The Fifth-District Representative reintroduced the legislation at the beginning of 2013 with a new Congress in place, in recognition of the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Mill Springs, or the Battle of Logan Crossroads.
The Battle of Mill Springs occurred on January 19, 1862 in Pulaski and Wayne counties and was the first significant victory for the Union Army in the west. The Confederate defeat at Mill Springs blazed a trail for Union troops to move from Kentucky into Tennessee.
Jack Keeney, executive director of the Mill Springs Battlefield Association (MSBA), applauded the Congressional decision.
“We’re very encouraged,” he said. “We look forward to working with them (the National Park Service).”
Keeney noted that it would be a long process remaining if the bill clears its way through Washington entirely — the U.S. Senate still has yet to approve it — but hopes to still be in the director’s chair when the end goal comes to fruition.
“We’ve got a one-to-three year study to go,” he said. “We’re tickled and happy, but anxious when working with the government because we know it’s a slow process.
“At this point, I think we’re at the mercy of ‘what do they need from us?’ and we’ll provide it for them,” he added when asked what the MSBA might do to help make the battlefield’s case for inclusion.
Still, “it’s an exciting time to know people outside our area are interested in our facility and battlefield.”
Bill Neikirk, former president of the MSBA and still a dedicated Civil War enthusiast, helped Rogers make the case for Mill Springs in Washington last year. He was happy to hear the news but stressed that until the Senate passes the bill, nothing is settled yet.
“Obviously, we’re very excited. We’ve been working for a few years to get to this point, so we’re one step closer to being a national park,” he said. “Now ... where the public can help us is to contact the senators’ offices (currently Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul in Kentucky) and help us to make Mill Springs become a national park.”