Today in History:

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


ward the army of General Bragg in the Sequatchie Valley, while the two divisions, one of which had arrived that day from Corinth, should open the communications between Nashville and Louisville. The forces at McMinnville and in that vicinity had not yet withdrawn from their position, and I accordingly suspended their movement, leaving its execution, however, to General Thomas, who was at McMinnville,and had the best opportunity to know any movements of the enemy in the Sequatchie Valley that would affect it. he answered, stating the advantages of a concentration at Murfreesborough, and advising me that he would march the following day, and so the concentration was executed as originally ordered.

I proceed now to notice certain theories and opinions that have been advanced concerning a plan of operations to oppose the movement of the rebel army across the mountain. As evidence they are of no more value than though they had been expressed in idle discussion around a camp-fire, and are only entitled to credit according as they are correct in their premises and rational in their conclusions. They were new to me until this investigation had made some progress, and it appears that one of them in particular was promulgated after the arrival of my army in Louisville, where it was used as a text for criticism by officers who have not appeared as friendly witnesses before this Commission.

Neither my own feelings nor any fact that I am aware of would justify me in assuming that General Thomas has entertained any other than the most friendly disposition toward me; but I was surprised at the opinion expressed by him before the Commission that Bragg's army might have been attacked at Sparta, and more astonished at the statement that he had urged upon me to concentrate at that place. My inquiries elicited the information that this proposition was communicated to me by telegraph on the 28th of August. At my request the dispatch was subsequently presented. It proved to have been written on the 22nd instead of the 28th. It will be better understood after a brief review of the circumstances that gave rise to it.

General Thomas took command at McMinnville on the 19th of August. About that time I received very positive intelligence that the rebel forces were crossing the Tennessee River at three points at least-about 10,000 at kingston, at least 10,000 at Harrison, and a force variously estimated at from 40,000 to 60,000 at Chattanooga. I telegraphed General Thomas and other officers on the 19th in regard to this information, and prepared them for the further movements the enemy might be expected to make. I told hi to look to Sparta and Smithville, anticipating that the column from Kingston might advance on that route against McMinnville while we were threatened by a larger force elsewhere, or else toward Nashville to threaten our communications. This column he evidently kept in his mind, and it seemed to me that it was the only one he seriously regarded. The Chattanooga force proper, as he called, it he appeared either to doubt the existence of, or at least its purpose to cross the mountain. On the contrary I had reasons, which he probably did not know, to believe that it would advance by the Therman road. I therefore telegraphed General Thomas on the 22nd of August as follows:

From McCook's information this morning it seems almost certain that Bragg is marching on McMinnville. His advance was at the top of Walden's Ridge last night. McCown is said to be crossing at Kingston and Withers at Harrison. Of course they will expect to unite. What sort of ground can we take by concentrating at McMinnville? How would it do at Altamont? Is the ground such as to give us the advantage of our artillery? How many days' rations have you? Are you provided with ammunition? Be ready to march in the morning. Answer immediately.