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).
CAMP OPPOSITE MILL SPRINGS, WAYNE COUNTY, Ky.
January 23, 1862
Col. M. D. MANSON, Comdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Department of the Ohio
.....SIR: I have the honor to report to you the part taken by the Tenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, under my command, in the battle fought on the 19th instant, at Logan's farm, Pulaski County, Kentucky.
.....On the evening of the 18th instant, in accordance with your order, I sent out as pickets Companies K and I, Captains Shortle and Perkins, and had them posted on the road leading to the fortifications of the enemy on Cumberland River, distant about 12 miles. Maj. A. O. Miller, who posted the pickets, stationed Company I 1 mile from our camp, and Company K 300 yards beyond. The latter company received instructions to fall back to Captain Perkins if attacked.
.....At about 6:30 o'clock on the morning of the 19th instant a courier came to our quarters, with information that the enemy was advancing upon our camp, and almost immediately afterwards the firing of our pickets was heard. The long roll quickly brought the Tenth Regiment into ranks, and I gave orders to Major Miller to go forward with Company A, Captain Hamilton, to the support of the picket companies, which order was promptly executed. I soon proceeded by your order with the remaining seven companies of my regiment down the road in the direction of the picket firing. When I got within 75 yards of the three companies, then hotly engaged, I formed the regiment in line of battle and rapidly disposed it for fighting. Five companies extended through the woods on the right of the road and the remaining companies on the left. A regiment of rebels were advancing in line of battle and their treasonable colors were seen flaunting in the breeze. Having selected as good a position as practicable, I took a stand and ordered the regiment to fire, which order was instantly obeyed.
.....The firing continued without cessation for one hour, during which time we engaged three of the enemy's regiments and held them at bay. The battle was at its hottest, and our ranks were gradually becoming thinned and mutilated, when I perceived a regiment of rebel cavalry <ar7_91> attempting to flank me on the right and an infantry regiment on the left. I commanded Captain Gregory's company to take position to meet the cavalry on the right, which it did and opened a galling fire upon them, but they were fast closing in upon us, and I saw myself completely outflanked on the right, and that re-enforcements must soon come to my relief or I would be compelled to fall back. I was eventually forced to order my right wing to retire, when, just as my order was being executed, the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, commanded by Colonel Fry, came up and took position on the left of my left wing and opened a deadly fire on the ranks of the enemy. I now rallied the right wing, the men, with the exception of those who had been detailed to carry off the dead and wounded, quickly taking their places in the line. Just at this moment a heavy force appeared to be advancing on the extreme left of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment, and a portion of Colonel McCook's brigade, which had arrived, engaging the enemy on my right, I was ordered by General Thomas to the extreme left of the Fourth Kentucky Regiment. I moved the regiment through the brush and over logs to the place designated, and coming to a fence parallel with my line, we hotly engaged the enemy, and after a hard struggle of half an hour's duration drove him before us and put him to flight with great loss.
.....A part of my left wing still engaged on the right of the Fourth Kentucky against great odds being strongly opposed, I was again ordered by General Thomas to their support. I forthwith obeyed this command, and in doing so brought my right wing upon the identical ground it had been forced to abandon during the earlier part of the engagement. I then moved forward the whole right wing and two companies of the left, and soon got into a fierce contest with the enemy in front. The whole regiment, from right to left, was now warmly engaged and slowly but surely driving the enemy before them, when I ordered a "charge bayonet" which was promptly executed along the whole line. We soon drove the enemy from his place of concealment in the woods into an open field 200 yards from where I ordered the charge. When we arrived at the fence in our front many of the enemy were found lingering in the corners, and were bayoneted by my men between the rails. I pressed onward, and soon beheld with satisfaction that the enemy were moving in retreat across the field, but I suddenly saw them halt in the southeast corner of the field on a piece of high ground, where they received considerable re-enforcements and made a last and desperate effort to repulse our troops. In the mean time the gallant Colonel McCook, with his invincible Ninth Ohio Regiment, came in to our support, and for twenty or thirty minutes a terrific struggle ensued between the two opposing forces. I never in all my military career saw a harder fight. Finally the enemy began to waiver and give back before the shower of lead and glittering steel brought to bear on his shattered ranks, and he commenced a precipitate retreat under a storm of bullets from our advancing forces until his retreat became a perfect rout.
.....I ordered enough men left to attend to our dead and wounded, and receiving a new supply of cartridges (the most of our boxes being entirely empty), the men refilled their boxes, and, according to your order, I put the regiment in motion after the retreating enemy. Pursuing them the same evening a distance of 10 miles, we arrived near the enemy's fortifications at this place. The way by which the enemy had retreated gave evidence that they had been in haste to reach their den. Wagons, cannon, muskets, swords, blankets, etc., were strewn all along the road from the battle-field to within a mile of this place, where I halted the <ar7_92> regiment and the men slept on their arms in the open field. The men at this time were powder-besmeared, tired, and hungry, having had nothing to eat since the previous night. On the following morning---the 20th instant---after our artillery had shelled the enemy's works, by your order I moved my regiment to his breastworks and into his deserted intrenchments, where I have since remained.
.....It may be interesting to state here that our regimental colors, which were those presented by the ladies of La Fayette and borne in triumph at the battle of Rich Mountain, were completely torn into shreds by the bullets of the enemy. I have had its scattered fragments gathered and intend preserving them. Three stands of rebel colors were captured by my regiment.
.....I cannot speak in terms of sufficient praise of the noble and gallant conduct of some of the officers of my regiment. They did their duty and fought like tried veterans. Maj. A. O. Miller was wherever duty called him, and in the thickest of the fight, cheering on the men. Actg. Adjt. W. E. Ludlow did his whole duty and rendered me valuable assistance during the day. Asst. Surg. C. S. Perkins and the Rev. Dr. Dougherty, chaplain of the Tenth Regiment, rendered valuable service in their unremitting attention to the wounded. Quartermaster Oliver S. Rankin and Nelson B. Smith, of the same department, are entitled to great credit for the prompt manner in which they brought up and supplied the men with cartridges. Commissary Sergt. David B. Hart, our Rich Mountain guide in the three months' service, was present and in the line of his duty. Fife and Drum Majors Daniel and James Conklin shouldered muskets and fought valiantly during the early part of the engagement, after which they were of great service in carrying off and attending to the wounded. Captains Hamilton, Boyl, J. F. Taylor, Carroll, and Gregory, and Captains M. B. Taylor, Perkins, and Shortle, the three young tigers, were through the entire battle where none but the brave and gallant go, and continually pressed forward with their men where the battle raged the hottest and the rebels were found most plenty. Captain Vanarsdall, of Company B, was present, and discharged his duty faithfully until after the right wing was drawn off. First Lieutenants Cobb, Goben, McAdams, Van Natta, Johnssen, McCoy, Bush, Boswell, Shumate, and Hunt deserve the highest praise for their brave and gallant conduct. Lieutenant McAdams fell while he was nobly leading on his men. Lieutenant Bush commanded Company G, and quite distinguished himself. Second Lieutenants Rodman, Colwell, Merritt, Lutz, Miller, Stall, Simpson, Scott, and Wilds full merit all that can be said in their praise, as do all the non-commissioned officers and privates that were present during the engagement. Many individual acts of bravery might be mentioned, such as those of Orderly Sergeant Miller, of Company B, and my orderly, Abraham A. Carter, who took a gun and fought manfully during the intervals that his services were not required by me in dispatching orders. But nothing I can say will add to the well-merited laurels already on the brows of both officers and men of the Tenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers.
.....My regiment lost in killed 11 men, in wounded 75, a complete list of whose names I herewith submit. (*)
W. C. KISE, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Tenth Indiana Regiment