January 19, 2012

A 'Glorious Victory': A Letter From the Battle of Mill Springs

Location: Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky 42544, USA
Currier & Ives Print of the Battle of Mill Springs (Library of Congress LC-USZC2-1959)

Recall how the Union advance through Kentucky was divided into three "wings", for lack of a better term.  General Grant had Union forces in the far western part of the state as the western wing.  General Buell focused much of his Army of the Ohio--including the 79th Pennsylvania--as the center wing advancing down the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.  Much of the rest of Buell's army was the eastern wing, led by Gen. George H. Thomas, and they were to advance deep into central Kentucky in hopes of preparing to liberate Union-sympathizing eastern Tennessee.  It was Thomas' men who fought the first significant battle among Union forces in Kentucky on January 19, 1862, when they achieved a decisive victory at the Battle of Mill Springs.  (Read the battle's wikipedia page for a summary; all I would do would be to summarize that page.)

One of the battle's participants was Lieut. Jacob Hale Sypher, brother of Lancaster Daily Evening Express local editor and gentleman adventure Josiah R. Sypher.  J. H. Sypher commanded one section of Standart's Battery B, 1st Ohio Artillery, which had already participated in the Battle of Camp Wildcat (See here for J. H. Sypher's letter describing that battle).  Four days after the Battle of Mill Springs, J. H. Sypher wrote his second letter of the war to the Daily Evening Express, which appeared in the January 31, 1862, edition of the newspaper: (alternate link)

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