Battle of Mill Springs, The [Laws A13]
DESCRIPTION: A wounded soldier speaks fondly of his family and sweetheart. He wonders who will care for them. He recalls how soldiers looked so gallant when he was a little boy. He kisses the (Union) flag and dies.
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (Cox)
KEYWORDS: patriotic battle death Civilwar
Jan 19, 1862 - Battle of Logan Cross Roads (Mill Springs), Kentucky. A small battle (about 4000 troops on each side) which ended in a Confederate retreat but little substantial result except for the death of the Confederate commander Zollicoffer (who had foolishly left his defensive position despite orders from theater commander Albert Sidney Johnston to sit tight). The victorious Union commander was George H. Thomas, later to prove one of the greatest Union generals of the war
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Laws A13, The Battle of Mill Springs
JHCox 65, "The Battle of Mill Springs" (1 text)
Thomas-Makin', pp. 83-86, "Wounded Soldier" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 252-253 "The Battle of Mill Springs" (1 text)
DT 775, MILSPRNG
NOTES [117 words]: This isn't really about the Battle of Mill Springs ("Somerset" in some southern accounts), or any other battle; that's just a convenient title. Thomas's text, e.g., calls the conflict "Humboldt Springs," which is no battle at all (at least according to Phisterer's comprehensive list of 2261 Civil War battles) and implies that the boy is from England. The song is really just a platform for a lot of familiar themes: The dying soldier bidding his family farewell, etc.
Mill Springs may have been chosen because it was one of the first battles of the war (the only prior battles of significance were First Bull Run and Wilson's Creek; Mill Springs was the first real battle on the Kentucky front). - RBW
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