History of Greene County, Missouri

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian

Chapter 7
From the Meeting of the Military in June, to the Battle of Wilson's Creek

Gov. Jackson's Powder — Gathering of the Clans — The Unionists Assemble at the "Goose Pond" — The Secessionists Rendezvous at the Fulbright Spring — A Threatened Conflict Averted — The Flap of Both Parties Raised Over the Court House — Three Unionists, Boyd, Crenshaw and Robberson, go to Rolla for Help — The First Federal Troops Appear in the County — The Men Who "Fought Mit Sigel " — Occupation of Springfield — Arrest of "Secesh" Citizens — Phelps' Regiment of Home Guards — Gen. Sweeney comes to Springfield — His Proclamation — Sigel Departs for Carthage — Gen. Lyon enters the County — His Camp at Pond Springs — A Pic-Nic — Military Matters in Springfield — Exciting Times — Sweeney's Expedition to Forsyth — Confederate Military Operations — Union of the Forces of Gens. McCulloch, Pearce and Price — Advance towards Springfield — Gen. Lyon Marches to Meet them — The Affair at Dug Springs — Gen. Lyon Falls Back to Springfleld — Gen. Price Surrenders the Command to Gen. McCulloch — Interesting Account of the Interview by an Eye-Witness — The Southern Army Advances — Price and McCulloch Enter the County and Encamp on Wilson's Creek. A Great Battle Imminent.

For some time during the spring of 1861 both parties in Greene county had been preparing for the fight which everybody felt sure was to come, but which everybody wished to evade and put off as long as possible. The secessionists were constantly in receipt of encouragement, not only from their prominent brethren in this State, but from the authorities of the Confederate government, whose emissaries visited Missouri, and especially this portion, from time to time. Gov. Jackson sent a quantity of powder to Linn Creek, from which point it was distributed throughout Southwest Missouri to the "State Guards," and armed secessionists. Greene county's share was brought to Springfield via stage coach, and hidden in Campbell's barn, from whence some of it found its way into the powder horns cartridge boxes of the State Guards, but the most of it was captured by the Federal troops.

The Union men had perfected company organizations in this and surrounding counties and their companies were called "Home Guards." They were armed with hunting rifles, shot guns, and revolvers, but in this respect were as well off as their secession neighbors. These companies were organized not only in Greene, but in Christian, Stone, Webster and other neighboring counties, and each company had its captains and lieutenants. [284]

On the 11th of June, of this year, 1861, according to previous announcement, the State Guards (Campbell's company) and considerable numbers of other armed secessionists and their friends held a barbecue at the Fulbright spring, just west of Springfield. Gov. Jackson, in forming the State into military districts, had commissioned Gen. James S. Rains, of Jasper county, brigadier general of the Missouri State Guard for this district, called the 8th , and it was understood to be in obedience to his orders that the Greene county company mustered. Gen. Rains was well known to the people of this county, and had been the Union Bell-Everett candidate for Congress, against John S. Phelps the previous year. He was also at this time a member of the State Senate.

It being known that there would be a gathering of the secession clan on the 11th of June, word was sent to all of the Unionist companies in this quarter to rally on that day and make a showing which should put to shame the effort at display on the part of their secession neighbors. South of Springfield, two or three miles, on the Kickapoo prairie, was a pond of water fringed with trees, and this locality was known as "the goose pond." This was made the rallying point for the Unionists, and hither they came from all points of the compass by hundreds, bringing with them their arms, their horses, their wagons and their provisions. The day was oppressively hot and there was a scarcity of water and a lack of shade. Hon. John S. Phelps, who had ridden out to the meeting, invited the assemblage to remove to his farm near by, where there was plenty of water and shade, grass for the horses and enclosures to prevent their breaking away. The invitation was accepted and soon all of the companies were encamped on Phelps' pasture lands. Here all of the companies, some twelve or more in number, were formed into a regimental organization of which John S. Phelps was elected colonel, Marcus Boyd, lieutenant-colonel, and Sample Orr, and "Pony" Boyd, majors.

As soon as the "regiment" was organized many of the members wanted to be led straight to the Fulbright spring to "clean out" the secessionists there engaged in organizing and drilling. Major Orr was quite willing to become the leader of a movement of this kind,—

To cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war;

But Col. Phelps forbade any such demonstration and ordered that nothing be done to precipitate hostilities, as they would come soon enough of themselves, and the people would eventually have their fill of battle and bloodshed. [285]

Meantime the Secessionists were preparing for a great demonstration in town. They wished to parade the streets with their forces, and above all they desired to raise over the court-house a flag "new to the seas," which had been especially prepared for the occasion. Couriers and news bearers passed without hindrance between the two camps, and it was soon learned that should the attempt be made to raise a secession flag over the court-house a collision would ensue, and the blood of fellow-citizens, of neighbors, and of kinsmen would flow in the streets of Springfield a consummation devoutly to be deplored and to be averted if possible.

Col. Dick Campbell himself volunteered to go to the Union camp and confer with Col. Phelps and the other officers regarding the raising of the flag. In the interview which followed Campbell declared that he and his party proposed to raise a secession flag, or as he expressed it "a Southerner." To this Phelps objected, and assured Campbell that no such banner had a right to and should not wave over Greene county soil if it could be prevented. Campbell then asked permission to hoist the State flag—the flag of Missouri. To this Phelps readily agreed, saying that no good citizen should object to the flag of his State floating in the breezes of its native element. At the same time Campbell was assured that the stars and stripes would be hoisted alongside and probably above any other banner that might be raised.

And so both flags went up and floated fair and free, and both of the hostile parties paraded in the public square, and the sun went down and no blood had been shed and a deadly conflict was averted. It is said that certain ladies raised the State flag, which was a nondescript affair, and which one jolly old Southerner said ought to and might be worshiped with impunity, since there was nothing like it either in heaven or on earth!

The Home Guards held possession of the town that night and all was quiet, except that a project was discussed for capturing the secessionists the following day. The next day, however, Col. Campbell marched his men away, and so the evil day of battle and of carnage among fellow-citizens of a common country was removed again for a season.

Peace and quiet having been restored, the men composing Phelps' regiment of Home Guards, which, by the way, had been organized without authority from any one, and only in obedience to the natural rights of self-preservation and self-protection, was disbanded for the time, each member to return to his home and consider himself a "minute man," ready to be called out at the tap of the drum and at a moment's warning. [286]


In a few days after the first formidable "gathering of the clans"— to-wit, about the middle of June, 1861—L. A. D Crenshaw, Dr. E. T. Robberson, and Hon. S. H. Boyd, of this county, all ardent Unionists, determined to go to St. Louis and impress upon the Federal military authorities there the importance of at once sending troops, and arms, and munitions of war to the assistance of the Union men of Southwestern Missouri, in order to hold that Section against the secessionists, who were arming and rendezvousing in this quarter of the State preparatory to driving out the Unionists and permanently occupying the land themselves. No letters setting forth the situation could be written and sent with safety, as they were liable to interception along the route, and it was considered safest to bear the message in person.

So, one balmy evening in June, the three gentlemen named quietly left Springfield and departed for Rolla. Dr. Robberson was an old settler and well acquainted with every by-path and road in the county, and could travel them as well by night as by day, and so he was selected as the pilot of the expedition. Each man rode a gray horse, a good one, and after the darkness had settled down good and black over the city of Springfield they left town by a narrow and obscure pathway that led to the east through the woods, Dr. Robberson, in his capacity as guide, taking the lead. On their way the trio passed men, in squads and singly, until after midnight—men with guns upon their shoulders, too, and moving mysteriously; but whether they were Unionists or secessionists was never ascertained, for the proceedings were conducted in silence and there were no questions asked!

After a rather swift ride, with no mishap save the loss of a horse, the party reached Rolla and witnessed its capture by the first Federal troops in this part of Missouri, the 3d and 5th regiments of Missouri Volunteers, commanded by Col. Franz Sigel. Some State Guards were in Rolla at the time, and being taken unawares by the sudden advent of Sigel's Germans, many of them were made prisoners. There were many funny scenes witnessed by the Greene county messengers. As soon as an audience could be obtained with Col. Sigel, the Greene county envoys had a lengthy interview with him, in which they laid the situation of affairs in this quarter before him, and learned in return that he was on his way to restore and to maintain the authority of the Federal government throughout Southwestern Missouri, and to give especial attention to Gen. James S. Rains and his division of State Guards then learned to be concentrating near Sarcoxie, in Jasper county. [287]

In a few days after the occupation of Rolla, Col. Sigel took up the line of march for Springfield. He had his own regiment, the 3d Mo. Volunteers, and Col. Chas. E. Salomon's 5th Missouri Volunteers, and he escorted back to their homes Messrs. Boyd, Crenshaw and Robberson. The march from Rolla to Springfield was necessarily slow, as the Federals were compelled to feel their way cautiously, but, considering all of the circumstances, very good time was made. Detachments were sent out on either side of the road from time to time, and the country pretty well reconnoitred.


At last, on Sunday morning, June 24, 1861, the citizens of Springfield who lived in the eastern part of town, looked out on the St. Louis road and saw, coming leisurely along, a column of men led by others on horseback. The wind lifted and shook out a banner, which, when unfolded, showed the old familiar stripes in all their splendor and the stars in all their beauty. Just then the band struck up a spirit-stirring air, and the cry rang out and was caught up and borne through all the town, "They are coming! They are coming!" If it was asked, "Who are coming?" the reply sometimes was, "The Union soldiers," but often came the answers "The Yankee Dutch!" People had different ways of looking at the thing and different ideas altogether about the matter!

But whether they were "brave Union Germans" or "d—d Yankee Dutch," certain it was that Sigel and his troops were in full possession of the town. It was about 11:30 in the forenoon when the soldiers reached the main part of town. A detachment under a portly German major marched swiftly to the Christian church, where the Rev. Chas. Carleton was preaching to a good-sized congregation, the majority of whom were secessionists or secession sympathizers. Surrounding the church building with a cordon of his soldiers, it is stated,1 that as soon as the services were over and the congregation dismissed, the major stepped into the doorway and called out: "In der name of mine adopted gountry, der Unided Sdades of Ameriky, und der Bresident, und der army, und by der orders of' Franz Sigel, you are mine brisoners of war! Pass out, all of you mens, und to mine headquarters in der gort-house go, right avay quick! Forwart! March! Der laties may go home!

The court-house was soon pretty well filled with prisoners accused of being guilty, of real or premeditated treason against the government, and some "captures" or impressments of property made. The powder in Campbell's barn was found and appropriated. Doubtless Mr. C. himself would have been appropriated, but he could not be found "Pickets were put out on all the roads and occasionally reconnoitering parties made incursions into the country.


This regiment was organized in June, 1861, and in July its services were accepted by Gen. Lyon and it performed various duties in Greene, Christian, and adjoining counties. The regiment contained twelve companies and an aggregate of 1133 officers and men. The field officers were all from Greene county, as follows: Colonel, John S. Phelps; Lieut. Col., Marcus Boyd; Major, S. H. Boyd; Adjutant, R. J. McElhaney; Quartermaster, Henry Sheppard. The companies from Greene county were as follows:

Company A.—Captain, John A. Lee; 1st Lieut., Jason T. Fielden. Aggregate strength of company, 58.
Company B.—Captain, Wm. Vaughn; 1st Lieut., Isaac W. Faught; 2d Lieut., George M. Keltner. Aggregate strength of the company, 73.
Company C.—Captain J. T. Abernathy; 1st Lieut., Hugh Boyd; 2d Lieut., Wm. Cliborne. Aggregate strength, 75.
Company D.—Captain, Charles I. Dunwright; 1st Lieut., Wm. H. Kershner; 2d Lieut., Walter A. Gault. Aggregate strength, 96.
Company G.— Captain, T. C. Piper, resigned July 30, and succeeded by J. A. Mack, Sr.; 1st Lieut., T. V. Massey; 2d Lieut., T. B. Gibson. Aggregate strength, 56.
Company K.— Captain, John W. Gattly, resigned July 8. 1st Lieut., Hosea G. Mullings; 2d Lieut., J. S. Robberson. Aggregate strength, 125. [289]
Company L.— Captain, Wm. H. McAdams; 1st Lieut., David C. Allen; 2d Lieut., S. B. Rainey. Aggregate strength, 75.
Company M.— Captain, Samson P. Bass; 1st Lieut., Pleasant A. Hart; 2d Lieut., Stephen L. Wiles; 3d Lieut., Henry Sullivan. Aggregate strength, 101.
Company N. — Captain, Daniel L. Mallicoat; 1st Lieut., George W. Cooper; 2d Lieut., Francis L. Milligan. Aggregate strength, 62.

Other companies were "E," Capt. Nelson; "F," Capt. Stevens (died on a scout, June 25, 1861); "H," Capt. Galloway (killed Sept. 29, 1861); and " I," Capt. Allred, from other counties. The regiment was disbanded August 17, 1861, one week after the battle of Wilson's Creek. Many of its members re-enlisted in Phelps' Regiment and the 24th Missouri.

1 Col. Boyd, in Escott's History of Springfield, p. 104.
2 Sometimes called the Greene and Christian County Home Guards.


On the 1st of July Gen. T. W. Sweeney (then really only a captain in the regular army), having been elected a brigadier by the St. Louis Home Guards, came to Springfield with a force of, say 1,500 men, including the 1st Iowa Infantry (dressed in gray uniforms) a portion of the 2d Kansas, and some artillery and a battalion of regular dragoons.

By reason of his rank, which was recognized as that of brigadier, Gov. Sweency became the commander of the Federal army, then in Southwest Missouri. He was a brigadier-general of Home Guards or U. S. Reserve Corps; Sigel and Salomon and Brown were but colonels of volunteers. Sweeney was an Irishman. He had but one arm, having lost the other in the Mexican war. Like many another of his countrymen, he had more fight in him than good judgment. Although starting in rank pretty well at the top at the beginning of the war, he never attained any great military distinction. After the war he led the Fenian raid into Canada, which ended so ignominiously. Soon after his arrival at Springfield Gen. Sweeny issued the following proclamation:

Headquarters Southwest Expedition
Springfield, Mo., July 4, 1861.

To the Citizens of Southwest Missouri: —Your Governor has striven to cause the State to withdraw from the Union. Failing to accomplish this purpose by legislative enactment, he has already committed treason by levying war against the United States. He has endeavored to have you commit the same crime. Hence he has called for troops to enter the military service of the State, not to aid, but to oppose the government of the United States.


The troops under my command are stationed in your midst by the proper authority of our government. They are amongst you, not as enemies, but as friends and protectors of all loyal citizens. Should an insurrection of your slaves take place, it would he my duty to suppress it, and I should use, the force at my command for that purpose. It is my duty to protect all loyal citizens in the enjoyment and possessions of all their property, slaves included. That duty shall be performed.

I require all troops and armed men in this part of the State, now assembled, and which are arrayed against the Government of the United States, to immediately disperse and return to their homes. If this shall not be done without delay, those hordes of armed men will be taken prisoners or dispersed. I request every citizen who acknowledges that he owes allegiance to the United States to aid me to prevent the shedding of blood, and to restore peace and quiet to this portion of the State. Those who have manifested a want of loyalty, either by act or word, towards the government of the United States are requested to appear before me or any officer in command of any post or any detachment of troops under my command and take an oath of allegiance to our Government. Gross misrepresentations of the oath, which has already been administered to many of your most respectable citizens, have been made. No loyal citizen will decline to take such an oath. It is the duty of every good citizen to bear allegiance to the government and to support the constitution of the United States, not to encourage secession by word or act, and to obey all legal orders emanating from the constituted authorities of the land. No loyal citizen will bear arms against his government or give aid and support to the enemies of the country. Such, in brief, are the obligations required.

I assure you that the government of the United States will deal leniently, yet firmly, with all its citizens who have been misled, and who desire to maintain and preserve the best Government ever devised by human wisdom.

T. W. Sweeney,
U. S. A., Brigadier General Commanding.

At that date a very vigorous warfare was being waged against the secessionists by the Federal commanders by means of proclamations. Sweeney issued them, Sigel issued them, Fremont issued scores of them, even Lyon employed them. Perhaps they did no harm; certainly they did no good. The secessionists paid no attention to them, save to violate them; the Union people did not need them. The secession commanders favored this method of fighting enemies, and soon scores of' Federal regiments were annihilated and the horn of the Southern cause greatly exalted by a squad of stalwart fellows who went about the country bearing copies of Price's, McCulloch's, and Rains' proclamations and nailing them to trees and the doors of blacksmith shops.

Sweeney's Springfield proclamation was about as effectual as the noted bull of the Pope against the comet. [291]


After the battle of Boonville, June 17, the State forces, under Col. Marmaduke and Gov. Jackson, retreated toward the southwest portion of the State to co-operate with the troops under Gen. Rains, and to be in easy distance of the Confederate forces at Fayetteville, Ark., under Gen. Ben McCulloch. News of this movement having reached Gen. Sigel at Springfield, that officer at once set out to intercept it—to prevent, if possible, a junction between the forces of Col. Marmaduke and those of Gen. Rains, and to attack the latter and destroy him in his camp, supposed to be near Rupe's Point, in Jasper county.

"Pressing" a number of horses and wagons from the citizens of this county, especially from about Springfield, Sigel with the greater part of his own and Salomon's regiment and a company of regulars, set out from Springfield westward on the Mt. Vernon road, one hot morning about the 1st of July. His destination was Carthage, 65 miles away. He had with him eight pieces of Backoff's artillery, 6 and 12 pounders. On the 5th the battle of Carthage was fought between the eight companies of Sigel's regiment, seven companies of Salomon's, and the artillery under Backoff on the Union side, and the State Guards under Gov. Jackson in person, and Gens. Rains and Parsons. The Federals were defeated and fell back to Mt. Vernon, Sigel being foiled in his attempt to prevent the concentration of the secessionists.


On the 3d of July Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, at the head of about 2,000 troops, left Boonville for the Southwest to co-operate with Sigel. On the 25th of June five companies of cavalry, six companies of regular infantry and dragons, and ten companies of Kansas volunteers, in all about 1,600 men, under command of Maj. S. D. Sturgis, left Kansas City, destined also for Southwest Missouri. At Grand river, in Henry county, the two commands formed a junction, and then started for Sigel. Hearing of the latter's defeat, and retreat to the eastward, Gen. Lyon chanced his direction more to the eastward and came into this county about the 13th of July, going into camp near Pond Spring, on section 31, township 29, range 23, in the western part of the county. Lyon came into the town of Springfield July 13th, leaving, as he wrote to Chester Harding, his troops, "a few miles back." [292]

Gen. Lyon was mounted on an iron-gray horse, and had an escort or bodyguard of ten men of the 1st regiment U. S. Regular Cavalry, all of whom were men remarkable for their large size, strong, physique, and fine horsemanship. Lyon treated the citizens with courtesy and kindness, although impressing their provisions and animals, to some extent, for the use of his men. As soon as he arrived in this quarter he communicated with Sigel, and with Gen. Fremont at St. Louis, asking the latter to send him reinforcements at once. He also busied himself in recruiting for the Federal service—issuing commissions to officers of Home Guard companies, and mustering in enlisted men. He was visited by Union men from counties north and east 75 miles away.


While Lyon's troops were encamped in the western part of the county, near Pond Spring, a number of Union ladies and gentlemen of Springfield visited the camp on one occasion on a picnic excursion. Basket dinners were spread and partaken of by officers and visitors. While the entire crowd was enjoying itself immensely and the feasting and merrymaking were at their height, an alarm was sounded. A great cloud of dust was observed to the westward and a column from that direction was seen to be approaching, As Gen. Price's and McCulloch's rebel armies were known to be in that course somewhere, it was believed that the dust was made by the vanguard of their approaching commands. The long roll sounded, the bugles rang out, the infantry were in line, the artillery unlimbered and formed "in battery," — all in a few moments, — and everything made ready for a fight. The visitors were placed in secure retreats in a snug hollow in the rear of the picnic grounds. Happily there was no danger. The column was composed of Union refugees, with their wagons, their cattle, their household goods,—men, women, and children, — who had been frightened out of Newton, Barry, and McDonald counties by Rains' and Price's troops.


Meanwhile other Federal troops had come to and passed through Springfield. Among these was the 4th regiment United States Reserve Corps, commanded by Col. B. Gratz Brown, of St. Louis, afterward U. S. Senator, and Governor of' Missouri. This regiment reached Springfield, July 5 (only eight companies being present), and hearing of Sigel's defeat at Carthage it marched on the 7th to Mt. Vernon to assist that officer, but returned to Springfield two days later, and about a week thereafter, its time having expired, it went to St. Louis and was mustered out of service.

Two companies of Salomon's regiment under Maj. Cronenbold, had been left in Springfield by Sigel when he went west to Neosho before the battle of Carthage, These troops had made numerous arrests among the citizens of the county charged with "disloyalty," and the courthouse, which was used as a prison, was full of them. Col. Sigel had appointed Col. John S. Phelps and Marcus Boyd a commission to examine into the cases of the imprisoned, with power to release or to retain in custody as they saw proper. The result was that scores were released, and but a few—only those who were proven guilty of flagrant acts of disloyalty, overt and covert—were kept as prisoners.

When news came from the westward that Sigel's artillery was almost out of cannon balls the foundry was set to work and quite a number were cast and forwarded to the front, together with some wagon loads of provisions. All this was done under directions of Col. Phelps, who, in a certain sense, was commander of the post. Some of the cannon balls were sent while yet hot from the foundry, and in one instance set a wagon on fire.

A Major Dorn was an Indian agent out in the Territory, and his family resided at Springfield. Hearing of the troubled times in Greene county, the Major sent for his family to come to him. Their effects were loaded into wagons and the members of the family rode in a carriage. They had gone but a few miles west of town, when word came to Col. Phelps that the wagons contained ammunition and other articles contraband of war intended for the use of the rebels under McCulloch and Price. Accordingly messengers were sent after the little train and it was brought back and detained some days, but nothing contraband was found. Maj. Dorn bore a conspicuous part on the Confederate side, about this time, as a special agent.

Not long after the Federal occupation of Springfield, a company of Home Guards was mustered into the Federal service for three months by authority of Gen. Sweeney. This company consisted of 89 men, and was armed with muskets taken from a company of mutineers belonging to one of Sigel's regiments which had become insubordinate on the march from Rolla to Springfield. The company was an independent one, and not attached to any regiment or battalion. It was organized chiefly for duty at Springfield, and was here during Sigel's absence and the battle of Carthage. [294]


Saturday, July 20, about 1,200 men were detailed under Gen. Sweeney to break up a secession camp reported to be at Forsyth, the county seat of Taney county. The command was composed of the two companies of regular cavalry, under Capt. D. S. Stanley; a section of Capt. Totten's battery, in charge of Lt. Sokalski; about 500 men of the 1st Iowa Infantry, under Lt. Col. Merritt; Capt. Wood's company of mounted Kansas volunteers, and the 2d Kansas Infantry, under Col. Mitchell. The expedition reached Forsyth in the afternoon of Monday, captured the town with but little difficulty, driving out about 200 State Guards who had been quartered in the court-house, and secured some blankets, clothing, guns, provisions, horses and one or two prisoners. A quantity of lead was taken from a well into which it had been thrown. Three shells were thrown into the court-house after the Federals bad possession of the town.

Gen. Sweeney remained in Forsyth about 24 hours, and returned to Springfield on Thursday. His loss was three men wounded, and Capt. Stanley had a horse shot under him. It was reported that the secessionists had five killed and ten wounded, among the latter being one Capt. Jackson. A camp of 1,000 Confederates, at Yellville, Ark., was not molested by Gen. Sweeney, although only 50 miles from Forsyth.


Meantime preparations were making among the secessionists of Missouri to dispute the occupancy of the Southwest portion of the State with the Federals. Gen. Ben McCulloch, of Texas, had been ordered by the Confederate government, to go to the assistance of its allies in Missouri. Accordingly he rendezvoused at Fayetteville, Ark., where he was joined by some Louisiana and Arkansas volunteers and a division of Arkansas State troops. The Missouri State Guards, Gov. Jackson's troops, had rendezvoused, first near Sarcoxie, in Jasper county, afterward on the Cowskin Prairie, in McDonald county, where some time was spent in drilling, organizing and recruiting. [295]

On the 25th of July, 1861, General Sterling Price, in command of Gov. Jackson's State Guard, began to move his command from its encampment on the Cowskin Prairie toward Cassville, Barry county, at which place it had been agreed between Generals McCulloch and N. B. Pearce, of the Confederate force, and Price that their respective commands, together with General J. H. McBride's division of State Guards, should concentrate, preparatory to a forward movement on Lyon and Sigel and the other Federal troops in the vicinity of Springfield. On the 29th the junction was effected. The combined armies were then put under marching orders. The 1st division commanded by Gen. McCulloch in person; the 2d by Gen. Pearce, of Arkansas, and the 3d by Gen. Steen, of Missouri, left Cassville on the 1st and 2d of August, taking the Springfield road. It is said that Gen. Price, with the greater portion of his infantry accompanied the 2d division. A few days afterward a regiment of Texas rangers, under Col. Greer, joined the martial host advancing to attack the hated Federals. Gen. James S. Rains, formerly the well known politician of Jasper county, with six companies of mounted Missourians belonging to his division, the 8th commanded the advance guard. Rains was given the advance because many of his men were from this quarter of the State and knew the country very well. On Friday, August 2, he encamped at Dug Springs, in Stone county, about 20 miles southwest of Springfield. The main army was some distance to the westward.

The Southern army was really composed of three small armies, as follows: The Missouri State Guard, under Gen. Price, a division of Arkansas State troops, under Gen. N. Bart. Pearce, and a division of Confederate troops under Gen. McCulloch. Pearce's division was composed of the 1st Arkansas cavalry, Col. De Rosey Carroll; Capt. Chas. A. Carroll's independent company of cavalry; the 3d Arkansas infantry, Col. John R. Gratiot; the fourth Arkansas infantry, Col. J. D. Walker; the 5th Arkansas infantry, Col. Tom. P. Dockery, and Capt. Woodruff's battery, the "Pulaski Artillery." All of the infantry regiments had enlisted only for three months, and their time expired about Sept. 1. They were State troops, or militia. Another Arkansas battery, Capt. J. G. Reid's, of Ft. Smith, was also with Gen. Pearce, but assigned to McCulloch afterwards. [296]


Gen. Lyon was duly informed of the concentration of the Southern troops at Cassville, of the junction of Price and McCulloch, and of their intention of marching upon his own camp. His scouts and spies were numerous, sharp and faithful. They marched in the ranks with the secession troops at times, hung about officers' quarters, picked up all the information they could and then made their way inside of the Federal lines in a very short time. For the most part Lyon's scouts were residents of this part of the State and knew all the country very thoroughly. Gen. Price, too, had scouts and spies, who kept him posted—who, by various ruses and stratagems, visited the Federal camps, obtained valuable information and conveyed it to "old Pap" in short order. And Price's scouts, too, were chiefly residents of Southwest Missouri. A number of Greene county men did scouting for both Price and Lyon.

Learning of the movements of Price and McCulloch, large as their force was compared with his own, Gen. Lyon determined to go out and meet them. He first sent more messengers to Gen. Fremont, at St. Louis, begging for reinforcements, and late in the afternoon of Thursday, the 1st of August, his entire army, which, by the addition of Sigel's and Sturgis' forces, had been increased to 5,868 men of all arms, infantry, cavalry and 18 pieces of artillery, led by himself, moved toward. Cassville, leaving behind a force of volunteers and Home Guards to guard Springfield. That night the army bivouacked about ten miles southwest of Springfield, on a branch of the James. Gen. Lyon's subordinate commanders were Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sweeney, Col. Sigel and Maj. Sturgis. The next morning, early, the command moved forward. It was a hot day and the men suffered severely from dust, heat and excessive thirst, most of the wells and streams being dry. Towards evening five dollars was offered for a canteen of warm ditch water.

At Dug Springs the army halted, having come up with Gen. Rains' advance of the Southern forces. The Missourians were first observed about 11 o'clock in the forenoon, at a house by the roadside with a wagon partially laden with cooked provisions, from which they were driven away by a shell from one of Capt. Totten's guns. At the Dug Springs (which are in an oblong valley five miles in length and broken by projecting spurs of the hills, which form wooded ridges) at about 5 o'clock in the evening a skirmish took place between Rains' secessionists and a battalion of regular infantry under Capt. Fred. Steele, a company of U. S. dragoons under Capt. D. S. Stanley, and two 6-pounders of Capt. Totten's battery. The Southerners were driven away with a loss of one killed, perhaps half a dozen wounded, and ten prisoners. A Lieut. Northout is reported as having been mortally wounded. The Federal loss was four killed outright, one mortally wounded, and about thirty slightly wounded. Three of the Federal killed were Corporal Klein, and Privates Givens and Devlin. [297]

H. D. Fulbright, a native and former resident of Greene county, was sunstruck in the engagement and died. Mr. W. J. Frazier, of Campbell's company, and a Greene county man, was slightly wounded. The majority of Campbell's company participated in the fight, although at the time the captain himself was absent on a scout.

The Federals pursued next morning, going as far as Curran, or McCullah's store, nearly on the county line between Stone and Barry counties, and 26 miles from Springfield. During the day a scouting party of secessionists, which had come across the country from Marionville, was encountered at dinner. Totten's artillery was brought up, a few shells fired, and the Southern troops did not wait for the dessert. This is a brief, but correct account of what is often referred to in histories of the civil war as the "battle" of Dug Sprinos.


Finding that the enemy in his front was much his superior in numbers, Gen. Lyon determined to go no farther than Curran, but to return to Springfield and await the reinforcements so urgently requested of Gen. Fremont before risking a decisive battle, the result of which would certainly mean a splendid victory and possession of all Southwestern Missouri to one party or the other. The Federal scouts also reported that a large force of State Guards was marching to the assistance of Gen. Price from toward Sarcoxie. Accordingly, after a conference with his officers, Sweeney, Sigel, and Majors Sturgis, Schofield, Shepherd, and Conant, and the artillery captains, Totten and Schaeffer, Gen. Lyon countermarched his army and returned to Springfield, coming this time directly to the town, where he arrived August 5. The main body of the army camped about the town. Nearly 2,000 of the volunteers and regulars under Lt. Col. Andrews, of the 1st Missouri, and Maj. Sturgis were stationed out about four miles from town. Two days later this force was withdrawn to the line of defense around the town.

A vigilant guard was at once set upon all roads and avenues of approach to Springfield. No one was allowed to go out, except physicians, although everybody was admitted. Never, perhaps, in the history of war was a camp so well guarded, and all knowledge of its character kept so well from the enemy as was Gen. Lyon's at Springfield. [298]

Col. Thos. L. Snead, now of New York City, and Gen. Price's assistant adjutant general in 1861, has kindly furnished much very valuable information to the writer hereof, and through this volume to the world at large. The colonel's means of knowledge are very superior, and he has manifested the utmost willingness to impart what he knows concerning the memorable days of July and August, 1861.

Col. Snead says that on Sunday morning, August 4th (1861), General Price and he rode over to Gen. McCulloch's headquarters, at McCullah's farm, and in the presence of Snead and Col. James McIntosh, who was McCulloch's adjutant general, Gen. Price urged McCulloch to cooperate with him in an attack on Lyon, who was supposed to be in the immediate front—it not then being known to the Confederates that he had retreated. McCulloch had no faith in Price's skill as an officer, and a profound contempt for the Missouri officers generally,—and for Gen. Rains particularly.3

Gen. Price was a major general of Missouri militia, McCulloch only a Confederate brigadier. Price had a loud voice and a positive address, and always spoke to McCulloch as if the latter were his inferior. "Do you mean to march on and attack Lyon, General McCulloch?" he demanded. "I have not received orders yet to do so, sir," answered McCulloch; "my instructions leave me in doubt whether I will be justified in doing so." "Now, sir," said Price still in his loud, imperious tone, I have commanded in move battles than you ever saw, General McCulloch. I have three times as many troops as you. I am of higher rank than you are, and I am twenty years your senior in age and general experience. I waive all these considerations, General McCulloch, and if you will march upon the enemy I will obey your orders, and give you the whole command and all the glory to be won there!" McCulloch said he was then expecting a dispatch from President Davis, and would take Gen. Price at his word if it should be favorable, and if after consultation with Gen. Pearce the latter should agree also to cooperate, Gen. Pearce having an independent command of Arkansas State troops.

Gen. Price immediately called his general officers together and told them what be had done. They were at first violently opposed to his action, but finally they gave their unwilling consent to what they considered an unnecessary self-abasement. In the afternoon McCulloch and McIntosh came to Price's headquarters, and McCulloch announced that he had received from Richmond, since morning, dispatches that gave him greater freedom of action; and also that he would receive that night 1,000 reinforcements (Greer's Texas regiment), and that he would therefore accede to Gen. Price's proposition and assume command of the combined armies and march against Gen. Lyon. Accordingly Col. Snead wrote, by Gen. Price's direction, the necessary orders and had them published to the Missouri State Guard., It having been learned, that the Federals were retreating orders were given to move that very night. Lyon had, however, escaped, and," says Col. Snead, this was fortunate for us, perhaps. [299]


When Gen. Rains' troops were driven from the field at Dug Springs, they fell back on the main army under Price and McCulloch, some five miles away, and reported that the force which bad assailed them was not only vastly superior to their own, but was much larger and more formidable than the combined Southern army. It was evident that Gen. Rains, if not badly whipped, was badly frightened. The Confederates and Missourians were then encamped on Crane creek, in the northern part of Stone county.

Thereupon there was confusion among the principal Southern officers. General McCulloch counseled a retreat and General Price advocated a forward movement. Price's officers and men agreed with him and were "eager for the fray." As McCulloch was unwilling to advance, General Price asked him to loan him some arms for the destitute portion of his command, that the Missourians might advance by themselves. McCulloch refused. The embarrassing disagreement continued till in the evening of Sunday, August 4, when an order was received by McCulloch from the Confederate authorities ordering what Price much desired—an advance on Gen. Lyon. A council was at once held, at which McCulloch agreed to march on Springfield provided he was granted the chief command of the consolidated army. Price, to whom in right and justice the supreme command belonged, anxious to encounter the Federals and defeat and drive them from the State before they could be reinforced by Fremont from St. Louis, consented to the terms of the imperious Texas ranger, saying, "I am not fighting for distinction, but for the liberties of my country, and I am willing to surrender not only my command but my life, if necessary, as a sacrifice to the cause." A little after midnight, therefore, on Sunday, August 4, the Southern camp was broken up and the troops took up the line of march, which was continued slowly and cautiously, along the Fayetteville road to the crossing of Wilson's creek, near the Christian county line, in sections 25 and 26, tp. 28, range 23, ten miles southwest of Springfield, which locality was reached on the 6th. [300]

3 The fight at Dug Springs was called by some of the Confederate officers, derisively, "Rains' scare."

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