Following their successful skirmish with Confederate troops the previous day, Union Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon continues his advance towards Curran Post Office.
That night, Lyon rested his forces and renewed his forward movement in the morning on August 3rd. Lyon marched another three miles down the Wire Road and set up lines of battle near a small community called Curran’s Post Office. There was another brief skirmish just before noon with troops from Colonel T. J. Churchill’s 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles. The Arkansans withdrew back to the Southern lines of defense, hoping to lure the Federals forward into battle. Lyon did not take the bait. At a council of war that night, Lyon decided to withdraw back to Springfield, Missouri the next day. His forces were low on supplies and exhausted from the continuing summer heat wave. They arrived back in Springfield in the evening on August 5, 1861.
In Springfield, Lyon found that conditions there had not changed. There were no reinforcements from Fremont and Lyon’s men were still low on supplies. Even knowing that his forces were in poor shape, Lyon still could not decide what to do next. He did not feel he was strong enough to go up against the Confederates but was loathe to withdraw to Rolla, Missouri.
McCulloch, too, was considering withdrawal because of the poor condition of his troops. He also did not trust the effectiveness of the Missouri State Guard as a fighting force. Sterling Price made an impassioned argument against withdrawal from Missouri. On August 4th, McCulloch decided to attack the Federals. But on August 5th, he discovered that the enemy was retreating to Springfield. Pursuit of the enemy did nothing more than tire out McCulloch’s troops.