The Battle - 8:00 until 9:00 A.M.
You are standing in the center of the area where most of the Mill Springs Battle took place on Sunday morning, January 19, 1862. This illustration depicts the scene from a birds eye viewpoint above and behind you. The Union line stood to your left, partly protected by a rail fence at the edge of a woodlot (now a part of the field). The Confederate line was in the wooded ravine to your right.
Charging from the ravine, the Confederates launched repeated attacks on the Union line only to be driven back after desperate hand to hand fighting. The battle line extended across the road to your left, but fighting there was less intense until the final charge of the 9th Ohio. This charge broke the Confederate line and caused the Southern forces to retreat from the field.
For most of the soldiers here, this was their first battle experience; they carried away vivid impressions that lasted a lifetime. Their eyewitness accounts help us visualize the battle and its aftermath.
"The reports of the muskets and rifles now commingled into one sound like the terrible roar of winds of a mighty storm, interrupted only by the louder sound of artillery." - Eastham Tarrant, 1st Kentucky Cavalry U.S.
"Our entire line, putting their guns through the cracks of the fence, fired into them with ball and buckshot, and the scene that followed defied description." - Lieutenant James Binford, 13th Mississippi Infantry
We were so close on them that one man had his beard and whiskers singed by the fire of one of the muskets; Another caught hold of one of their muskets and jerked it through the fence." - Horatio Van Cleve, Colonel 2nd Minnesota Infantry
The rain was falling in torrents and our flintlock muskets were in bad condition, not one in three would fire ... Mine went off once in the action, and although I wiped the pan and primed a dozen times it would do so no more." - James Cooper, 20th Tennessee Infantry
About the wounded ...
"The (Confederate) wounded left on the field exhibited various dispositions ... Some spoke pitifully, and were thankful for any kind word spoken or any favors shown them while others were more morose, stubborn and independent." - Eastham Tarrant, 1st Kentucky Cavalry U.S.
... and the dead
"There were delicate forms whose beardless faces showed tender years. Some had the horrible frowns of war still upon their features. others lay in calm repose as if they were dreaming of loved ones at home." - Eastham Tarrant, 1st Kentucky Cavalry U.S.