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[470] was not to engage the enemy at Perryville, but, on the other hand, if his orders had been obeyed, the battle field would have been elsewhere or Louisville surrendered to our forces. It was, as well as the writer can from memory recall, in substance this: General Bragg, on leaving the army in and around Bardstown, proceeded to Lexington, where was stationed the division of General Smith, and had left General Polk, as the senior or ranking Major-General, in command. On arriving at the capital he determined on making a coup de main on Louisville with Smith's troops, sufficiently supported, whilst Polk was ordered to make a flank movement, so successful in the strategy of Stonewall Jackson's campaigns, and turn the enemy's right. Had this been done, the result and issue of the contest might and most probably would have been different. But there are marplots to be found in every household, cabinet and council. General Polk saw fit (and it may have been best; it is not for me to say) to disregard the order until he could communicate with General Bragg by courier and suggest the propriety and, as he deemed, necessity of remaining with and protecting our very large and important supply train. The delay in communicating, at the distance they were apart, was valuable time never to be regained; the enemy had changed position, and hence General Bragg realized a sad disappointment by General Polk's conduct in the full fruition of his hopes—on the 4th of October inaugurated the Hon. Richard Hawes, at Frankfort, as Confederate Provisional Governor, and on the same day evacuated the city and returned with the troops there stationed, and hastened with all speed and at imminent risk of life or capture to join and resume immediate command of his troops near Harrodsburg and Perryville, and make an effort to repair the mistakes of his subordinate. Hence the battle of Perryville, of necessity fought, and fought under the circumstances, with its consequent disastrous results.

In this campaign General Bragg accomplished all that it was possible for him or any other General at that time similarly circumstanced to do, but not as much as he had hoped when he entered her borders.

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