Today in History:

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

Page 58 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.

a retrograde movement and stopping all further proceedings on the Tennessee side against the Gap.

General Morgan commenced his advance against Cumberland Gap in pursuance of the orders which I gave him in March preceding about the 22nd of May. He had repeatedly represented that he was operating against a superior force of the enemy, and on the 8th of June he telegraphed that the enemy had-

Over 5,000 at Cumberland Gap, 8,000 at Big Creek Gap, with troops at Clinton and Knoxville. Should their force concentrate the enemy will outnumber us nearly three to one. What is General Negley doing?

Seeing no reason why I should expect him to advance by difficult mountain roads and defeat three to one of the enemy, and supposing that he may have regarded my orders for him to advance as more imperative than I meant them to be, without regard to the force opposed to him, I telegraphed him on the 9th as follows:

General Negley is fully employed in Tennessee and can give you to direct assistance. The force now in Tennessee is so small that no operations against East Tennessee can be attempted. You must therefore depend mainly on your own resources.

And on the 10th I telegraphed him as follows:

Considering your force and that opposed to you, it will probably not be safe for you to undertake any extended operations. Other operations will soon have an influence on your designs, and it is therefore better for you to run no risk at present.

These are the dispatches which caused the retrograde movement referred to. I leave them to speak for themselves, in connection with the dispatches which elicited them.

But, furthermore, on the same day, the 10th, I received a dispatch from General Morgan, giving a rumor that the Gap was evacuated, to which I replied the same day:

If Cumberland Gap is evacuated you should seize and hold it, and take any other advantage that may present itself, but not advance to a point from which you would have to fall back.

About this time General Mitchell, considering himself in danger from an anticipated advance upon him, was urging the necessity of a stronger force in Middle Tennessee and I was about commencing my march from Coring in that direction.

Cumberland Gap was occupied on the 18th of June. General Morgan had about 7,500 men. His dispatches report the strength of the enemy opposed to him at not less than 10,000 or 12,000, and I have no reason to doubt that he reported correctly. At no time did he represent that he was able to hold East Tennessee with the force he had or the wish to attempt it, nor do I believe that he could have done it. It is true that on the 20th he telegraphed:

My telegraph orders from Major-General Buell of the 10th instant do not permit me to advance upon Knoxville, and I will not, until further instructions, advance farther than Tazewell.

And he also stated the preparation he had made to destroy bridges, but had countermanded in consequence of that dispatch. He was answered on the 22d, four days after his arrival at the Gap, as follows:

It is impossible at present to send you any cavalry. The general has not intended his ordered to prevent such expeditions for special purposes as you refer to in your dispatch of the 20th; on the contrary, he approves them. His wish is for you to make yourself secure in the Gap and accomplish all the results you can by rapid expeditions, but not to attempt a deliberate advance on Knoxville as long as it seems probable that you would not be able to maintain your position there. The general wishes

Page 58 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.