Here on the southern end of the battlefield, Union soldiers commanded by Col. Franz Sigel mounted a surprise attack on the Confederate camps. The battle plan called for Sigel to attack from the south, while General Lyon attacked from the north.
On the morning of the battle, Sigel's men occupied the ridge across the creek to your left. When Gen. Lyon's cannon opened fire to the north, Sigel began shelling the 2,300 Confederate cavalrymen camped here in Sharp's Cornfield. Exploding shells rained on the camps, and the startled Rebels retreated to the north, behind you.
By 7:30 A.M. Sigel had crossed the creek and entered the far end of the field in front of you. Behind you, drawn up in line of battle stood Col. Elkanah Greer's Texas Cavalry Regiment, ready to stop the Union advance. But shelling from Sigel's artillery forced the Texans back, allowing Sigel to advance to your right and rear to a position blocking the Wire Road.
In his official report to Major General John C. Fremont, Commander of the Union Army's Department of the West, Col. Sigel described the attack:Sigel's Orders
"According to orders, it was the duty of this brigade to attack the enemy in the rear, and to cut off his retreat which order I tried to exercise whatever the consequences might be." Sigel's 1st Position
"In sight of the enemy's tents, which spread out in our front and right, I planted four pieces of artillery on a little hill..."
"I ordered the artillery to begin their fire against the camp of the enemy (Missourians), which was of so much effect, that the enemy troops were seen leaving their tents and retiring in haste toward the northeast of the valley."Sigel's 2nd Position
"As the enemy made his rally in large numbers before us, about 3,000 strong, consisting of infantry and cavalry, I ordered the artillery to be brought forward from the hill, and formed them in battery across the valley, with the Third and Fifth Regiments to the left and the cavalry to the right. After an effective fire of half an hour the enemy retired in some confusion into the woods and up the adjoining hills."