no battle would have been fought here for a long time. And this victory cannot be credited to the skill of a brigadier-general. The battle was entirely accidental; the position was entirely a chance position, and the men themselves, led by their colonels, fought the battle, and won it. The Tenth Indiana got into the fight supporting their pickets, the Fourth Kentucky and Ninth Ohio rushed in, without orders, to support the Tenth. Whether the Second Minnesota had orders to go in or not, I do not know. And these four regiments did all the fighting that was done; and that was enough to whip the eight regiments Zollicoffer had in the engagement. If these brigadier-generals must be paid big wages, by the Government, why, just pay it to them, and let them stay at home, for they are no earthly use among us. Let the men go ahead, and wind up this war; it can be done in two months. Secret--do something. Would that some abler pen could give you a full and complete account of this rout. I considered it my duty to do my best in an attempt to describe it, but it has been hurriedly written, with a willing but weary hand, so excuse the confused parts of the letter. The Ninth Ohio, which, some way, I came very near omitting, deserves especial praise. Colonel McCook rushed his men up just about the time the Tenth Indiana was giving ground. And the Indiana boys say the Ninth fought like tigers, and are just such backers as they would always like to have.
Secession Narratives. Louisville (Nashville) courier account.
Livingston, Overton Co., Tenn., January 25, 1862.As every thing concerning the contest in Kentucky is of peculiar interest to you and to the readers of your paper, I propose giving you some account of the battle of Fishing Creek, fought in Wayne County, on the Upper Cumberland, on Sunday, the nineteenth day of this month. It will be remembered that some two months ago, Brig.-Gen. Zollicoffer moved with a portion of his command to Mill Springs, on the southern bank of the Cumberland River, and soon after advanced across .to Camp Beech Grove on the opposite bank, fortifying this camp with earth-works. At Beech Grove he placed five regiments of infantry, ten or twelve pieces of artillery, and several hundred cavalry, and at Mill Springs he had two regiments of infantry and several hundred cavalry. About the first of January, Maj.-Gen. Crittenden arrived and took the command. The enemy in front occupied Somerset with several regiments, and Columbia with an equal force. About the second week of this month two more regiments arrived from Knoxville, an artillery company with four guns, and Brig.-Gen. W. H. Carroll. On the seventeenth and eighteenth it rained so much that Fishing Creek could not be crossed, and so the Somerset force of several thousand could not join the force from Columbia before the twentieth. From the face of the country in front of Camp Beech Grove there was very bad range for artillery, and it could not be of very material benefit against an attacking infantry force, and from the extent of the front line and the number of works to be defended, there was within the camp an insufficient force. At the same time, for several weeks, bare existence in the camp was very precarious, from want of provisions and forage. Regiments frequently subsisted on one third rations, and this very frequently of bread alone. Wayne County, which was alone productive in this region of Kentucky, had been exhausted, and the neighboring counties of Tennessee could furnish nothing to the support of the army. The condition of the roads and the poverty of the intervening section rendered it impossible to transport from Knoxville, a distance of one hundred and thirty miles. The enemy from Columbia commanded the Cumberland River, and only one boat was enabled to come up with supplies from Nashville. With the channel of communication closed, the position became untenable without attack. Only corn could be obtained for the horses and mules, and this in such small quantities that often cavalry companies were sent out on unshod horses which. had eaten nothing for two days. The roads in every direction were extremely bad, and from the landing up either bank to the camp, difficult to employ wagons; and in addition to this, the crossing of the river was bad in the small ferry-boats used for that purpose. Description would fail in portraying the difficulties of this position to one who has not seen and suffered. By extraordinary exertions for several days, provisions enough had been gathered to ration the army with bread, meat, coffee, and sugar for two days--the nineteenth and twentieth. On the afternoon of the eighteenth, two cavalry companies which had been sent out by General Crittenden returned, reporting the position. of the enemy unchanged, and Fishing Creek so full that it could not be passed on the nineteenth. In view of this state of things, it seems Gen. Crittenden determined to march out and attack the force at the junction of the roads before the Somerset brigade could unite with it, and, if possible, before it could be joined by the reserve from Columbia. On the afternoon of the eighteenth, Gen. Zollicoffer remarked to the writer that the enemy ought to be attacked, and on that evening Gen. Crittenden called a council at his quarters, with Gens. Zollicoffer and Carroll and the colonels of regiments and captains of artillery and lieutenant-colonels of cavalry batallions, and it was there unanimously agreed to make the attack! In perfect silence, at midnight, the march began. In front moved the brigade of Gen. Zollicoffer, consisting of the Fifteenth Mississippi regiment, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Walthall, in advance, and the Tennessee regiments of Colonels Cummings, Battle, and Stanton, with four guns