1. Participants in the Battle of Mill Springs believed that their victory had "saved Kentucky for the Union."
Zollicoffer's hoped that the presence of his army on Kentucky soil would encourage pro-Confederate sentiment and entice the Bluegrass state to join the Confederacy. The Union victory removed that chance.
2. Still under a cloud of suspicion because of his southern birth, General George H. Thomas did not receive as much credit as he should have after the battle.
Mill Springs was one of the most complete tactical victories of the war, but Abraham Lincoln reserved judgment and even prevented Harper's Weekly from placing Thomas on the magazine's cover. "Let the Virginian wait," said the President.
3 . A newspaper editor, Zollicoffer drafted his famous "Proclamation the People of Southern Kentucky" urging local residents to join forces with him to protect their slave "property."
Apparently unknown to Zollicoffer, southern Kentucky was staunchly Unionist and slavery was not a major factor. Just a few miles from the battlefield was a small Separate Baptist church which served as a station on the Underground Railroad.
4 .The battle took place in mid- January.
For practical reasons most Civil War battles took place in the summer and early fall. The battle of Mill Springs is a rare wintertime battle. In southern Kentucky the week of January 19 usually sees the coldest weather of the year.
In 1862 the cold and wet weather played havoc with the firearms of many of Zollicoffer's troops.
5. At the Battle of Mill Springs, Union and Confederate forces were about equal in strength.
In most Civil War battles, Union forces enjoyed numerical superiority.
6. Before the battle, Zollicoffer shaved off his beard so he would not be recognized by his adversaries.
Generals aren’t frequently killed during battle, but Zollicoffer fell victim to poor visibility and bad luck. He might as well have kept the beard.
7. Several Mill Springs veterans enjoyed distinguished public careers in the years after the war.
John Marshall Harlan became a Supreme Court justice. E.C. Walthall became a U.S. Senator. Frank Wolford and Mahlon Manson won election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
8. A veteran of the battle published an outstanding regimental history.
In 1890, Eastham Tarrant, the headquarters clerk of Wolford's cavalry, wrote The Wild Riders of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry. Long overlooked, it now is recognized as a Civil War classic.
9. Soldiers from at least eight states took part in the battle.
The states are Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.
10. A ten-year old girl deserves credit for preserving the memory of the site of Zollicoffer's death and the site of the CSA mass grave.
In 1901, ten year old Dorotha Burton who grew up on a farm adjacent to the battlefield began the sweet custom of decorating "Zollicoffer's Oak" with a wreath of evergreen and decorating the CSA burial mound with seasonal wildflowers. Inspired by her example, Confederate veterans, Zollicoffer's daughters, and even some Union veterans joined forces to erect permanent monuments in 1911.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, July 24 2012 10:24|