Battle of Mill Spring

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“Battle of Mill Spring, on the Cumberland River, near Jamestown, between a confederate force, 8,000 strong, under General Zollicoffer, and the Federal troops, 4,000 strong, commanded by General Thomas, fought Sunday, January 19th, 1862- flight of the Confederate Army. One of the most dashing, desperate and decisive battles of the war took place on Sunday, January 19th, 1862, when a Confederate army of 8,000 men, led by Generals Zollicoffer and Crittenden, were totally routed by General Thomas, at the head of about 4,000 Federal troops. The cannonading began at four o’clock in the morning, and the engagement soon became general. Zollicoffer found, however, that instead of surprising General Thomas, that able and vigilant officer was ready for him. The Confederates fought gallantly throughout that dismal Sabbath day, and owing to their decided superiority in numbers the result was doubtful till near the conclusion of the conflict. The death of Colonel Peyton, who fell gallantly at the head of his regiment, had materially damped the spirits of the Confederates, but the fall of their commander, Zollicoffer, about ten minutes past three in the afternoon, completed their rout. At that hour, as the Fourth Kentucky regiment was deploying on the flank of the Confederate army, Zollicoffer, attended by several of his aids, mistook his way in the underwood, and suddenly emerged before Colonel Fry, who was also with several officers. At first they mistook each other for friends, but upon the mistake being discovered one of the Confederate officers fired at Fry and shot his horse. Almost at the same instant Colonel Fry drew his revolver and shot General Zollicoffer through the heart. His aids, seeing their commander slain, deserted the body, which was taken charge of by the Federal troops, and carried to Somerset. The news spread like wildfire through the Confederate army, which fled with precipitation, and at half-past three not a confederate stood his ground.” — Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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