Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 2.djvu/186

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


paring for a renewal of the struggle. The remnant of the small Union force still firmly held its ground. Companies form the First Missouri, First Iowa and First Kansas regiments were brought up to the support of Dubois’ Battery, which was assailed by the enemy; falling upon his flank, they poured in a murderous fire, killing or wounding almost the entire Rebel force. This was the last charge made on the Union lines, and the Rebels withdrew to a safe distance, badly shattered and demoralized. The Union army retired to Springfield in good order, its total loss in killed, wounded and missing being 1,235 men. The Rebel loss was probably about the same. The death of General Lyon was a loss to the union cause that can scarcely be overestimated. In his brief career he had developed the rare qualities of great energy, fine military ability, promptness in execution and dauntless courage. At the time of his death, we had few officers in the service so valuable. Nowhere in the long war which followed can be found, in the great list of battles, one in which so small a Union army made so heroic and successful a fight against such superior numbers. The First Iowa lost in killed, wounded and missing, at Wilson’s Creek, one hundred and fifty-five men, and no Iowa regiment during the entire war won greater fame on a battle-field. Three months before all of its members were civilians, and in ninety days they had become soldiers whose achievements were not excelled by veterans of any war. Soon after the battle the army returned to Rolla, and the First Iowa, whose term of service had expired four days after the battle, was sent to St. Louis, where the men were paid and mustered out. They had marched more than six hundred miles during their short term of service, showing endurance and valor unsurpassed. When they returned to Iowa, they were welcomed and honored everywhere. In the short period of three months they had proved, by long marches and heroic courage on the field of battle, that Iowa citizen-soldiers were superior to the boastful, slave-driving “border ruffians”