Felix Zollicoffer’s Invasions of Kentucky, 1861 & 1862
Recently I have started a guided tour company with a focus on touring and walking historic places, with mostly a Civil War focus. The company offers individuals and groups a chance to hear about the deeds from an engaged and passionate tour guide, and often may cover areas that are a bit off the beaten path and may include several miles of walking (but can be catered for any need or fitness level). One of the tours I offer, and a presentation for those perhaps not able to tour, is on two Confederate attempts to invade Kentucky, both involving Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer, the second invasion leading to the Battle of Mill Springs of Zollicoffer’s death.
Walking With History LLC has a couple of options for touring the sites where these invasions took place. At Camp Wild Cat, we can walk the historic Wilderness Road that cuts through the heart of the battlefield, and see the difficulties that Zollicoffer’s men faced as they launched several attacks on the Federal positions that occupied the high ground above the deeply cut ravines in the Rockcastle Hills. At Mill Springs we utilize vehicles and walk less as the interpretation at Mill Springs is stretched over several miles. At Mill Springs we talk about Zollicoffer’s choices of camp location, how the weather played a major factor on how the battle unfolded, and visit the Mill area across Cumberland Lake. Both of these battles can be covered in single day tours, or one may choose a multi-day package and cover both campaigns, starting in the beautiful Cumberland Gap area.
The talk on Zollie’s Follies covers both campaigns utilizing a PowerPoint presentation.
In 1861 Zollicoffer occupied East Tennessee in order to prevent Federal forces from moving into the area. Occupying Cumberland Gap in mid-September, Zollicoffer dispatched a small force towards Barbourville, Kentucky, and his 800 men routed a small home guard force. This action, along with a detachment that dispersed Federals at Laurel Bridge, kept Federal forces under George H. Thomas from moving into Tennessee.
In mid-October Zollicoffer took his army deeper into Kentucky, and it is this campaign that led to his defeat at Camp Wild Cat (or Wild Cat Mountain). Unable to sustain his troops in this part of Kentucky, Zollicoffer retreated back to Cumberland Gap, and then in November moved his force to the west. His intention was to be in a position to support Albert Sidney Johnston at Bowling Green, to sustain his army in an area more suited for military operations, and to drive the Federal force from the Somerset area. In early December Zollicoffer moved his poorly equipped force north of the Cumberland River and established a fortified camp. With the heavy amount of wet weather, the Cumberland River was very high, and having his force with its back to a swollen river could result in a rout and the destruction of his force.
To learn more on both of these campaigns, please visit walkingwithhistory.com and book a tour or a presentation.
There’s nothing quite like the outdoors, unless it is getting your boots on historic ground. Combine your love of nature with your passion for history and you have Walking With History LLC. We offer walking tours of historic sites across the Midwest, with a focus on the American Civil War. Not only do we offer tours for different fitness levels, but we also can cater your tour to your level of knowledge! At Walking With History LLC, you'll find great tour packages that even an experienced adventurer would swoon over.
Our tours are at selected sites in the Midwest, with a focus on the American Civil War, but also delving into other military history locations. With our connections we are able to also provide visits to places not normally accessible by the general public.
We can suggest various lodging and dining options based on your budget and comfort needs. Contact us with your questions and preferences!
Another way we are different is that we believe in giving back and supporting the sites we visit. Therefore, 10% of your tour cost is donated to groups such as the Friends of Perryville Battlefield, the Mill Springs Battlefield Association, the Fort Recovery State Museum, the Civil War Trust, and the Camp Wildcat Preservation Foundation. Know that not only will your tour be informative and entertaining, but that you are helping to keep history alive for generations to follow.
We also offer presentations on such topics as hiking and backpacking, along with historical talks.
So, get your boots on and schedule your tour or book a presentation with Walking With History LLC today!