The Noble Ellis Saves an Army

The Noble Ellis Saves an Army (HM2J41)

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N 36° 56.519', W 84° 47.178'

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Mill Springs Battlefield

— National Historic Landmark —

The Confederate army arrived in Mill Springs in November 1861. For some time, Confederate General Felix K. Zollicoffer's pleas for more men and supplies were ignored. Finally, his superior sent the steamboat Noble Ellis up from Nashville with provisions and clothing. The small sternwheeler docked at Mill Springs on the south side of the Cumberland River.

A Night of Fear and Chaos
After the hard-fought Battle of Mill Springs on January 19, 1862, the defeated Confederates fled back to the Beech Grove encampment across the river from Mill Springs. The Confederates knew that escape depended on getting across the swollen Cumberland River. As darkness fell, Union forces stopped their pursuit. General George H. Thomas planned to make a final assault on the Confederates in the morning. Union artillery shelled the river crossing as the Noble Ellis and a few rowboats worked through the night ferrying the Confederate army to Mill Springs.

Thousands Crowded the Riverbank
W.J. Warsham, 29th Tennessee Infantry, described the chaos: "We were on the river bank in a compact mass of excited and confused humanity. Thousands were crowded there waiting. each his turn, to get on the Noble Ellis as she crossed and recrossed the river. The enemy just a little over a mile behind who, from their battery

above us on a hill, kept constantly shelling the boat as she crossed back and forth with her excited fugitive load."

Inset sketch:
As daylight came the last Confederate soldiers disembarked in Mill Springs. Its critical mission accomplished, the Confederates burned the Noble Ellis to prevent its capture by the Union.
HM NumberHM2J41
Series This marker is part of the National Historic Landmarks series
Year Placed2014
Placed ByMill Springs Battlefield Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, July 25th, 2019 at 8:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 697129 N 4090725
Decimal Degrees36.94198333, -84.78630000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 56.519', W 84° 47.178'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 56' 31.14" N, 84° 47' 10.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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