Mill Springs, KY

The Battle of Mill Springs

[Battle of Mill Spring, Ky. Jan 19th 1862 - Courtesy of Wikipedia]

Date(s): January 19, 1862

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Mill Spring Park (park), Jonesborough, Tennessee, United States

Campaign(s): Offensive in Eastern Kentucky [1862]

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden

Principal Forces:

  • Union: 1st Division, Army of the Ohio, and Brig. Gen. A. Schoepf’s Brigade (total of four brigades)

  • Confederate: Division of two brigades


  • Although Brig. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer’s main responsibility was to guard Cumberland Gap, in November 1861 he advanced west into Kentucky to strengthen control in the area around Somerset.

  • He found a strong defensive position at Mill Springs and decided to make it his winter quarters.

  • He fortified the area, especially both sides of the Cumberland River.

  • Union Brig. Gen. George Thomas received orders to drive the Rebels across the Cumberland River and break up Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden’s army. He left Lebanon and slowly marched through rain-soaked country, arriving at Logan’s Crossroads on January 17, where he waited for Brig. Gen. A. Schoepf’s troops from Somerset to join him.

  • Maj. Gen. George Crittenden, Zollicoffer’s superior, had arrived at Mill Springs and taken command of the Confederate troops. He knew that Thomas was in the vicinity and decided that his best defense was to attack the Yankees.

  • The Rebels attacked Thomas at Logan’s Crossroads at dawn on January 19. Unbeknownst to the Confederates, some of Schoepf’s troops had arrived and reinforced the Union force.

  • Initially, the Rebel attack forced the first unit it hit to retire, but stiff resistance followed and Zollicoffer was killed.

  • The Rebels made another attack but were repulsed. Union counterattacks on the Confederate right and left were successful, forcing them from the field in a retreat that ended in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

  • Mill Springs, along with Middle Creek, broke whatever Confederate strength there was in eastern Kentucky.

  • Confederate fortunes did not rise again until summer when Gen. Braxton Bragg launched his offensive into Kentucky.

  • Mill Springs was the larger of the two Union Kentucky victories in January 1862. With these victories, the Federals carried the war into Middle Tennessee in February.

Photo Gallery:2

Mill Springs National Cemetery

Description of Mill Springs National Cemetery

The Bivouac of the Dead

Graves of Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Mill Springs

Grave marker of Samuel Parker (see information on cemetery description slide)

"A Hard March"

Zollicoffer Confederate Cemetery

Memorial Flame

Marker where General Zollicoffer was killed

Mistaken Identity - A Deadly Error

The "Zollie Tree"

Descrption of "The Zollie Tree"

Map of Battlefield Loop Trail

A Scene of Battle

Description of General George H. Thomas

Fix Bayonets - Charge!

Mass grave for Confederate dead at Mill Springs

Names of Confederates in mass grave

"The Dawn of Battle"

The Union Advance

Confederate Artillery

Symbolic grave markers for Confederate soldiers buried in mass grave

Last Stand Hill

Confederate Field Hospital

"Poor Charlie"

Site of Confederate field hospital

Site of Confederate field hospital

Timmy's Branch - Union Cavalry Picket Line

Timmy's Branch

Moulden's Hill - Union Artillery Position

"Moulden's Hill"

Beech Grove - Confederate Camp

Zollie's Den

Outline of earthen works forts

Winter Quarters

Fortifications at Beech Grove

The white PVC pipe indicates where artificacts where found. Many of the items found are in the Mill Springs Battlefield visitor center.

Ferry Landing

Noble Ellis - Sternwheeler that Saved an Army"


The Mill Springs Battlefield Association has produced a new DVD on the battle that can be obtained for $25 (plus $2 for Shipping and handling).

Classification3: B


  • Union: 232

  • Confederate: 439

Results: Union Victory Miniature Union Victory

Battlefield Websites: 

Lodging and Restaurants: Kentucky Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of"

3 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

4 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 03/15/2013