All of the foregoing goes to show the want of military foresight and soldierly judgment on the part of General Fremont in directing the necessary means for putting and maintaining in the field the forces under his command.
General Hunter stated that, though second in command, he never was consulted by General Fremont, and knew nothing whatever of his intentions. Such a parallel, I venture to assert, cannot be found in the annals of military warfare. I have also been informed that there is not a Missourian on his staff, not a man acquainted personally with the topography and physical characteristics of the country or its people.
The failure of General Fremont to re-enforce General Lyon demands a brief notice. General Fremont arrived at Saint Louis July 26, called thither from New York by telegraph stating that General Lyon was threatened by 30,000 rebels. At this time General Pope had nine regiments in North Missouri, where the rebels had no embodied force, the Confederate forces in the State being those under Price and McCulloch, near Springfield, Southwest Missouri, and those under Pillow, Jeff. Thompson, and Hardee, in Southeast Missouri. Two regiments held Rolla, the terminus of the Southwestern Branch of the Pacific Railroad, whilst Jefferson City, Booneville, Lexington, and Kansas City had each a garrison of 300 or 400 men, behind entrenchments. Cairo and Bird's Point were fortified and defended with heavy artillery. (Pilot Knob and Cape Girardeau were fortified after General Fremont's arrival.) All these places could be re-enforced by railroad and river from Saint Louis and the Northwestern States, and could hold out until re-enforced, even if attacked by superior forces.
On his arrival in Saint Louis, General Fremont was met by Captain Cavender, First Missouri, and Major Farrar, aide-de-camp to General Lyon, with statements from the latter, and asking for re-enforcements. Major Phelps, M. C. from Springfield, Dr. Miller, of Omaha, and many other citizens, having ample means of information, made the same representations, and urged the sending of re-enforcements. To Governor Gamble he said, "General Lyon is as strong as any other officer on this line." He failed to strengthen Lyon, and the result, as is well known, was the defeat of that most gallant officer. The two regiments at Rolla should have been pushed forward, and the whole of Pope's nine regiments brought by rail to Saint Louis and Rolla, and thence sent to Lyon's force. Any other general, in such an emergency, would have pursued this obvious course.
The battle of Springfield (or, more strictly, Wilson's Creek)--one of the most desperate ever fought on this continent--took place August 10, when the brave Lyon fell, and the troops, borne down by greatly superior numbers, were obliged to fall back, but unpursued by a badly beaten foe.
General Fremont called four regiments from North Missouri, and went with them to Cairo. It is evident he had no intention of re-enforcing General Lyon, for the two regiments at Rolla, 125 miles only from Springfield, received no orders to march, and were not supplied with transportation, and 30 or 40 hired wagons, just returned from Springfield, were discharged at Rolla August 4, seven days before the battle, and returned to Saint Louis.
After the news of the battle reached Saint Louis four other regiments were drawn from Pope in North Missouri and sent to Rolla. Better to have called in these troops before the battle, as after the battle the whole revolutionary elements were called forth. The six regiments accomplished nothing, and were not ordered to advance and cover the
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