Statement of Significance (as of designation - April 19, 1994):
On January 19, 1862, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas met and defeated Rebel forces under the command of Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden in a battle in which Confederate Brig. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer was killed. The Confederate defeat at Mill Springs led to the collapse of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's defensive line in Kentucky, and forced Confederate authorities to alter their western strategy. Additionally, the Battle of Mill Springs was one of a string of Confederate setbacks, preceded by Middle Creek nine days earlier and followed by the Battles at Forts Henry and Donelson, that eventually culminated in the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. These events resulted in Union control of Kentucky and most of West Tennessee.