Nancy in Pulaski County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Mill Springs National Cemetery
Battle of Mill Springs
Confederate forces established a defense line across southern Kentucky in fall 1861. Union and Confederate armies fought small-scale actions in the area, but the Battle of Mill Springs was the first major engagement. Confederate troops under Gen. George B. Crittenden faced Union forces led by Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas near Loganís Crossroads, present-day Nancy. As the Confederates advanced in the early morning of January 19, 1862, they pushed Union soldiers back to a ridge about a mile south of the current national cemetery.
The two sides struggled for hours, sometimes fighting hand to hand. A Union bayonet charge finally broke the enemy line. The Confederates retreated, and that night crossed the Cumberland River—abandoning their encampment, wagons, ammunition, and wounded. Mill Springs was the first major Union victory in the West. Within weeks the Confederate army withdrew from Kentucky.
“Harvest of Death”
Early in 1866, Capt. E.B. Whitman began gathering information in preparation of the reinterment of Union soldiers buried in the Military
Captain Whitman, later lieutenant colonel, placed newspaper notices seeking the locations of Union graves. Citizens, chaplains, soldiers, and officers replied. Whitman made three major expeditions across the region, stopping at hundreds of battlefields and engagement sites. Because of his tireless work, thousands of Union dead were moved to twelve new national cemeteries.
In May 1869, Whitman submitted a detailed summary of this difficult project to the quartermaster general. The report contained sketches and site plans for each cemetery, and date on interments and service affiliations.
Prior to 1869, ten federally established or public cemeteries in Kentucky contained the remains of Union soldiers. The work of reinterring the dead was almost complete when the army changed its plan and reduced the number of cemeteries to six.
Captain Whitman chose the site for Mill Springs National Cemetery from lands at Loganís Crossroads owned by William H. Logan. Remains were recovered from temporary graves on the Mill Springs battlefield and other locations within a 40-mile radius. By 1869, a limestone wall enclosed the 3-acre cemetery. Of the 708 original interments, approximately half were unknown.
(Left Illustration Caption)
Battle of Mill Springs, January 19, 1862. Our Soldier in the Civil War (1886).
(Center Illustration Caption)
Mill Springs National Cemetery, from Brvt. Lt. Col. E.B. Whitman's final report, c. 1869. Whitman used the phrase "Harvest of Death" in his exhaustive report to describe the work of collecting the dead. National Archives and Records Administration.
(Right Image Caption)
Cemetery entrance, 1904. National Archives and Records Administration.
Erected by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - National Cemetery Administration.
Location. 37° 4.106′ N, 84° 44.249′ W. Marker is in Nancy, Kentucky, in Pulaski County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 80 0.2 miles east of State Highway 235, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located in the Mill Springs National Cemetery 100 feet east of the main entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9044 Kentucky 80, Nancy KY 42544, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. A National Cemetery System (here, next to this marker); A Hard March (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Defense Line (about 500 feet away); Balie Peyton, Jr. (1833-1862) (approx. 0.8 miles away); "Battle on a Sabbath Morn" (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Union Line at the Fence (approx. 0.8 miles away); Fix Bayonets - Charge! (approx. 0.8 miles away); George Henry Thomas (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nancy.
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 7, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 10, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 169 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 10, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.