|Chapter XXVIII. GENERAL REPORTS.
himself rapidly me and Louisville. The junction of Bragg and Kirby Smith was not only possible but probable. It would have made their combined force greatly superior to me in strength and such a disposition would have placed him between two inferior forces, which, from their positions, could not have acted in concert against him, and which, therefore, were liable to be beaten in detail. One of these forces, that occupying Louisville, was composed of perfectly raw, undisciplined, and in a measure unarmed troops, with but very little artillery and very few officers of rank or experience. It could not have withstood the veteran rebel army two hours, and the consequence of its defeat and the capture of Louisville would have been disastrous in the extreme. That force, however, mixed judiciously with my old troops, could be made to render good service, as the result proved.
These considerations determined me to concentrate rapidly at Louisville. The last division reached that point on the 29th of September. On the same day the incorporation of the new troops with the old the incorporation of the new troops with the old, and other preparations which a long and fatiguing march of the old troops and the inefficiency of the new rendered necessary, were completed, and on the morning of the 30th the consolidated army was prepared to march against the rebel forces which occupied the principal part of Kentucky. The campaign which ensued, and which resulted in the expulsion of the enemy from the State, has been sketched in my official report of the 4th of November, herewith appended.* As far as the facts are concerned the investigations of this Commission have shown, perhaps, that I did not make allowance enough for the diminution of my force by absentees and stragglers from the new regiments, and that therefore I probably overestimated my own strength at and after the battle of Perryville, if I did not also underestimate the combined strength of the enemy. These investigations also give reason to believe that the aggregate loss of the enemy during the campaign was greater than I represented, and they have developed additional interesting incidents; but they point to no statement which I could now desire to alter. I shall limit myself, therefore, to the elucidation of certain particulars in which the wisdom of my acts would seem to have been called into question by the course of the investigation.
The battle of Perryville, although but a partial and by no means as fruitful a contest as I ;had expected,was not without important and gratifying results. I shall notice very briefly the causes which prevented it from being more so.
When, on the 5th of October, Bragg's army proper retired from Bardstown it was uncertain where it would unite with the force of Kirby Smith, though Danville was the point where I most expected to find them, and my corps were accordingly directed on Perryville and Harrodsburg. When, on the night of the 6th, I ascertained that Kirby Smith had crossed the Kentucky River at Salvia, Harrodsburg or Perryville became the most probable point of concentration, and the destination of the corps which were marching on Harrodsburg had to be changed to Perryville. Information during the 7th that the enemy were turning toward Harrodsburg inclined me to suppose, though not confidently, that Harrodsburg, and not Perryville, would be the point. In the movement on that place the center corps, with which I was, marched by a shorter and better road, and therefore arrived within about 3 miles of Perryville on the evening of the 7th, while the other
* See battle of Perryville, or Chaplin Hills.
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|Chapter XXVIII. GENERAL REPORTS.