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
.....I have written you several hasty letters in a few days past, and at no time giving you any thing in detail, nor will now or perhaps ever attempt to do so. Our defeat in the Northern papers is styled Bull Run Jr. It was certainly bad enough, bad enough. From Mill Spring to Monticello ten or twelve miles the road was strewn with knapsacks and blankets sufficient to have carpeted the road. The loss in killed was not so heavy as supposed only 43 in (15th) Mississippi regiment which was by far the greatest suffered. Only one Tennessee regiment suffered comparatively any loss, Col Battles regiment (20th Tenn. Inf.). The killed in this regiment was 36. The whole number killed would be covered by 100. Many wounded were taken prisoners, who will probably recover. A few days since a flag of truce was sent for Gen Zollicoffers body and by this some information was obtained. They replied in a very handsome note saying that Gen Zollicoffers body had already been sent to Nashville via Louisville. Information was obtained that our wounded were well cared for in hospitals in Somerset every thing being offered which medical skill and the great facilities of the Federal Army and supply. They make much sport of our defeat. They will release 8 prisoners in parole so soon as they are able to travel. I was in hopes to hear of Nelson whose fate seems to be doubtful or rather it is certain when last seen he was not mortally wounded. It is quite certain known from the consiliatory bearing of the Federal army, prisoners will be permited to write and letters passed by a flag of truce.
.....I believe I wrote to you I had lost everything. Every thing is in such a state of confusion. I fear that any articles sent me will be lost. When order is restored I may draft upon you unless in the mean time I conclude to return home at so early a date as to render it unnecessry. Brantlley's (Maj. William F. Brantley 15th Miss. Inf.) boy went on and joined the Federals in the service of an Indiana Captain , who sent Brantley word that when the war was over he would leave his negro in Kentucky or some other place. A Lt. Col who took Walthalls (Lt. Col. Edward C. Walthall, 15th Miss. Inf., who commanded the regiment during the battle) great coat sent him word when the war was closed he would send him a new one. A few stragglers went to Monticello and gave $50 Confederate bill for few drinks of whiskey by way of illustrating their little appreciation of the value of our Government money. Many of our men left money in their trunks. Fortunately I left none of your letters or Sues but your miniature and that of our children were in my trunk, now Yankee property. Our flag was the flag of the regiment. Three or four flag bearers were shot and it was finally lost. (The battle flag of Co. H. the "Yalobusha Rifles," which was recorded as captured by Corp. Albert Issen of Co. G 2nd Minnesota Infantry, is now in the collections of the Mississippi State Museum in Jackson.) The truth is with the Tennessee regiments acted with great cowardice. The great mistake of the matter was our armys position on the north side of the river. There we were entrapped. Our forces were out to cut off what they supposed was two or three regiments, and instead of its being three it was twenty who were in ambush waiting for us.
.....One unfortunate circumstance is that Gen Zollicoffers private correspondence was captured. In it were letters from many prominent citizens implicating them in what they term the rebellion. Finnie (?) is quite ill and I think I shall start him home tomorrow if the physician will give the necessary certificate. If so he will reach home three or four days after this letter. He has not been very well for some time past.
.....I met an acquaintance a few days since who told me that he had sent me a few bushels of grass seed similar to those already sown. If so they are at Grinada (Grenada). If necessary have them sown a portion of them in the turnip patch in the oat field and the residue in the lot where the others are sowed. I sew some in the turnip patch so as not to leave seeds in the unit we are unfortunate with these in the grass lot. My mare was saved in the stampede being in Monticello ten miles this side of the camp. She was however unlike herself for want of food, and because of hard marches.
.....Write to me in Nashville where I shall be able to have them forwarded to me.
.....Love to children and all.
As ever yours,
F. M. Aldridge