It is not without anxiety that I now approach that part of the campaign in Kentucky
which brought disaster upon our arms.
Hitherto I have had to speak only of success and award well merited praise; but it devolves upon me now to deal with failure, and to try to show wherein lay the causes of it. To ascertain how far defeat is the result of inevitable accident, and how far it comes from errors which should have been avoided, to what extent fortune intervenes to wrest away fruits fairly won, and to what extent they are lost by faults of conception or of execution, requires a knowledge of facts in detail and an accuracy and nice discrimination of judgment not easily attained.
It is natural, therefore, to approach with diffidence and much misgiving the discussion of these grave and difficult questions.
On the 13th of September General Bragg
reached Glasgow, Ky.
, and on the 15th advanced on Mumfordsville, a fortified post.
On the afternoon of the 16th an unsuccessful assault was made by Chalmer
's brigade; but during the night the enemy was surrounded, and cannon placed in position on all the commanding eminences, and the following morning the garrison, 4,000 men, surrendered with all their arms and munitions.
These were the first brilliant and auspicious fruits of General Bragg
's rapid march from Chattanooga
The hopes of the army, and all the friends of the Southern
cause, were raised to the highest pitch.
The strategy of the campaign was, up to this point, completely successful in all quarters.
, hemmed in at Bowling Green
, would, it was firmly believed, be compelled to give battle on such disadvantageous terms that nothing but defeat and destruction awaited him.
Up to the time of General Bragg
's entry into Kentucky
the two invading armies, pursuing routes widely asunder, and without communication, were entirely distinct.
held the independent command of the Department of East Tennessee, while General Bragg
had lately superseded General Beauregard
in that of Mississippi
It is true that the troops with which Smith
won the battle of Richmond
belonged to Bragg
's army, having been detached by the latter to assist the former in his movement into Kentucky
; but General Smith
had a fine army of his own, more than 20,000 strong, which for months he had been engaged in organizing and disciplining with great care and