According to records from the National Archives and Missouri State Archives records John William Wilson participated in the Battle of Iuka. Although Thomas Allen Wilson served in the same unit as John William Wilson (Company E, 4th MO Infantry-CSA), there is no documentation confirming if Thomas Allen Wilson was or was not with his company
during this engagement. During the engagement, Company E (4th MO Infantry-CSA) was under the command of Colonel
MacFarland and was assigned to the Fourth Brigade (Army of the West), under the command of Brigadier General Martin E. Green.
Philip Askins was listed as present on the Muster Roles for Company A (5th MO Infantry-CSA) and presumed to have served with his unit during the Battle of Iuka. During the
engagement, the 5th MO Infantry (CSA) was under the command of Major General John P. McCown and was assigned to the First
Brigade (Army of the West), under the Command of Colonel Elijah Gates.
Prior to the Battle of Iuka on September 19, 1862, Major General
Sterling Prices Army of the West (CSA) main column marched into Iuka MS) on September 14, 1862 . Prices superior, Gen. Braxton
Bragg, the commander of the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, who was leading an offensive deep into Kentucky, ordered
him to prevent Major General William S. Rosecranss Army (Union) of from moving into Middle Tennessee and reinforcing Brigadier
General James Negleys Union forces garrisoned Nashville. Prices Army of the West (CSA)had about 14,000 men and could request
assistance from Major General Earl Van Dorn, commanding the District of the Mississippi (CSA), headquartered at Holly Springs
(MS). Major General Ulysses S. Grant, commanding the Army of the Tennessee (Union), feared that Price intended to go
north to join Bragg against Buell. Grant devised a plan for Major General Ord's Union forces to advance on Iuka from
the west and Rosecranss Union forces to advance from the southwest, with both arriving at Iuka on the 18th and making a coordinated
attack the next day.
On September 18, 1862, Union forces under Major General Ord
arrived as planned and skirmishing ensued between his reconnaissance patrol and Confederate pickets, about six miles from
Iuka, before nightfall. However, Union forces under Major General Rosecrans delayed and was not in position to attack
as planned. Late on that night, Price received orders from Major General Earl Van Dorn stating he (Van Dorn) was
now in command and that Price was to fall back to Rienzi to join him. Price replied by telegram: "I will move
my army as quickly as I can ...I am, however, expecting an attack today, as it seems...they are concentrating their forces
On September 19, Ord sent Price a message demanding that
he surrender, but Price refused. At the same time, Price replied: "...that neither he nor [his soldiers] will ever lay
down their arms...until the independence of the Confederate State shall have been acknowledged by the United States."
Meanwhile, Rosecranss union forces mistakenly marched on the Jacinto (Bay Springs) Road which prevented them from participating
in any coordinated attack as planned. Therefore, Grant ordered Ord to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans
(Union) and Price (CSA) before engaging the Confederates from the north (Burnsville).
About 4:00 pm, Rosencrans' force of 9,000 union men topped
a ridge on the Bay Springs Road and found Price's 2nd Brigade (under the command of Colonel Louis Herbert) well positioned
in a ravine filled with timber and underbrush. Included in Herbert's 2nd Brigade (CSA) were the 3rd Texas Calvary (dismounted)
and the 27th Texas Calvary (dismounted). The armies engaged in a infantry duel waged with a severity which General Hamilton
(CSA) had never seen surpassed. Colonel Mabry's 3rd Texans (CSA) with the aide of Missouri (CSA) artillery soon drove
back the Union forces.
As a result, the 37th Alabama (CSA) and 36th Mississippi (CSA)
were ordered to support the left flank and the 37th Mississippi (CSA-Martin's Brigade) and 38th Mississippi (CSA-Martin's
Brigade) were ordered to support the right flank. Once in place, Herbert forces charged and the union forces collapsed.
During the attack and ensuing counter attacks, both colonels of the 3rd and 27th Texas were wounded and each regiment lost
two-thirds of its men. Despite several counter attacks by Rosencrans' Union forces, Hebert Confederate forces held the
ridge as dusk neared.
By dusk, Colonel Elijah Gates' brigade and Brigadier General Martin E. Green's brigades of arrived after a five mile march from positions opposing Ord. Having not heard the sounds of battle,
Ord's union forces never attacked Price as Grant had ordered. Gates Brigade (including Philip Askins'
Company A-5th MO Inf) replaced Herbert's brigades at the center with Green's brigade (including John William
Wilson's Company E-4th MO Inf) placed in reserve.
A lieutenant of the 5th Missouri described
the movements of Gates' Brigade:
"We arrived on the filed just in time to
fire and receive one round when the enemy withdrew on account of the darkness. We had four men wounded in that volley...the
dead and wounded are lying around so thick that you can scarcely help stepping on them. We remained in position all
night. The ememy would give us a volley whenever we made the least noise."
An officer of the 3rd Missouri, deployed
in reserve with Green's brigade, wrote:
"About 9 o'clock we were moved up and relieved
the second brigade [Herbert's] and lay on our arms not over one hundred yards from the opposing forces; our guards bringing
in several prisoners during the night. The horrors of war and battlefields are terrible. Al night we could hear
the dries, yells and prayers of the wounded and dying around us, without the power of relieving their distress..."
Although Price wanted to attach Rosencrans'
union forces at dawn, he was convinced to him to march to join Van Dorn, as earlier planned. At the same time, Rosecrans
redeployed his men for fighting the next day. Prices army evacuated Iuka via the uncovered Fulton Road, protected its rear
with a heavy rearguard and hooked up with Van Dorn five days later at Ripley. Although Rosecrans was supposed to traverse
Fulton Road and cover it, he stated that he had not guarded the road because he feared dividing his force; Grant later approved
this decision. Rosecranss army occupied Iuka and then mounted a pursuit; the Confederate rearguard and overgrown terrain prevented
the Union pursuit from accomplishing much. The Federals should have destroyed or captured Prices army, but instead the
Rebels joined Van Dorn and assaulted Corinth in October.