(Correspondence of the Missouri Republican.)
SPRINGFIELD, MO., March 29, 1862.
In all portions of the country, throughout Southwest Missouri, there is a great change taking place in the sentiments of the people. – The friends of the Federal Union are strengthened in their hopes of its full restoration to power and authority, and are enabled to avow their convictions openly and boldly. Secession has become a by-word and a reproach among the inhabitants, and a general confidence is felt that the rebel army will never find a way into Missouri again. Many thoughtless persons who have been in Price’s army are returning home, some of them quietly, hoping that no notice will be taken of their [treason],others coming, and giving themselves up to the military authorities, asking to be permitted to take the oath of allegiance and return to the peaceful avocations to which they were formerly accustomed. All these returning rebels express their disgust with the rebellion as a future, and are now convinced that the Government of their fathers is a wise and beneficent one, and too powerful to be easily overthrown.
The night before we reached Springfield we stayed with an intelligent farmer, about eight miles from town, by the name of Piper. He came from Virginia, and settled in this country twenty years ago. Two of his sons are in the Union army, and one of them was wounded in the battle of Pea Ridge. The latter is now home, recovering from his wounds, and gave me a few interesting particulars of the battle. He was in Colonel Phelps’ regiment , Twenty-fifth Missouri Infantry. During the first two days this regiment was constantly in the fight, and many of them were wounded, or met a soldier’s death. Every Captain in the regiment was either killed or wounded. Young Piper spoke in terms of great admiration of Capt. John W. Lisenby, of Company D, his own Captain, with whom he stood side by side during the fight. The first man that fell, Captain L. put his sword in its sheath, and picked up the man’s musket, using it till the cartridges were all gone. Then waving his cap over his head, he cheered on his men until a ball struck him in the breast, and he fell to the earth. His wound, however, was not fatal, and he will recover. He is now in this city, being nursed and cared for by female friends.
Young Piper received a flesh wound in the thigh. He fought on for some time after he was shot, feeling only a sting in his leg when he was struck, and only desisting when it became painful. He says he exchanged several shots with his antagonist, both of them having discovered the other’s aim, and that, on his third shot, he saw him fall.
The parents of this young man are proud that their sons are serving the cause of the Union. The old gentleman is a prosperous farmer, and although he has been repeatedly robbed by the secesh, his home is ever open to the weary soldier, who is never denied refreshment and rest.
At another house where we passed the night we found the mother of one of our wounded soldiers, a Mrs. Benton, rejoicing that her son had been found worthy to suffer for his country, and saying that his scars would be [an honorable] testimony to his loyalty hereafter.
Speaking of the regiment of Col. Phelps. I forgot to mention the noble conduct of his wife before and during the late battle. It is related of her that she went down to the headquarters of the army just before the fight, taking with her various articles of comfort, and among other things a lot of bandages, pieces of cotton, cloth, lint, &c., for dressing wounds. She had not been there more than a few hours when the battle commenced, and very soon her benevolent exertions were called into requisition.
The soldier who related this states that for three days she was untiring in her personal efforts in aid of the surgeons, in dressing wounds and caring for the wounded. Such noble and heroic conduct shows that we are not without our Florence Nightengales,
“The noblest types of good
that can be found in any land.
It was Mrs. Phelps who had the body of Gen. Lyon decently buried on her husband’s farm, after the battle of Wilson’s Creek, when the rebels took possession of Springfield and in the hasty retreat of our little army, the body of the deceased Gen. Lyon was, by a mistake left behind.
Meeting Mr. Plattenburg, the agent of the Western Sanitary Commission, on his return from Cassville, I learned from him that he got safely and promptly through with the forty boxes of hospital stores for the wounded, and that the sheets, pillows, blankets, bandages, lint, jellies, wines, brandies, and other hospital stores were the very things needed, and came like the manna in the wilderness to our wounded men, no provision having been made for such an emergency. Forty boxes more are now on the way at this point, to be shipped immediately to Cassville, and will all be needed. It is purposed also to send some washing machines to the hospitals to facilitate the washing of the soiled clothing, for which it is very difficult to procure the requisite labor. The labors of the Sanitary Commission have proven of immense value in securing better care and in providing necessary comforts for the wounded of our army, in which the rebel wounded have also shared. Many lives have no doubt been saved through their instrumentality, and their disinterest and humane exertions will not be forgotten by a grateful people.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 5, 1862, p. 2