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 If Buell's escape was owing to a surprise, it is clear that General Bragg should have followed him at once and attacked him in Louisville before he could strengthen his army by organizing the raw levies, which, it was well known, were gathering there and at Covington in large numbers. If, on the other hand, he had refrained from attacking because he felt himself too weak, as he could not hope ever to possess greater relative strength in Kentucky, it was equally clear that Bragg should have retired at once, and seizing upon Nashville, if possible, fortify the Cumberland, or, else, the strongest availble line of defense in the territory from which the enemy had been driven, and occupy it for the ensuing winter's campaign. But adopting neither of these policies, General Bragg left his army at Bardstown, almost at the very moment when an attack by forces numerically superior was commencing, and came to Lexington, for no other purposes, that the issue has shown, than to enjoy a short lived triumph, declare Confederate treasure notes a legal tender, and inaugurate Mr. Hawes provisional governor of Kentucky, in which office there was slight hope of maintaining him, as he actually failed to do even for a single day. After this, if General Bragg hoped to maintain his position in the State, it was of the utmost importance that he should seize the earliest opportunity to give battle--first, because the enemy were gaining strength every day and we were not, and, secondly, because his only prospect of support was from the people of Kentucky, which could only be fulfilled by inspiring these people with confidence in his ability to hold his position in the State; and besides, if finally worsted his line of retreat lay through a country exceedingly difficult at any time, and almost impassable in cold and wet weather, the season for which was close at hand. But it has been seen that he refused battle at Frankfort. It is true that he fought at Perryville, but only after detaching the chief portion of his army to meet a small force of the enemy, while with the remnant he attacked their main columns. With even one-half of Smith's forces upon the field of Perryville a victory would have been gained, the fruitful consequences of which it would be difficult to overestimate. Thence the campaign could only be retrieved by some bold stroke of genius or happy turn of fortune. General Bragg's personal gallantry has been conspicuous on battle fields in this war and in the Mexican, and even his worst enemies do not deny that he has ability, but the preceding conduct of the campaign did not furnish much reason to hope that he could regain by his own efforts that which he had lost, and, disheartened by failures, it was hardly to be expected that he would
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