Earlier this week, I made a quick visit to the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield where I particularly focused on Colonel Franz Sigel’s surprise attack on the southern end of the Confederate encampment. At first his attack went well, and his men advanced steadily along Wilson Creek and through Sharp’s cornfield. However, things went awry as Backof’s Missouri Battery was placed near the Wire Road right before it dropped down into the Wilson Creek valley. The artillerists could not cover the zone before them, and Sigel did not send out an adequate picket force to guard from surprise. Additionally, his infantry, the 3rd Missouri and the 5th Missouri, were poorly situated well behind the artillery.
This photo shows Backof’s artillery position along the Wire Road:
A photo from the perspective of the 3rd Louisiana Infantry that advanced along the Wire Road toward Backof’s Battery. When the men of the 3rd Louisiana reached the top of the slope they were only 25 yards from Backof’s Battery.
Again, this photograph is a view from the Confederate perspective. Imagine Union soldiers in flight along the Wire Road and through the fields after being routed by Confederate troops.