Union Correspondence Part 4 of 4

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





January 8, 1862



VII. The following organization of brigades will be observed until further orders:


Twentieth Brigade

Colonel FORSYTH, commanding

64th Regiment Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Forsyth

65th Regiment Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Harker

51st Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Streight

----Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Landram


Twenty-first Brigade

Colonel CARR, commanding

40th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Wilson

57th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel McMullen

58th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Carr

24th Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Grigsby


VIII.  The Eighth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers (Colonel Barnes) and Lieutenant-Colonel Boone's battalion of Kentucky volunteers are assigned to the Sixteenth Brigade.

IX.  Brigadier-General Ward is assigned to the command of the Sixteenth Brigade and such other troops as may be posted to guard the line in front of Louisville headquarters at Elizabethtown.

X.  The following troops are attached to the Twelfth Brigade, Brigadier-General Carter commanding, and will proceed to London, Ky., viz.: The Forty-ninth Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Ray; the Sixteenth Ohio Volunteers, Colonel De Courcy; Wetmore's battery of Ohio volunteer artillery, and Major Munday's battalion of Kentucky cavalry.

.....The Forty-ninth Indiana will march via Springfield, Lebanon, and Danville.  The Sixteenth Ohio will march from Lexington direct.  The battery and the battalion of cavalry will move by rail to Lebanon and march thence via Danville to London.


By command of Brigadier-General Buell:

[JAMES B. FRY], Assistant Adjutant-General



January 3,1862

Brig. Gen. ALBIN SCHOEPF, Commanding at Somerset:


.....GENERAL:  Your communication of the 7th instant, submitting a plan of the enemy's intrenchments, has been received at the hands of Captain Hall.  Your views appear to me excellent, provided the bridge of boats can be secured from freshets.  It is General Buell's desire, however, that we should not cross the river unless absolutely necessary.  His plan was that by marching on from this place I should threaten his left flank whilst you attacked him in front.

.....Do you consider his position impregnable from attack in front?  If so, let me know by messenger as soon as you can.  We have had very bad weather since the 1st, and have another obstacle today in the rising of the creek near here.  I am in hopes, however, that we shall be able to march tomorrow.


Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. H. THOMAS, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers



January 11, 1862

General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Commanding: division near Columbia, Ky.


.....GENERAL:  Yours of the 9th, by Captain Hall, was duly received.  You ask whether I consider the position of Zollicoffer impregnable in front.  I would not like to say positively that such was the case; but I may safely say that to carry his position must be attended with heavy loss of life on our part.

.....There is no possible chance of maneuvering with infantry in front of his works.  While artillery could be of no use, from the impossibility of securing any point from which it could be used to advantage, with an almost certainty of losing it in the event of our failing to carry the enemy's works at the first onset.  If it is deemed not best to cross the river, the next thing to be done is to find some accessible point on the west side of White Oak Creek from which our artillery could be brought to bear with force on his works, in the meantime crowding him in front and flank with our infantry.  By this means we may draw him out for a field fight.  The immediate occupant by artillery of one or more suitable points on the river beyond Mill Springs, for the purpose of stopping his steamers, is a matter which in my opinion should not be overlooked, as, with the present condition of the roads, it is through this channel that he must necessarily draw his supplies.  I send you three men today who are acquainted with the country west of White Oak Creek, and who can be of service to you as you approach that line.  Please keep me advised of our approach and plans, that I may act promptly and in concert with you.


I am very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. SCHOEPF, Brigadier-General, Commanding at Somerset


HDQRS. FIRST DIV., DEPT. OF THE OHIO, Camp at Webb's Cross. Roads, Ky.

January 13,1862

Brigadier-General SCHOEPF, Commanding at Somerset


.....GENERAL:  I received yours of the 11th today, by Captain Hall.  When I last wrote you I was in hopes of being near Somerset by this time, but the heavy rains have injured the roads so much that it will be impossible to say now when I can be in your vicinity.  We have already been three days in making 16 miles, and our ammunition and provisions are far behind now---probably will not be up by tomorrow night.  Should I ever succeed in getting near you I will send a messenger to let you know.  I wrote to General Buell five days since, submitting your proposition of crossing the river and attacking from the bluffs of Meadow Creek, but have received no reply from him up to this time.  As soon as I hear I will write you the result.  I have not had time to converse with the men you sent me fully, but if it be possible to approach the enemy by way of White Oak Creek I should like to have them as guides.


Respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. H. THOMAS, Brigadier-General U. S. Army Commanding



January 15, 1862

General THOMAS:


.....SIR:  Colonel Wolford has returned from a scout.  He says that he went to Harrison; from there to the Wolf Creek road; then to Logan's; from there 4 miles down the Mill Springs road; then back.

.....He says that he saw nothing, and could hear nothing, and that there were no pickets on any of the roads over which he went; that there were no horse-tracks on the roads made since the rain.  This would seem to indicate that Zollicoffer had departed, if it were not for other reliable news just received by me from one whom I sent out this morning.  Old man Foster says that last night the enemy came in very considerable force, some three regiments, on the McLennan Hill, situated between Forbush and Wolf Creek, about 1 mile from the river.  This afternoon the whole body took back towards their camp by way of the road between Forbush and White Oak (Robertsport road).  They were compelled to go that way on account of the river having risen.

.....The evening at sundown they were passing toward White Oak Creek, within 8 miles from their camp.  They [were] whipping and pressing their teams very hard.  We are now out of our way I think.  What a nice thing we have missed by not having means of getting news?  NOW I hardly think that he could have come out to attack us, or they would not have brought the wagons.  This would look as though he had not known of our presence until today and then he took back.  I will have my advance and pickets keep a sharp lookout should an attack be contemplated.

.....If he comes this way we can whip all of them without any trouble in the position we have.

.....I send you this that you may take such steps as seen proper.

.....I have no news from the camp of the enemy other than what you are in possession of.  I am about satisfied that he has not to exceed 5,000, all told.  I will give you the particulars when I see you.


Yours, truly,


P,S,  I think we could not intercept the train now, as we would have to go by the Mill Springs road to head them off, a march of 16 miles.


HEADQUARTERS, Louisville, Ky.

January 22,1862

General THOMAS:


.....My dispatch of yesterday advised you that you were to follow the enemy whether that shall take you beyond Monticello must depend on your finding him embodied and the ability to supply yourself.  You will have to depend very much on the country.  At any rate occupy Monticello, which I want to hold.

.....Take a strong position to secure communication with Somerset and with the river at Jamestown where a force has been posted to command the river.  Strengthen the position at Monticello so that a brigade can hold it.  Open communication with Jamestown.  Establish a regiment and a battery of rifled guns with time fuses on the neck of Horse Shoe Bend, so as to command the river up and down and guard the road.  Let your engineers get up a floating bridge of at least two boats there and at Somerset, and also a substantial pontoon bridge at each.  Push these matters with the greatest possible energy.  Put the roads in order wherever you go.  Observe that you may find some of the enemy about Monticello, and it is not improbable that supplies were on the way to General Zollicoffer by land, which you may be able to capture.

.....Inform me what force seems to be necessary at Monticello.  Study the roads thoroughly and report.

.....Look out for a strong position on the river to protect the route and depot near Somerset.


D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding



January 23, 1862

Brigadier-General BUELL, Commanding Department of the Ohio, Louisville, Ky.


.....GENERAL:  I have positive information that it is almost impossible to subsist a large force at Monticello, and as the roads are now almost impassable, it would be extremely difficult to forage animals at this place for some time.  I have other reason to believe that the roads leading into Tennessee are in the same condition as the one over which my division has just passed, and the enemy having passed over those roads, our chances for subsistence and forage would be but poor.

.....I would therefore again respectfully suggest that I may be permitted to move down the river with my troops, taking our subsistence and forage in flat-boats; and co-operate with the main army against Bowling Green.

.....Zollicoffer's forces are entirely dispersed; they threw away their arms and disbanded, and should we go into East Tennessee now there would be no enemy to encounter.  General Carter's brigade might go to encourage the citizens and to take them arms and ammunition, but I do not believe that any stronger force will be needed, especially if Middle Tennessee is threatened by my force.

.....Burkesville is one of the strongest positions on the river, and could be easily fortified so as to prevent all possibility of getting above.  To procure forage it is necessary to send for it 15 miles, and the roads are so difficult that by the time the wagons reach here the teams have nearly consumed their loads.  Send Captain Gillem to explain verbally to you the difficulties I have to encounter and what still lies before me if I am required to advance into Tennessee.


Very respectfully,

GEO. H. THOMAS, Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers



January 24, 1862

Surf. D. B. CLIFF:


.....The general commanding the division grants you permission to accompany the remains of General Zollicoffer and Lieut. Bailie Peyton to Louisville, Ky.  Transportation for this purpose will be furnished you from the quartermaster's department.  An escort of 1 sergeant and 6 men will be detailed to accompany you as far as Lebanon, Ky.; and a transportation pass over the railroad to Louisville.

.....Upon your arrival at Louisville you will at once report in person to General D. C. Buell, commanding the Department of the Ohio, and with his consent, can proceed to Nashville with the remains.


Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. E. FLYNT, Assistant Adjutant-General


February 6, 1862, 7 p.m.

Gov. DAVID TODD, Columbus, Ohio


.....General McClellan telegraphs me that you have six regiments subject to my call.  Please arrange them in two brigades, so as to place the most capable colonel in command in each as far as relative rank will permit, and move them with all possible dispatch to such points as General Halleck may designate.  They should be supplied with ammunition----at least 40 rounds.


D. C. BUELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding

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