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- The Army of the Cumberland - 4/43 -
seeing that Fry was a Federal officer, opened fire upon him with a revolver, wounding his horse. Fry returned the fire, shooting Zollicoffer through the heart.
Shortly after, the First and Second East Tennessee regiments of Carter's brigade and Hoskins's Kentucky regiment were placed on the left of the Second Minnesota regiment, and opening a heavy fire on the right flank of the rebel line caused it to give way. The Second Minnesota regiment kept up a galling fire in the centre, while the Ninth Ohio charged the enemy with fixed bayonets on the left, turned that flank, and drove them from the field. The whole rebel line then gave way, retreating in the utmost confusion and disorder to their intrenchments at Beech Grove. Thomas ordered an immediate advance, after supplying his troops with ammunition, driving the rebels into their intrenchments. As these were approached they were invested by the division deployed in the line of battle. Cannonading was kept up until dark, firing being in the direction of the ferry to defeat a crossing. During the night preparations were made for an assault on the intrenchments on the following morning. The Fourteenth Ohio, Colonel Steedman, and the Tenth Kentucky, Colonel Harlan, reported after the fight, where placed in the front of the advance, and were the first to enter the intrenchments. Schoepff's brigade joined the command during the evening, and was placed in position for the attack.
At midnight Crittenden abandoned everything, and between that hour and daylight escaped across the river by means of a steamer and some barges at the landing, which he burned, leaving behind him his badly wounded, all of his cannon--twelve pieces--with their caissons packed with ammunition, a large amount of small arms, with ammunition for the same, over one hundred and fifty wagons, and more than one thousand horses and mules, with a large amount of tools, stores, camp and garrison equipage.
As all the boats were destroyed, it was impossible for Thomas to cross his command in pursuit. General Thomas in his official report of the engagement says: "Their command was completely demoralized and retreated with great haste and in all directions, making their capture in any number quite doubtful if pursued. There is no doubt but that the moral effect produced by their complete dispersion will have a more decided effect in re-establishing Union sentiments than though they had been captured."
The rebels suffered terribly by heavy marching through the rain, mud, and cold, with insufficient food; frequently with nothing but parched corn to sustain life. Crittenden finally took position at Chestnut Mound, within reach of relief from Nashville.
In the Life of Albert Sidney Johnston, speaking of Crittenden's retreat, the author says: "During his retreat his army became much demoralized, and two regiments, whose homes were in that neighborhood, almost entirely abandoned their organization and went every man to his own house. A multitude deserted, and the tide of fugitives filled the country with dismay."
The battle fought at Logan's Cross Roads, called by the rebels the Battle of Fishing Creek, and by the Federals the Battle of Mill Springs, was most disastrous to the enemy, and inflicted the most severe blow they had up to that time experienced. The victory for the Federal forces was the first complete success of the war, and was hailed everywhere with joy and hope. An order was issued by the President congratulating the troops on their success, and the general in command conveyed his thanks to General Thomas and troops for their brilliant victory.
Thomas's command lost in the engagement 39 killed, and 207 wounded. He reported the rebel loss at 122 killed, and the total loss at 349. The large proportion of killed to the wounded indicates heavy fighting at close quarters, and also a superiority of either the arms of the Federal troops or their firing.
The body of General Zollicoffer was treated with great respect. General Thomas had it embalmed and carried around by Lebanon. It was then sent to General Buell through his lines under a flag of truce. Zollicoffer's death was a very depressing event to the Tennesseeans. He was their most popular leader, and his death was felt by the people of Tennessee as a personal bereavement.
Crittenden's attack and defeat were a great surprise to Johnston. This force had been ordered to Mill Springs to maintain that point of the general military line as a corps of observation merely. With the attack and defeat Johnston found his line broken, his position at Bowling Green liable to be turned on that flank, and an army on which he counted demolished. This with his losses on his left in Western Kentucky and at Fort Henry compelled his main command at Bowling Green to abandon that place, and retire into Tennessee. Thomas, after the battle of Mill Springs, concentrated his command at Somerset, awaiting orders. He was ordered to Mumfordsville, February 15th, to take part in the general advance against Bowling Green. These orders were countermanded by reason of the evacuation of that place, on the 14th; and on the 22d, Thomas was ordered with his division to proceed by forced marches to Louisville, and there embark for Nashville. The command arrived at Nashville on the 2d, 3d, and 4th days of March.
Concentration at Nashville
Don Carlos Buell, who was placed in command of the Department of the Ohio on Sherman's request to be relieved, had been serving from the early summer of 1861 as Assistant Adjutant-General on the staff of Brigadier-General E. V. Sumner, U.S.A., in command of the Department of the Pacific. He had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-Colonel in the adjutant-general's department, May 11, 1861. His appointment as brigadier-general in the volunteer force was made May 17, 1861. General Buell was a graduate of West Point, and had been in the army all his life. He was a thoroughly trained soldier, with great pride in his profession, a man of great integrity, with abilities of the first order, animated by high principle. His long training in the adjutant-general's department, added to his natural faculty, made him a first-class organizer of an army. Under his direction the soldiers of the Army of the Ohio received their training in the drill of the camp, the discipline of the march, and learned endurance under fire in the skirmishes and engagements during his command. For all the soldierly qualities that the troops of the later organization--the Army of the Cumberland--possessed, they were indebted in large measure to their first commander in the field, General Buell. He was constant in his endeavors for the care of the troops, and insisted on their camps being carefully selected and well drained. His highest aim was to make good soldiers of his command, and everything that detracted from this, as straggling, pillaging, disobedience of orders, he regarded as unworthy of a soldier, and meriting prompt and stern punishment at his hands. In the earlier days of the war, with the lack of the knowledge that the stricter obedience to orders the better for the soldier, General Buell seemed at times harsh and severe. But as time brought hard campaigns and heavy fighting to the Army of the Cumberland, the older soldiers who were under Buell saw that he was actuated solely for their good and the good of the service in all he did.
The organization of the troops into brigades and divisions first engaged Buell's attention on assuming command. On December 2d, an order was issued creating this organization and designating it the "Army of the Ohio," consisting of six divisions. The brigades were numbered consecutively throughout the army, and not as they were formed in the divisions. General G. H. Thomas was assigned to the command of the First Division, consisting of four brigades. The entire force of the First Division was at Nashville on March 4th.
The Second Division was organized at Camp Nevin, a camp established by General Rousseau, when left by Sherman in command after the latter assumed the command of the department. General Alexander McD. McCook, who had relieved Rousseau October 14, by order of Sherman, was assigned to the command of this division, which consisted also of four brigades.
The Third Division was placed under the command of General O. M. Mitchel, who had been in Cincinnati in command at the "Military Department of Ohio," and who was relieved November 19th, after two months' service there, superintending the forwarding of troops to the armies in the field. This division consisted of three brigades.
General William Nelson, on reporting at Louisville after his Eastern Kentucky campaign, was placed in command of the Fourth Division, consisting of three brigades.
The Fifth Division, consisting of three brigades, was placed under the command of General Thomas L. Crittenden, a son of John J. Crittenden.
In January, 1862, General Buell organized the Sixth Division, and relieving General T. J. Wood from the command of the Fifth Brigade, assigned him as commander of this division, which consisted of three brigades.
To each brigade was attached a battery of artillery.
In this organization of the "Army of the Ohio," as the new regiments from the North reported, additional brigades and divisions were formed from time to time. Thus organized, the army under Buell, in the early spring entered upon its first campaign. There had been some slight skirmishing during the winter with portions of the command. A detachment of the Thirty-ninth Indiana, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, met a body of the rebel cavalry a few miles beyond Camp Nevin, and routed it with slight loss to the enemy.
On December 10th, General R. W. Johnson moved onward his brigade, and occupied Mumfordsville, sending a detachment of the Thirty-second Indiana to Green River, where a temporary bridge was constructed. On the 17th, four companies of this regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra, crossed and took position at Rowlett's Station. General A. S. Johnston had sent Hindman with his brigade from Bowling Green, with instructions to destroy the railroad as far north as Green River. On the same day that the Thirty-second Indiana crossed the river, Hindman reached Woodsonville. On the approach of Hindman, Von Trebra threw out two companies as skirmishers. The enemy fell back with the purpose of decoying the Federals to the point where his main command of infantry and artillery was posted. The cavalry--a squadron of the "Texas Rangers" under Colonel Terry--made a spirited
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