Print this page

Spring River

Tour Stop

Battle of Carthage Tour Stop 7 Spring River Crossing Battle of Carthage Tour Stop 7 Spring River Looking East

Directions: The Spring River tour stop [ Waypoint = N37 11.316 W94 19.538 ] is located north of Carthage, Missouri just on the south bank of the Spring River.

  • Drive south on Civil War Avenue for about one half mile.
  • After you cross the bridge over Spring River, there will be a turn off on your left that provides access to the river.
  • Park your car and then walk down to the river.
Franz Sigel as Brigadier-General of Federal volunteers

Description: This stop on the tour places you at the Spring River, across which Federal Colonel Franz Sigel's troops and wagon trains had to ford. You are now standing on the south side of the river near the point where Sigel had to get his troops and wagons across the river. Fortunately for Sigel, the ford over Spring River was gravel lined. This made it easier to get the wagons across. It was still a struggle to get the three dozen wagons across the river. Sigel sent the wagon train on to Carthage. Sigel accompanied his forces into Carthage. The Missouri State Guard was unable to harass Sigel's crossing of the Spring River. [57]

Colonel James McCown, Second Cavalry, Eighth Division, Missouri State Guard described in his official report how the Southern cavalry was unable to cut off the Federal retreat across Spring River: [58]

After passing through the grain field in the midst of the fire we were led into and across a body of timber and halted by General Rains, some time after which we were ordered across the prairie to the timber on Spring River in order to gain a position in rear of the enemy, but arrived too late, the enemy having gained the timber in their retreat before we arrived. While halted for the purpose of ascertaining the position of the enemy near the timber on Spring River, we received shots from the enemy's battery, one of which wounded Private John Byler, of Captain McCowan's company, in the left thigh and leg, and also wounded his horse. In consequence of failing to gain the rear of the enemy at the timber on the north side of Spring River, We had to pass some distance down Spring River in order to gain a crossing.

Brigadier-General Mosby Parsons

In his official report, Brigadier-General Mosby M. Parsons, commanding Sixth Division, Missouri State Guard described the confusion among the Missouri State Guard commanders resulted in Sigel's Federals escape across the Spring River: [59]

Not being advised as to what was going on to the right of the road and to the right of Colonel Weightman's battery, I then rode up to a high point of ground which commanded a view of the enemy's position and our own lines to the right. I then discovered that the whole force of the enemy were in full retreat. I then ordered my infantry and artillery forward. Colonel Kelly, Major Dills, and Captain Guibor, of-the artillery, although having been engaged in a fatiguing action, promptly advanced. Having obtained position upon the open plain, I discovered that the enemy had obtained a position upon the plain about 2 miles from Spring River, having formed at a house merely as a feint to cover their retreat through the defiles on Spring River in the direction of Carthage. This river is about one and a half miles from Carthage. I advanced my infantry and two pieces of my artillery for the purpose of again giving them battle, but before my forces came up the enemy had accomplished their object, and again retreated.

The Muse South African