Today in History:

52 Series I Volume XVI-I Serial 22 - Morgan's First Kentucky Raid, Perryville Campaign Part I

Page 52 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.

had been the object, the main force should have been rapidly withdrawing instead of re-enforcing; the deliberation and permanency with which the invading army maintained its position in the face of the force which was preparing to drive it out; the inauguration of a provisional State government under the authority of the Confederate Government; the enforcement of the conscription and other Confederate laws; the avowal of the Confederate authorities; the plan of campaign sketched in the letter of General Beauregard to his Government; the convictions of the people of Kentucky from what they saw and the assurance of the rebel authorities; the constant and confident declarations of all persons connected with the invading force; the disappointment and disapprobation which the whole Southern press expressed at the result-all go to show that the object of the invasion was permanent occupation. That object could only be secured by giving battle to and destroying or driving from the field the army which was opposed to it.

Such a plan and determination were also clearly indicated by the movements of the enemy after the commencement of my march from Louisville. If his object had been to retreat without a struggle as soon as I moved against him, the force of Kirby Smith, which was then at various points north of the Kentucky River, would at once have moved by the roads concentrating at Richmond and thence on to Cumberland Gap. It was for that force the shortest and best road and a better route for supplies than the one it pursued. The main force, under Bragg, would have moved on one or more of the roads which converge upon Glasgow, through New Haven, Lebanon, and other points. This line would have given him the advantage at convenient distances. It would have taken him through a region of country where supplies were comparatively abundant; it would have enabled him to concentrate his army at Bowling Green and perhaps capture that place before he could be overtaken; or, if not, to move upon Murfreesborough, where he would have railroad communication with Chattanooga and good lines of retreat to the other side of the Tennessee River if necessary, or the opportunity of capturing Nashville if he should deem that feasible; of, if he desired to retreat through Cumberland Gap, he would go on through Danville and Stanford. Instead, however, of starting upon these natural lines of retreat toward Tennessee, Kirby Smith moved west, entirely off his line of retreat, and crossed the Kentucky River near Salvisa; and Bragg, after turning the angle at Perryville, moved northward, the very opposite of his direction of retreat. That the original object of this movement was to concentrate the whole rebel force at Harrodsburg instead of Camp Dick Robinson is evident from the fact that if the latter had been the object Kirby Smith would have moved directly to that point over the Hickman bridge, instead of forwarding the river lower down to go out of his way, and bragg would have marched through Danville to the same point. Thus the circumstances marched through Danville to the same point. Thus the circumstances of the invasion indicated that there would be a formidable struggle for the possession of the State, adn the movements of the rebel forces to meet the operations that were in progress against them pointed to a great battle at or near Harrodsburg.

The battle of Perryville, by every reasonable explanation, increased instead of weakening the probability of a great battle at Harrodsburg. It has been asserted that General Bragg fought the battle of Perrysville with portions of three divisions, only about 15,000 men. It is certain that he fought it with only a part of his whole force. His motive therefore may be supposed to have been either to check my advance to give

Page 52 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.