Scene 4: 1862 -- Battle of Wilson’s Creek
[Spotlight up on Narrator.]
General Sterling Price led the Missouri State Guard until April 1862, then accepted a command in the Confederate Army. His first engagement in August 1861 at Wilson’s Creek in Greene County, seven miles southwest of Springfield, saw the deaths of Current River boys. The dead were buried without marks of identification and in unmarked graves. Mrs. Kile, wife of James, and two other women whose husbands were killed in the battle went to the burial grounds about two weeks afterwards to get the bodies of their husbands. They were told that they would not be identified at that time.
[Quartet enters from stage right, move into CDS. As they enter, duck and dodge while Artillery/Cannon Sounds. ]
Ballad: “THE DEATH OF GENERAL LYON” by Soldier’s Quartet.
The wild dog sought his matted lair, the rattlesnake his hole,
For smoke and boom of heavy guns o´er Springfield´s prairies rolled;
And swiftly rushed on Iowa's sons, and boldly Kansas pressed.
For they would meet a foe that day, these Soldiers of the West.
Long raged the fight near Wilson´s Creek, and thick flew ball and shell;
Like tigers fought these frontier men, like wounded tigers fell;
Then Lyon cried, as he scanned their ranks, with sore odds now oppressed,
“We're here to die, but not to fly, my brave sons of the West.”
Three times the men of Iowa, and Kansas side by side,
Charged on a swaying host of foes, and checked the Southern tide;
Then Mississippi’s pride recoiled—Arkansas and the rest—
Unable to withstand the shock of the Soldiers of the West.
[Singers Pause: [GUNSHOT]]
A bullet from the sullen foe now entered Lyon’s side;
In vain the dying hero, the fatal wound would hide;
With sorrow deep, bronzed hunters weep, sad thoughts their hearts distressed.
No more would Lyon lead them on to battle in the West.
When doubt and fear o´erhung the land, and treason filled the air,
Then Lyon chose his country’s part, for her his sword did bear;
To her he gave his heart so brave, and all that he possessed,
And lastly, gave the life he loved on a prairie of the West.
The day will come, when North and South will live in peace again;
When men will drop the dented sword to reason with the pen;
Then many a tongue will breathe his name—a name among the best—
The man that led on Springfield’s plain the Legions of the West.
[ At close of song, Quartet freezes. Spotlight up on Narrator.]
“Early in April 1862, Federal Captain McCameron with a company of sixty Federal soldiers entered the County and came west to Current River at my Father’s farm. My brothers and sisters were planting corn near the river. I was 4 years old at the time. The people of the community were expecting the soldiers, and when they rode into the river, my brother ran to warn the men who were working on the next farm up the river. I could see how their blue uniforms and weapons flashed in the sun and their fine horses glistened as they ran through the field”.
Sam Burnham and Isaac Baker saw the soldiers and hid behind a tree. Sam Hanger and Baty Chitwood slipped away. Later, all four men escaped into the woods. The Federals returned to our home and asked my mother numerous questions but got little true information. They went down river to Woods Mill and camped. After dark, they discovered a man who fired his gun hitting one of the soldiers with his shot. The soldiers, being attacked by an enemy in the dark, stampeded and fled about a half mile down the river where they formed a line of battle and remained until daybreak when Confederate Captain Owen Hawkins and Captain Ponder located them and sent them scurrying back to Greenville.
[Spotlight fades on Narrator; up on Soldier Quartet.]
Ballad: “SHELBY’S MULE” by Soldier Quartet
The Union folks away up north were one time much afraid,
'Bout something coming from the South, they said it was a raid.
Now I will tell you what it was, if you will just keep cool—
It had long ears, and a long slick tail, and called Jo Shelby's Mule.
Shout Boys, make a noise, the Yankees are afraid
That something's up and hell's to pay when Shelby's on a raid.
Once this mule went on a spree, up close to Lexington,
And every time he gave a snort he made the Blue Coats run.
Coming back through “Old Saline” he got into a trap,
He seared Old Brown, kicked up his heels, and came back safe to Pap.
Once I went to see Old Abe and found him in a rage,
Because this mule had started north, and just then crossed “sage.
Indeed, his anger knew no bounds, says I, “Sir, pray keep cool.”
“I can't,” said he, “I've lost so much by Shelby's long tailed Mule.”
“Old Rosy” got a long dispatch, which came from way down East.
Saying, “Take some thirty thousand men and try to catch that beast.”
To obey orders he was bound, but said Abe was a fool,
And hadn't halter strong enough to hold Jo Shelby's Mule.
Some say our State did not secede, but let me tell you now
That if she did or if she didn't we'll have her anyhow.
Let us alone, we'll do the same, that is the Southern rule;
If that won't do we'll pack the State down South on Shelby's Mule.
[Quartet exits stage right.][Spotlight up on Narrator.]