Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/383
Wilson's Creek. 36 d
Lyon. Here the storm of battle raged incessantly over and around "Bloody Hill" till about n o'clock. For seven hours there was no pause in the deadly struggle. The Union com- mander fought heroically. With Sigel routed and hurrying far away from the field the odds were against Lyon, but he fought on and exposed himself to the enemy's fire recklessly. His horse was shot on the summit of the fatal hill. The General was also bleeding from a wound. He mounted another horse and started to lead the First Iowa, that had been rallied for one more charge. At the head of this decimated regiment the Union commander fell, and then the battle suddenly ended. The rem- nant of General Lyon's army followed Sigel's stragglers back to Springfield, and the victory of Oak Hills was emblazoned on the arms of the young and hopeful Confederacy.
That the fighting at Wilson's Creek was stubborn and deadly is shown by the losses on both sides. The killed and wounded of the Federal army numbered 1,235. The First Missouri Infantry had seventy-six men killed on the field. The First Kansas lost seventy-seven. The aggregate losses on each side were about the same. The fighting was always at close range. The Southern troops marched up within a few rods of the Union line and fired their double-barrelled shotguns and flintlock rifles right in the faces of the foe. The buckshot of General Price's Missouri Volunteers did fatal work on "Bloody Hill." The guns of those trained mountaineer hunters were loaded heavily, and when the battle was over many of these raw recruits that had escaped the enemy's fire found their shoulders very sore. This was caused by the "kicking" of the old muzzle-loaders.
The Union army stopped a few hours at Springfield, then re- sumed the retreat toward St. Louis. At Rolla, Mo., the demor- alized command was reorganized and remained there inactive for several months.
General McCulloch buried his dead on the battlefield, and the next day, Sunday, August nth, he marched into Springfield. The wounded of both armies were moved to the little town and distributed among the public buildings, hotels and private houses. The courthouse and several churches became hospitals, and al- most every woman of Springfield, of either side, who could endure the sight of mangled soldiers, found service as a nurse.