HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Louisville, Ky., December 29, 1861.
General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding First Division
GENERAL: I send you a sketch* of the country about Somerset, which gives more information in regard to roads than your map. We conversed about the advance upon Zollicoffer through Columbia, and if you remember my idea it is hardly necessary to add anything on this subject. It is for you to, move upon his left and endeavor to cut him off from his bridge, while Schoepf, with whom, of course, you must communicate, attacks him in front. The map will indicate the proper moves for that object. The result ought to be at least a severe blow to him or a hasty flight across the river. But to effect the former the movement should be made rapidly and secretly and the blow should be vigorous and decided. There should be no delay after you arrive. It would be better not to have been undertaken if it should result in confining an additional force merely to watching the enemy. The details of the operations must be left to your judgment from the information you gather and your observations on the ground. Take such portion of the cavalry from Columbia as you think necessary. Draw all the supplies you can from the country, and move as light as possible.
Having accomplished the object, be ready to move promptly in any direction, but wait until you hear from me, unless circumstances should require you to act without delay, as I may want you to proceed from there to the other matter about which we have conversed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. C. BUELL,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Numbers 4b.
Louisville, Ky., January 23, 1862.
The general commanding has the gratification of announcing the achievement of an important victory, on the 19th instant, at Mill Springs, by the troops under General Thomas, over the rebel forces, some 12,000 strong, under General Thomas, over the rebel forces, some 12,000 strong, under General George B. Crittenden and General Zollicoffer.
The defeat of the enemy was thorough and complete, and his loss in killed and wounded, was great. Night alone, under cover of which his troops crossed the river from their intrenched camp and dispersed, prevented the capture of his entire force. Fourteen or more pieces of artillery, some 1,500 horses and mules, his entire camp equipage, together with wagons, arms, ammunition, and other stores to a large amount, fell into our hands.
The general has been charged by the General-in-Chief to convey his thanks to General Thomas and his troops for their brilliant victory. No task could be more grateful to him, seconded as it is by his own cordial approbation of their conduct.
By command of Brigadier-General Buell
JAMES B. FRY
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff.
*To appear in Atlas.