Buck's Branch Creek
Directions: The Buck's Branch Creek tour stop [ Waypoint = N37 14.153 W94 19.546 ] is located on Civil War Avenue about 2.25 miles south of the previous tour stop.
- Drive south on Civil War Avenue.
- You will stay on Civil War Avenue crossing first Nutmeg Road and then Maple Road.
- Buck's Branch Creek is approximately 0.4 miles south of Maple Road on Civil War Avenue.
- Pull off on the side of the road.
Description: This stop on the tour places you at the Buck's Branch Creek ford where the Missouri State Guard Cavalry had deployed in order to prevent the Federal troops from escaping. As Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Hassendeubel approached to within a half mile of Buck's Branch Creek he knew it would be a dangerous place to cross. The wagons would have to go in single file because of the marshy land on either side of the creek crossing. This would take time that he did not have. Compounding this problem was what they discovered when they got closer to the creek. There were troops of the Missouri State Guard in line of battle along the creek crossing. The Missouri State Guard Cavalry had arrived ahead of the wagon train. The time was around 1400h.
If you walk to the bridge over the creek and stand facing north, you will be standing where Colonel Benjamin A. Rives' First Cavalry and Colonel Benjamin Brown's First Missouri Cavalry had deployed, dismounted, in line of battle just on the south side of the creek. The Federals were approaching about one half mile to the north of the creek. Colonel Rives wrote about this maneuver in his official report: 
I crossed Bear [Dry Fork] Creek, and after the second engagement between our artillery and infantry and that of the enemy I got in front of the enemy, and formed my command on the north side of Buck Branch, in conjunction with Colonel Brown, commanding First Regiment Cavalry, Sixth Division Missouri State Guard, when another short engagement ensued, but Colonel Weightman coming up with his artillery, the enemy again retreated.
Federal Colonel Franz Sigel's rear guard action at Dry Fork Creek had been successful at slowing down the Missouri State Guard pursuit. His supply wagon train had been able to move south and was one and a half miles ahead of Sigel. But as it approached Buck's Branch Creek the officer in charge, Lieutenant-Colonel Hassendeubel, knew it would be a dangerous place to cross. The wagons would have to go in single file because of the marshy land on either side of the creek crossing. This would take time that they did not have. Compounding this problem was what they discovered when they got closer to the creek. There were troops of the Missouri State Guard in line of battle along the creek crossing. The Missouri State Guard Cavalry had beaten them to Buck's Branch Creek. 
Realizing his wagon train was in danger, Sigel withdrew from his position at Dry Fork Creek. Sigel deployed his forces so as to protect his wagons from all sides. They were threatened from their front (south) by the dismounted cavalry on Buck's Branch Creek. They were threatened in their rear (north) by the advancing Missouri State Guard Infantry. The following is excerpted from Colonel Franz Sigel's official report: 
Meanwhile the two large bodies of cavalry had completely surrounded us, and had formed into line against our rear. They were posted behind a small creek, called Buck's Branch, which we had to pass. To meet them, I left the position on Dry Fork [to move] against the cavalry.
Otto C. Lademann, a Sergeant in Company E of the Third Missouri Infantry, recalled a discussion between Hassendeubel and Sigel just prior to the Federal advance on the Missouri State Guard cavalry at Buck's Branch Creek: 
[Sigel] ordered the battalion of Lieut. Col. Hassendenbel, and 2 guns under Lieut. Schuetzenbach to dislodge this cavalry, the infantry marching through the prairie in columns of companies to within about 1,000 yards of the enemy, when Schuetzenbach on our left opened fire on the cavalry, whose heads were just visible over the banks of Buck's Branch, while Lieut. Col. Hassendenbel was deploying his battalion to advance in line. Colonel Franz Sigel galloped up and the following conversation took place.
Col. Sigel: “Colonel Hassendenbel, what are you doing there?”
Lieut. Col. Hassendenbel: “I am deploying my battalion to advance in line and open fire on them.”
Colonel Sigel: “For God's sake remain in column, they are cavalry and they will cut you to pieces.”
Lieut. Col. Hassendenbel: “Ah! nonsense; those fellows haven't got any sabers.”
Behind [us I left] two companies acting as a rear guard against the main body of the enemy, moving from Dry Fork. After one round of our whole line, the infantry moved in double-quick time towards the enemy [on Buck's Branch Creek], and routed him completely. His flight was accompanied by tremendous hurrahs of our little army.
Otto C. Lademann, a Sergeant in Company E of the Third Missouri Infantry, described the Federal advance on the Missouri State Guard cavalry at Buck's Branch Creek: 
Lieut. Col. Hassendenbel . . . turning to the battalion commanded “Forward!” “Double quick!” “March!” . . . We ran about 500 yards when the want of breath stopped some one, and he fired his gun; this, of course, brought on a volley and in an instant the whole prairie in front of us was covered with fugitive, mounted men, running away from us at the top of their horses speed, circling back the way they had come and rejoining their line; only one unfortunate captain, whose horse had been killed, was captured by us.
The dismounted cavalry of the Missouri State Guard cavalry were poorly armed and very green. Colonel Rives sent word back to the State Guard infantry for reinforcements. However, the infantry was struggling to get across Dry Fork Creek and would not arrive in time to support Rives. When the Missouri State Guard Cavalry withdrew from their position on the creek, Sigel was able to get his wagons across the creek. His wagon train was now able to continue moving towards Carthage and safety. 
The Missouri State Guard Infantry continued to pursue Sigel's forces. By the time they reach Buck's Branch Creek, they could see that the wagons were on their way to Carthage. Sigel had set up his artillery batteries to protect the rear of his wagon train. Sigel's next key task in his retreat was getting across the ford into Carthage at Spring River.
Colonel Richard H. Weightman, commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Missouri State Guard described leading his brigade to support the southern cavalry at Buck's Branch Creek in his official report: 
By this time it was 2 o'clock p.m. The entire brigade, with the exception of Colonel Graves' command, had been marching since 4 o'clock a.m. (Colonel Hurst's regiment without breakfast), and I was proceeding to encamp the brigade upon the ground recently held by the enemy, the scene of their victory, when, learning that Colonel Rives, of General Slack's command, with his regiment of cavalry, had engaged the enemy and needed support, I again called upon my wearied brigade to advance, to which they promptly responded; but the enemy before our arrival had again retreated.