- Bragg's campaign in Kentucky -- from Chattanooga to Munfordville -- his advance from Chattanooga -- Buell flanked -- Bragg at Sparta, Tenn. -- news from General Smith -- alternative routes -- arrival at Glasgow -- Buell moves to Bowling Green -- Chalmers' defeat at Munfordville -- Bragg's advance to that Point -- its surrender with 4,000 men -- Interesting ceremony -- prisoners paroled -- proclamation of Thanksgiving.
General Bragg was unfortunately detained a week or ten days longer than he had expected when General Smith made his advance, by the non-arrival of his trains and the difficulty of crossing to the north side of the Tennessee. On the 28th his line of march northward was, however, taken up. The Cumberland mountains, after traversing the State of Tennessee in a southwest direction as an elevated plateau twenty miles or more in breadth, is bifurcated at Pikeville, about fifty miles north of Chattanooga, by the Sequatchie river, a small stream with a narrow but fertile valley walled in by the two ranges thus formed, the eastern one known as Walden's ridge, although its proper name is Wallen's ridge. The passage over the latter into the Sequatchie valley was tedious and difficult, but was safely effected, and on the 1st of September General Bragg was with his advance at Pikeville, the head of the valley. General Buell having been contemplating his invasion of East Tennessee across this valley by way of McMinnville, General Bragg had considered as one of the alternatives of his campaign the feasibility of advancing by the same route directly upon Nashville, or the necessity  of engaging Buell in the event he should threaten him on his left flank. But finding that he was not in force nearer than McMinnville, he covered his flank well by cavalry under Wheeler and Forrest, and making strong demonstrations with it toward McMinnville, threw his army forward rapidly to Sparta, at the western base of the Cumberland, about thirty miles northwest of Pikeville. Effecting this movement before his purpose was discovered, he thus flanked McMinnville and was in position to threaten Buell's flank at Nashville or his communication northward. At one time he contemplated the feasibility of marching directly northward for Lexington and Cincinnati to effect a junction with Gen. E. Kirby Smith, of whose victory at Richmond he had received intelligence on the 5th day of September. Various reasons, however, decided him against this route. Much of the way was rugged, the country poor and scant of supplies, and owing to a severe drouth ill supplied with water. To these objections was added the urgent desire of the Tennesseeans, whose governor and leading men accompanied him, that he would secure possession of Nashville by a direct advance upon that place or by maneuvering Buell out of it. Adopting the latter plan he moved from Sparta on the 7th, by the very route indicated in his letter to General Breckinridge August 27th, in the direction of Glasgow, Ky., his right wing crossing the Tennessee at Gainesboro and the left wing at Carthage; and marching upon converging lines, arrived at Glasgow with the former on the 12th and the latter on the 13th. General Bragg remained at Glasgow until the afternoon of the 15th to rest his troops and replenish subsistence and forage supply, as he had started from Chattanooga with but ten days rations, which had been depleted before leaving Sparta. He had on his arrival at Glasgow occupied Cave City with the brigades of Generals J. R. Chalmers and J. K. Duncan, thus cutting the railroad between Bowling Green and Louisville. General Buell  had in the meantime advanced to Bowling Green, 30 miles nearly due west from Glasgow, with six divisions. It was at no time the intention of General Bragg to attack Buell at Bowling Green, as he well knew the strength of that position, and the questions of supply and a base would not have admitted of a siege. His purpose was to move to a junction with Kirby Smith in the direction of Lexington via Lebanon, when he was diverted by an unforeseen occurrence. General Chalmers, but eleven miles from Munfordville, of his own motion conceived the idea of capturing that position, which was reported to have only a small garrison. But upon attacking it with his own and Duncan's brigades, he found it had been strongly reinforced, and the works being fully manned and served with eight or ten pieces of artillery, he was repulsed with heavy loss on the 14th. Thereupon General Bragg, in order to retrieve the prestige lost by this untoward event, as well as to deprive the enemy of this formidable stronghold, moved out from Glasgow on the afternoon of the 15th, General Hardee's corps to Cave City, and General Polk's upon the Bear Wallow road, which crosses the Green river some distance above Munfordville and is the most direct road toward Lexington. On the morning of the 16th he advanced Hardee's corps to the vicinity of Munfordville and made demonstrations for attack. In the afternoon General Polk's corps appeared on the north side of the river and took such position with his artillery as gave him command of the enemy's works from the rear. General Bragg having been apprised at nightfall of Polk's being in position, summoned the fort by flag to surrender, and after some parley Col. J. T. Wilder came under flag to his headquarters and being satisfied that resistance was useless, articles of capitulation were signed. Under the terms his com mand was marched out from the works at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 17th, and with due form Colonel Wilder  delivered his sword to Gen. S. B. Buckner, who had been delegated to receive it, as this was his native county; and the troops grounded arms near Rowlett's Station, in presence of the Confederate army drawn up in line along the road for the ceremony. They were then marched to the rear, escorted in the direction of Cave City, and paroled. The captured garrison numbered about four thousand, with ten pieces of artillery and a proportionate quantity of ammunition, horses, mules and military stores.1 After an inspection of the captured works, which were on the south side of Green river, General Bragg established his headquarters in Munfordville, on the north side, and issued the following proclamation (copied from the original in possession of the writer):