12th Kentucky Mill Springs
Report of Col. William A. Hoskins, Twelfth Kentucky Infantry. Hdqrs. Twelfth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, Waitsborough, January 26, 1862.
Captain: In obedience to the order of Brig. Gen. G. H. Thomas, of this date, I respectfully submit the following report of the humble part performed by the Twelfth Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers, under my command, in the engagement of Logan’s fields on the 19th instant, as also on the subsequent day, in the storming the fortifications at Beech Grove:
On the night of the 17th my regiment joined the forces under command of Brig. Gen. G. H. Thomas at Lee’s fields, and bivouacked in a lot on the Columbia and Somerset road, opposite the encampment of the Ninth Ohio, my men having waded Fishing Creek on their march from Somerset. Here we remained through the day and night of the 18th, exposed to the excessive rains without shelter, we having been ordered to move without our camp equipage.
On the morning of the 19th, at about 6 o’clock, we were alarmed by the report of musketry, when my regiment was immediately formed, and notwithstanding it was much reduced in numbers from forced marches and necessary exposure in the performance of picket duty with insufficient clothing (never having drawn their overcoats until a few weeks since), yet no sooner had they received the news of the approach of the enemy than they seemed to grasp their guns with a firmer hold, evincing a determination to discharge their duty as soldiers and Kentuckians. After awaiting orders a short time, becoming impatient and fearing we had been overlooked in the excitement of the moment, and seeing the Ninth Ohio moving out by the Columbia and Somerset road, I determined to move on to the point of conflict by a more direct line through the fields and woods, and so soon as the Ninth Ohio had passed my regiment was moved out on double-quick, reaching Logan’s house in advance of the Ninth Ohio. (Logan’s house was on a direct line from our encampment to the right wing of our forces then engaged with the enemy.) At that point we were ordered to report to Brigadier-General Carter. By General Carter we were ordered to form on the left of the First Tennessee, which was done in the first field beyond the forks of the Columbia and Mill Springs road, and drawn up in line of battle within 75 or 100 yards of and parallel to a dense skirt of timber. Our first line formed was also in the rear of and perpendicular to the line of fire by our artillery. We were next ordered to move by the left flank until both the Twelfth Kentucky and First Tennessee were under cover of the timber, when we were halted. In that position my men imprudently huzzaed, from which the enemy got our position, and opened fire upon us with their artillery, one shot passing directly over us, another striking the ground and exploding 20 feet to the left of my regiment.
The inquiry was then made of General Carter why we could not proceed to the point of conflict. To that he replied, that "We might fire upon our friends.” Captain Ham’s company of riflemen were then deployed as skirmishers to our left, and the positions of both regiments changed, by advancing some 50 paces in the direction of the enemy. In a short time we were informed by General Carter that a body of rebel infantry 2,000 strong were advancing in the direction of us, and ordered us to cross the ravine to meet them, the bluffs of which on either side were very abrupt, standing at an angle of 45 degrees, rendered more difficult of descent and ascent from the recent rains. In consequence of the abruptness of the bluffs I had to abandon my horse. After crossing the ravine and moving on a short distance I lost sight of the First Tennessee, and on our reaching the battle ground we found the Second Minnesota and Ninth Ohio engaged with the enemy. We moved up on the right wing of the enemy and opened fire upon them, when they retreated beyond the hill, first returning our fire, which passed harmlessly over our heads. We immediately charged the hill, on the summit of which we captured Sergeant-Major Ewing, and sent him into camp. We also discovered a party of rebels retreating down a ridge to our left, whom we pursued, and captured 5 of the number and sent back to camp. I saw no regiment in advance of us when we gained the ridge. Here we were joined by a detachment of cavalry under command of Maj. John A. Brents, who had been dismounted during the engagement. After passing the rebel hospital we were ordered to form on the left of the Ninth Ohio, which position we held during the day. On the morning of the 20th we were ordered to form on the right of the Thirty-fifth, as a reserve to the Third Brigade, which was ordered to storm the fortifications.
I regret that in this action the soldiers of the Twelfth Kentucky did not have an opportunity of displaying more fully their chivalry, being satisfied that in any position in which duty may call them they will deport themselves as soldiers worthy the renown of their fathers.
In consequence of severe indisposition both Lieutenant-Colonel Howard and Major Worsham were unable to move with the regiment. Consequently their places were filled by Captains Ham and Rousseau, who rendered me valuable assistance in restraining the impetuosity of my men.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, W. A. HOSKINS, Colonel, Commanding Twelfth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers.