Holding Kentucky for the Union.
The military situation in Kentucky
in September, 1861, cannot be properly understood without a brief sketch of the initial political struggle which . resulted in a decisive victory for the friends of the Union
The State Legislature had assembled on the . 17th of January in called session.
The governor's proclamation convening it was issued immediately after he had received commissioners from the States of Alabama
, and was followed by the
From a war-time sketch.|
publication of a letter from Vice-President Breckinridge
advising the calling of a State convention and urging that the only way to prevent war was for Kentucky
to take her stand openly with the slave States.
About this time the latter's uncle, the Rev. Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge
, an eminent Presbyterian minister, addressed a large meeting at Lexington
in favor of the Union
The division of sentiment is further illustrated by the fact that one of his sons, Colonel W. C. P. Breckinridge
, followed his cousin into the Confederate army, while another son, Colonel Joseph C. Breckinridge
, fought for the Union
The position of the Union
men was very difficult.
They knew that Governor Magoffin
was in sympathy with the secession movement and that the status of the Legislature on the question was doubtful.
The governor had under his orders a military force called the State Guard, well armed and disciplined, and under the immediate command of General Simon B. Buckner
, a graduate of West Point
There was a small Union element in it, but a large majority of its membership was known to be in favor of secession.
Suspicious activity in recruiting for this force began as soon as the governor issued his call for the Legislature, and it was charged that new companies of known secession proclivities could get arms promptly from the State arsenal, while those supposed to be inclined toward the Union
were subjected to annoying delays.
The State Guard at its strongest numbered about only four thousand men, but it was organized and ready while the Union
men had neither arms nor organization to oppose it.
When the Legislature assembled it was soon ascertained that it was very evenly divided in sentiment.
Old party lines promptly disappeared, and members were classed as “Union” or “Southern rights.”
In the Senate there was a safe majority against calling a convention.
In the house on a test question the Union
men prevailed by only one vote.
There were some half-dozen waverers who always opposed any decisive step toward secession but were equally unwilling to give any active support to the Government
Outside pressure was brought to bear.
Large delegations of secessionists assembled at Frankfort
, to be speedily confronted by Union men, just as determined, summoned by telegraph from all parts of the State
was met by argument, threat by threat, appeals to sentiment and prejudice on one side by similar appeals on the other.
The leading public men of the State
, however, had been trained in a school of compromises, and they long cherished themselves, and kept alive in the people, the hope that some settlement would be reached that would avert war and save Kentucky
from becoming the battle-field of contending armies.
This hope accounts in a large degree for the infrequency of personal affrays during those exciting days.
The struggle, kept up during three sessions of the Legislature, demonstrated that the State
could not be carried out of the Union
by storm, and terminated in adopting the policy of neutrality as a compromise.
The Union men, however, had gained some decided advantages.
They had consented to large appropriations for arming the State
, but on condition that the control of military affairs should be taken from the governor and lodged in a military board of five members, the majority being Union men; they provided for organizing and arming Home Guards, outside of the militia force, and not subject, as such, to the governor's orders, and they passed an act requiring all the State Guard to take the oath required of officers, this measure being mainly for the purpose of allowing the Union
members of that organization to get rid of the stringent obligations of their enlistment.
As in most compromises, the terms of the neutrality compromise were differently interpreted by the parties, but with both the object was to gain time.
The secessionists believed that neutrality, as they interpreted it, would educate the people to the idea of a separation from the Union
and result in alliance with the new Confederacy; the Union
men expected to gain time to organize their forces, elect a new legislature in sympathy with their views, and put the State
decisively on the side of the Government
Events soon showed that the Union
men best understood the temper of the people.
The Legislature adjourned May 24th, four days after the governor had issued his neutrality proclamation.
At the special congressional election, June 20th, nine Union representatives were chosen to one secessionist by an aggregate majority of over 54,000 votes.
The legislative election in August resulted in the choice of a new body three-fourths of whose members in each house were Union men.
Under the first call for troops, Kentucky
was required to furnish four regiments for the United States
These Governor Magoffin
refused to furnish.
Shortly afterward he was asked by the Secretary of War
of the Confederacy
for a regiment.
He declined this request as beyond his power to grant.
His course did not suit the more ardent of the young men on either side.
had already procured authority to recruit for the Confederacy
, and in various portions of the State
men were publicly engaged in raising companies for him. Before the end of April he had started with a regiment for Harper's Ferry
by way of Nashville
An incident connected with this movement shows how strong the belief still was that the war was to be short, and that Kentucky
might keep out of it. As Desha
's company of Duncan
's regiment was leaving Cynthiana, Ky.
, by rail, one of the privates said to a friend who was bidding him farewell: “Be sure to vote for Crittenden
[then the Union
candidate for delegate to the Border State Conference] and keep Kentucky
out of the fuss.
We are just going to Virginia
on a little frolic and will be back in three months.”
On the other side, immediately after Magoffin
's refusal to furnish troops, J. V. Guthrie
, of Covington
, went to Washington
and got authority for himself and W. E. Woodruff
, of Louisville
, to raise two regiments.
They established a camp just above Cincinnati
, on the Ohio
side of the river, and began recruiting in Kentucky
They soon filled two regiments, afterward known as the 1st and 2d Kentucky, which were sent early in July to take part in the West Virginia campaign
The Union Club in Louisville
was an important factor in organizing Union sentiment.
Originating in May, in six weeks it numbered six thousand members in that city, and spread rapidly through the State
and into East Tennessee
It was a secret society, the members of which were bound by an oath to be true to the flag and Government of the United States
One of the most striking figures of the period was Lieutenant William Nelson
of the navy.
He was a man of heroic build, six feet four inches high, and carrying lightly his weight of three hundred pounds; he had many accomplishments, spoke several languages, and was endowed with a strong intellect and a memory which enabled him to repeat, verbatim, page after page of his favorite authors.
A fluent and captivating talker, when he wished to please, no man could be more genial and companionable, but he had a quick and impetuous temper and an overbearing disposition, and when irritated or opposed was offensively dictatorial and dogmatic.
A native of Kentucky
and an ardent friend of the Union
, he visited the State
several times in the course of the spring to watch the course of events.
As a result of his observations he reported to Mr. Lincoln
that the arms of the State
were in the hands of the secessionists, and that the Union
men could not maintain themselves unless they were also furnished with arms.
placed at his disposal ten thousand muskets with means for their transportation.
Toward the end of April he met in consultation at Frankfort
a number of the leading Union men of the State
and arranged for the distribution of the arms.
When, shortly afterward, the organization of the Union
Home Guards began, it was from this source they were armed.
, on the initiative of J. M. Delph
, the Union
mayor, a brigade of
two full regiments and a battery were organized, which were destined to play a very useful part.
When the Legislature of which he was a member had finally adjourned, Lovell H. Rousseau
went to Washington
and obtained authority to recruit a brigade, and, in order to avoid possibly injurious effects on the approaching election, established his camp on the Indiana
shore, opposite Louisville
, after making arrangements for the distribution of guns to the Union
men of the State
, was authorized by the President
to do a similar service for
men of East Tennessee
, and for an escort was empowered to recruit three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry in eastern Kentucky
He selected his colonels, commissioning them “for the Tennessee
expedition” and appointing a rendezvous at Hoskin's Cross Roads, in Garrard county
, on the farm of Richard M. Robinson
, a stanch Union man, for the day after the legislative elections in August..
During this period of neutrality Kentucky
history seemed to be repeating itself.
As before its occupation by white men it was the common hunting-ground for the Indian
of the North
and of the South
on which by tacit agreement neither was to make a permanent home, so now it had become the common recruiting-ground of Northern and Southern armies on which neither was to establish a camp.
The Kentucky secessionists had opened a recruiting rendezvous near Clarksville, Tennessee
, a few miles from the Kentucky
border, which they called Camp Boone, and recruits began to gather there early in July.
resigned from the State Guard a few days after the battle--of Bull Run
and soon took his way southward.
His example was followed by most of the higher officers, and the State Guard began rapidly to disintegrate: It was no uncommon sight in Louisville
, shortly after this, to see a squad of recruits for the Union
service marching up one side of a street while a squad destined for the Confederacy
was moving down the other.
John C. Breckinridge, Major-General, C. S. A.; Vice-President of the United States, 1857-61; Confederate Secretary of War, appointed Jan. 28, 1865.
from a daguerreotype taken about 1850.|
In the interior, a train bearing a company destined for Nelson
's camp took aboard at the next county town another company which was bound for Camp Boone.
The officers in charge made a treaty by which their men were kept in separate cars.
On the day after the August election Nelson
's recruits began to gather at his rendezvous.
Camp Dick Robinson
was situated in a beautiful blue-grass country, near where the pike for Lancaster
and Crab Orchard
leaves the Lexington and Danville Pike
, between Dick's River
and the Kentucky
By September 1st, there had gathered at this point four full Kentucky
regiments and nearly two thousand East Tennesseeans, who had been enlisted by Lieutenant
S. P. Carter
This officer, like Nelson
, belonging to the navy, was a native of East Tennessee
, and it was part of the original plan of the East Tennessee
expedition that he should enter that section and organize men to receive the arms that Nelson
was to bring.
This was found to be impracticable, and he opened his camp at Barboursville
and the men began to come to him.
In August, W. T. Ward
, a prominent lawyer of Greensburg
, commenced recruiting a brigade and soon had twenty-two companies pledged to rendezvous when he should obtain the necessary authority from Washington
In Christian county, Colonel J. F. Buckner
, a wealthy lawyer and planter, recruited a regiment from companies which organized originally as Home Guards, but soon determined to enter the volunteer service.
He established a camp five miles north of Hopkinsville
, where a few companies remained at a time.
was strongly Unionist, while all the counties west of it were overwhelmingly secessionist.
Camp Boone was only a few miles from its southern border, and Fort Donelson
about twenty miles south-west.
had a 6-pounder cannon, which could be heard at Camp Boone and made his vicinity additionally disagreeable to those neighbors.
The neutrality proclaimed by Governor Magoffin
on the 20th of May had been formally recognized by the Confederate
authorities and treated with respect by those of the United States
, but it was destined to speedy termination.
It served a useful purpose in its time, and a policy that had the respectful consideration of the leading men of that day could not have been so absurd as it seems now.
On the 3d of September General Polk
, who was in command in western Tennessee
, caused Columbus, Kentucky
, to be occupied, on account of the appearance of a body of Union troops on the opposite side of the
Hearing of this, on the 5th General Grant
moved from Cairo
and occupied Paducah
A few days afterward General Zollicoffer
advanced with four Confederate regiments through Cumberland Gap
to Cumberland Ford.
The Union Legislature had met on the 2d.
Resolutions were passed on the 11th requiring the governor to issue a proclamation ordering the Confederate
troops to leave the State
They were promptly vetoed and promptly passed over the veto, and the proclamation was issued.
In spite of the governor's opposition, acts were passed putting the State
in active support of the Government
The governor was reduced to a nullity.
General Robert Anderson
who was assigned on May 28th to command the Department of Kentucky, was invited to remove his headquarters to Louisville
, and the State
's full quota of volunteers was called for, Recruiting was pushed with energy, and by the end of the year 28 regiments of infantry, 6 of cavalry, and 3 batteries had been organized.
On September 15th General Albert Sidney Johnston
assumed command of the Confederate forces in the West
, and at once ordered General Buckner
with five thousand men from Camp Boone and another camp in the vicinity to proceed by rail and occupy Bowling Green
reached that point early on the 18th, having sent in advance one detachment by rail to seize the bridge over Green River
at Munfordsville, and another to go as far as Elizabethtown
and bring back all the rolling-stock possible.
This was successfully accomplished, a part of the advance detachment going as far as the bridge over the Rolling Fork
of Salt River
, within thirty-three miles of Louisville
, and burning the bridge.
Buckners movement was supposed in Louisville
to have that city for its objective, and great excitement prevailed there.
Rumor magnified his forces, but there was abundant ground for apprehension without that.
was in command, but he was without troops.
The only forces in his department in Kentucky
were the unorganized regiment of Colonel Buckner
, the few hundred recruits gathered at Greensburg
by General Ward
, and Nelson
's forces at Camp Dick Robinson
,--none of which were ready for service,--the Home Guard Brigade of Louisville
, and the scattered companies of Home Guards throughout the State
's camp, in which were some two thousand men not yet prepared for the field.
Very few troops were in reach.
Owing to the neutrality of Kentucky
, the regiments recruited in Ohio
, and the North-west generally had been sent as fast as organized to the Potomac
Fortunately, Governor Oliver P. Morton
, of Indiana
, had received information, about the 1st, which had led him to reserve a few regiments for Kentucky
, and in response to General Anderson
's appeal he hurried them forward.
had learned of Buckner
's intended advance the day it was made, and the non-arrival of the regular train from the south showed him that it had begun.
The Home Guards of Louisville
were at once ordered out for ten days, and, assembling at midnight, eighteen hundred of them under Colonel A. Y. Johnson
of the Fire Department, started by rail for
John J. Crittenden, during four terms United States Senator from Kentucky; twice Attorney-General of the United States; ex-governor of Kentucky.
From a daguerreotype taken about 1851.
in the session.
Of 1860-61 Senator Crittenden introduced resolutions called the “Crittenden compromise,” proposing as an unalterable Constitutional amendment that slavery be prohibited north of the parallel of 36° 30‘, and never interfered with by Congress south of that line.
Though this was the, most promising of the numerous plans for a compromise, the resolutions failed for want of agreement.-editors. |
, with twelve hundred men, followed in a few hours.
The whole force was under Brigadier-General W. T. Sherman
, who had shortly before, at Anderson
's request, been assigned to duty with him. On arriving at Lebanon Junction Sherman
learned that rolling Fork Bridge, a few miles farther on, had just been destroyed.
The Home Guards debarked at the Junction
, and Rousseau
moved forward to the Bridge
, finding it still smoking.
A reconnoissance in force, carried for some distance beyond the river, found no enemy, and the burning of the Bridge
indicated that no farther advance was intended immediately.
's army was rather a motley crew.
The Home Guards did not wear regulation uniforms, and Rousseau
's men were not well equipped.
had been occupied for six weeks or more during the summer by a regiment of the State Guard, and the people in the vicinity were
generally in sympathy with the rebellion.
's attention was attracted to a Young man, without any uniform, who was moving around with what he considered suspicious activity, and he called him up for question.
The Young fellow gave a prompt account of himself.
His name was Griffiths
, he was a medical student from Louisville
acting as hospital steward, and he had been called out in such a hurry that he had had no time to get his uniform.
As he moved away he muttered something in a low tone to an officer standing by, and Sherman
at once demanded to know what it was. “well, General,” was the reply, “he said that a General with such a hat as you have on had no right to talk to him about a uniform.”
was wearing a battered hat of the style known as “stovepipe.”
Pulling it off, he looked at it, and, bursting into a laugh, called out: “Young man, you are right about the hat, but you ought to have your uniform.”
on the 20th, the 38th Indiana (Colonel B. F. Scribner
) arrived, and soon after four other regiments.
moved forward to Elizabethtown
, not finding any available position at Muldraugh's Hill
A few days afterward, having on October 8th
, who had been relieved by General Scott
in these terms, “to give you rest necessary to restoration of health, call Brigadier-General Sherman
to command the Department of the Cumberland,” Sherman
to advance along the railroad to Nolin
, fifty-three miles from Louisville
, and select a position for a large force.
was at Elizabethtown
, with several thousand men, moved rapidly to Rochester
, on Green River
, and destroyed the locks there, and then moved against Colonel Buckner
's camp near Hopkinsville
Warned of his approach, Colonel Buckner
directed his men, who had not yet been regularly enrolled, to disperse and make their way to the Union
camp near Owensboro
‘. they succeeded, but Colonel Buckner
himself was taken prisoner.
after a slight skirmish with the Home Guards, Buckner
left a garrison there under General Alcorn
and returned to Bowling Green
's advance to Nolin
and the arrival of large reinforcements there induced Johnston
to move his headquarters from Columbus
to Bowling Green
, and on October 15th he sent Hardee
with 1,200 men from that place against Ward
, who, hearing of Hardee
's approach, fell back with his recruits 20 miles to Campbellsville
no material change in this position of affairs in western Kentucky
occurred while General Sherman
remained in command, though there were several sharp skirmishes between bodies of Kentucky
recruits and Confederate scouting parties in the lower Green River
in the mean time the East Tennessee
expedition was not progressing.
, whose arbitrary temper had made him enemies among influential politicians, was sent to eastern Kentucky
to superintend recruiting camps, and Brigadier-General George H. Thomas
took command at camp Dick Robinson
was an ardent advocate of the movement on East Tennessee
and bent all his energies to getting ready for it, but his command was not half equipped and was wholly without transportation; staff-officers were scarce, and funds were not furnished.
More patient than Nelson
, he was yet greatly tried by the importunities of the East Tennessee
troops, and of the prominent politicians from that region, who made his camp their rendezvous, as well as by military suggestions from civilians more zealous than wise in such matters.
The speech-making of distinguished visitors became a burden to
him. On one occasion, when General Sherman
visited his camp, ex-senator J. J. Crittenden
, Senator Andrew Johnson
, and Horace Maynard
A band came from the camp to serenade them, and the soldiers, not yet rid of their civilian characteristics, began calling for speeches from one after another.
withdrew from the orators to the seclusion of a little room used as an office, on one side of the piazza from which they were speaking.
One of his aides was writing in a corner, but Thomas
did not see him, and began striding up and down the floor in growing irritation.
At last Sherman
, who was not then such an orator as he is now, finished speaking, and cries arose for “Thomas
he blurted out, “this speech-making!
I won't speak!
what does a man want to make a speech for, anyhow.?”
observing that he had an auditor, he strode from the room slamming the door behind him, and kept his own quarters for the rest of the evening.
accustomed to the discipline of the regular army, and fresh from the well-organized army of General Patterson
on the upper Potomac, Thomas
had little confidence in the raw recruits whom, for lack of a mustering officer, he mustered in himself.
He was willing to advance into East Tennessee
with half a dozen well-drilled regiments, and asked for and obtained them, but they came without transportation, and he had none for them.
While he was struggling to get ready for an advance, Zollicoffer
had made several demonstrations, and to oppose him Garrard
's regiment had been thrown forward to
a strong position on wild Cat Mountain
just beyond Rockcastle River
, supported by a detachment of Wolford
On the 17th of October, Garrard
reported that Zollicoffer
was advancing in force, and asked for reinforcements.
hurried forward several regiments under General Schoepf
, who had reported to him shortly before.
arrived with the 33d Indiana, in time to help in giving Zollicoffer
, who had attacked vigorously with two regiments, a decisive repulse.
retired, apparently satisfied with developing Garrard
's force, and Thomas
's East Tennesseeans and several other regiments forward in pursuit, till stopped by order of General Sherman
, at London
on the 12th of November, Sherman
, having received information from his advance that a large force was moving between him and Thomas
, apparently toward Lexington
, ordered the latter to withdraw all his forces north of the Kentucky River
Making arrangements to obey, Thomas
at the same time sent an officer to Sherman
, urging the impolicy of the move unless absolutely necessary, and. Controverting the information on which it was based.
The order was revoked, but the revocation did not reach Schoepf
until his troops had begun the movement.
The East Tennessee regiments had received it with an indignation that carried them to the verge of mutiny.
They threw their guns to the ground and swore they would not obey.
Many actually left the command, though they returned in a few days.
It required all of Carter
's influence to keep them to their standards, and hundreds of them wept as they turned their backs on their homes.
was with them, and his indignation had added fuel to their discontent.
He was so indiscreet that Thomas
seriously contemplated his arrest.
On the revocation of the order Carter
returned to London
, while Schoepf
took position soon after at Somerset
in September Colonel John S. Williams
had begun to gather a Confederate force at Prestonburg, in eastern Kentucky
, threatening incursions into the central part of the State
On the 8th of November General Nelson
, who had advanced against him with two Ohio
and detachments of several Kentucky
regiments, with a part of his force encountered a large detachment thrown forward by Williams
to cover his retreat, in a strong position on Ivy Creek
After a well-contested engagement Williams
was forced from his position, and retired through Pound Gap
[see map, page 394]
with the Ohio
regiments was then ordered to join the column in front of Louisville
, where he was assigned to command the Fourth Division.
On this expedition Nelson
reported as part of his force, “thirty-six gentlemen volunteers,” probably the latest appearance in history of that description of soldier.
One of them, of strong bibulous propensities, acting as his private secretary, brought about an altercation between Nelson
and a wagoner nearly as large, which narrowly missed fatal results.
He was anxious to get the driver away from his wagon in which there was a jug of whisky, and directed him to Nelson
's tent to find a big fellow who was employed to unhitch teams for tired drivers.
He warned him that the big fellow was cross, but told him he must insist on his rights.
The driver was just tipsy enough to be reckless, and he roused Nelson
with little ceremony.
There was a terrible outburst of fury on both sides, which brought interference just in time to prevent a conflict between the two giants, one armed with a sword, and the other with a loaded whip-handle.
The aide, not reporting next morning, was, after some search, found sound asleep in a wagon with the jug beside him. He was a noted wag, and Nelson
, recognizing him at once as the author of the trick, dismissed him to his home.
A visit from Secretary Cameron
and Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas
, on their return from St. Louis
in the latter part of October, resulted in the removal of General Sherman
In explaining the needs of his department to the Secretary
expressed the opinion that two hundred thousand men would be required for successful operations on his line.
This estimate, which, as events showed, evinced remarkable foresight, then discredited his judgment.
On their way to St. Louis
, on the same tour, the Secretary
had ordered General O. M. Mitchel
to take charge of the East Tennessee
expedition, superseding General Thomas
, but General Sherman
succeeded in having the order recalled.
On November 15th, General Don Carlos Buell
assumed command of the Department of the Ohio, enlarged so as to include the States of Ohio
, and Indiana
He was given the advantage, not enjoyed by his predecessors, of controlling the new troops organized in those States.
By one of his first orders, General Thomas
was directed to concentrate his command at Lebanon
The new commander began at once the task of creating an efficient army out of the raw material at hand.
He organized the regiments into brigades and divisions, and subjected them to a system of drill and discipline the beneficial effects of which endured throughout the war.
The advance into East Tennessee
remained a favorite project with the authorities at Washington
's instructions presented Knoxville
as the objective of his first campaign.
wrote several times urging that the seizing of the East
Tennessee and Virginia railroad was essential to the success of his plans, and that the political results likely to follow success in that direction made the movement of the first importance.
did not consider East Tennessee
important enough to be his principal objective; he wanted it to be a subordinate feature in a great campaign.
He submitted his plans to McClellan
in a personal letter.
They were comprehensive and required a large force, and it was already seen that Sherman
's estimate was not so far out of the way. Buell
proposed that a heavy column should be moved up the Tennessee
and Cumberland rivers
by steamer, to unite with another moving on Nashville
, to the eastward of Bowling Green
Demonstrations were to be made in front of Columbus
and Bowling Green
, sufficient to keep the forces holding them fully occupied until their retreat was cut off by the marching columns.
At the same time an expedition from Lebanon
, moving by way of Somerset
, was to be directed against East Tennessee
Until he was ready to move, he desired to do nothing to put the enemy on the alert.
His brigades and regiments were allowed to remain in apparently objectless
He did not care if some isolated posts were occasionally raided by the enemy.
But his regiments were frequently inspected and required to keep constantly ready for a movement the day and hour of which he proposed to keep to himself.
The notion that Buckner
contemplated an advance, which so frequently agitated the military mind before he came, was dismissed by him as idle.
“I would as soon,” he wrote to McClellan
, “expect to meet the Army of the Potomac marching up the road, as Johnston
His policy of quiet had to be laid aside when, early in December, Morgan
burned the Bacon Creek bridge
in his front.
He advanced his lines to Munfordville
and threw forward a small force beyond Green River
This resulted in a skirmish between a portion of the 32d Indiana, deployed as skirmishers, and Terry
's Texas Cavalry-notable as one of the few fights of the war between infantry skirmishers in the open and cavalry.
Nothing else of moment occurred on Buell
's main line until the capture of Forts Henry
to retire from Bowling Green
and leave the road to Nashville
Daring November Buell
's command at Lebanon
, and advised with him about an attack on Zollicoffer
, who to meet a rumored advance had left Cumberland Gap
in charge of a strong garrison, had made his appearance on the Cumberland
at Mill Springs
, a few miles south-west of Somerset
, had crossed the river, and after some picket-firing with Schoepf
had intrenched himself on the north side.
on the 1st of January.
As far as Columbia
there was a good turnpike; beyond, only mud roads.
It rained incessantly, and artillery carriages and wagons sank to their axles in the soft soil.
On one part of the route eight days were consumed in advancing forty miles.
On the 17th of January Thomas
reached Logan's Cross Roads, ten miles north of Zollicoffer
's intrenched camp (on the north side of the Cumberland
, opposite Mill Springs
) and about the same distance west of Somerset
, with the 9th Ohio and 2d Minnesota of Robert L. McCook
's brigade, the 10th Indiana of Manson
's brigade, Kenny
's battery, and a battalion of Wolford
The 4th Kentucky, 10th Kentucky, the 14th Ohio, Wetmore
's battery, and the 18th regulars were still detained in the rear by bad roads.
Halting at the cross roads, Thomas
communicated with Schoepf
and ordered him to send across Fishing Creek
to his camp the 12th Kentucky, the 1st and 2d East Tennessee regiments, and Standart
's battery, to remain until the arrival of his delayed force.
Hearing that a large wagon train, sent on a foraging expedition by Zollicoffer
, was on a road about six miles from the camp of Steedman
, of the 14th Ohio, he ordered that officer to take his own regiment and Harlan
's 10th Kentucky and attempt its capture.
On the evening of the 18th the 4th Kentucky, the battalion of Michigan Engineers, and.the battery arrived and went into camp near the 10th Indiana.
The battle of Logan's Cross Roads (Mill Springs).
A few days before this General George B. Crittenden
had arrived at Zollicoffer
's camp and assumed command.
Hearing of the arrival of Thomas
with part of his command, and believing that Fishing Creek
, which was a troublesome stream at any stage of water, was unfordable from recent rains, he called a council of his brigade and regimental commanders to consider the propriety of making an attack on Thomas
before he could be reached by Schoepf
or his regiments in the rear.
There was little delay in coming to a decision.
Their camp on the north side of the river was not tenable against a strong attack, and the means of crossing the river were so insufficient that a withdrawal without great loss could not have been effected, in the face of an enterprising enemy.
The only chance for a satisfactory issue was to attack Thomas
before he could concentrate.
ordered a movement to begin at midnight on the 18th in the following order: General Zollicoffer
's brigade, consisting of two cavalry companies, a Mississippi regiment, three Tennessee
regiments, and a battery in front; next, the brigade of General Carroll
, composed of three Tennessee
regiments and a section of artillery.
regiment and two cavalry regiments, intended as a reserve, closed the column.
After a march of nine miles over muddy roads and through the rain, his cavalry about daylight encountered Wolford
's pickets, who after firing fell back on the reserve, consisting of two companies of the 10th Indiana, and with them made a determined stand, in which they were promptly supported by Wolford
with the rest of his battalion, and soon after by the rest of the 10th Indiana, ordered up by Manson
, who had been advised by courier from Wolford
of the attack.
proceeded in person to order forward the 4th Kentucky and the battery of his brigade and to report to General Thomas
On his way he notified Colonel Van Cleve
, of the 2d Minnesota.
dashed through the camp of the 4th Kentucky shouting for Colonel Speed S. Fry
, and giving warning of the
attack, the men, wearied with the muddy march of the day before, were just beginning to crawl out of their tents to roll-call.
Forming rapidly, Fry
led them at double-quick in the direction of the firing.
Having no one to place him, on coming in sight of the enemy, he took position along a fence in the edge of the woods, with his right resting near the Mill Springs
In front of him was an open field, across which the enemy were advancing from the shelter of woodland on the opposite side.
A ravine ran through the open field parallel to Fry
's front, heading near the road on his right, with steep sides in his front, but sloping gradually beyond his left.
's arrival Zollicoffer
had deployed his brigade, and had forced Wolford
and the 10th Indiana to fall back, almost capturing the horses of Wolford
's men, who were fighting on foot.
A portion of Wolford
's command, under his immediate charge, and Vanarsdall
's company of the 10th Indiana, rallied on the 4th Kentucky when it appeared, the remainder of the 10th falling back to its encampment, where it re-formed its lines.
was at once subjected to a severe attack.
The enemy in his front crawled up under shelter of the ravine to within a short distance of his lines before delivering their fire, and Fry
, mounting the fence, in stentorian tones denounced them as dastards, and defied them to stand up on their feet and come forward like men.
A little lull in the firing occurring at this juncture, Fry
rode a short distance to the right to get a better view of the movement of the enemy in that direction.
The morning was a lowering one, and the woods were full of smoke.
turned to regain his position he encountered a mounted officer whose uniform was covered with a water-proof coat.
After approaching till their knees touched, the stranger said to Fry
: “We must not fire on our own men” ; and nodding his head to his left, he said, “Those are our men.”
said, “Of course not. I would not do so intentionally” ; and he began to move toward his regiment, when turning he saw another mounted man riding from the
trees who fired and wounded Fry
Fry at once fired on the man who had accosted him, and several of his men, observing the incident, fired at the same time.
The shots were fatal, and the horseman fell dead, pierced by a pistol-shot in his breast and by two musket-balls.
It was soon ascertained that it was Zollicoffer
himself who had fallen.
In the mean time, the enemy were pressing Fry
in front and overlapping his right.
On his right front only the fence separated the combatants.
The left of his regiment not being assailed, he moved two companies from that flank to his right.
As he was making this change General Thomas
appeared on the field, and at once placed the 10th Indiana in position to cover Fry
's exposed flank.
The fall of Zollicoffer
and the sharp firing that followed caused two of his regiments to retreat in confusion.
then brought up Carroll
's brigade to the support of the other two, and ordered a general advance.
met this by placing a section of Kenny
's battery on the left of the 4th Kentucky, which was overlapped by Carroll
's line, ordered the 12th Kentucky to the left of Kenny
's two guns, and Carter
with the two East Tennessee regiments, and Wetmore
's battery still farther to the left, in front.
of the Somerset
's battery and Kenny
guns were held in the rear of the center, and McCook
's two regiments were ordered up, the 9th Ohio on the right of the 10th Indiana, and the 2d Minnesota in reserve behind the latter regiment and the 4th Kentucky.
During these movements Kenny
's section was so threatened that it was withdrawn some distance to the rear.
There was little opportunity for the effective use of artillery on either side, and that arm played an insignificant part in the engagement, Thomas
's superiority in that particular availing him little.
's attack was pressed with great courage, and the ammunition of the 4th Kentucky and 10th Indiana beginning to fail, the 2d Minnesota was ordered to relieve them, which it did under severe fire.
Both of McCook
's regiments were admirably drilled and disciplined, and moved to the attack with the order and steadiness of veterans.
's disposition of his troops had begun to tell.
The advance of the 12th Kentucky on the left, the firing of Wetmore
's battery, and the movement of Carter
's East Tennesseeans checked the enemy's right, and it soon began to give back.
The 2d Minnesota was slowly pushing forward over the ground that had been the scene of the most persistent fighting from the first, and the 9th Ohio, on the right, was forcing back the enemy through open ground, when, slightly changing direction, it made a bayonet charge against the enemy's left, which gave way in confusion.
Their whole line then broke into a disorderly retreat.
pushed forward in pursuit.
Within a few miles, a small body of the enemy's cavalry attempted to make a stand, but were scattered by a few shells from Standart
The road which the retreating force followed was strewn with evidences that the retreat had degenerated into a panic.
A piece of artillery was found abandoned in a mud hole, hundreds of muskets were strewn along the road and in the fields, and, most convincing proof of all, the flying foe had thrown away their haversacks filled with rations of corn pone and bacon.
Those were the days when stories of “rebel atrocities” in the way of poisoning wells and food were current, and the pursuers, who had gone into the fight breakfastless, were doubtful about tasting the contents of the first haversacks they observed.
Their great number, however, soon became a guarantee of good faith, and the hungry soldiers seized on them with avidity.
in his report mentioned the loss of all the cooked rations carried to the field as enhancing the distress of his subsequent retreat, the abundance of the supply obtained by the pursuing force may be inferred.
On arriving near the enemy's intrenchments the division was deployed in line of battle,
Brigadier-General speed S. Fry.
From a photograph.|
advancing to the summit of the hill at Moulden
's, which commanded the enemy's intrenchments.
From this point Standart
's batteries kept up a cannonade till dark, while Kenny
's on the left, at Russell's house, fired upon their ferry to keep them from crossing.
The 14th Ohio and the 10th Kentucky had come up during the pursuit, and were placed in advance for the assault ordered for daybreak.
arrived about dark with the 17th, 31st, and 38th Ohio.
At daybreak next morning Wetmore
's Parrott guns, which had been moved to Russell
's, began firing on the steamer which was evidently engaged in crossing troops, and it was soon abandoned and set on fire by the enemy.
The assaulting columns moved forward, the 10th Kentucky and the 14th Ohio in advance, and reaching the intrenchments found them abandoned.
In the bottom near the ferry-crossing were found 11 pieces of artillery, with their caissons, battery-wagons, and forges, hitched up and ready to move but abandoned by the artillerymen, more than 150 wagons, and over 1,000 horses and mules.
All the troops had escaped.
The steep road on the other bank was strewn with abandoned baggage and other evidences of disorderly flight.
The boats used for crossing having been destroyed by the retreating enemy, no immediate pursuit was possible; but during the day means were improvised for getting the 14th Ohio across for a reconnoissance and to secure abandoned property.
reported his loss in action as 39 killed and 207 wounded, the casualties being confined entirely to the 10th Indiana, 4th Kentucky, 2d Minnesota, 9th Ohio, and Wolford
were among the wounded.
The enemy's loss he reported as 192 killed, 89 prisoners not wounded, and 68 prisoners wounded.
's report stated his own loss at 125 killed, 309 wounded, and 99 missing, much the heaviest loss being in the 15th Mississippi (Lieutenant-Colonel E. C. Walthall
), of Zollicoffer
's brigade, which had led the attack on Fry
and fought through the whole engagement.
Besides the property mentioned above, a large amount of ammunition, commissary stores, intrenching tools, camp and garrison equipage and muskets, and five stands of colors were found in the camp.
The demoralization was acknowledged by Crittenden
in his report, in which he says: “From Mill Springs
and on the first steps of my march officers and men, frightened by false rumors of the movements of the enemy, shamefully deserted, and, stealing horses and mules to ride, fled to Knoxville
, and other places in Tennessee
Of one cavalry battalion, he reported that all had deserted except twenty-five.
On his retreat his sick-list increased greatly from lack of food and fatigue, and the effective force of his army was practically destroyed.
After entrance into his intrenchments had demonstrated the panic that existed in the enemy's forces, Fry
said to Thomas
: “General, why didn't you send in a demand for surrender last night?”
Looking at him a moment as if reflecting, Thomas
replied: “Hang it, Fry
, I never once thought of it.”
At this time originated a saying often heard in the Western army afterward.
National Cemetery at Logan's Cross Roads. From a recent photograph.|
young prisoner slightly wounded was allowed the freedom of the camp.
To some soldiers chaffing him about his army being in such a hurry as even to throw away their haversacks, he replied: “Well, we were doing pretty good fighting till old man Thomas
rose up in his stirrups, and we heard him holler out: ‘ Attention, Creation!
By kingdoms right wheel!’
and then we knew you had us, and it was no time to carry weight.”
's victory was complete, and the road was opened for the advance into East Tennessee
which he had so long endeavored to make and which was
View on the battle-field of Logan's Cross Roads. From a photograph, 1887.|
contemplated by his instructions, but the scarcity of provisions, the badness of the roads, and the difficulty of crossing the river made progress on that line impracticable, and shortly afterward Carter
was ordered with his brigade against Cumberland Gap
to rejoin Buell
's main column, and the East Tennessee
expedition, which Nelson
had devised and McClellan
had strongly urged and Thomas
had labored so to put in motion, was definitively abandoned.
was marching against Zollicoffer
, Colonel Garfield
was driving Humphrey Marshall
from the mountainous region along the Virginia
's retreat the last Confederate force was driven from the State
, and Garfield
with his brigade joined the army in Tennessee