Today in History:

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


I remained in front of this line, watching the movements of the enemy, till half past nine. I established my headquarters about 70 yards in front of this line and about 150 yards in rear of Russell's house, where I had been in the morning. I remained on the right in front of this line because I thought the main attack would be made in that direction. The moon came up, a bright moon, and they could have fought as well as by day. Finding there was no motion or drum movements of the enemy that I could discover, I rode to the left of my line to see how it had retired. This was about half past nine at night. I went to the left, could not find General Rousseau, but found that he had retired his line from the position they had occupied in the evening and afternoon. The enemy's camp fires were around the lines, almost surrounding his position, and our pickets were 40 yards from each other. They were talking. I there saw Colonel Starkweather, who commanded a brigade, and Colonel Harris, and Colonel Hall, One hundred and fifth Ohio. I asked them what kind of a position they were in. They said almost surrounded by the enemy; that the pickets were within 40 yards of each other; that the rebel cavalry threatened them on the left; that Bush's and Stone's batteries were in a position to be taken at any moment in case the enemy made a heavy assault.

I determined that the line should be changed, but from what I saw I did not think the enemy would attack till daylight. My reason for this was they came from Harrodsburg to give us battle. I immediately rode off to select a stronger line, to retire these batteries and Rousseau's infantry to a better position. I selected it. General Rousseau then rode up. He had been at General Buell's headquarters. I carried him with me to select the position for his line and marked it, with the left on Mackville road and the right resting on the point where Steedman's was posted on high ground. This was a good position. During the night I had succeeded in the night in getting off that road.

General Buell sent me word in the evening late that if I had to retreat to retreat by the Dicksville and Springfield road, which led to his headquarters; therefore the Mackville road was of no importance to me. This was about half past nine. I told General Rousseau that I considered this change of line was a very hazardous one, and, if the representations were correct, as soon as they heard the first gun there would be an attack made on them. I told him not to form the movement yet; that General Buell had sent for me; he wished to see me. I told him I would go to General Buell and ask for more assistance to keep a certain position to cover this change of line. Then we started off to General Buell's headquarters, and reached there about 12 o'clock at night. I found General Thomas at General Buell's headquarters. I reported to him in regard to my fight in the afternoon. I told him what the condition of affairs was and told him where the line was. He replied that I was cut off from him. I told him yes, from the Dicksville and Springfield road, where General Rousseau had retired the line. I asked him for two brigades for about two hours; that i wanted them to hold a certain position in order that I could change my line. I then asked him for one brigade. He positively declined giving me two brigades, and I ground General Rousseau's aide-de-camp told me the change had been made. The line of battle which had been formed by my two divisions was the best possible one that could have been selected in my opinion. I examined the ground, and I examined it six days after, when all the facts connected with the battle were known, and I am conscientiously satisfied that it was the best disposition that could have been made of those troops in order to have saved my communication on the Mackville road. The posting of Starkweather's brigade was admirable. He posted the brigade there himself. I did not see the posting of that brigade myself. General Rousseau deserved the credit of it.

The enemy were whipped on the left thoroughly; they were routed on my center, routed on my right. I was badly whipped. I believe re-enforcements could have been sent me without prejudice to the cause; and I have since said that had I my old division that I fought with at Shiloh I would have been responsible for Bragg's escape that night.

General BUELL. I object to this expression of feeling.

The WITNESS. I have no feeling in this matter toward General Buell, but have stood by him throughout his removal from the Army of the Ohio.

General BUELL. My objection is that it is an expression of opinion, or rather an expression of feeling with regard to the matter, based upon circumstances that developed themselves after the event. I do not wish it to be understood that it is an expression of prejudice or of feeling toward me.

The court was then cleared for deliberation.