Today in History:

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

Page 54 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.

2 miles south of Harrodsburg early in the morning; but he withdrew during the day, and the two reconnaissances which were ordered toward Harrodsburg entered that place in the evening, capturing some property and a large number of sick, wounded, and some other prisoners.

It was probable that the enemy had retired to Camp Dick Robinson, but it was reported that some at least had gone in the direction of the Kentucky River, and it was necessary to ascertain the fact. It would require a day to do that by reconnaissance. If the reconnaissance were supported in force, we should be prepared to take advantage of the contingency of the enemy still being this side of Dick's River; and, in any event, no time would be lost in the movement to turn the position at Camp Dick Robinson, if it should be found that the enemy had actually retired to that place. On the 12th, therefore, the whole army swung around on Danville as a pivot, the right and center on the Danville and Harrodsburg road and the left near Harrodsburg on the Perryville and Harrodsburg road while a reconnaissance was pushed forward to gain the desired information. It ascertain that the enemy had crossed Dick's River.

If it should be said that these dispositions proved to have been unnecessary by the withdrawal of the enemy, it may be answered that made in every campaign; that battles occur only occasionally in the movements of opposing armies, but that preparation for battle may be necessary every day. Without such preparation battles may be multiplied, and so in most cases are defeats to the careless.

The enemy's position in rear of Dick's River being, from the character of that stream, impregnable in front, I moved on the 13th to turn it by the south. On the night of that day I heard that the enemy was retreating from Camp Dick Robinson toward the south and I immediately ordered pursuit. The leading division marched at 12 o'clock that night and the others following in rapid succession. Crittenden's and McCook's corps, the former leading, took the road to Stanford and Crab Orchard, while Gilbert's took the road to Lancaster and Crab Orchard. On both roads the enemy's rear guards were overtaken the next day and were pressed continually as far as London. No general battle occurred between the two armies, though the enemy was foiled in his object and driven from the State.

Anticipating a movement of the rebel army into Middle Tennessee, the Army of the Ohio moved promptly in that direction, and on the 31st of October had, under my orders, advanced as far as Bowling Green and Glasgow. It was my intention to have reached Murfreesborough by the 10th of November. On the 30th of October I turned over the command of Major-General Rosecrans, in obedience to orders from the general-in-chief.

A careful study of the topography of Central Kentucky shows it to be a region possessing remarkable strategical features for defensive operations, especially for a force whose line of retreat is toward the State of Tennessee. The Kentucky River, running across the State from east to west, with its cliff banks, makes a strong line of defense, while its somewhat frequent fords, opposing but slight obstacles to the movements of an army when the river is low, yet easily defended from the opposite bank, make it an admirable line for a retreating army to take shelter behind, and a perfect curtain to cover ulterior movements. Its advantages in this respect are very greatly increased by the character and position of Dick's River, which, coming from the south, empties into the Kentucky River where the latter makes a strong bend to the

Page 54 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.