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

Page 50 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

corps were expected to be still about 7 miles in rear, on their respective roads to the right and left.

Finding a sufficient force at Perryville on the evening of the 7th to stop our progress without a general engagement of the corps it was presumed that the enemy had determined to make his stand there, and the following instructions were sent to General McCook:

OCTOBER 7-8 p. m.

GENERAL: The Third Corps (Gilbert's) is within 3 1/2 miles of Perryville, the cavalry being nearer, probably within 2 1/2 miles. From all the information gained to-day it seems probable that the enemy will resist our advance into the town. They are said to have a strong force in and near the place. There is no water here, and we will get but little, if any, until we get it at Perryville. We expect to attack and carry the place to-morrow. March at 3 o'clock precisely to-morrow morning without fail, and move up till the head, of your column gets to within about 3 or 3 1/2 miles of Perryville; that is to say, until you are abreast of the Third Corps. The left of this corps rests near Bottom's place. Perhaps Captain Williams, Jackson's cavalry, will know where it is. From the point of the road Gilbert is now on across direct to your road is about 2 1/2 or 3 miles. When the head of your column gets to the vicinity designated (3 or 3 1/2 miles from town) halt and form it in order of battle, and let the rear close well up; then let the ment rest in position and be made as comfortable as possible, but do not permit them to scatter. Have the country on your front examined, a reconnaissance made, and collect all the information possible in regard to the enemy and the country and roads in your vicinity, and then report in person as quickly as practicable to these headquarters. If your men have an opportunity to get water of any kind they must fill their canteens, and the officers must caution them particularly to use it in the most sparing manner. Send to the rear every wagon and animal which is not required with your column. All the usual precautions must be taken and preparations made for action. Keep all teams back except ammunition and ambulances. Nothing has been heard from you to-day. Send orderlies by bearer to learn the locality of these headquarters. The general desires to see Captain Williams, Jackson's cavalry, by 7 o'clock in the morning at these headquarters.

Respectfully, &c.,

JAMES B. FRY,

Colonel and Chief of Staff.

Similar instructions, but suited to the locality on which he was to form for the attack, were given to General Thomas, who, as second in command, was with the right corps.

It was expected that these instructions would get these two corps into position for the attack by 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning; whereas, in consequence of delays which were more or less unavoidable, the heads of the columns did not come up until between 10 and 11 o'clock and the rear division of the right corps did not get into-position until about 4 o'clock. This rendered it improbable that the attack could be made until next morning and was one of the causes which marred the success I confidently expected. Afterward the lateness of the hour at which I received intelligence of the condition of affairs on the left rendered it impossible to reap the fruit that would otherwise still have remained.

It has been a matter of surprise that so severe an engagement could have taken place within 2 1/2 miles of my headquarters without my knowledge. The commander of an army covering a line 6 or 7 miles long, interspersed with woods and hills, must of necessity depend on the reports of his generals for information of what is transpiring on different parts of the field. After the failure to get into position as soon as I had expected I no longer anticipated a battle that day; but a good deal of artillery firing had been going on between the advance guards of the two armies since our arrival the evening before, excepting at night. The cause of this was well understood, and the greater or less rapidity of the firing at intervals was not a matter to attract particular atten


Page 50 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

 

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