October 11, 1862: The Times — “we told you so”

Don Carlos Buell

The New York Times cites its prediction of the battle of Perryville, and exhorts Buell on to victory.

Published: October 11, 1862

On Sunday last, nearly one week ago, before Gen. BRAGG had left Bardstown, or Gen. BUELL had left Louisville in pursuit, we said in the TIMES, in reference to the Kentucky position, that BRAGG would move eastwardly in his retreat, that he would make a stand near Harrodsburgh and Danville, and there, if at all, dispute with BUELL the possession of the State. Of the character of the conflict and the place of it, we used these words:

“When the armies of these two Generals do meet, there will ensue the bloodiest duel that has been recorded since the rebellion began. We are prepared to hear of the evacuation of Frankfort, Lexington, Paris and Mount Sterling, after the plundering of all, and the concentration of the entire rebel army near Harrodsburgh and Danville, two towns ten and fourteen miles south of the Kentucky River and near the centre of the State, from which three routes out of the State diverge. There, if at all, it seems most likely that Bragg will make his stand and fight for the possession of Kentucky.”

It is seldom that prediction, in matters so changeful as the movements of war, is followed by so close and literal a fulfillment as is witnessed in the present case. BRAGG moved eastwardly from Bardstown, the rebel forces evacuated Frankfort, Lexington, and the towns north of the Kentucky River, in rapid succession, and having united with BRAGG, at Perryville, a small town equidistant from Harrodsburg and Danville, (which are only ten miles apart,) a few miles south of the two, a battle is offered to BUELL that proves one of the most frightfully bloody of the war. We need only point to the list of Brigadier-Generals who lost their lives for the Union in the fierce encounter, to remove all doubt of the desperateness of the struggle. And knowing the metal of the rank and file full well, we can promise that when their part in the horrid work shall be detailed, they will be found worthy to have been led by such officers to a holocaust of blood.

We may not yet know the full extent of the collision between the great armies, at Perryville, nor the results which its issue will bring. Perhaps other and harder fights are yet to be fought on or near that ground. But what we have heard is the index of all that will follow. The army of Gen. BUELL is one that will fight to annihilation; retreat or surrender, or pause in its work — never!

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