Battle of Mill Springs museum details unique Civil War history

Published 7:56 am Friday, November 18, 2016

Bluegrass Road Trips

What is now a quiet hillside in Nancy, Kentucky was once the bloody scene of the Battle of Mill Springs, which historians say was a key victory for the Union Army during the Civil War.
About a decade ago, the Mill Springs Battlefield Visitor Center and Museum was established. Since then, it has been dedicated to preserving and displaying the history of the Battle of Mill Springs.

The museum is located next to the beautifully maintained Mill Springs National Cemetery, which was the northern part of the battlefield in 1862.

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Directly inside the center is an information desk with brochures on the 10-stop driving tour that travels past what were key locations during the battle, such as the Confederate mass grave where a monument to Confederate General Felix Zollicoffer is located, the Confederate Field Hospital and the Brown-Lanier House.

The Brown-Lanier House is also open for guided tours, and reservations for rooms can be made for visitors who would like to get the overnight experience.

I didn’t get a chance to try the driving tour during my recent visit, but after learning so much about the battle inside the museum, I hope to return to Nancy soon to do the tour.

I did, however, learn a great deal about the battle itself while inside the visitor center and museum. After an informative 20-minute video, I ventured into another room to walk through the Combat on the Cumberland exhibit.

It doesn’t take long to casually walk through the exhibit, but there is plenty of reason to take your time to look at each of the historical artifacts and displays. Among the life-size replicas of living quarters, the fight at the fence and medical practices for typical wounds of the time, there are historical descriptions explaining each and every item.

After watching the video, the walk through the exhibit brought to life all that I had just learned about the Battle of Mill Springs.

I took my time walking through the exhibit before venturing outside to the national cemetery. It was a beautiful Sunday and the American flag was blowing gently over each of the graves. It seemed like a perfect day to be out there.

For a few hours of nearby, historical fun, the trip to Nancy on a Sunday afternoon was very enjoyable.

The video and self-guided tour through the exhibit only cost $5 and was well worth it.

The location hosts several events each year, which can be found on the calendar featured on their website,

Road Trip Facts

• Mill Springs Battlefield Visitor Center & Museum is located at 9020 W Highway 80, Nancy.
• The museum is open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
• Admission is $5 per individual person; $12 per family (2 adults, 4 children); $3 per person for groups of 5-15; $2 per person for groups of 16-50; and $2 per person for college students, members of the military and senior citizens.
• For more information and a calendar of events, visit