Official Records Reports 1 - 19 Part 1 of 19

The Official Records pertaining to the Battle of Mill Springs, KY, January 19, 1862

Including: Letters, Photographs and other significant documents

Compiled by COL Jerry McFarland, William Neikirk, David Gilbert and The Mill Springs Battlefield Association



No. 1.-Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio, with instructions to Cross-Roads, Brigadier-General Thomas, and congratulatory orders.

No. 2.-Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas, U. S. Army, commanding division, with congratulatory orders.

No. 3.-Col. Mahlon D. Manson, Tenth Indiana Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

No. 4.-Col. Speed S. Fry, Fourth Kentucky Infantry. <ar7_76>

No. 5-Col. John M. Harlan, Tenth Kentucky Infantry.

No. 6.-Lieut. Col. William C. Kise, Tenth Indiana Infantry.

No. 7.-Col. Robert L. McCook, Ninth Ohio Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.

No. 8.-Col. Horatio P. Van Cleve, Second Minnesota Infantry.

No. 9.-Lieut. George H. Harries, Adjutant Ninth Ohio Infantry.

No. 10.-Col. Samuel P. Carter, commanding Twelfth Brigade.

No. 11.-Col. William A. Hoskins, Twelfth Kentucky Infantry.

No. 12.-Col. Frank Wolford, First Kentucky Cavalry.

No. 13.-Capt. Wiliram E. Standart, Battery B, First Ohio Light Artillery.

No. 14.-Capt. Dennis Kenny, Jr., Battery C, First Ohio Light Artillery.

No. 15.-Congratulatory order from the President.

No. 16.-Gen. A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding the Western Department.

No. 17.-Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, C. S. Army, commanding division.

No. 18.-Brig. Gen. William H. Carroll, C. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.

No. 19.-Maj. Horace Rice, Twenty-ninth Tennessee Infantry (Confederate).



LOUISVILLE, January 20, 1862

Major-General MC CLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army:


.....By telegraphic dispatches from the command of General G. H. Thomas, whom I had ordered to form a junction with General Schoepf at Somerset and attack Zollicoffer, I have information that General Thomas was attacked by Zollicoffer's forces at 6 o'clock yesterday morning, some 8 miles west of Somerset.  He repulsed the enemy handsomely and drove him into his intrenchments at Mill Springs, capturing one piece of military and four caissons.  The enemy left 200 killed and wounded on the field.  Among the killed are Zollicoffer and Bailie Peyton.  The difficulty of supplying even General Thomas' force in the present condition of the roads, and with our limited amount of transportation, is almost insurmountable.  He has been on half rations for some days.


D. C. BUELL,  Brigadier-General, Commanding



LOUISVILLE, January 22, 1862

Major-General MC CLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army:


.....The following [dated 21st instant] just received from General Thomas:  The rout of the enemy was complete.  After succeeding in getting two pieces of artillery across the river and upwards of fifty wagons they were abandoned, with all the ammunition, in depot at Mill Springs.  They then threw away their arms and dispersed through the mountain byways in direction of Monticello, but are so completely demoralized that I don't believe they will make a stand short of Tennessee.  I will forward Schoepf's brigade to Monticello at once if you so desire it.  Monticello is one of the strongest positions on the borders of Tennessee.  The property captured on this river is of great value, amounting to eight 6-pounders and have Parrott guns, with caissons filled with ammunition, about 100 four-horse wagons and upwards of 1,200 horses and mules; several boxes of arms, which have never been opened, and from 500 to 1,000 muskets, mostly flint-locks, but in good order; subsistence stores enough to serve the entire command for three days; also a large amount of hospital stores.  As soon as I receive report of brigade commanders will furnish a detailed report of the battle.  Our loss was 39 killed and 197 wounded.  Among the wounded <ar7_77> were Colonel McCook, of the Ninth Ohio, commanding brigade, and his aide, Lieutenant Burt, Eighteenth U. S. Infantry.  The loss of the rebels was Zollicoffer and 114 others killed and buried, 116 wounded and 45 prisoners not wounded, 5 of whom are surgeons, and Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, Twentieth Tennessee Regiment.


D. C. BUELL,  Brigadier-General, Commanding




LOUISVILLE, Ky., February 9, 1862

LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C. <ar7_78>


.....SIR: I have th honor to transmit General Thomas' report of the battle of Mill Springs, and to commend the services of his troops to the approbation of the General-in-Chief for their fortitude under discomforts and difficulties and their gallantry in battle.  The question of rewards to meritorious persons will naturally present itself in this connection.  It is one which will require to be treated with very great caution.  It is one which produces jealousies and dissatisfaction in a regular army, and composed as ours is, may lead to a most injurious condition of things.  I would suggest that rewards for services in battle be conferred exclusively by brevets, leaving the full promotion (to the grade of brigadier) to flow exclusively from fitness for the office as shown by service.  The advantage of this rule; in fact the necessity, for it, is, I think, obvious.

.....I commend the general in command for the fidelity and ability with which he executed my instructions.

.....I would call attention to the following brigade and regimental commanders who were actively engaged in the battle: Col. R. L. McCook, Ninth Ohio, commanded the Third Brigade.  He was distinguished for efficiency and gallantry on the fields and, though severely wounded early in the action, continued in his command until the engagement closed.

.....Col. M. D. Manson, Tenth Indiana, commanded the Second Brigade, and behaved with gallantry on the field.

.....Col. S. S. Fry commanded the Fourth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, was wounded, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

.....Colonel Van Cleve commanded the Second Regiment Minnesota volunteers, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

.....Lieutenant-Colonel Kise commanded the Tenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.

.....Major Kammerling commanded the Ninth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, and was distinguished for gallantry and efficiency on the field.  For the part taken in the action by the different regiments and batteries and the subordinate officers, I would refer to the report of General Thomas and the officers in command under him.  No other reports in relation to the battle have been received.  A box of captured flags will be forwarded by express.


I am very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. C. BUELL,  Brigadier-General, Commanding





General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding First Division


.....GENERAL:  I send you a sketch of the country about Somerset, which gives more information in regard to roads than your map.  We conversed about the advance upon Zollicoffer through Columbia, and if you remember my idea it is hardly necessary to add any thing on this subject.  It is for you to move upon his left and endeavor to cut him off from his bridge, while Schoepf, with whom of course, you must communicate, attacks him in front.  The map will indicate the proper moves for that object.  The result ought to be at least a severe blow to him or a hasty flight across the river.  But to effect the former the movement should be made rapidly and secretly and the blow should be vigorous and decided.  There should be no delay, after you arrive.  It would be better not to have been undertaken if it should result in confining an additional force merely to matching the enemy.  The details of the operations must be left to your judgment from the information you gather and your observations on the ground.  Take such portion of the cavalry from Columbia as you think necessary.  Draw all the supplies you can from the country and move as light as possible.

.....Having accomplished the object, be ready to move promptly in any direction, but wait until you hear from me, unless circumstances should require you to act without delay, as I may want you to proceed from there to the other matter about which we have conversed.

.....Report frequently.


Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. C. BUELL,  Brigadier-General, Commanding






LOUISVILLE, Ky., January 23, 1862


.....The general commanding has the gratification of announcing the achievement of an important victory the 19th instant at Mill Springs, by the troops under General Thomas, over the rebel forces, some 12,000 strong, under General George B. Crittenden and General Zollicoffer.

.....The defeat of the enemy was thorough and complete and his loss in killed and wounded was great.  Night alone, under cover of which his troops crossed the river from their entrenched camp and dispersed, prevented the capture of his entire force.  Fourteen or more pieces of artillery, some 1,500 horses and mules, his entire camp equipage, together with wagons, arms, ammunition, and other stores to a large amount fell into our hands.

.....The general has been charged by the General-in-Chief to convey his thanks to General Thomas and his troops for their brilliant victory.  No task could be more grateful to him, seconded as it is by his own cordial approbation of their conduct.


By command of Brigadier-General Buell:

JAMES B. FRY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff

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