of fifty. He served in Florida in 1841-2; was in the Mexican war under Taylor and Scott; in California and on the frontier from 1850 to 1861. He was never married. The statement that he bequeathed his private fortune to the Federal government is erroneous. [361-362]
1 Said to be at present a member of the U. S. Congress from Texas, and a prominent, member of the Republican party!
2 The writer has seen and carefully examined the original of this paper. It is written in pencil, but is quite legible. The hand writing of Gen. Rains was identified beyond question. The paper was kindly furnished by Dr. Melcher for the purposes of this history.
Springfield-Greene County Library