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Mill Springs Battlefield
The visitor center and museum was built in 2006 and was pretty good with a diverse range of displays and a movie. 6.67 Kentucky ratingStar
Mill Springs Battlefield guyonthego

The Battle of Mills Springs took place in January 1862. It was an early Union victory in the Civil War and helped the North to secure control of Kentucky. Approximately 400 acres of the battlefield have been preserved in various locations, but much is still privately owned. The modern visitor center/museum is open seasonally and has interpretive displays, a research library, and a 20 minute orientation video.

The battle commenced when a Confederate force camped just north of the Cumberland River advanced to engage a Union Army, which unbeknownst to the Southerners had been reinforced. Conditions were wet and miserable for both sides and general confusion among the still new soldiers was significant. While the Southern drive initially made some headway, a Union attack on the Southern left flank caused the entire Rebel line to collapse. A Southern retreat quickly became a route. Only a fortuitous ferry boat and Union pause near the Cumberland River enabled most of the Confederates to escape that night.

The visitor center is about 10,000 square feet and includes a number of reasonably interesting displays with mannequins of soldiers as well as historic rifles and cannons. The battlefield movie had good reenactment scenes and is worth watching. The battlefield experience went downhill from there (literally and figuratively) as the tour road headed south toward the river. Since public access to the historic battlefield is quite limited, it was hard if not impossible to get a sense of the battle. The auto tour stops were often just parking lots next to the main road. Stop 2, which is also a small local park, is worth a look to learn more about the Confederate general who died there. Also a ferry landing at stop 8 is worth checking out to see the broad Cumberland River. There are some historic homes open by appointment on the other side of the Cumberland River as well. While the museum had some appeal, the overall Mills Springs Battlefield experience came up short.
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June 2017
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