Today in History:

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


first steps in the inquiry had developed ground for these six grave questions; the truth is that they had been submitted in the instructions under which the Commission acted. I do not consider this discrepancy unimportant.

The report then takes up in their order the several subjects referred to; the first, however, "The operations of General Buell in Kentucky and Tennessee," being disposed of as being included in the other five.


But few facts are given on this subject, and those are vague and indefinite. What is meant by saying that my lines of supplies were "unnecessarily long"? It is true that I was more than 300 miles from my base, the Ohio River, with only a thread of railroad for communication; but how could the line be said to be unnecessarily long when it was impossible to make it shorter. On the more material points the report is silent. Nothing is said of the strength of the enemy, nor of some of the most important of his movements, nor of the strength of my army, nor of the state of my supplies; but the Commission contents itself with expressing the belief that-

By an early concentration of my army at Sparta, McMinnville, or Murfreesborough, with a view to active offensive operations against Bragg the movement he debouched from the Sequatchie Valley, he would have been defeated.

Subsequent events have confirmed what the evidence abundantly shows, that the force under my command was inadequate for the mission it had undertaken. The statement in which I relieved the evidence before the Commission presents this subject more circumstantially and I extract from it here. After explaining the embarrassment under which I had labored in consequence of the enemy's large cavalry force operating on my communications the statement continues:*

* * * * * * *

I am conscious of having carried my statement into tedious details out of much anxiety to explain my acts and the reasons that dictated them. I will not extend it to show why it was that although the concentration of my army at Murfreesborough was necessary in consequence of the state of my supplies, and although it was suitable to meet any direct advance against Nashville, yet it was no longer suitable to meet any direct advance against Nashville, yet it was no longer suitable after it became probable, though uncertain, that Bragg, instead of moving directly on Nashville, was moving toward, in fact was probably already at, the Cumberland River by the time my army was concentrated. As it was, my movement from Murfreesborough to Nashville did not "allow Bragg to cross the Cumberland," which he had already nearly reached, but it enabled me the easier to take measures against his subsequent movements.

Undoubtedly a much earlier concentration of my army at Murfreesborough would have had certain advantages. It would have enabled me to re-establish my communications and made them much shorter, but I have explained that I hoped until the last that they would be reopened by the troops in Kentucky, and that I was unwilling to abandon the object with which I had started out and give up the advanced positions I occupied.


*General Buell here quotes from "the railroad from Nashville to Stevenson," &c., p.35, to "should have rejected it," on p.45.