« AnteriorContinuar »
BATTLE OF MILL SPRING.
retrograde movement, even had no dier-generals, all the colonels, and the enemy been threatening. A movement captains of artillery and independent of one kind or the other was a military companies viewed the matter in the necessity.
same light. The alternatives presented “Amid thesc unpleasant facts, word were an inglorious retreat without a was brought to General Crittenden of blow ; an impracticable defence of inan advance by the enemy-say of eight trenchments, ending in a surrender ; or to ten thousand men—from Columbia, an eventual starving out, with a similar and of a large force from Somerset, result.” evidently with a view to storm our in If their intrenched camp was thus trenchments. The result may be im- untenable, it was doubtless expedient agined had this been attempted ; for we either to attack or retreat. were without suitable means of trans- chose the bolder alternative, and hoped portation across the river, and all av- by fighting the separate forces of their enues of retreat could have been effectu- antagonists in detail, first to beat Genally cut off by the enemy crossing above eral Thomas and then General Schoepf. and below Mill Spring. General Crit The enemy, variously estimated at tenden is stated to have had but three from six to eight thousand men, under courses to pursue : to at once fall back the command of Generals Crittenden ingloriously and retreat without a blow; and Zollicoffer, accordingly marched out to stay still and be stormed out, and sur at midnight on Saturday, January 18th, render whenever an enemy approached and had proceeded ten miles before the
-or be starved out, and surrender with break of day. in a week ; or else to make an advanced General Thomas was in the meanmovement into Kentucky. The entire time halting in his contemplated adarmy at Mill Spring had been reduced vance against the enemy's intrenchto a simple ration of beef and a half ments. With him was a force comration of corn, the latter eaten as parch- posed of the Ninth Ohio Regiment Voled corn, and not issued as meal. unteers, Tenth Indiana Regiment Vol
“Under these circumstances, and with unteers, Second Minnesota Regiment the report of the advance movement of Volunteers, Fourth Kentucky Regiment the enemy, both from Columbia and Volunteers, Tenth Kentucky Regiment from Somerset, a council of war was Volunteers, Eighteenth Regiment Unitheld on Saturday evening, January 18. ed States regulars, and two full batWith five thousand brave men behind teries of artillery. them, the council of war thought that The place known as Webb’s Cross they could drive before them twice that Roads, Thomas' encampment on Saturnumber of Northern hirelings. The day night (January 18), which became council is positively said to have been the field of battle of the next day, Sununanimous in its decision. Both briga- | day (January 19), was about six miles
east of Jamestown and ten miles west iment, and the death of their favorite of the enemy's fortified camp of Beech commander, General Zollicoffer, who was Grove, situated between White Oak shot through the heart at the head of Creek and the Cumberland River. his staff, by Colonel Fry, of the Fourth
The enemy having reached within Kentucky Regiment. General Zollicofstriking distance of General Thomas' | fer having lost his way in the bushes, Jan. camp at four o'clock in the morn came out suddenly in face of Colonel
18. ing, began the attack at once with Fry, who was accompanied by some great spirit. They had hoped to have staff officers. The two parties mistook taken their antagonists by surprise, but each other for friends, and approachthe Union troops, though not expecting ed within a few yards, when, finding the assault, were watchful, and prepared their mutual mistake, both halted and to defend themselves.
prepared for a hand-to-hand conflict. After a severe skirmishing between One of General Zollicoffer's aids shot at the pickets, the main bodies advanced to Colonel Fry, but only brought his horse meet each other, and the conflict be- down. The Union Colonel immediately came general, with a fire of cannon and drew his revolver, and brought Genmuskets. The troops fought well on eral Zollicoffer from his saddle at the both sides, but at last, after an irregular first fire. struggle, or bush fight, of nearly three The loss on the part of the enemy hours, the enemy were driven back, and was reported to be two hundred and by a spirited charge of bayonets forced seventy-five, while that of the Unionists to a total rout. The brunt of the bat- was hardly less. The soldiers of the tle was borne by the Fourth Kentucky, Tenth Indiana Regiment being in adSecond Minnesota, Ninth Ohio, and vance, were the greatest sufferers, losTenth Indiana. Shortly after eleven ing seventy-five killed and wounded. o'clock Colonel Haskin succeeded in When they charged with their bayoflanking the enemy on the extreme i nets, they were brought so close to the right, when the Ninth Ohio and Second enemy, that a Mississippi regiment Minnesota charged with the bayonet, turned upon them with their long with loud cries, which broke the rebel bowie-knives, which they thrust through ranks, and the rout began. They fled a fence that separated them from their pell-mell to their camp, strewing the assailants. The bayonets, however, by road with muskets, blankets, overcoats, their greater length, gave the advanand knapsacks, and abandoning two guns tage to the Indiana men, and their opand caissons.
ponents, unable to use their knives with The panic of the enemy was in- effect, were forced to fly. creased by the arrival of Federal re The enemy were pursued to their ininforcements, consisting of a Tennessee trenched camp, when night falling, the brigade and the Tenth Kentucky Reg- | Unionists ceased the pursuit, although