Wright C. Shaumburg Papers

Lieutenant Colonel Wright C. Schaumburg served as an Aide-de-Camp in the Fifth Division, Missouri State Guard. Schaumburg later enlisted in Missouri’s Confederate forces where he served on the staff of Colonel Lewis “Henry” Little.1 Schaumburg greatly admired Little, who was destined to become one of the best known Missouri Confederates in the first half of the war.

A native of Maryland, Little served in the Regular Army where he was bereted a captain for his actions in the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican War. He resigned his army commission on May 7, 1861 and volunteered his services to the Missouri State Guard. Little then traveled to Richmond where he was commissioned as a colonel in the Confederate army. He was back in Missouri by December 1861 when he started enrolling volunteers into the Confederate army.2

Schaumburg described Little and his experiences during the Pea Ridge Campaign in a letter on April 2, 1862.:

He is now the acknowledged hero of the Missouri Army. After 22 years service in the United States Army he has an experience surpassed by none in the Army of the West, Cool Courage & Smart with the most unfounded confidence of his troops he always has the post of honor in battle, on the advance & on the retreat. T’was our Brigade which covered the retreat from Springfield Mo. T’was our lot to bear the brunt of the fight at Elk Horn both days & to us was given the guarding of the rear on the retreat from that place . . . I am proud to say that He was always foremost in the fight. It was my duty to be with him, side by side we rode thro the storm safely tho not quite soundly. For 52 hours I was in my saddle with only 1 hour & 15 minutes rest out of it!
W.C. Schaumburg Letter to Paul – April 2, 1862


Although Pea Ridge was a Confederate defeat, the Missourians had fought well but their bravery took a heavy toll on Schaumburg’s comrades. In the same letter he recounted his friends who were killed in the fighting:

I am sick, almost broken heated I left that field of battle & on it the nearest thing I have on Earth to a brother, Young Cheaduce Clark Captain of a Battery in My Brigade his head severed from his body. I left also my friend Col B. A. Rives, Commanding our 2nd Regt Mo Infantry who fell Mortally Wounded Also on that field lay more men from My Brigade than the whole of the Army lost besides, that shows who were where the fighting was thickest, T’was my sad duty to be sent back to bury our dead & then I saw that they had been whiped completely.
W.C. Schaumburg Letter to Paul – April 2, 1862

Colonel Little was promoted to Brigadier General on April 16, 1862. He was killed in action at Iuka, Mississippi on September 19, 1862.3

Two brigades of Missouri troops fought for the Confederate army at Pea Ridge. Like most of the Confederate forces, they were transferred east of the Mississippi River after the battle. For the remainder of the war they fought in some of the largest battles of the Western Theater. At places like Vicksburg, the Atlanta Campaign, and Franklin they earned a reputation as some of the best soldiers in either army.

Contributed by the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

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  1. Richard C. Peterson, James, E. McGhee, Kip A. Lindberg, Keith I. Daleen, Sterling Price’s Lieutenants: A Guide to the Officers and Organization of the Missouri State Guard, 1861-1865 (Shawnee Mission, KS: Two Trails Publishing, 1995), 155; R.S. Bevier, History of the First and Second Missouri Confederate Brigades, 1861-1865 (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand & Co., 1879), appendix 6.
  2. Phil Gottschalk, In Deadly Earnest: The Missouri Brigade (Columbia: Missouri River Press, 1991), 40, 118.
  3. Peterson, Sterling Price’s Lieutenants, 34.