“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Nancy in Pulaski County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Confederate Retreat

Confederate Retreat Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, April 26, 2012
1. Confederate Retreat Marker
"Every one for himself was the motto."

Much of the Confederate Army retreated through this area. They headed south along the Mill Springs Road toward their camps and fortifications just this side of the Cumberland River.

Mississippi and Tennessee regiments that had fought in the ravine and along the hotly contested fencerow on this side of the road also passed through this area as they left the battlefield. These men had fought long and hard. When finally they attempted to withdraw, Union infantry and artillery flanked their line.

Union cannons rolled into position on the Confederate right flank and quickly fired over fifty rounds into the Southern troops. This was too much to endure. Private David Scales of Company B, 20th Tennessee said, "We were overpowered and had to fight our way out." Seventeen-year-old Private James L. Cooper of Company C said, "It was anything but an orderly retirement. With much confusion, the retreat began. Every one for himself was the motto, and to get back to camp as soon as possible was the idea." Colonel Horatio Van Cleve of the 2nd Minnesota summarized the action saying: "The enemy having met with so warm a reception in front, and afterward being flanked ... on the right by a portion of our left, who by their well-directed fire drove them from behind their hiding places, leaving a large number of their dead and wounded on the field."

"I reluctantly permitted my entire command to retreat"

"Perceiving the fortunes of
Confederate Retreat Marker Map image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, April 1, 2012
2. Confederate Retreat Marker Map
the day were against us, and that we could no longer maintain the unequal contest, I reluctantly permitted my entire command to retreat in the direction of our works at Mills Springs. Late in the afternoon my command reached our encampment at Beech Grove and took possession of the fortifications formerly erected at that place. Our position being wholly untenable, it was determined in a council of officers ... to abandon it and return to the opposite bank of the Cumberland."
- Confederate General William Henry Carroll

A Grand and Gallant Charge

On the other side of the Mill Springs Road, a bayonet charge led by the 9th Ohio prompted the collapse of the left flank of the Confederate line. James Scully of Thomas' staff later wrote: "I witnessed the grand charge of the Gallant McCook with his Dutchman and a more splendid thing I never witnessed." Major John A. Brents of the 1st Kentucky concurred when he wrote, "The 9th Ohio made as gallant a charge as was ever witnessed."

Fearful of being outflanked and trapped, some of the Tennessee soldiers fled in panic. From this side of the road, just south of where you now stand, the 29th Tennessee fired into the flank of the 9th Ohio. This slowed the Union advance and allowed many Confederates to escape southward, A bit farther south, the 29th Tennessee and the 16th Alabama Infantry Regiments also made a stand before following their comrades in the general Confederate retreat toward the Cumberland River camps.
Erected by Mill Springs Battlefield Association
Confederate Retreat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, April 1, 2012
3. Confederate Retreat Marker
Location. 37° 3.267′ N, 84° 44.25′ W. Marker is near Nancy, Kentucky, in Pulaski County. Marker can be reached from Kentucky Route 235 0.1 miles south of Kentucky Route 761, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. This is Station 10 on the Battlefield Loop Trail from Tour Stop 2 - Zollicoffer Park. The location is in forest and was estimated using Bing Maps. Marker is in this post office area: Nancy KY 42544, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Artillery (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Union Advance (about 400 feet away); Archaeology and the Mill Springs Battlefield (about 500 feet away); "Confederate Mass Grave" (about 600 feet away); The Dawn of Battle (about 600 feet away); The Ravine (about 600 feet away); The Blacksmith Shop (about 600 feet away); Mistaken Identity - A Deadly Error (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Nancy.
More about this marker. Marker has a battle map showing the location of the marker and a drawing published by Currier & Ives during the Civil War captioned: Battle of Mill Springs - Total Rout of the Rebel Army, by the Gallant Soldiers of the West, under Generals Thomas and Schoepff
Categories. War, US Civil
Battlefield Loop Trail Map image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, April 26, 2012
4. Battlefield Loop Trail Map
This is Marker 10 - Confederate Retreat,
<i>Battle of Mill Spring, Ky. Jan. 19th 1862.</i> image. Click for full size.
By Currier and Ives, circa 1862
5. Battle of Mill Spring, Ky. Jan. 19th 1862.
"Total rout of the Rebel Army, By the Gallant Soldiers of the West, Under Gen. Thomas and Schoepff"

This is the same image as on the marker, courtesy of the Library of Congress. (Click on photo to enlarge)
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This page has been viewed 212 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia.   2, 3. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.   4. submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia.   5. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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