October 8, 1862: Battle of Perryville

Don Carlos Buell

The New York Times reported the battle of Perryville via Buell’s official report. Buell doesn’t make an estimate of the casualties; in fact Union casualties were higher than the rebels’, and all told the battle had the highest casualty rate of the entire war. While Bragg’s troops had possession of the field at the end, Bragg would soon retreat to Tennessee, ending the threat against Kentucky.

PERRYVILLE, Ky., via BARDSTOWN, Oct. 10, 1862.
To Maj.-Gen. Halleck, General-in-Chief:

I have already advised you of the movements of the army under my command from Louisville. More or less skirmishing has occurred daily with the enemy’s cavalry. Since then it was supposed the enemy would give battle at Bardstown. My troops reached that point on the 4th inst., driving out the enemy’s rear guard of cavalry and artillery. The main body retired toward Springfield, whither the pursuit was continued.

The centre corps, under Gen. GILBERT, moved on the direct road from Springfield to Perryville, and arrived on the 7th instant within two miles of the town, where the enemy was found to be in force.

The left column, under Gen. MCCOOK, came upon the Nashville road about 1 o’clock yesterday, the 8th instant. It was ordered into position to attack, and a strong reconnoissance directed.

At 4 o’clock I received a request from Gen. MCCOOK for reinforcements, and learned that the left had been severely engaged for several hours, and that the right and left of that corps were being turned and severely pressed. Reinforcements were immediately sent forward from the centre.

Orders were also sent to the right column, under Gen. CRITTENDEN, which was advancing by the Lebanon road, to push forward and attack the enemy’s left, but it was impossible for it to get in position in time to procure any decisive result.

The action continued until dark. Some fighting also occurred on the centre. The enemy were everywhere repulsed, but not without some momentary advantage on the left.

The several corps were put in position during the night, and moved to the attack at 6 o’clock this morning. Some skirmishing occurred with the enemy’s rear guard. The main body had fallen back in the direction of Harrodsburgh.

I have no accurate report of our loss yet. It is probably pretty heavy, including valuable officers.

Gens. JACKSON and TERRILL, I regret to say, are among the killed.

Major-General Commanding.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Friday, Oct. 10,
12 o’clock, midnight.

A dispatch from Bardstown to Gov. ROBINSON says that Gen. CRITTENDEN’s force was not engaged in Wednesday’s fight, and that Gen. WOOD’s force was but temporarily engaged, not having arrived in season.

At night the rebels retreated toward Harrodsburgh, were hemmed in.

Gen. KIRBY SMITH’s detachment had separated from the other rebel detachments on Dick River.

On Thursday we occupied advantageous situations on all sides of the enemy.

Our troops are in high spirits and confident of victory.

Our less in killed and wounded, on Wednesday, was 1,500. The loss of the enemy is considered much larger.

The reports of a severe battle near Perryville on Thursday are incorrect. The reports came from four persons who left Perryville at 7 o’clock on that morning, when skirmishing had commenced, with slight cannonading. Others who left the battle-field at 3 o’clock on Thursday afternoon, say the firing [???] before 8 o’clock in the morning, and the remainder of the rebels were making their way toward Harrodsburgh, pursued by the National army.

Col. [???], of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, was slightly wounded in a skirmish on Wednesday night, [???] Law [???], but he continued on duty on Thursday.

The Tenth Ohio Regiment lost 382, killed and wounded, on Wednesday.

Company B, Capt. FOEMAN, mostly from Louisville, of Col. POPE’s regiment, lost in killed and wounded all except twelve.

Gen. ROUSSEAU’s and Col. POPE’s wounds are very slight.

There are conflicting stories about the death of Gen. LATLE. Some report him wounded and a prisoner.

The remains of Gen. JACKSON, Gen. TERRILL and Gen. WEBSTER have arrived here.

The Sanitary Committee have made every preparation for the relief of the wounded.

Gov. MORTON, of Indiana, is on route hither with a large number of surgeons and nurses.

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