Tom DotyTimes Columnist
July 3, 2013
Stuart W. Sanders, former executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, has written “The Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky,” his second Civil War book.
Published by The History Press on July 2, the book examines an important fight that helped keep Kentucky under Union control.
“Although Mill Springs was smaller than later battles, it was one of great consequence,” Sanders said. “The Federals’ victory there broke a Confederate defensive line across Kentucky, which put the Bluegrass State in Union hands at a critical time.”
Sanders added that the battle opened large sections of Tennessee to Union invasion and provided a boost for flagging Northern morale at an important period.
Fought near Somerset, Kentucky, on a rain-soaked and foggy January 19, 1862, many of the Confederates’ antiquated flintlock muskets failed to fire in the rain. The Southerners’ poor weaponry, coupled with fragmented unit cohesion, the death of Confederate General Felix Zollicoffer, and a Union counterattack, ultimately led to the rebels’ defeat.
Northern soldiers and politicians were elated over the victory. The “New York Times” called it “the most complete rout the rebels have yet experienced” while Major Henry Davidson, a Union soldier from Kentucky, hoped that it was “the first blow which breaks the back of this rebellion.”
Sanders is the author of “Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky’s Largest Civil War Battle,” also published by The History Press. He has also contributed to multiple Civil War anthologies and has written for several magazines, including “Civil War Times Illustrated,” “America’s Civil War,” “Military History Quarterly,” “Hallowed Ground,” “Blue and Gray,” and other publications. He is currently a public history administrator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Both books are available on Amazon.com and from The History Press.