000 effective Confederate soldiers, with twenty pieces of artillery, under the command of General Crittenden. Gen. George H. Thomas was sent to attack them, and, if successful, to push over the Cumberland Mountains and liberate the east Tennesseeans from Confederate rule.
He divided his forces, giving a smaller number to the command of General Schoepf, and leading the remainder himself.
When he was within 10 miles of the Confederate camp the insurgents came out to meet him. At early dawn (Jan. 19) the Confederates, 5.000 strong, led by Zollicoffer, met the Union pickets—Woolford's cavalry.
A severe battle was soon afterwards begun on the side of the Nationals by the Kentucky and Ohio regiments and Captain Kinney's battery.
It was becoming very warm, when Col. R. L. McCook came up with Ohio and Minnesota troops, also a Tennessee brigade and a section of artillery.
For a time it was doubtful which side would prevail.
They were hotly contesting the possession of a commanding hill w