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POSITION OF AFFAIRS IN KENTUCKY-GENERAL TIOMAS MOVES AGAINST ZOL-
S before stated, the rebel line of defense in Kentucky A
extended from Columbus on the Mississippi, to the Alleghany Mountains. About midway was Bowling Green, where Johnston commanded in person. East, towards the mountains was Zollicoffer with a large force, where early in the winter he had taken up an intrenched position on the Cumberland river near Mill Spring. Against this line of defense, Grant and the gun boats under Foote, were preparing to move on the west.
Buell was advancing on Bowling Green in the center, and Thomas on the east, near the mountains. The latter with his advance regiments reached Logan's cross roads within ten miles of Zollicoffer's intrenched camp, on the serenteenth instant. The rest of his command was strugging forward over almost impassable roads, and he halted here to await their arrival.
About the first of the month, General Crittenden, son of the old patriot from Kentucky, arrived at the rebel camp and took command. The position was a strong one, and might possibly have been held against the force that General Thomas was moving upon it. But Crittenden ascertaining through his scouts the scattered condition of our army, determined to attack and destroy the portion in advance before, the rest
could come up?
A SUNDAY BATTLE.
BATTLE OF MILL SPRING.
Carrying out this plan, he early on Sunday the nineteenth, left camp with eight thousand men, expecting to take Thomas by surprise. The Tenth Indiana, Colonel Manson, was in advance, and about six o'clock in the morning a courier dashed up to his head-quarters, announcing that the enemy in immense force was close upon him. The long roll was immediately beat, and the regiment sprang to arms,—the next moment the heavy firing of the pickets in front confirmed the
Manson immediately ordered forward a company to support the pickets, and then with the remainder of the regiment moved steadily down the road in the direction of the firing until he came within seventy-five yards of the enemy, when he formed his line of battle. The latter came on three regiments strong, and poured a deadly fire into the Indianians. They, however, stubbornly held their ground for an hour against this overwhelming force, when the right wing-too heavily pressed, began to fall back. At this critical moment, the Fourth Kentucky, under Colonel Fry, came up and took position on the left and poured in a fearful volley. Manson then rallied his right wing. At this moment, General Thomas rode on to the field and saw that the enemy was advancing through a corn-field to gain the left of the Fourth Kentucky, which was holding its ground with the most determined bravery. Unappalled by the tremendous force that was constantly accumulating on their front and flank, they stood with thinned ranks, apparently determined to die in their places rather than yield one foot of the ground they held. But their ammunition and that of the brave Indianians was becoming rapidly exhausted, and it was apparent they could maintain their position but a little longer. Thomas, seeing their danger, ordered up McCook with the Ninth Ohio, and Second Minnesota. This gallant officer moved rapidly for
A BAYONET CHARGE.
ward, and took position on the right and left of the Mill Spring road. Learning that the enemy were in position on the top of a hill beyond a piece of woods in his front, he gave the order to advance. Moving in line of battle through the woods, he came upon the Fourth Kentucky slowly · retiring, while the Indianians were scattered among the trees waiting for ammunition. He immediately ordered the Second Minnesota to move by the ilank, till it shook itself clear of these exhausted regiments. It did so till it occupied the ground they had just left,—their right flank advanced to within a few feet of the enemy. The Ninth Ohio then rapidly closed up to prevent its being outflanked, and a close and murderous conflict ensued-in a part of the line the muzzles of the combatants almost touching. The rebels unable to stand the hot fire of the Minnesotans retired behind some piles of rails, where they were enabled to hold their ground, and maintained a desperate resistance for half an hour. Close in front of the Ninth Ohio, were a log house, stable and corn crib which sheltered the enemy. These McCook charged and took. Still, covered by the woods, the enemy stubbornly maintained his ground. McCook soon seeing that though their artillery fortunately overshot his line, their superior numbers and this mode of fighting, would in the end tell against him, ordered the Ninth Ohio to charge bayonets. Discharging their pieces, the gallant fellows quickly fixed bayonets, and with a shout that rung over the tumult of battle, sprang forward. The enemy saw them advancing, but stood firm to meet the shock. On came the line of leveled steel rigid as the unbending brow of wrath. They that bore it onward saw the unfaltering ranks waiting to receive them, with delight, and with shouts louder than the crash of the volley that smote them, charged like fire through the smoke. Their firm, close formation, fearless bearing, and determined look were too much for the rebels, and their line began to undu.
THE ENEMY ROUTED.
late, then sway backwards, and just before thc shock came, broke in utter rout. One bullet pierced the horse of McCook, another his coat, and a third his leg; still he limped forward on foot at the head of his column. The shout that went up from that hill top was heard in every part of the field, and all knew that the victory was won. Zollicoffer fell mortally wounded, killed it was said by Colonel Fry, who was himself wounded.
Thomas immediately re-formed his regiments and advanced after the flying enemy, till he at length came in sight of their intrenchments, on which he opened a' cannonade and kept it up
until dark. Had he moved on their works at once he would have captured nearly the whole army. But ignorant of their character, and unwilling to risk every thing on an uncertainty, he determined to wait till morning before he made the attack.
Taking advantage of this delay and of the darkness, the enemy fled across the river in utter confusion, burning the ferry boats behind them. The next morning, the army marched into the deserted works, where they found twelve pieces of artillery which the rebels had abandoned in their flight, a hundred and fifty-six wagons, a thousand horses and mules, besides a large quantity of muskets, ammunition, commissary stores, and camp equipage.
Thomas having no means of crossing the river, it was impossible to pursue the enemy, who, it was afterwards ascer. taiped, fled in a disorganized mass through the country, leaving their wounded scattered all along their route.
Our loss in killed and wounded was a hundred and eightysix; that of the enemy including prisoners, so far as known certainly, was three hundred and forty-nine.
It was a brilliant victory in itself, while its bearing on future operations was of the greatest importance. The enemy's line of defense in Kentucky was broken in one point, which
THE CAIRO EXPEDITION.
rendered a flank movement possible, even though it resisted in the center and on the Mississippi.
The return of the “ Cairo expedition," as it was called, closed military operations in the west for the month of January
With about five thousand men, infantry and cavalry together, General McClernand set out from Cairo on the tenth, scouring the country south of the Ohio in the direction of Columbus. Tedious and difficult marches were made, but no battles fought, and the force returned in the latter part of the month, with nothing to show as the result of this expedition in midwinter over almost impassable roads. The public wondered what it had been undertaken for, and to this day its object remains a mystery. McClernand's official report failed to clear it up. He said they had "discovered several important roads not laid down on the maps," "had exploded many false reports studiously and sedulously circulated to our detriment," "forcibly and deeply impressed the inhabitants of the district through which it passed, with the superiority of our military operations, and of our ultimate ability to conquer the rebellion,” and “inspired hope among many loyal citizens” whom, he adds, "our unexpected withdrawal will probably leave victims of rebel persecution and proscription.” For a march of one hundred and forty miles by the cavalry, and seventy-five by the infantry, over intolerable roads and in the most inclement, trying part of the year, this catalogue of valuable results achieved does not impress one as very remarkable.
East, the month closed in sad disappointment, for disheartening news was received from the famous Burnside expedition, as it was termed. It had been a long time in preparation, and by its formidable character awakened in the public extrayagant expectations. The naval force consisted of twenty-three gun boats--all but three, steamers-under the command of Goldsborough These were accompanied by