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1862 January 22: A Fight in Kentucky

January 22, 2012

The latest telegraphic news from the January 22, 1862, issue of The Hudson North Star.  Reprinted here is the first column of telegraphic dispatches; the second column will be reprinted tomorrow.

In the introduction from the first page of the newspaper (“The News”), the editors say to not “take much stock” in the report from Kentucky, probably because of the two conflicting dispatches. Basically, however, the dispatches on the last page of the paper are a short but fairly accurate account. The Battle of Mill Springs took place on Sunday, January 19, 1862, General Felix Zollicoffer was killed, the Confederate troops were routed, and they abandoned twelve artillery pieces, 150 wagons, and more than 1,000 horses and mules.


The tone the despatches we publish to-day is more than satisfactory, to our impatient readers than any we have had for several days, although it is not best to take much stock in report from Ketucky [sic].  That there has been quite a skirmish we do not doubt, and trust that future advices will confirm the truth of the second despatch.”

It is evident from the reports from Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] and Gen. Buell’s [Don Carlos Buell] columns that the rebels of “Old Kentuck” are badly scared and hope that before many days we shall also have accounts of their being hadly hurt.

The official report of the fight in Missouri is better than we expected and the amount of “plunder” taken perfectly satisfactory to Union men.

The despatch about “France proposing to break the blockade” sounds just like one of the Herald’s sensation canards and must be considered accordingly.

There is no news from the Burnside expedition.


G O O D   N E W S !

A   F i g h t   i n   K e n t u c k y !



Various Items of News.


LOUISVILLE, Jan. 20th.

Felix Zollicoffer, from "Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War"

Gen. Thomas [George Henry Thomas] telegraphs to Head Quarters that on Friday night Zolicoffer1 came up to his encampment, and attacked him at 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, near Webb’s Cross Roads, in the vicinity of Somerset.

At half-past 3 o’clock, Saturday, P. M., Zolicoffer and Baily [sic] Peyton2 had been killed, and the rebels were in full retreat to their entrenchments at Mill Springs, with the federals in hot pursuit.

No further particulars are given respecting losses on either side.


The recent fight took place Sunday instead of Saturday morning.

Gen. Thomas, Sunday afternoon, followed up the rebels to their entrechments [sic] sixteen miles from his own camp, and when about to attack them there, he found their entrenchments deserted.

The rebels left all their cannon.  Quartermaster’s stores, tents, horses and wagons.

The rebels dispersing had crossed Cumberland river in one steamboat and nine barges, at White Oak Creek, opposite their encampment at Mill Springs.

Two hundred and seventy-five rebels were killed and wounded, including Zolicoffer and Peyton.  They were found dead on the field.

The 10th Indiana lost 75 killed and wounded.

Nothing further of Federal loss has yet reached here.

From Gen. Grant’s Column.


CAIRO, Jan. 20th.—[ Special to Journal ]  General Grant and staff arrived in town yesterday morning.  General Paine’s3 brigade reached Fort Jefferson on Saturday night.

General McClerand’s [sic] [John A. McClernand] brigade will arrive to-morrow.  The object of the expedition was the reconnissance [sic] in force of all that part of Kentucky upon which operations againt [sic] Columbus will necessarily be performed, and a demonstration to aid Gen. Buell’s right wing.

Our forces have been eminently successful.  The engineer corps, under Colonel Webster, have full and accurate knowledge of the country.  It is understood that Gen. Smith has taken the camp equipage and whatever was left in camp.  Beauregard’s [P.G.T. Beauregard] rebels all fled to Columbus.

McClernand’s brigage [sic] went to within seven miles of Columbus and encamped Thursday night, in sight of the rebel watch fires, and afterwards visited the towns of Milburn, Lovelace and Blandville, surveying all the roads as they went.

Part of General Smith’s4 command will return to Paducah to-day.


CINCINNATI, Jan. 20th.—A special dispatch to the Commercial from Indianapolis, says the 4 Indiana regiments in the Green river column have advanced to South Carrolton, and will soon occupy Rochester.  This is directly in front of Bowling Green.

General Buel [sic] is concentrating a powerful force at Green river, and it is said he is now ready for a forward movement.  The rebels at and about Bowling Green are destroying the railroad, felling trees across the track, and doing every thing to retard the progress of our army.

It is said they are making every preparation to evacuate that place upon the approach of our forces.

From Fortress Monroe.


FORTRESS MONROE, Jan. 19th.—A flag of truce went to Craney Island to-day with two persons who came down from Baltimore last night to go South.

The following is all the news we can gather from Southern papers received :

Ex-President John Tyler is very ill at Richmond.6

A despatch dated Macon, Georgia, says that the accounts from the wheat region are very favorable and that the crops never appeared more promising this early.

Dates from Havana, to the 9th have been received at New Orleans.  Business extremely dull on the Island.

The Norfolk Day Book gives a rumor that the Federal Secretary of Interior has resigned, and that Colfax of Indiana, or Holt of Kentucky, will succeed him.7

The United States steamer arrived yesterday P. M.

The Baltimore American of yesterday had a despatch from Fort Monroe of the 17th, saying they have no intelligence of Burnside’s expedition, except the report brought by vessels last night that the whole fleet passed into Pamlico Sound by Hatteras Inlet.



The Herald’s dispatch states that recent letters recieved [sic] from British statesmen confirm the statement made some time ago in this correspondence that long before the occurrence of the Trent affair, the French Ministry had endevored [sic] to persuade that of Great Britain to unite with France in breaking the blockade of the Southern ports of the United States.  It was stated positively that M. Thouvenal8 distinctly made such a proposition to Lord John Russell9 which was positively declined ; not because England was not anxious for opening of the Southern ports, but because the British Government was unwilling to take an active part in provoking hostillities [sic] with this Government, although, not averse to France taking the task in hand and throwing open the ports for their common benefit.

1.  Felix Kirk Zollicoffer (1812-1862) was a newspaperman, a U.S. Representative from Tennessee, and a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He led a Confederate invasion of eastern Kentucky and was killed at the Battle of Mill Springs on January 19, 1862.
2.  Balie Peyton Sr. (1803–1878) was an attorney and colorful political figure whose career included public service in Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Louisiana; Chile; and California. During the Civil War, Peyton resided on his Station Camp Creek farm in Tennessee. One of his first visits to Nashville in 1862 was to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad station to receive the mortal remains of his son, Balie Peyton Jr., a Confederate infantry officer killed in the battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky. (From the Balie Peyton entry in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.)
3.  Eleazer A. Paine (1815-1882) graduated from West Point in 1839, was an author, lawyer, and a controversial general in the Union Army.  He commanded a brigade at Paducah in western Kentucky, and was formally reprimanded for brutality toward civilians and violating their civil rights.  He was a first cousin of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry’s Halbert E. Paine.  Eleazer Paine is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
4.  Charles Ferguson Smith (1807-1862) was a career Army officer.  At this time he commanded the District of Western Kentucky.
5.  The Burnside Expedition was a series of engagements fought along the North Carolina coast between February and June 1862.  The operation was carried out primarily by New England troops under Brigadier General Ambrose E. Burnside and assisted by the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
6.  John Tyler, the 10th U.S. president, died January 18, 1862.
7.  Caleb Blood Smith was the U.S. Secretary of the Interior from March 5, 1861, to December 31, 1862.  It was Simon Cameron who resigned, as Secretary of War, on January 14, 1862.  He was succeeded by Edwin M. Stanton on January 20, 1862.
8.  Édouard Antoine de Thouvenel (1818-1866) was the French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1855 to 1860, and French Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1861 and 1862.
9.   John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792-1878), known as Lord John Russell before 1861, was an English politician who served twice as Great Britain’s Foreign Minister (1852-53 and 1859-65) and twice as the Prime Minister (1846-52 and 1865-66).

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