Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Union Win

General Felix Kirk Zollicoffer
Fought in Laurel County, Kentucky, the Battle of Camp Wildcat was one of the first Union victories on October 21st 1861.

Confederates under Brigadier General Felix Kirk Zollicoffer moved from Tennessee into central Kentucky, hoping to gain control of the state.  The 5,400 Confederates took control of the Cumberland Gap, pushing out the home guard near Barbourville.  Union Brigadier General George Henry Thomas ordered Colonel Theophilus T Garrard to move troops forward to a ford on the Rockcastle River, in the heavily forested Wildcat Mountain area to block the Wilderness Road.  Garrard was out numbered 7 to 1, before Brigadier General Albin F Schoepf moved into the area bring the Union troops to about 7,000.

The two sides met in the late afternoon of October 20th 1861 in a heated battle.  The morning of October 21st 1861 opened with an intense ground fight.  From behind fortifications the Union soldiers held off repeated attacks by the Confederate forces.  The Confederates withdrew during the night and continued to the Cumberland Ford.  There were 4 Union dead and 18 wounded.  The Confederates lost 11, with 42 wounded or missing.

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