Today in History:

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


time to take up a position with his main force beyond, or else because he hoped to gain some advantage by striking the head of my column, supposing I was moving on only one road, before I could get a superior force up to oppose him. In either case he could not have expected to accomplish much more than he did in this partial engagement. He was repulsed, it is true, but not until night protected him from very serious consequences, and there was nothing in the result that should have decided the fate of so important a campaign. His loss was probably much less than mine, from the fact that the attack was made when my troops were in column and to that extent unprepared.

That General Bragg moved to Camp Dick Robinson instead of awaiting an attack by my whole force at Harrodsburg is no evidence that he would not have been willing to give battle to the part of it which I had at Perryville. With an equal force he could safely risk a battle in the strong position he could have taken, and in fact did select, when the result would by no means be as certain there, against a superior force, as it would by no means be as certain there, against a superior force, as it would be in the still stronger position of Camp Dick Robinson, which had the further advantage of being a depot for his supplies. For these reasons, and on account of its inaccessibility and superior strength, neither did his withdraw to Camp Dick Robinson indicate an intention to abandon the object of his campaign and retreat precipitately from the State. These reasons justified the conclusion that the rebel army was to be encountered in battle, notwithstanding critics after the fact may answer that the result contradicts the conclusion, and they justify every reasonable precaution to have made the success of such a struggle certain. They afford an interpretation to the movements of the army under my command subsequently to the battle of Perryville.

Pending the arrival of General Sill's division the left corps, General McCook's, laid near Dicksville, from which a road extends to Harrodsburg; the center, General Gilbert's, was abreast of the left, on direct road from Perryville to Harrodsburg; and the right, General Crittenden's, was on Salt River, about 4 miles from Danville. Cavalry was in front on the Harrosburg and Danville roads. A good deal of the ammunition of McCook's corps and some in the center corps had been expended in the battle of the 8 th, and so much of the means of transportation had been required for provisions that wagons could not be spared for a sufficient supply of reserve ammunition on starting from Louisville. This was hurried forward and other matters attended to in the condition of the army which had resulted from the battle. These of themselves would not have delayed my movements, though they were important.

General Sill's division arrived on the evening of the 11th and the army was ordered to move on the 12th. Strong cavalry reconnaissances had been kept out every day, but on the evening of the 10th I ordered out three brigades of infantry with cavalry to move on the 11th to discover more of the position or movements of the enemy. One moved beyond Danville toward Camp Dick Robinson; one on the Danville and Harrodsburg road toward the latter point; and the third toward the same point on the Perryville and Harrodsburg road. About daylight an officer, just in from Harrodsburg, came to my tent and reported to me with great earnestness that the enemy was moving against us in force from Harrodsburg, distant about 8 miles. The troops were put in position to be prepared, if the report should prove true, and in the mean time the several reconnaissances proceeded as ordered. The one on the left discovered and reported the enemy apparently in force about