Skip to main content

Perryville, Battle of

Perryville, Battle of (1862).The largest Civil War battle fought in Kentucky occurred near Perryville on 8 October 1862. The engagement climaxed a campaign begun when Confederate army forces entered Kentucky earlier that summer. Confederate commander Braxton Bragg mistakenly believed that he faced one Union corps at Perryville, but there were actually 58,000 Federal troops in the area. For his part, Union Gen. Don Carlos Buell erred in believing that Bragg's entire force was in his front.

Bragg took the initiative by ordering his 16,000 men into action in the early afternoon. The main blow fell on the Federal left, where a corps commanded by Alexander McCook was shattered and driven back nearly a mile until Union reinforcements and nightfall ended the carnage. Despite this tactical success, Bragg decided to withdraw after belatedly learning that he confronted the bulk of Buell's army. Bragg's army took over 3,000 casualties; Union army totals exceeded 4,000. The Confederates retreated first to Harrodsburg and shortly thereafter into Tennessee. Buell was soon replaced as Union commander by William S. Rosecrans, but the Confederates had little to celebrate in the wake of Perryville. The hard fighting done there proved strategically inconsequential, and Bragg's boldly conceived Kentucky invasion failed.
[See also Civil War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]

Bibliography

Kenneth A. Hafendorfer , Perryville: Battle for Kentucky, 1981.
James Lee McDonough , War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville, 1994.

Christopher Losson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Perryville, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Perryville, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/perryville-battle

"Perryville, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved May 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/perryville-battle

Perryville, Battle of

PERRYVILLE, BATTLE OF

PERRYVILLE, BATTLE OF (8 October 1862). After Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg had attended the inauguration of the secessionist governor of Kentucky, he gathered his scattered army to form a junction with reinforcements, commanded by Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith, coming from Cumberland Gap. On 8 October 1862, Bragg's army was drawn up in battle array near Perryville. Union troops under Gen. Don Carlos Buell, marching from Louisville, unexpectedly encountered the Confederate force. A bloody battle followed. The Confederates retained possession of the battlefield, but withdrew eastward during the night to join Kirby-Smith and then southward the following day to protect Knoxville, Tenn.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hattaway, Herman, and Archer Jones, How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1983.

McWhiney, Grady. Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969.

Thomas RobsonHay/a. r.

See alsoCivil War ; Cumberland, Army of the ; Cumberland Gap ; Morgan's Raids .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Perryville, Battle of." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Perryville, Battle of." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/perryville-battle

"Perryville, Battle of." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved May 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/perryville-battle