“The Battle of Mill Springs”


A wounded soldier speaks fondly of his family and sweetheart. He wonders who will care for them. He recalls how soldiers looked so gallant when he was a little boy. He kisses the (Union) flag and dies.


This isn't really about the Battle of Mill Springs, or any other battle; that's just a convenient title. Thomas's text, e.g., calls itthe conflict "Humboldt Springs," which is no battle at all (at least according to Phisterer's comprehensive list of 2261 Civil War battles) and implies that the boy is from England. It's really just a platform for a lot of familiar themes: The dying soldier bidding his family farewell, etc.

Mill Springs may have been chosen because it was one of the first battles of the war (the only prior battles of significance were First Bull Run and Wilson's Creek; Mill Springs was the first real battle on the Kentucky front). - RBW

Historical references

  • Jan 19, 1862 - Battle of Logan Cross Roads (Mill Springs), Kentucky. A small battle (about 4000 troops on each side) which ended in a Confederate retreat but little substantial result except for the death of the Confederate commander Zollicoffer


  1. Laws A13, The Battle of Mill Springs
  2. JHCox 65, "The Battle of Mill Springs" (1 text)
  3. Thomas-Makin', pp. 83-86, "Wounded Soldier" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. DT 775, MILSPRNG
  5. Roud #627
  6. BI, LA13


Alternate titles: “Young Edward”; “Young Edwards”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Cox)
Found in: US(Ap,SE)