Noble Ellis - Sternwheeler that Saved an Army

Noble Ellis - Sternwheeler that Saved an Army (HM11TP)

Location: Nancy, KY 42544 Wayne County
Country: United States of America

N 36° 56.517', W 84° 47.176'

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Ferry Landing

— Battle of Mill Springs —

Night of January 10-20, 1862

Confederate General Zollicoffer's pleas for more men and supplies to meet the strong Union force he expected went mostly unheeded. General Albert Sidney Johnston did, however, send a river steamer, the Noble Ellis, up from Nashville for his use. Laden with provisions and clothing, the Noble Ellis arrived at the Confederate camp located at Mill Springs on the south side of the Cumberland River. This little sternwheeler would later save the Confederate army.

After the hard fought Battle of Mill Springs on January 19th, 1862, near the present town of Nancy, the routed Confederates fled southward toward Mill Springs, closely pursued by victorious Union troops. Escape for the Confederates depended upon getting across the swollen Cumberland River to Mill Springs. As darkness fell, Union forces stopped pursuit and decided to make their final assault on the defeated Confederates in the morning. But while they rested, the Noble Ellis and a few rowboats ferried the exhausted Confederate army across the river throughout the night.

As daylight came, the last Confederate soldiers disembarked in safety on the south bank of the Cumberland River. Its critical mission accomplished, the Noble Ellis met a fiery end when the Confederates burned and sank the boat to prevent its capture by the Union.

A drawing on the right shows Confederate troops embarking on the sternwheeler to be ferried across the Cumberland River. Caption: "We were on the river bank in a compact mass of excited and confused humanity. Thousands were crowded there waiting, each his turn to get on the 'Noble Ellis' as she crossed and recrossed the river. The enemy just over a mile behind who, from their battery above us on a hill, kept constantly shelling the boat as she crossed back and forth with her excited fugitive loads." — W. J. Warsham, 19th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry
HM NumberHM11TP
Placed ByMill Springs Battlefield Association & Kentucky Humanities Council
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 7:11am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 697132 N 4090722
Decimal Degrees36.94195000, -84.78626667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 56.517', W 84° 47.176'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 56' 31.02" N, 84° 47' 10.56" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)606, 270
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 90-92 Sellars Rd, Nancy KY 42544, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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