When Confederate commander George Crittenden reached the emplacements of his subordinate Felix Zollicoffer’s in eastern Kentucky, he understood their peril. On a headland surrounded by the swollen Cumberland River, they were at grave risk of being trapped by Union General Thomas’s advance. With Union reinforcements due to arrive, Crittenden decided to battle his way out before it was too late. On 19 January , in driving rain, he ordered Zollicoffer to attack the Union lines at Logan’s Cross Roads. As gunsmoke from the artillery barrage mixed with the downpour, the short-sighted Zollicoffer became disoriented, and stopped to consult some fellow officers. They turned out to be Union, and in the ensuing firefight, Zollicoffer was killed (possibly by his own men). As fresh Union troops arrived, the Confederate assault disintegrated, turning into a rout. Crittenden and his troops frantically decamped across the river, leaving the bulk of their artillery and supplies behind.
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