Saturday, January 8, 2011

To Destroy Supplies

The Second Battle of Springfield was fought January 8th 1863 in Springfield, Missouri.

Three Confederate Cavalry columns under the command of Brigadier General John S Marmaduke left Lewisburg, Arkansas on December 31st 1862. Their objective was to destroy the Union Army supply depot in Springfield, Missouri. The three Cavalry columns under Marmaduke, Colonel Emmett MacDonald and Colonel Joseph C Porter were to converge on Springfield from different directions and capture the city’s warehouses.

The Union commander in Springfield, Brigadier General Egbert Brown learned of the approach of the Confederate Cavalry the night of January 7th 1863. Brown was told there were about 5,000 Confederates to his 1,343 soldiers. Brown could destroy the supplies and retreat, or stay and fight. He decided to defend the city of Springfield.

In the early morning hours of January 8th 1863 Marmaduke approached Springfield from the south. While waiting for the other two columns of Confederate Cavalry to arrive Marmaduke’s troops foraged and captured some Missouri Militia about five miles from Springfield. At about 10:30 am the Confederates began to push into Springfield. They found homes on the outskirts of the city burning. Brown had ordered the houses burnt to provide a view for the artillery on Springfield's South Ave. After several assaults from the south failed, Confederate Colonel Joseph Orville Shelby took up an oblique attack from the west. The fighting was hand to hand and house to house with heavy casualties. The Confederates were able to capture a cannon. The Union troops were able to hold on and even push the Confederates back. With the sun about to go down Marmaduke led a final assault against Fort Number 4. The Union troops held saving the supply depot and ending the Battle of Springfield. During the night the Confederates withdrew and in four days were back in Arkansas.

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