Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

Click on this image to find out who Turner was.

Field Musicians Wanted!

A Turner Bugler, 2004

Click on this image to learn about opportunities as a bugler, fifer or drummer with the Turner Brigade.

The Carthage Fight.


July/August 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, July 18, 1861.


Official Report of Col. Sigel to Gen. Sweeny at Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, MO., July 11, 1861.

SIR: After having arrived at Sarcoxie, twenty-two miles from Neosho, at 5 o’clock P. M. on Friday, the 28th of June, I was informed that a force of 700 to 800 men were encamped at Pool’s Prairie, about six miles south of Neosho, under the command of General Price. I also received a report that Jackson’s troops, Parsons in command, camped fifteen miles north of Lamar of Thursday, the 27th and Friday, the 28th, and that they were there first informed of government troops being in Springfield on their march to the west. Rains’s forces were reported having passed Papinsville on Thursday evening, the 27th, and being a day’s march behind Jackson on the 28th.

I immediately resolved to march first against the troops at Pool’s Prairie, and then, turning to the north, attack the forces of Jackson and Rains, and to keep open my communications with Gen. Lyon’s troops, who were said to have had an engagement on the 28th of June at Ball’s Mills, on the banks of the Little Osage river, about fifteen miles north of Nevada City, and to whom I had sent several scouts, of which only one returned, but without bringing reliable intelligence.  Scarcely had our troops left Sarcoxie on the morning of the 29th, when I received information that the camp at Pool’s Prairie was broken up on the same morning, and that the troops had fled towards Elk Mills, thirty miles southwest of Neosho, in the direction of Camp Walker, near Maysville, which place is not far from the southwest corner of the State of Missouri.

It was now my duty to give all my attention to the northern forces of the enemy. Apprehending that they would try to make their way into Arkansas, I ordered a detachment of two companies, with two field pieces, under command of Captain Cramer, to proceed to Cedar Creek and Grand Falls, in order to occupy the road and collect whatever news they could concerning the movements of the enemy.

I furthermore ordered the battalion under Col. Salomon, just then under march from Mount Vernon, to Sarcoxie, to join the force under my command in Neosho, by forced marches.

As soon as this battalion had arrived and our troops were sufficiently prepared for the movement, I sent them from Neosho and Grand Falls to Diamond Grove (seven miles south of Carthage,) where they arrived about noon, and advanced in a northerly direction. I ordered one company, under Captain Hackmann, to make a forward movement from Mount Vernon to Sarcoxie. I also ordered Capt. Conrad, of company B, (Rifle Battalion, Third Regiment,) to remain in Neosho, in order to afford protection to Union loving citizens against the secession hordes, and if necessary, to retreat to Sarcoxie. Company H, Captain Indest, was one of the two companies whom I had sent to Grand Falls. It had not returned when the battle commenced.

On the evening of the 4th of July, our troops, after a march of twenty miles, encamped southeast of Carthage, close by Spring river.

I was by this time pretty certain that Jackson’s troops, reported about 4,000 strong, were about nine miles before us, their scouts swarming over the great plateau to the north of Carthage and almost within our sight.

The troops under my command on the 5th of July, who were engaged in the action of the day, were composed as follows:

Nine companies of the Third Regiment, with a total effective strength of 550 men;

Seven companies of the Fifth Regiment, numbering 400 men;

Two batteries of artillery, 4 pieces each.

With these troops I advanced slowly towards the enemy, our skirmishers driving before the numerous squads of mounted riflemen, who were, observing our march. The baggage train followed our troops at a distance of about six miles.

After crossing Dry Fork creek, six miles beyond Carthage, and advancing three miles farther, we found the enemy in line of battle on an elevated ground, gradually rising from the creek and about one and a half miles distant. Their first line was formed in three regiments deployed in line and with proper intervals between them. Two regiments forming the wings consisted of cavalry, the centre of infantry, cavalry and two pieces of artillery; the other pieces were posted on the right and one on the left wing. The whole force within our sight may have numbered 3,500 men, besides a strong reserve in the rear.

As our advanced guard was already engaged, I sent two cannon, together with two companies of the Third Regiment, for its support. Another cannon and a company of the Third Regiment I ordered to a position behind the creek, so as to afford  protection to our baggage and the troops in the rear against the movement of the cavalry. The remainder of our troops I formed in the following manner:

On the left, the second battalion of the Third Regiment, under command of Major Bischoff, in solid column, with four cannon.  In the center the Fifth Regiment in two separate battalions, under Colonel Salomon and Lieut. Col. Wolff. On the right, three cannon under command of Capt. Essig, supported by the first battalion Third Regiment, under Lieut. Col. Hassendeubel.

Having made these dispositions, and advanced a few hundred paces, I commanded Maj. Backoff to open fire upon the enemy with all the seven field pieces. The fire was promptly answered. I soon perceived that the two mounted regiments of the rebel army made preparations to circumvent our two wings. They made ad flanking movement, and, describing a wide circle, caused a large interval of space to be left between them and the center. I forthwith ordered the whole fire of our artillery to be directed against the right center of the enemy, which had the effect in a short time of considerably weakening the fire of the rebels at this point.

I now formed a chain of skirmishers between our cannon, ordered two of Captain Essig’s pieces from the right to our left wing, and made known to the commanders and troops that it was my intention to gain the heights by advancing with our left and taking position on the right flank of the enemy’s center. In this critical moment, Captain Wilkins, commander of one of the two batteries, declared that he was unable to advance for want to ammunition. No time could be lost; one part of the troops on the extreme right and left, were already engaged with the mounted troops, and to advance with the rest without the assistance of artillery, seemed to me a movement which could easily turn out into a deroute [sic]. The moral effect of the enemy’s mounted regiments behind our lines, although the real danger was not great, could not be denied; to lose our whole baggage was another consideration of importance. It was, therefore, with great mortification that I ordered one part of the troops behind Dry Fork Creek, whilst Lieut. Col. Hassendeubel, with the first battalion of the Third Regiment, and a battalion of the Third Regiment, and a battalion of the Fifth, under Lieut. Col. Wolff, followed by four pieces of Capt. Wilkens’s battery, repaired to the baggage train to defend it against the projected attack.

The enemy followed slowly towards Dry Fork creek. Capt. Essig’s battery had taken position behind the ford, assisted by one company of the Fifth (Capt. Stephany’s,) on the left, and two companies of the Third (Captains Golmer and Dengler,) on the right, whilst two companies of the Fifth (Captains Stark an Meissner,) stood as a reserve behind the two wings. At this point it made successful resistance to the entire force of the enemy for two hours, and caused him the heaviest losses. By that time two rebel flags had been shot out of sight, each act being accompanied by the triumphant shouts of the United States volunteers. In the meantime the two cavalry regiments had completely surrounded us and formed a line against our rear.

They had posted themselves close by a little creek, called Buck Branch, over which we had to pass. In order to meet them, I abandoned my position at Dry Fork, and ordered two pieces to the right and two pieces to the left of our reserve and baggage, supported by the detachments of Col. Salomon and Lieut. Col. Wolff, in solid column. Lieut. Col. Wolff, seconding my movement with his accustomed ability, formed three companies of the first battalion, Third Regiment, into line, and made them take up marching line against the cavalry in front of the baggage. Behind these troops and the baggage, Lieutenant Schrickel, with a portion of the first battery of artillery and two companies, took a precautionary position in view of that part of the enemy coming in the direction of Dry Fork.

After the firing of one round by our whole line, our infantry charged upon the enemy at double quick and routed him completely. His flight was accompanied by the deafening shouts of our little army.

The troops and baggage train now crossed the creek undisturbed, to the heights crowning the north side of Carthage, before Spring river. Here they took position again. The enemy advanced slowly with his center, while he pushed forward his cavalry to turn our right and left, and to gain the Springfield road. As I thought it most necessary and important to keep open my communications with Mount Vernon and Springfield, I ordered Lieut. Col. Wolff, with two pieces of artillery, (Lieut. Schaefer, 2d battery) to pass Carthage and to occupy the eastern heights on the Sarcoxie road. Capt. Cramer with two companies (Indest and Leiss) had to follow him; to guard the west side of the town against a movement of the enemy towards this side. Our rear guard took possession of the town, to give the remainder of the troops time to rest, as they had, after a march of 22 miles on the 4th, and 18 miles on the 5th, been in action the whole day, since 9 o’clock in the morning, exposed to an intense heat, and almost without eating and drinking.

The enemy, taking advantage of his cavalry, forded Spring river, on different points, spread through the woods, and, partially dismounted, harrassed our troops from all sides. I therefore ordered the retreat towards Sarcoxie under the protection of our artillery and infantry, taking first position on the heights behind Carthage, and then at the entrance of the road of Sarcoxie into the woods, two and a half miles southeast of Carthage. From the latter place our troops advanced unmolested as far as Sarcoxie.

Our whole loss in this engagement amounts to 13 dead and 31 wounded, among whom is Capt. Strodtmon, Company E, Third Regiment, and Lieutenant Bishoff of Company B, same regiment. The first battery lost nine horses, the Third Regiment one (Major Bischoff’s,) and one baggage wagon had to be left behind, in Carthage for want of horses to pull it away.

According to reliable accounts, the loss of the enemy cannot have been less than from 350 to 400 men. One of their field pieces was dismounted and another exploded.

With the deepest regret, I have to announce to you the surprise and capture by the rebels, of Capt. Conrad and his company of ninety-four men, in Neosho. Officers and men were afterwards liberated, after taking an oath that they would not again take up arms against the Confederate States.

On the other hand, it affords me intense pleasure to be able to say, in justice to the officers and men under my command, that they fought with the greatest skill and bravery. Although threatened more than once on the flank and in the rear by powerful detachments of cavalry, and attacked in front by an overwhelmingly disproportionate force, they conducted themselves like veterans and defended one position after another without a man swerving from his place. I would also specially acknowledge the services of the Fifth Regiment, under its brave commanders and adjutants, with heartfelt gratitude. They proved themselves to be true friends and reliable comrades on the battle field.

The excellent artillery under Major Backhoff, who, like my Adjutants, Albert and Heinrichs, was untiring from morning till night in his efforts to execute and second my commands, also deserves honorable mention.

I am, sir, with great respect, yours,

Commanding Officer.

To the above minute statement of the battle, we annex the following list of killed and wounded of the Fifth Regiment,

furnished the Anzeiger des Westens by Wm. Gerlach, Sergeant Major.

Killed―Conrad Gutman, Herman Steinsick, Ludwig Bock, George Barker, Thomas Percey, Frederic Fleischbut, Christian Vehrle.

Wounded―Second Lieutenant Jos. Nehrig (slightly wounded), Robert Guenthensberg (shot in the side and wound considered

dangerous), Balthasar Stark (shot in the leg), Mathias Schaeffer (shot in the arm), Henry Overbeck (shot in the hand),

Robert Uscher (contusion at the left breast, already cured.)