previous next

The objective point of the campaign had now been reached. With nine thousand men General Smith crossed the Cumberland mountains in the face of a superior force, and over roads considered impracticable for artillery and wagons. Finding that the Federal General, Morgan, would not come out from his impregnable position at Cumberland Gap, with less than six thousand of his command, he boldly advanced into the heart of Kentucky by difficult roads, through a hostile population, and a country destitute of supplies and almost destitute of water. Near Richmond he engaged the enemy, nearly double his own numbers, and defeated and destroyed his army, capturing five thousand three hundred prisoners, nine cannon, nearly ten thousand stand of small arms, and numbers of wagons and mules, and munitions of all kinds. Then pressing rapidly forward, he drove him to the Ohio river, and seized and occupied his chief depot, Lexington, the second city in Kentucky, and the metropolis of the most populous and productive portion of the State. More than this, it was General Smith's success which forced Buell to evacuate his strong positions in Tennessee and fall back upon Nashville, thus enabling General Bragg, by rapid marches, to get between him and Louisville, and compel him to give battle in the open field with a retreating army. Thus in the enormous fruits by which success was followed, as well as in conception and execution, is this campaign entitled to rank among the really brilliant campaigns of modern war. Let but General Bragg accomplish, as there is good prospect of his doing, the overthrow of Buell's army, and Kentucky is secured — Grant must evacuate North Mississippi and come to the defence of the line of the Ohio, while Van Dorn, crossing with his army into Arkansas, might soon be able, with the assistance of the troops already there, to drive the Federals from Missouri, and reoccupy every inch of Southern territory.

If the accomplishment of all this was not looked forward to with entire confidence, it was, at least, regarded as possible, and even probable.

How these brilliant prospects faded away and came to nought, how these promises of the future finally sunk in gloom and disaster, it is now my province to show; and this I trust to do by a circumstantial narration of events — censuring no one, but allowing the blame, if there be any, to rest wherever the inexorable logic of facts may justly place it.

When we entered Lexington, General Smith's campaign, as originally conceived, was accomplished. All that was at first intended had been achieved, more easily, more fully, and with more complete success than

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
S. A. Smith (3)
Buell (2)
Braxton Bragg (2)
John Morgan (1)
Louisville (1)
John A. Grant (1)
Dorn (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: