« PreviousContinue »
Harris and Lytle, who fought bravely, | Wood, and here fought desperately but lost ground, in consequence of for two hours against superior numthe disaster on our. farther left. Finally, 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 himself falling at this moment, and, believing his wound mortal, refusing to be carried off the field.
The charging Rebels now struck the left flank of Gilbert's corps, held by R. 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 his assailants retired, and then turning his guns upon the force which had just driven Rousseau's right. And now Gen. Mitchell pushed forward the 31st brigade, Col. Carlin, on Sheridan's right, and charged at double-quick, breaking and driving the enemy into and through Perryville, to the protection of two batteries on the bluffs beyond, capturing 15 heavily laden ammunition wagons, 2 caissons with their horses, and a train-guard of 140; retiring amid the Rebel 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, confronting the division of the Rebel Gen.
bers. A lull occurring in the fusillade, Gooding rode forward, about dark, to ascertain the Rebel 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 random artillery firing afterward; but darkness substantially closed the battle.
Gen. Buell did not learn until 4 P. M. that any serious conflict was in progress. He now heard with astonishment 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. Röenforcements were immediately ordered to McCook from the center, and orders sent to Crittenden-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 Rebel 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 southward by Bryantsville to Camp Dick Robinson, near Danville.
25 Oct. 9.
Bragg admits a total loss in this
BRAGG DECAMPS FROM KENTUCKY.
battle of not less than 2,500; including Brig.-Gens. 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 4,348916 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 Rebels.
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 55,000 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 Harrodsburg, 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 precipitately by Crab Orchard, Mount Vernon, London, and Barboursville, to Cumberland Gap, and thus into East Tennessee; burning even large quantities 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 Wheeler's cavalry. And, though Kentucky was minus many thousands of animals, 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 adventure.
Sill's division-which had followed Kirby Smith from Frankfort, and had had a little fight with his rearguard 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 retreat. 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 rearguard next morning at Stanford, but to little purpose; the enemy retiring when assailed in force, felling trees across the road behind him, and consuming all the forage of the region he traversed, rendering extended pursuit impossible. McCook's and Gilbert's divisions were halted at Crab Orchard; while Crittenden kept on to London, whence he was recalled by Buell; farther pursuit being evidently useless. The Government, deeply dissatisfied with this impotent conclusion of the campaign, now re
lieved" Buell from command, ap- | fore them, or made a stand only to be
pointing Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans in his stead.
If the disappointment on our side at the escape of Bragg with his plunder 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 embarrassed his march and devoured his scanty supplies, yet were of no value to the cause when they had together entered-not in triumph-their beloved Dixie. Bragg's invasion had demonstrated afresh the antagonism of at least two-thirds of the Kentuckians to the Rebellion-a demonstration more conclusive than that uniformly afforded by her elections, because there could now be no pretense that the people were overawed or their verdict corrupted. For weeks, a gallant, formidable, triumphant Rebel army had held undisputed possession of the heart of the State; its cavalry had traversed two-thirds of it, affording opportunity and solicitation to all who were inclined to enter the Confederate service; their cause had enjoyed the prestige of several brilliant and profitable successes, while the Union forces everywhere fled be
routed; yet the number of recruits to their standard was confessedly moderate. Excepting in a few of the rich slaveholding counties around Lexington, and in that south-western portion of the State which Bragg failed to reach, those in sympathy with the Rebellion were everywhere a decided and in many counties an inconsiderable minority."
The transfer of Gen. Halleck to Washington had left Gen. Grant in command of the district of West Tennessee, with his headquarters at Jackson or at Bolivar, while Gen. Rosecrans was left in command in northern Mississippi and Alabama, when Gen. Buell, taking" two of his divisions, moved northward in pursuit of Bragg. Rosecrans was at Tuscumbia when advised," by telegram from Gen. Grant, that a considerable Rebel force was moving northward between them, and that its cavalry had already attacked Bolivar, and cut the line of railroad between that post and Jackson. Hereupon, leaving Iuka in charge of Col. R. C. Murphy, 8th Wisconsin, Rosecrans moved eastward with Stanley's division to his old encampment at Clear creek, seven miles from Corinth. Murphy precipitately abandoned his post of the approach of the Rebel cavalry, allowing a large amount of stores, with 680 barrels of flour, to fall into the hands of the enemy. A reconnoissance in
to our armies both in Kentucky and Maryland. The references we have made to the sentiment of each of these States leaves but little room to doubt the general conclusion, that the dread of Yankee vengeance and love of property were too powerful to make them take risks against these in favor of a cause for which their people had a mere preference, without any attachments to it higher than those of selfish calculation." Aug. 20. 29 About Sept. 1.
from Jacinto, between 2 and 4 P. M. next day.
force, under Col. Mower, having satisfied Rosecrans that the Rebel army under Gen. Price now occupied Iuka, Rosecrans moved accordingly, at he so advised Gen. Grant; who there- 3 A. M," in light marching order, upon resolved on a combined attack, duly advising Gen. Grant; and was sending down Gen. Ord, with some within 7 miles of Iuka at noon, hav5,000 men, to Burnsville, seven miles ing been driving in the enemy's skirwest of Iuka, and following from mishers for the last two miles. DisBolivar with such troops as could be appointed in hearing no guns from spared to rëenforce him. Ord was Ord's column, he did not choose to to move on Iuka from the north; push his four brigades against the while Rosecrans, with Stanley's, was more numerous army in their front to rejoin his remaining division, un-on separate roads, which precluded der Hamilton, at Jacinto, nine miles their reciprocal support, but advanced south of Burnsville, thence advancing slowly-Hamilton's division in front on Price from the south. This con--up to a point two miles from Iuka, centration was duly effected;" and where a cross-road connected that Gen. Grant, who had now reached from Jacinto, on which he was movBurnsville, was advised that Rose- ing, with the road leading south-eastcrans would attack Iuka, 19 miles ward from Iuka to Fulton; where, Sept. 18. Sept. 19.
attempt to turn our left. Col. Boomer fell, severely wounded, and darkness at length closed the battle: our men lying down on their arms, expecting to renew the struggle next morning; Gen. Stanley himself being at the front, along with Brig.-Gen. Sullivan and Col. J. B. Sanborn, who had bravely and skillfully directed the movements of Hamilton's two brigades; but not a regiment of Stanley's division, save the 11th Missouri, had been enabled to participate in the action; and not a shot had been fired from the direction whence Ord's advance had been confidently expected-the excuse for this being that Ord had only expected to attack after hearing the sound of Rosecrans's guns; and these a high wind from the north-west prevented his hearing at all.
at 4 P. M., the Rebels were found drawn up in force, holding a strong position along a deep ravine crossing the main road, and behind the crest of a hill. Here our skirmishers were driven back on the head of the column in advance, which was suddenly saluted with a heavy fire of musketry, grape, canister, and shell, under which the 11th Ohio battery was with difficulty brought into position, with the 5th Iowa, Col. Matthias, and 26th Missouri, Col. Boomer, supporting it; the 48th Indiana, Col. Eddy, posted a little in advance of the battery, on the left of the road, holding their ground under a terrible fire; while the 4th Minnesota, Capt. Le Gro, and 16th Iowa, Col. Chambers, were hurried up to their support. The nature of the ground forbidding any extension of our front, the battle was thus maintained by a single brigade, Ord had been watching a Rebel against at least three times their demonstration from the south and numbers, until Col. Eddy was killed; west upon Corinth-which proved a when the remnant of his regiment mere feint-but had returned to was hurled back in disorder and our Burnsville at 4 P. M., when he was advanced battery clutched by the directed by Grant to move his entire Rebels; but not till its every horse force-which had been swelled by had been disabled and every officer the arrival of Ross's division-to killed or wounded. A charge was within four miles of Iuka, and there instantly made to recover it, and the await the sound of Rosecrans's guns. guns were repeatedly taken and re- Ross, in his advance, reported to him taken; but they were finally dragged a dense smoke arising from the direcoff the field by the Rebels, only to be tion of Iuka; whence he inferred abandoned in their flight from Iuka. that Price was burning his stores Stanley's division had meantime and preparing to retreat. Next come up, pushing forward the 11th morning, hearing guns in his front, Missouri to the front; where, uniting Ord moved rapidly into Iuka, but with the 5th Iowa and 26th Missouri, found no enemy there; Price having it first checked the Rebel advance retreated on the Fulton road during and then drove it back to the shelter the night. Ord, leaving Crocker's of the ravine; while Col. Perczel, brigade to garrison Iuka, returned with the 10th Iowa and a section of directly, by order, to Corinth; while Immell's battery, repulsed a Rebel Rosecrans-having first sent Stan
32 Sept. 19.