Addison Hart-Host - Hello y'all. Tonight at eight I am finishing my talk THAT DARK AND BLOODY GROUND Part 3. Tonight we will be with Zollicoffer at Mill Springs nad with the 15th Mississippi as it makes it bloody bowie knife charge!
Addison Hart-Host - There they stood, rain pouring down on them, two regiments stood literally feet from each other, clubbing and bayoneting, and knifing, few could operate their guns in the rainfall. On one side of the fence stood the veteran 15th Mississippi, on the other was the 2nd Minnesota. There they stood dealing out death. One Confederate remembered: "There was only a fence between us...." THAT DARK AND BLOODY GROUND PART 3
Addison Hart-Host - Felix Kirk Zollicoffer was by now a Southern hero, he had accomplished much in Kentucky in the latter part of 1861. He had put together a hard hitting fighting force, kept together the delicate Kentucky Line, smashed two Yankee Militia Corps, won two battles, Barboursville and London, and gained the admiration of his superior Albert Sidney Johnston. But now he had thrown it all away.
Addison Hart-Host - I want to make it clear that I want this to be a fully interactive discussion.
GUNNER - ok
bluelady - Ok Addison but I don't know enough about this to even ask a stupid question
newyawk - Ok Addison how did Zollicoffer throw his Southern heroism away?
Crazybet - Zolli's thrown everything away by wearing a white rain slicker, Addison?
Addison Hart-Host - In October 1861, Zollicoffer had been whipped at Camp Wildcat, attacking a superior force placed on a mountain top. Not only was this action suicidal for his troops who were mowed down on the crest of Wildcat Mountain, but it was also suicidal for his military career. But that was no match compared to his latest blunder: against the orders of his superiors, he had rashly moved his men to the north bank of the swollen Cumberland River, near the village of Mill Springs.
bluelady - How did he throw it away? That may be an obvious question at this point!
Addison Hart-Host - LOL-- Sort of the truth, Crazybet.
Addison Hart-Host - Perhaps it was not only his poor military judgement that found him at that precarious position on the swollen river. In December, Zollicoffer had been superseded in command of the Tennessians he had commanded at Barboursville and Wildcat.
Crazybet - Perhaps Zolli's wife, Pandora or Euphora (I forget her name, Addison) made him this white rain slicker and he wore it as a symbol of affection for his dear spouse and didn't realize what an inviting target white would make to an enemy soldier?
Addison Hart-Host - Crazybet--- It was Pocahantas Zollicoffer.
Crazybet - Sorry, I was thinking it was a Greek name.
Addison Hart-Host - Hard drinking George Bibb Crittenden was now his superior in command. Perhaps Zollicoffer was angry about this and deliberately disobeyed orders. Whatever had happened it was the event that destroyed the Kentucky Line.
Addison Hart-Host - "From this camp as a base of operations," wrote Zollicoffer to Johnston, "I hope in mild weather to penetrate the country toward London or Danville."
Addison Hart-Host - Johnston was horrified.
Addison Hart-Host - Johnston quickly called for more men and supplies. He finally slapped together a brigade under Brigadier William H. Carroll, mainly armed with old flintlock muskets which could not be fired when wet. Carroll was constantly delayed in arriving, mainly by heavy rains that plauged the area throughout the Winter. He left Knoxville January 16th.
Crazybet - I'd forgotten that Zolli had crossed the other side of the river.
Addison Hart-Host - William Henry Carroll was born in 1810 in Nashville, Tennessee. A wealthy plantation owner and politician before the war. In the beginning of the war he was active in Militia. On October 26th, Carroll was made Brigadier General of Volunteers and was sent to Knoxville where Johnston ordered him to assemble the small army. Carroll formed a large brigade and placed the city under martial law due to it's mainly Northern sympathies. It was then that he was ordered to come to Zollicoffer's aide.
Addison Hart-Host - Crittenden finally ordered Zollicoffer to withdraw across the river. However, the river was flooding and it would be impossible for his crossing. On January 3rd, Crittenden agreed it had to be postponed.
bluelady - So it looks like Zolli was stuck!
Addison Hart-Host - Sure was!
Addison Hart-Host - On December 29th, Brigadier General George Henry Thomas received orders from his superior Don Carlos Buell to move against Zollicoffer at Beech Grove. Thomas was slow at first, he hardly moved until New Years Day.
Addison Hart-Host - Thomas suggested that instead of directly attacking Zollicoffer, he strike at Burkesville, cutting the supply route, but Buell would have none of it. Thomas gained the knickname "Old Slow Trot" due to the fact that in two and a half weeks of marching, he had not yet covered 40 miles. It would not be his last knickname during the war.
Addison Hart-Host - Yeah, The Rock of Chickamauga.
bluelady - He redeemed himself there Huh addison?
Addison Hart-Host - Marching south from Lexington, Thomas too was plauged by the rains. The mud was knee deep and his men moved so slowly that it was like "we were pulling plows." Others described it as "One vast morass, the surface of which shakes by walking over it."
Addison Hart-Host - The rains were not the only problem, the roads were very bad. On January 17th, 1862, his men arrived at the hamlet of Logan's Crossroads, ten miles from "Zollicoffer's Den". The next morning he was joined by the brigade of 'Zolly's' old rival, Albin Schoepf.
Addison Hart-Host - HERE COMES THE BATTLE!
Addison Hart-Host - At Midnight, January 18th, Zollicoffer's men were awakened and ordered forward, with cavalry under Captain William Bledsoe, Capt. Q.C. "Ned" Sanders, Capt. B.E. Roberts, Lt. Ben Brauner, and Lt. George McClellan guided them to Thomas' camp.
bluelady - a sneak attack?
mobile_96 - and a night one no less
Addison Hart-Host - Following them was the new brigade under Carroll (whose muskets weren't working due to the heavy rain). A force under Col. Moses White attempted to cross the river by Mill Springs. At six in the morning, under a heavy rain and in pitch darkness, a muzzle flash was seen moving rapidly toward Thomas's camp, followed by a loud report. The battle of Mill Springs had begun.
Addison Hart-Host - McClellan's cavalry had encountered the pickets of an old enemy, Col. Frank Wolford.
Addison Hart-Host - After a few more shots, Wolford was driven back and the 10th Indiana, under Lt. Col. William Kise and first regiment of Col. Mahlon Manson's brigade, opened fire.
Addison Hart-Host - Wolford's cavalry rode up to support. Zollicoffer was now in control, Crittenden was too drunk to command, having downed much Kentucky Bourbon.
Addison Hart-Host - Zollicoffer now wore a white canvas overcoat and was now clean shaven, having shaved off his black goatee.
Addison Hart-Host - It was now January 19th, 1862.
bluelady - When did Crittenden have time to get drunk?
bluelady - A discuise for Zolly?
15thTN - I think that was his normal condition, bluelady.,
Addison Hart-Host - Zollicoffer was up against four brigades. The 2nd Brigade commanded by Manson, the 3rd under Col. Robert L. McCook, the 12th under Col. Samuel Powhattan Carter, and then Schoepf's brigade.
Addison Hart-Host - Knowing Crittenden, probably all on the 18th, Bluelady.
Addison Hart-Host - Unfortunately for Thomas, Schoepf was too far from the field to help him.
Addison Hart-Host - Unlike his enemy, Zollicoffer had all his men in a relatively close position and were crashing down on each Union regiment, on eby one, while Thomas was spread out and harder to control.
Crazybet - Thanks for clarifying this Addison.
Addison Hart-Host - Manson called for help. He rode to the 4th Kentucky Regiment, shouting for it's commander, Col. Speed Smith Fry, but he was nowhere to be found. He then moved the regiment into the fray in person, on the way gathering up the green 2nd Minnesota under Col. Horatio Van Cleve. By the time the 4th arrived, Manson found Fry and quickly ordered him to get to his men. Fry then double quicked into position. There they received murderous assaults. Then Manson rode to Thomas to inform him of what was happening.
Addison Hart-Host - Zollicoffer was busy ordering more men forward when the drunken Crittenden arrived and angrily ordered to be given command. Zollicoffer was too timid to argue and rode to his men. It should be noted that 'Zolly's' eyesight was poor and made worse by the darkness and the rain. C
Addison Hart-Host - Col. D.H. Cumming's 19th Tennessee opened fire on the 10th, driving them back. Replacing the Indiana boys was Fry's 4th. Joining the 19th was the 15th Mississippi under Lt. Col. Edward Walthall, the 20th Tennessee under legendary Col. Joel Battle and the 25th TN under Col. Sidney S. Stanton.
Addison Hart-Host - Here comes the plot twist.
Addison Hart-Host - Zollicoffer suddenly realized that the 19th was firing into fellow Confederates and rode to Col. Cummings shouting: "These are our men! We must not fire on our own men!" Col. Cummings shouted back, "Of course not, I would not do so unitentionally!" He then ordered his men to cease fire. Suddenly, Lt. H.M.R. Fogg, Zollicoffer's aide, called out a particularly bad choice of words: "General! It's the enemy!"
Addison Hart-Host - Hearing those words, Col. Speed Fry suddenly realized the man he had taken for Mahlon (due to his bad eyesight) was actually Zollicoffer. He raised his pistol at Zollicoffer's breast and fired. Fogg fired at the same time, blowing Fry's horse's brains out. Zollicoffer and Fry fell at the same time. Suddenly Fry's men opened fire and forced the 19th back as well as emptying Fogg's saddle. Fogg was shot dead. The volley also wounded Col. Cummings.
Addison Hart-Host - Felix Kirk Zollicoffer was dead. His men became demoralized and disorganized in seconds. They fired in all directions, friendly fire became a major problem. Many Confederates could not operate their flintlocks and simply clubbed the enemy literally to pieces. Many were simply discarded in favor of a bowie knife, brass knuckles, or a bayonet used as a sword.
Addison Hart-Host - As Fry stood up, he was hit by a ball in the thigh and was dragged to the Medical Wing by his men. His men propped Zollicoffer and Fogg up side by side against a large white oak tree, known forever as the Zollie Tree.
Addison Hart-Host - The 25th Tennessee replaced the 19th, and Stanton was gripped by Zollicoffer's fear. Were they killing their men? He rode out to find out and was disbaled by gunfire. On a hill overlooking the regiment, Col. Henry Wetmore's 9th Ohio Battery suddenly opened a deadly fire with their Parrot Guns.
Jacko - Is Crittenen still in the picture, Addison?
Addison Hart-Host - Jacko-- Not really. he's probably falling all over himself. He was with Carroll near a Blacksmith's Shop. Both drunk.
Addison Hart-Host - HERE COMES THE BOWIE KNIFE CHARGE!
bluelady - Street fight!!!!
raf - so what happened after the parrot gun ordeal Addison?
Addison Hart-Host - The 20th TN moved up and fixed bayonets and down near a wooden fence, the 15th Mississippi pulled out foot long bowie knives that glinted in the rain and started a charge against the 2nd Minnesota Infantry under van Cleve. Van Cleve's 500 men were suddenly struck by Walthall's 854 Mississippians.
Addison Hart-Host - Fighting behind and before the fence was terrible, those who could fire their guns did so at men only feet away. A Mississippian recalled firing his musket a foot away from a Yank, blowing his head off. The Yanks leveled devastating fire, cutting several men in half. Then the 15th used their bowie knives. A Union Sergeant shouted an insult to a man across the fence. He replied by running him through with the knife. One man recalled "There was only a fence between us."
Xan - Evening all. BTW for whoever was asking earlier, the Zollie Tree is but a stump now, but a sapling white oak was planted a couple years ago to replace it.
Addison Hart-Host - Van Cleves' superior, McCook, rode up to him to inform him of the approach of the 628 men under Major Gustave kammerling (9th Ohio Infantry), when a Reb fired at his chest, knocking him off his horse. McCook was out of action until August, when he was again wounded and his men tried to take him to a hospital in Tennessee, but along the way he would be killed by Guerrillas.
Addison Hart-Host - Near the end....
Addison Hart-Host - Coming up on the right was Col. Carter's 12th Brigade with three regiments under Wolford's cavalry. The 19th Tennessee was moved back into battle to meet Carter's lines. The 19th was now commanded by Lt. Col. Frank Walker. Despite four more regiments sent to it's aide, it was driven back.
Addison Hart-Host - At the fence, the 15th Mississippi and 20th TN had held out valiantly against superior forces and were being decimated. They were forced to withdraw from a flanking fire from the 9th Ohio, which in turn received a flanking fire from the 29th TN under brave Col. Sam Powell. Powell, his long red hair flying in the wind, charging the 9th out of it's position and took the fence once more as the 15th and 20th returned.
Addison Hart-Host - Thomas would not be beaten. Schoepf's men finally arrived to turn the tide of the battle. As the 2nd Minnesota again approached the fence, it received a raking fire at 30 paces by Powell's men. Here, however, Powell was wpounded. At 10 am Schoepf was committed to the battle, but by the time he was there, it ended. Crittenden retreated to Beech Grove. His losses were 125 killed, 309 wounded, 95 captured or missing. Of these, 15th MS had suffered 44 killed, 153, almost the same amount of men Thomas lost.
Addison Hart-Host - Thomas lost 45 dead, 207 wounded, 15 captured, 8 missing. The Confederates escaped across the river in the sternwheeler Nobel Ellis.
Addison Hart-Host - Here comes the ending.
Jacko - And Crittenden later cashiered,Addison
Addison Hart-Host - Crittenden was cashiered out of service for drunkeness. Schoepf saw little action afterward, and after October 1862 was cashiered out. Carroll was arrested for drunkeness by his superior Braxton Bragg and was discharged. Isaac Black never reached any higher rank than Captain. William Nelson was murdered in September 1862. William Sherman became a Major General after Shiloh.
CWgal - Great Job Addison!
Addison Hart-Host - George Thomas would become a great Northern hero and would be called 'Rock of Chickamauga'. Simon Buckner later became Lieutenant General. Don Carlos Buell was sacked for the discrace at Perryville October 1862. Albert Sidney Johnston died of wounds three months after word of the defeat at Mill Springs at a place named Shiloh. The Kentucky Line died january 19th, 1862.
slnj - Addison Hart-Host, this is good
Jacko - Was the 10th TN in this one, Addison?
Addison Hart-Host - The defeat at Mill Springs did not discourage Southern sympathizers in Kentucky. In later 1862, Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith launched a second kentucky Campaign. Two armies, one under Braxton Bragg and the other under Don Carlos Buell would meet outside a small Kentucky town on October 8th. The town was called Perryville. On February 27th, 1862, a Union private named John H. Burch wrote this letter:
chaser - Thanks Addison-Great work!
bluelady - the letter addison?
Addison Hart-Host - "I have been in the U.S. service for 4 months and have been marching ever since and was in the battle of Mills Springs and hoped to whip that old devil Zolly Coffer. I saw him when he fell in the field of battle. George, I tell you there was no fun in fighting. To hear the balls whistling over your head and cutting your clothes off and seeing men fall like hay before a scythe, it will scare a fellow a little. Battle is no chance for dodging. All we have to do is trust in God and try to keep our powder dry."
Addison Hart-Host - THAT DARK AND BLOODY GROUND BY ADDISON HART THE END
bluelady - Amen!
Addison Hart-Host - Well, so ends the THAT DARK AND BLOODY GROUND saga. Any questions, compliments?
slnj - I still have a hard time thinking of those men just standing and firing at each other
Jacko - Well done Addison
CG - Woh ....... Whooooooooooooooooooooo Yeeeeeeeeee Addison, very graphic and well done.
bluelady - Great job addison!! Applause applause!
Xan - *The hall erupts with applause, cheers, whistles, the clanging of bells. Grown men weep unashamedly at having witnesses such brilliance.* Nice job Addison, and great finale.
WuzReb - *applaudes* Well done, Addison!
REL - A rebel yell and a chorus of Dixie for your presentation.
CWgal - Addison, Thumbs Up!!!
15thTN - Stand up and take a bow Addison, you did a great job!!!
mobile_96 - great talk Addison, I must say I've learned a lot over the last 3 wkends
Addison Hart-Host - DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY QUESTIONS???
slnj - Addison Hart-Host, i missed the time frame -- when was Mill Springs
Addison Hart-Host - January 19th, 1862.
Jacko - Addison- When Crittenden go dumped was it a dishonrable, breaking of the sword type of thing or simply, just go home?
15thTN - Did they all ride on the boat across or did some have to swim across to escape? It seems I read they were routed and swam across the river overnight.
Addison Hart-Host - 15th--- The Confederates that could get on the Noble Ellis did get ferried across and it came back a second time, most of the troops swam across.
Addison Hart-Host - Anymore questions?
Addison Hart-Host - Xan-- Very hazardous, in fact about 50 men drowned.
Jim TNO - Addison Hart-Host, Helllllo!
REL - The Cumberland, down here near Nashville, is always very deep...it is never a stream or creek.