Monday, July 4, 2011

July 5, 1861 (Friday): Lyon Moves Southwest

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                                                                        SAINT LOUIS ARSENAL, July 5, 1861.
General Thomas, Adjutant-General, Washington:
    General Lyon is moving down from Booneville toward Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, with 2,400 troops.  Major Sturgis is on the way from Fort Leavenworth with 2,200.  There are 3,500 on the Southwest Branch of Pacific Railroad and the line thence to Mount Vernon, beyond Springfield.  In a day or two another regiment will be moved down.  There is a depot for supplies at Rolla, the terminus of the South-west Branch; another must be established at Springfield.  All the supplies for, say, 10,000 troops must take that direction.  From Rolla on for 60 miles the country is mountainous and barren.  Teams have to take their own forage.  It is absolutely necessary that a large amount of wagon transportation should be immediately provided.  Will you see that the necessary orders are given by the Quartermaster-General, by telegraph, to Major McKinstry, early in the morning?
    General Lyon urges that regular quartermasters and commissaries be sent to him at once.
                                                                        CHESTER HARDING, JR.,
A.    A. G., Missouri Volunteers.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 3, Page 390

Lyon continues to press his advantage over Price and McCulloch, moving aggressively beyond Saint Louis.  As seen by the figures in Harding’s memo, Lyon was attempting with no more than 8,100 men to cover the vast expanse of territory in the triangle from Saint Louis to Kansas City and south to Springfield.  He had the advantage of the initiative, but lacked the troops or logistics to strike a decisive blow.  Another problem he faced was that support for the South, weak around Saint Louis, was stronger the further he moved into the rural western part of the state.

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