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Another Battle near Springfield.


July/August 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, August 7, 1861.


Another Battle near Springfield.


Lyon’s Force Eight Thousand.


Federal Loss of Eight Killed & Thirty Wounded.

Another Engagement Anticipated.

Rumors were rife in town yesterday afternoon of an engagement between the forces under Gen. Lyon and the rebel troops, near Springfield. From Mr. G. C. Clark, the correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, who came in last evening on the down train from Rolla, we obtained the following particulars, up to Saturday evening. The stage left Springfield Sunday morning and was thirty-six hours in reaching Rolla. The particulars of the fight were brought in by passengers and were also confirmed by letters to which Mr. Clark obtained access.

Gen. Lyon left his camp, near Springfield, on Thursday, in pursuit of the rebels, who fled before him. That evening Lyon encamped in the vicinity of Tyrel Creek. On Friday he advanced to Dug Spring, and obtained intelligence of the enemy. Dug Spring is about nineteen miles southwest of Springfield. A fight took place on Friday, between the hours of four and six P. M. A party of Lyon’s cavalry, consisting of twenty-seven men, were crossing a neck of high land, partially enclosed on the east by a valley, and when descending the hill were entangled amid a large force of the enemy’s infantry, variously estimated from two to four thousand men. The little body of cavalry being unable to ascend the hill and secure their retreat, resolved to cut their way through. They performed prodigies of valor. A general stampede of the enemy occurred. Five of the cavalry were killed, among them was the Lieutenant, the commander of the cavalry. The Lieutenant, whose name we did not learn, killed eight of the rebels. The cavalry regained their camp with a loss of only five men. Meantime, the rebel force appeared in large numbers moving along the valley. General Lyon’s artillery threw shot and shell among them, and they were put to flight. Lyon’s infantry were not engaged. Our forces then took possession of the battle field, while the rebels retreated southward, to a point called McCulloch’s Store, on the Fayetteville road.

Another account from a passenger who comes through from Rolla, places the numbers of the cavalry engaged at forty men. He states the number of the rebels at 2,000, from which our men so heroically extricated themselves, a disparity of force unexampled in the history of war. The number of rebels found dead on the battle field amounted to forty, and some forty-four of their wounded were picked up.

General Lyon is said to be strongly posted, and his camp is in close proximity to the rebels. A battle was momentarily expected. Springfield was in a state of great excitement. Only four companies of infantry, two cannon, and 600 Home Guards were left in the city. Lyon’s force is about 8,000, and the rebels’ is estimated at 15,000.


Semi-Official Account of the Battle at Dug Spring, Nineteen Miles South of Springfield.



SPRINGFIELD, August 3, 1861.

Editors of the Missouri Democrat:

Another battle has been fought in the Southwest, preliminary to a general engagement, which is momentarily expected.

On Friday, the 2nd inst., Gen. Lyon, hearing that Ben. McCulloch and his Southern hordes were approaching a ravine known as Dug’s Spring, the enemy was discovered in large force and marshaled in battle array. Our force was 8,000, that of Ben. McCulloch 15,000. The engagement was opened by Lyon’s artillery, which was promptly replied to by the enemy.

After some hard fighting, in which the artillery of Lyon proved its superiority, the enemy retreated with a loss of forty killed and forty-four wounded. Our loss is eight killed and thirty wounded. We took eighty stand of arms, fifteen horses and wagons, and other trophies.

The advantages of cavalry were exhibited in his contest. During the engagement, a small squad of dragoons made a sudden charge upon a column of the enemy, numbering some 4,000. The suddenness of the onset created a stampede among the infantry, and our boys cut their way through them, and came back with the loss of five of their number. Upon examining the dead, several of their heads were found cloven entirely through.

The enemy retired some miles during the night, and Lyon took possession of the field.

We expect a fight to-morrow (Saturday) as the enemy have been largely reinforced. Will write you again.




SPRINGFIELD, MO., August 3, 1861.

Editors Missouri Democrat:

I will give you a brief account of some of the news at this place: The town has about 2,000 inhabitants; it is, snugly nestled down on the edge of a large prairie in the groves, on a small stream, as if seeking protection there at once from the scorching summer sun, and the bleak winds of winter, that rule supreme upon the open prairie; and also from the remorseless secessionists. They have just completed a new Court House here, which is a very fine building, and is occupied at present by the army as a hospital, and is under the skillful and scientific management of Dr. E. C. Franklin, of your city, to whom too much praise cannot be accorded, for his untiring care, and indomitable energy in the getting up and managing a hospital which now has some 90 patients, and accommodations for 150, in a country where it is almost impossible to get anything that you need. Agreeably to the words of a poet,

“Hang your banners on the outer walls,”

Dr. Franklin yesterday flung to the breeze, on top of the hospital, a large yellow flag—yellow, no doubt, indicative of the green and yellow melancholy that is apt to afflict the inmates of hospitals, and also, as a slight hint to the secessionists no to throw any of those uncomfortable missiles at the sick, should they happen to come this way.

The troops here, most of them, have been kept on half rations for some two weeks, owing to the difficulty of procuring provisions. It is said, “man wants but little here below;” but if you could see the quantities of provisions coming in by the wagon load, and then were told the men were only half fed, you would doubt the truth of the aphorism. Nature, says the philosopher, abhors a vacuum, and in no place more than in the stomach of a soldier, and oh! how this same vacuum takes off “the pomp and circumstance of glorious war.”

Gen. Lyon and his brigade arrived within ten miles of here on the 13th of July, since which we have heard little of the secessionists, except that they were in the extreme southwest corner of the State, recruiting and robbing, deserting and desecrating.

The commands of Gen. Sweeny, Col. Sigel, and Col. Salomen, have been camped in this town. The command that Gen. Lyon brought from Boonville, together with Major Sturges’s [sic] force from Kansas, have been encamped ten miles from here, at Little Fork, called Camp McClellan, in honor of our brave and skillful young general, who has just been appointed over the forces in Virginia. On Thursday, the news came that the enemy were advancing on us in three columns, with an overwhelming force of 20,000 men.

Our troops set out in the afternoon to meet them. The Second and Third Missouri Regiments from here, and the Fourth and Second Kansas, and First Iowa regiments, with two or three companies of regular infantry, and two or three companies of regular cavalry from Camp McClellan. They effected a junction near Marionville, as did also the secessionists. To-day we hear from an eye witness, that twenty-two miles south form here the advanced guard of our army met the advanced guard of the secessionists under Ben McCulloch. Our men immediately “cried havoc, and let loose the dogs of war.” The result was the defeat of the secessionists. They had thirty killed, and forty wounded were found in one house. We had three killed, eight wounded and three died from heat. The secessionists retreated to their main body, and the two armies encamped within sight of each other last night and we expect to hear of a battle to-day, the result of which we are looking for with much interest and full confidence of victory. An incident occurred in the battle of yesterday, which indicates the character of the foe we have to contend with. One of Col. Sigel’s lieutenants had prostrated a secessionist, who then begged for quarter, which the chivalrous lieutenant granted him, but as soon as the black hearted rebel regained his feet he seized his gun and shot his generous foe, but the lieutenant killed him and two other secessionists, and rode back, when he fell from his horse and died in two hours.

The secessionists they say are determined to take this town, on account of its determined Union sentiments. It is said there is a body of some 5,000 men thirty miles west of us, who are coming in to attack the town in General Lyon’s absence. We have here two companies of Third Regiment Missouri Volunteers, and about 700 or 800 Home Guards from the surrounding country, and two pieces of artillery. While I write two companies of Home Guards have just gone out to reconnoiter for the enemy from the west. We are waiting for them with confident hearts and strong arms, determined that they shall not take the town without a bloody struggle. Major Cronenbold, of your city, is in command here, and says he will keep the palce or the place shall keep him. Yours truly,