• The Ray House

    Wilson's Creek

    National Battlefield Missouri

Wilson's Creek Medal of Honor Recipients

Five Union soldiers received the Medal of Honor for heroism at the Battle of Wilson's Creek.

Nicholas Bouquet
Private, Company D, 1st Iowa Infantry
Entered the service at Burlington, Iowa
Born 14 November 1842 in Germany (Bavaria)
Awarded the medal 16 February 1897
Citation: Voluntarily left the line of battle, and, exposing himself to imminent danger from a heavy fire of the enemy, assisted in capturing a riderless horse at large between the lines and hitching him to a disabled gun, saved the gun from capture.

Bouquet's action was profiled in the 1905 work Deeds of Valor:

"An Exciting Chase
A few days prior to the 10th of August, 1861, the term of service of the First Iowa Infantry had expired, and they were asked whether they would take their discharges or remain in service until after the expected battle at Wilson's Creek. The men, with one accord, decided to remain in service, all of them being eager for action. Private Nicholas Bouquet, a member of Company D of this regiment, describes his experience in the battle as follows:
'We all wanted to have a whack at the Rebels before going home, and, as luck would have it, Company D, to which I belonged, along with Company E, were detailed by Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt to support Totten's Battery. This order brought us into a hand-to-hand contest with the enemy, and, although we were engaging a superior force, we four times repulsed them.
When the retreat of our forces was ordered, after General Lyon had fallen, one of the guns of Totten's Battery had been left behind, because one of its horses had been killed.
Being this time on the skirmish line, I was called by the gunner of the piece to help catch a riderless horse which was galloping about the field between the lines. To catch this horse was to save the gun from falling into the enemy's hands--a most important factor in battle.
The enemy were closing in upon us, but, with the thought of saving the gun, not heeding the rain of bullets from both lines, we started after the horse, and in a short time had him. Leading him with all possible haste to the abandoned gun, we soon had him hitched to it, and away we went, following the retreating regiment, and in a short time had it safely within the lines of our army.'"

Bouquet later served in the 25th Iowa Infantry and died on December 27, 1912. He is buried in Burlington, Iowa.

 

Lorenzo Dow Immell
Corporal, Company (Battery) F, 2nd U.S. Artillery
Entered the service at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory
Born 18 June 1837 in Ross County, Ohio
Awarded the medal 19 July 1890
Citation: Bravery in action.

Two comrades testified to Immell's heroism at Wilson's Creek.

William T. Williams: "I remember seeing him advance between the enemy and our lines and cut loose the lead team, which had been killed, then mount the saddle horse of the swing team and save the caisson of Corporal Writtenberry's piece, which had been abandoned by all drivers and men, and I remember our whole line cheering him. I also saw him take a mule, put it in place of one of the wheel horses which had been shot, take an axe and cut a small tree, on which the piece was fast, and save the gun; also, saw him advance, under a hot fire, and get a horse belonging to the enemy. . . . Also, remember Capt. Jas. E. Totten's telling him he was the bravest man he ever saw , and that he would be rewarded."

John Kelly: "I was a witness to an act of bravery. . .[Immell] going between the lines at short range and cutting out the dead lead team of Corporal Writtenberry's caisson, and cutting a sapling where it was lodged, and mounting the swing team and taking it out, for which act the line cheered. At close of engagement, his off wheel horse fell fatally wounded, and Corporal [Immell] received three wounds himself. He put a mule in place of the off wheel horse, and saved his six-pounder gun. Otherwise, it would have been abandoned."

Immell later served in the 1st Missouri Light Artillery and died on October 31, 1912. He is buried in the National Cemetery at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri.

 

John McAllister Schofield
Major, 1st Missouri Infantry
Entered the service at West Point, New York (United States Military Academy Class of 1853)
Born 29 September 1831 in Gerry, New York
Awarded the medal 2 July 1892
Citation: Was conspicuously gallant in leading a regiment in a successful charge upon the enemy.

A War Department report detailed Schofield's actions at Wilson's Creek:

"He had been told by General Lyon to take charge of the left while the General himself would lead the right, and Major Schofield, having lost his horse, passed over to the left and, shouting to the somewhat disordered ranks to follow him, rushed towards the enemy and was soon engaged in the thickest of the fight. Indeed, his position for a while was most threatening. He had intended to lead the left at 'charge bayonets' upon the enemy, but the firing of the enemy became so sharp that some of the men who were following him in the rear returned the fire, and Major Schofield for a time seemed destined to be killed in the cross-fire.
For his special act of gallantry on this occasion. . .Major Schofield was complimented and particularly mentioned in the report of Major Sturgis, General Lyon's successor."

Schofield became commanding general of the army in 1888 and was promoted to lieutenant general in 1895. He died on March 4, 1906 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

William M. Wherry
First Lieutenant, Company D, 3rd U.S. Reserve Corps
Entered the service at St. Louis, Missouri
Born 13 September 1836 in St. Louis, Missouri
Awarded the medal 30 October 1895
Citation: Displayed conspicuous coolness and heroism in rallying troops that were recoiling under heavy fire.

Lieutenant S.O. Fish of Company D, 1st Missouri Infantry described Wherry's actions at Wilson's Creek:

"About 9 o'clock the Company occupied a part of the general line and was especially in support of a section of Totten's battery. We had suffered seriously in the fierce contest which had preceded and about this hour were heavily assailed by fresh troops and a most destructive fire, under which the men recoiled and the Company broke and abandoned the line. While I was engaged in the utmost endeavor to rally the men, and while my efforts seemed almost hopeless, Lieut. Wm. M. Wherry. . .seeing my dilemma and quickly realizing the danger of losing the guns of the battery, came to my assistance. Lieut. Wherry displayed unusual coolness and heroism. He aided me in stopping the men and infused renewed confidence among them, got them back into the line and remained with me until the guns and position were safe."

Wherry also served in the Spanish-American War and was promoted to brigadier general. He died in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 3, 1918, and is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

 

Henry Clay Wood
First Lieutenant, 1st U.S. Infantry
Entered service at Winthrop, Maine
Born 26 May 1832 at Winthrop, Maine
Awarded the medal 28 October 1893
Citation: Distinguished gallantry.

Wood explained why he deserved the medal in a letter written in 1893:

"The two particular acts of gallantry and distinguished conduct. . .are, first, the stand made by the Rifle Recruits, my command, after the other companies of the First Infantry Battalion had retreated, and my conduct in holding them on the line of battle fighting, until peremptorily ordered by Captain Plummer to retire; and Second, without being called there, in alone making my way from the Battalion in rear to the front line of battle to report to Captain Gilbert, receiving an order from him to Captain Huston in rear, and again joining Gilbert on the front line with a message from Huston, which act Gilbert writes of 'as one of conspicuous gallantry.'"

Wood retired from the army as a major in 1896 but was advanced to the rank of brigadier general in 1904. He died on August 30, 1918 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Did You Know?

Joseph Shelby

The term "brother against brother" is often used to describe the Civil War, but at Wilson's Creek it was literally true. Both Joseph Shelby (Missouri State Guard) and his stepbrother Cary Gratz (1st Missouri Infantry, U.S.) fought on Bloody Hill. Gratz was killed during the battle.