Today in History:

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

Page 94 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.

Buell's headquarters, and received orders from him personally to advance one brigade as outpost and lay there that night. I place my men in position about 12 o'clock on the right of the road in sight of the town of Perryville. This was on the 8th. I remained there for orders until Sheridan's line was attacked by the enemy. It was a pretty severe skirmish. An effort was made to take a battery that was in an advanced position and was repulsed by Sheridan, and a few moments after that time to Sheridan's right and my front there was a large force of the enemy, a full division, if not more, concentrated, and had commenced a movement on Sheridan's right. In the mean time Sheridan had sent a messenger saying that unless he was supported or re-enforced he would have to fall back. I directed the messenger to return and to say to Sheridan that I was watching the movements of the enemy and would strike them before they reached his right. In ten minutes I ordered Colonel Carlin, colonel Thirty-eighth Illinois, then in command of the Thirty-first Brigade, to advance under cover of the timber as far as possible, and directed him to break the enemy's lines there without firing a gun. He proceeded under the order until he had arrived within 150 yards of this concentration under cover of the timber and a kind of half-hedge fence. There were thorn bushes innumerable along the fence after he left the timber that covered his movements. In consequence of the timber and the brush he got to within 150 yards without being discovered, and under my direction ordered a double-quick at the charge of the bayonet and drove the enemy without firing a gun. As soon as they were repulsed they were driven into the town of Perryville, 1 1/2 or 2 miles. That must have been about 3 o'clock or probably later, perhaps nearly 4. There is an elevation on the side of the town. On our arrival at that elevation there was a battery opened upon us, shooting across the town. I ordered up four pieces of Carlin's battery, two pieces having been detached for supporting General McCook, and two or three pieces of another battery in my division opened fire upon this battery, in the mean time throwing our skirmishers into Perryville. In twenty minutes we silenced the battery on the other side of the town and had driven the enemy out of the town of Perryville. I sent my aide-de-camp to direct the commanding officer of that regiment to change his direction to the left of the town and rather to the rear of the enemy and directed Colonel Carlin to support him. I rode back to the brigade that was following up for the purpose of supporting Carlin's brigade about 600 yards; it may have been more, but not exceeding 700 yards. This regiment that had changed their direction to the left of the town had captured thirteen wagon loads of ammunition, two ambulances, and two caissons, said to be of the Washington Battery, and brought them off the field.

Before I had changed my direction I was visited by General Gilbert's aide-de-camp and directed to hold back; that I was acting rashly and would not be sustained. I had not followed General Gilbert's aide-de-camp's directions, but preferred my own, and took possession of the hill, and I said if General Gilbert desires to give me orders I wanted then in writing; that I had received a great many orders from his staff officers that were not sustained by him, and if he desired me to fall back he must bring me a written order from General Gilbert. At the time of the capture of these wagons-perhaps a little before-I received an order in pencil, directing me to fall back on a line which General Sheridan, who commanded the left of our army corps in that fight. I told him I would obey the order, and fell back with one brigade in line with General Sheridan. With he other brigade I exercised my own discretion, and so far as Carlin's brigade was concerned I directed him to remain till we got further orders.

After falling back I occupied a commanding position, with artillery covering the town of Perryville and the Danville road. I directed him to remain until we had specific orders from headquarters. The other brigade fell back in line with General Sheridan's and within supporting distance, knowing that General Wood's advanced brigade was within striking distance. He had notified me through my aide-de-camp that he was there. I occupied that position all night.

I never saw anything of General Gilbert from the time the fight commenced till 3 the next morning, on the field. He came to where I was lying under a tree between 2 and 3 o'clock next morning. In the mean time I had visited General Buell and advised him of my position, and soon General Gilbert came, and that was the first time I saw him after he ordered me to take my position on the heights to the right of the road.

In justice to General Buell I should state that when I came in he said I had the only face that looked like victory since the commencement of the fight.

Question. What explanation did General Gilbert give of his conduct?

He never gave me any.

Question. Did he ever give you any?

Not of his conduct there. After the time I followed in pursuit of the rebel army

Page 94 KY., M. AND E.TENN., N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXVIII.