Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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than half an hour ; Gen. Nelson be-
ing here wounded, as Cols. Link,

"Aug. 17.

"Aug. 29.

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ISUi Indiana^ McMillan, 96th Obio,
and other valaable officers, had al-
ready been. Lt.-CoL Topping and
Maj. Conkling, Tlst Indiana, had
been killed.

The rout was now total and com-
plete ; and, to make the most of it.
Smith had, honrs before, sent Scott,
with his cavalry, aronnd to our rear,
with instructions to prepare for and
intercept the expected fugitives.
Manson, who had resumed command
when Nelson feU, had formed a new
rear-guard, which was keeping the
Bebel pursuit within bounds ; when,
four miles from Richmond, the flee-
ing rabble were halted by a body of
Bebel horse. Manson, hurrying up,
attempted to form a vanguard ; but
only 100 responded to his call, who
were speedily cut up by a fire from
a force of Bebels hidden in a corn-
field on the left of the road, whereby
Lt.-CJol. Wolfe and 41 others were
killed or wounded. The road was
here choked with wounded horses
and other debris of a shattered army;
it was growing dusk (7 p. m.), and
the remains of our thoroughly beaten
force scattered through the fields;
every one attempting to save himself
as he could. Glen. Manson, with other
officers, attempting escape by flight,
was fired on by a squadron of Scott's
cavalry; his horse, mortally wounded,
fell on him, injuring him severely, and
he was taken prisoner ; as were many
if not most of his compatriots in dis-

Manson's report says that his en-
tire force this day " did not exceed
6,500,'^ of whom not over 2,500 were
^igaged at once — a sad commentary
ou his generalship— and he adds:
" The enemy say they had 13,000 in-

fantry, 4,000 cavalry, and 15 guns"
— ^which they don't. He estimates
his loss at 200 killed, 700 wounded,
and 2,000 prisoners. Kirby Smith,
on the contrary, makes our force
ftilly 10,000— his own but 6,000;
and states his total loss at 400, and
ours at 1,000 killed and wounded,
5,000 prisoners, 9 guns, 10,000 small
arms, and large spoil of munitions
and provisions. It is quite probable
that his story, though exaggerated,
is nearer the truth than Manson's.

Smith set forward directly" for
Lexington, which he entered in tri-
umph three days afterward, amid the
frantic acclamations of the numerous
Bebel. sympathizers of that intensely
pro-Slavery region. He moved on
through Paris to Oynthiana, within
striking distance of either Cincinnati
or Louisville, which seemed for a few
days to lie at his mercy ; though con-
siderable numbers, mainly of militia
and very green volunteers, had been
hastily gathered for the defense of
the former, and were busily em-
ployed in erecting defenses covmng
the Kentucky approaches to that
city, at some distonce back from Ihe

Gen. Bragg had now completely
flanked Buell's left, and passed be-
hind him, without a struggle and
without loss, keeping well eastward
of Nashville, and advancing by Car-
thage, Tenn,, and Glasgow, Ky. ; first
striking the Louisville and Nashville
BaUroad — ^which was our main line
of supply and reenforcement — ^after
he entered Kentucky." His advance,
under Gen. J. E, Chalmers, first en-
countered'* a considerable force at
Mun FOBDSvnxB, where the railroad
crosses Green river, and wh^e CoL


'Sept 5.

^ Sept 13.

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J. T. Wilder, with about 3,100 men,
had assumed command five days be-
fore, by order of Gen. J. T. Boyle,
commanding in Kentucky, and had
hastily thrown up fortifications, with
intent to dispute the passage of the
river. Chalmers had already sent
a mounted focce to the north of
Munfordsville, by which a first de-
mand for surrender was made at 8
p. M. The demand being repelled,
an assault was made at daylight next
morning, but speedily repulsed with
loss. At 9 A. M., Wilder was reen-
foroed by six companies of the 60th
Indiana, Col. C. L. Dunham, who,
being his senior, after hesitating, as-
sumed conunand; but was superse-
ded soon afterward by an order firom
Boyle, and Wilder restored.

The Eebels, after their first re-
pulse, kept mainly out of sight, know-
ing that their ultimate success was
inevitable, and allowed two more
regiments and six guns to make their
way into the town ; assured that all
who were there would soon fall into
their hands. At length, at 9^ a. m.
on Tuesday," Bragg, having brought
up his main body and surrounded the
place with not less than 25,000 men,
renewed the attack. Advancing cau-
tiously, keeping his men well cov-
ered, but crowding up on the weak
and exposed points of our defenses
in such numbers as absolutely to
compel the gradual contraction of
our lines, he, about sunset, sent in a
flag of truce, demanding a surrender.
As Buell was not at hand, nor likely
to be, and as there was no hope of
relief from any quarter, and no ade-
quate reason for sacrificing the lives
of his men, Wilder, at 2 a. m. next
day," after the fullest consultation

with his officers, surrendered ; being
allowed to march out with drums
beating and colors flying, take four
days' rations, and set forth immedi-
ately, under parole, for Louisville.
He says in his report that his entire
loss was 37 killed and wounded,
" while the enemy admit a loss of
714 on Sunday alone." Bragg, on
the contrary, says, " Our [Rebel] loss
was about 50 killed and wounded ;"
and claims 4,000 prisoners and as
many muskets, beside guns and mu-

Bragg now issued the following
address to the people of Kentucky,
which, read backward, will indicate
the objects and motives of his inva-

"Glasgow, Kt., Sept. 18, 18«2.

" Kbntuckians : I have entered your
State with the Confederate Army of the
West, and offer you an opportunity to free
yourselves from the tyranny of a despotic
ruler. We come, not as conquerors or de-
spoilers, but to restore to you the liberties
of which you have been deprived by a cruel
and relentless foe. We come to guarantee
to all the sanctity of their homes and altars ;
to punish with a rod of iron the desp oilers
of your peace, and to avenge the cowardly
insults to your women. With all non-com-
batants, the past shall be forgotten. Need-
ful supplies must be had for my army ; but
they shall be paid for at fair and remunera-
ting prices.

" Believing that the heart of Kentucky is
with us in our great struggle for Constitu-
tional Freedom, we have transferred from
our own soil to yours, not a band of marau-
ders, but a powerful and well-disciplined
army. Your gallant Buckner leads the van.
Marshall is on the right; while Breckin-
ridge, dear to us as to you, is advancing
with Kentucky's valiant sons, to receive
the honor and applause due to their hero-
ism. The strong hands which in part have
sent Shiloh down to history, and the nerved
arms which have kept at bay from our own
homes the boastful army of the enemy, are
here to assist, to sustain, to liberate you.
Will you remain indifferent to our call ? or
will you not rather vindicate the fair fame
of your once free and envied State ? We
believe that you will ; and that the memory

• Sept 16.

" SepL 17.

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of jonr gallant dead who fell at Shiloh,
their faces turned homeward, will rouse
you to a manlj effort for yourselves and

'^EentuckiansI we have come with joy-
ous hopes. Let us not depart in sorrow, as
we shall if we find you wedded in your
choice to your present lot If you prefer
Federal rule, show it hy your frowns, and
we shall return whence we came. If you
choose rather to come within the folds of
oar brotherhood, then cheer us with the
smiles of your women, and lend your will-
ing hands to secure you in your heritage of
li^rty. ^

"Women of Kentucky! your persecu-
tions and heroic bearing have reached our
ear. Banish henceforth, forever, from your
minds the fear of loathsome prisons or in-
sulting visitations. Let yonr enthusiasm
have free rein. Buckle on the armor of
your kindred, your husbands, sons, and
brothers, and scoff with shame him who
would prove recreant in his duty to you,
his conntry, and his God.

"Bbaxton Bbaoo,

"Gen. Commanding.^'

It was not the fault of the General
commanding that his army must ne-
cessarily have subsisted on the re-
gion of Kentucky it traversed ; but,
when it is considered that he swept
off in his retreat all the abundant
horses and cattle that came within
his reach, with whatever else he
coidd carry, and that he did not and
could not pay for any thing, it seems
that the mockery of his promise of
payment might wisely have been for-

From Munfordsville, Bragg con-
tinued his unresisted march north-
ward, through Bardstown, to Frank-
fort,** the State capital, where Smith
had preceded him, and where Rich-
ard Hawes," a weak old man, was
inaugurated" "Provisional Governor
of Kentucky." "This ceremony,"
says Pollard, "was scarcely more
than a pretentious farce : hardly was
it completed when the Yajikees
threatened Frankfort ; and the new-

ly installed Governor had to flee
from their approach."

Gten. Buell, after leaving Nash-
ville'* strongly garrisoned, had
marched directly for Louisville, 170
miles; where his army arrived be-
tween the 25th and 29th. It had by
this time been swelled by reenforce-
ments, mainly raw, to nearly 100,000
men ; but it was not, in his judgment,
yet in condition to fight Bragg's far
inferior numbers. Hence, time was
taken to reorganize and supply it;
while the Eebel cavalry galloped at
will over the plenteous central dis-
tricts of the State, collecting large
quantities of cattle and hogs not
only, but of serviceable fabrics and
other manufactures as well Buell's
delays, synchronizing with McClel-
lan's last, were so distasteful at Wash-
ington, liat an order relieving him
from command was issued; but its
execution was suspended on the em-
phatic remonstrance of his subordi-
nate commanders. The hint being a
pretty strong one, Buell set his face
towwxi the enemy;" moving in five
columns: his left on Frankfort, his
right on ShepardsvUle, intending to
concentrate on Bardstown, where
Bragg, with his main body, was sup-
posed to be ; skirmishing by the way
with small parties of Rebel cavaby
and artillery. Thus advancing stead-
ily, though not rapidly, he passed
through Bardstown, and thence to
Springfield,** 62 miles from Louis-
ville; Bragg slowly retreating before
him, harassing rather than resisting
his advance, so as to gaiu time for
the escape of his now immense trains,
consisting mainly of captured Fed-
eral army wagons, heavily laden with
the spoils of Kentucky. Here Buell

* Oct L » Formerly a member of Oongrosa » Oct. 4. " Sept 15. " Oct. I. *» Oct. 6.

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learned that Kirby Smith had croBsed
the Kentucky, and that Bragg was
moving to concentrate his forces
either at Harrodsburg or Pkbry-
TiLLB. His own movement was
therefore directed toward Perry-
ville ; three miles in front of which,
moving with his 3d or central corps,
he encoxmtered, on the afternoon of
the 7th, a considerable Bebel force,
drawn up in order of battle; but
which his advance pressed back a
mile or so without much fighting;
when he, expecting a battle, sent
orders to McCook and Crittenden,
commanding his flank corps, to ad-
vance on his right and left at 3 next

McCook did not receive the order
till 2i^ A. M., and he marched at 5 ;
but Crittenden, unable to find water
for his corps at the place where Buell
had expected it to encamp for the
night, had moved off the road in
quest of it, and was six miles farther
away than he otherwise would have
been; so that the order to advance
was not duly received, and his arri-
val at Perryville was delayed several

A great drouth then prevailing in
Kentucky, causing severe privation
and suffering to men and animals,
the fight commenced early next mom-
iag, by an attempt of the enemy to
repel the brigade of CoL D. McCook,
which had been pushed forward by
Buell on his immediate front to
cover some hollows in the bed of
Doctor's creek, whence a little bad
water was obtained. This attempt
was defeated by sending up the di-
visions of fiens. Mitchell and Sheri-
dan, to hold the ground until our
two flank corps should arrive ; which
the left;, Gen. A. D. McCook, did

between 10 and 11 a. ic; and the
batteries of his advance division were
sharply engaged with the enemy not
long afterward.

Bragg was present in person ; but
his forces were commanded more im-
mediately by Maj.-Gen. Bishop Polk,
who had in hand five divisions — ^two
under Hardee, and those of Patton
Anderson, Cheatham, and Buckner
— ^that of "Withers having been sent
by Bragg, the day before, to support
Smith, who was retreating farther to
the east, and was deemed in danger
of being enveloped and cut off.
Bragg gives no other reason for
fighting before concentrating his en-
tire command than that the enemy
were pressing heavily on his rear;
but it is clear that he had deliber-
ately resolved to turn and fight at

Maj.-Gen. McCook, having reached
the position assigned him with but
two of his three divisions — ^that of
Gen. Sill having been detached and
sent to Frankfort — had directed the
posting of his troops and formation
of his line of battle— Gen. Kousseau's
division on the right, in line with the
left of Gilbert's corps, and Gen. Jack-
son's on the left, near the little ham-
let of Maxwell, on the Harrodsburg
road — ^rode off and reported in per-
son to Gen. Buell, 2^ miles distant,
in the rear of his right ; and received
verbal orders to make a reconnois-
sance in front of his position to Chap-
lin creek. Eetuming to his com-
mand, and finding nothing in pro-
gress but mutual artillery practice,
to little purpose, he ordered his bat-
teries to save their anmixmition,
while he made the directed reconnois-
sanoe; at the same time advancing
his skirmishers and extending his

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left, in order to obtain a more advan-
tageons position, and enable his men
to procure from the creek the water
for which they were suffering* So
mach being accomplighed, and no
enemy in sight saye some cavahy on
the bluffs across the creek, he pro-
ceeded, at 1^ p. H., to the left of his
Une; in no apprehension of an attack
until he should see fit to make one.


He was grievously mistaken.
Hardly had he been half an hour
away from liis fit>nt, when his left,
composed mainly of green soldiers,
under a brave but inexperienced com-
mander, and not fully formed in order
of battle, was suddenly and vehe-
mently assailed in front and flank by

rapidly charging masses of inifantry
and artillery, hitherto concealed in
woods and hollows, but which seemed
as if magically evoked from the

Chealham's division, which had
been silently moved from the Bebel
left to their right, led this assault,
responding with terrific yells and
more hurried step to the fire of our
batteries, until within short musket-
range, when, at Iheir very first vol-
ley, Maj.-Gen. James S. Jackson**
fell dead. His fall disorganized the
raw and over-matched brigade of
Qten. Terrill, which he was desper-
ately exerting himself to steady, and
it gave way in utter pMiic; Gen.
Terrill himself following his chiefs
example and sharing his fate not long
afterward ; as did, at a later hour,
CoL George Webster, 98th Ohio, com-
manding a brigade.

Terrill's b]|gade being thus instan-
taneously routed, with the loss of
Parsons's battery, the whole force of
the Bebel charge fell upon Bousseau,
who was ready to receive it. An at-
tempt to fiank and crush his left was
promptly met by new dispositions:
Starkweather's brigade, with Stone's
and Bush's batteries, being faced to
that fiank, and receiving the enemy
with volley after volley, which tore
his ranks and arrested his momentum
for two or three hours, until our am-
munition was exhausted, and Bush's
battery had lost 35 horses ; when our
guns were drawn back a short dis-
tance, and our infantry retired to re-
plenish their cartridge-boxes; then
resuming their position in line.

Boufiseau's center and right were
held respectively by the brigades of

** Union Member of Congress from the
nd distrust of Kentucky; elected in 1861,

by 9,281 votes, to 3,364 for Banch, "State
iUghts," L e., semi-Bebel.

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Harris and Lyile, who fought bravely,
but lost ground, in consequence of
the disaster on our. farther left. Fi-
nally, a desperate charge was made
upon Lytle's front and right, favored
by irregularities of ground, which
covered and concealed it, and his
brigade was hurled back ; Lytle him-
self falling at this moment, and, be-
lieving his wound mortal, refusing
to be carried off the field.

The charging Eebels now struck
the left flank of Gilbert's corps, held
by B. B. Mitchell and Sheridan,
which had been for some little time
engaged along its front. The key of
its position was held — and of course
well held — ^by Brig.-Gen. Philip H.
Sheridan, who had been engaged in
the morning, but had driven the
enemy back out of sight, after a
short but sharp contest, and had just
repelled another assault on his front ;
advancing his line as j||is assailants
retired, and then turning his guns
upon the force which had just driven
Eousseau's right. And now Gen.
Mitchell pushed forward the 31st
brigade. Col. Oarlin, on Sheridan's
right, and charged at double-quick,
breaking and driving the enemy into
and through Perryville, to the pro-
tection of two batteries on the bluflb
beyond, capturing 16 heavily laden
ammunition wagons, 2 caissons with
their horses, and a train-guard of 140 ;
retiring amid the Eebel confusion to
this side of the town, and thence
opening fire with his battery as dark-
ness came on.

Meantime, the 30th brigade. Col.
Gooding, which had been sent by
Gilbert to the aid of McCook, had
formed on our extreme left, confront-
ing the division of the Eebel Gen.

Wood, and here fought desperately
for two hours against superior num-
bers. A lull occurring in the fusil-
lade, Gooding rode forward, about
dark, to ascertain the Eebel position ;
when his horse was shot under him
and he made prisoner. His brigade
then fell back, having lost 549 men
out of 1,423 ; taking position in line
with McCook. There was some ran-
dom artillery firing afterward ; but
darkness substantially closed the bat-

Gen. Buell did not learn until 4
p. M. that any serious conflict was in
progress. He now heard with as-
tonishment from McCook that he had
been two hours hotly engaged ; that
both the right and the left of his
corps were turned, or being turned ;
and that he was severely pressed on
every hand. Eeenforcements were
immediately ordered to McCook from
the center, and orders sent to Crit-
tenden — who was advancing with
our right division — ^to push forward
and attack the enemy's left; but
Crittenden's advance only reached
the field at nightfall, when a single
brigade (Wagner's) went into action
on the right of Mitchell's division,
just before the battle was terminated
by darkness.

At 6 A. M. next day," Gilbert's
corps advanced by order to assail the
Eebel front, while Crittenden struck
hard on his left flank ; but they found
no enemy to dispute their progress.
Bragg had decamped during the
night, marching on Harrodsburg ;
where he was joined by Kirby Smith
and Withers; retreating thence south-
ward by Bryantsville to Camp Dick
Eobinson, near Danville.

Bragg admits a total loss in this

'Oct. 9.

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battle of not lees than 2,500 ; includ-
ing Brig.-Gtens. Wood, Cleburne, and
Brown, wounded ; and claims to have
driven us two miles, captured 15
guns, 400 prisoners, and inflicted a
total loss of 4,000. Buell's report
admits a loss on our part of 4,348 —
916 killed, 2,943 wounded, and 489
missing ; but as to guns, he concedes
a loss of but ten, whereof all but two
were left on the ground, with more
than 1,000 of their wounded, by the

Gen. Buell officially reports his
effective force which advanced on
Perryville at 58,000 ; whereof 22,000
were raw troops, who had received
little or no instruction. He estimates
the Rebel army in Kentucky at
65,000 to 65,000 men ; but of this
aggregate not more than two-thirds
were present. As the fighting of
all but the raw troops in this battle,
on our side, was remarkably good,
that of the Rebels present must have
been still better, since they inflicted
the greater loss, gained the more
ground, and captured some cannon ;
yet it is plain that Bragg obtained
here all the fighting he was anxious
for; since he abandoned some 1,200
of his sick and wounded at Harrods-
burg, and 25,000 barrels of pork,
with other stores, at various points;
making no stand even at Camp Dick
Robinson — a very strong position,
behind the perpendicular bluffs of
Dick's river — ^but retreated precipi-
tately by Crab Orchard, Mount Ver-
non, London, and Barboursville, to
Cumberland Gap, and thus into East
Tennessee ; burning even large quan-
tities of cloths and other precious
goods, for which transportation over
the rough mountain roads necessarily
traversed was not to be had.

The retreat was conducted by
Bishop Polk, and covered by Wheel-
er's cavalry. And, though Kentucky
was minus many thousands of ani-
mals, with other spoils of all kinds,
by reason of this gigantic raid, it is
not probable, in view of the inevi-
table suffering and loss of animals on
their long, hurried, famished flight
through the rugged, sterile, thinly
peopled mountain region, that all the
Rebels took back into East Tennessee
was equal in value to the outfit with
which they had set forth on this ad-

Sill's division — ^whichhad followed
Kirby Smith from Frankfort, and
had had a little fight with his rear-
guard near Lawrenceburg — ^reached
Perryville at nightfall on the 11th ;
up to which time Buell had made no
decided advance. Pushing forward
a strong reconnoissance next day to
Dick's river, he found no enemy this
side ; and he learned at Danville, two
days later, that Bragg was in full re-
treat. He sent forward in pursuit at
midnight Wood's division, followed
by the rest of Crittenden's and then
by McCook's corps, while Gilbert's
marched on the Lancaster road to the
left. Wood struck the Rebel rear-
guard next morning at Stanford, but
to little purpose ; the enemy retiring
when assailed in force, felling trees
across the road behind him, and con-
suming all the forage of the region
he traversed, rendering extended pur-
suit impossible. McCook's and Gil-
bert's divisions were halted at Crab
Orchard; while Crittenden kept on
to London, whence he was recalled
by Buell ; farther pursuit being evi-
dently useless. The Government,
deeply dissatisfied with this impotent
conclusion of the campaign, now re-

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lieved** Bnell from conmiand, ap-
pointing Maj.-Gen. BosecranB in his

If the disappointment on our side
at the escape of Bragg with his plun-
der was great, the chagrin of the
Rebels was even greater. They had
so loudly and boastingly proclaimed
that they entered Kentucky to stay,
that they had incited their partisans
throughout the State to compromise
themselves by demonstrations which
were now shown to have been rash
and useless ; so that thousands of the
more prominent were impelled to fly
with Bragg, who ^nbarrassed his
march and devoured his scanty sup-
plies, yet were of no value to the
cause when they had together en-
tered — ^not in triumph — ^their beloved
Dixie. Brad's invasion had demon-
strated afresh the antagonism of at
least two-thirds of the Kentuckians
to the Rebellion — a demonstration
more conclusive than that uniformly
afforded by h^ elections, because
there could now be no pretense that
the people were overawed or their
verdict corrupted. For weeks, a gal-
lant, formidable, triumphant Rebel
army had held undisputed possession
of the heart of the State ; its cavalry
had traversed two-thirds of it, afford-
ing opportunity and solicitation to
all who were inclined to enter the
Confederate service ; their cause had

Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 30 of 113)