Monday, October 1, 2012

Buell Prepares to Attack

On this day in 1862, after taking only one day to reorganize his command,  the pursuit of Braxton Bragg begins again in earnest.  Some may say that this demonstrates a newly found enthusiasm stemming from his near dismissal, but it is actually a reasonable timetable considering that his men had arrived in Louisville just six days prior in terrible condition, needing food and clothing and rest.  The events of the 29th more than likely caused a delay in this march, rather than hastened it.  Conflictling orders, the death of a division commander and the consequent restructuring  notwithstanding, the march on Bragg, who is reportedly encamped near Bardstown, will begin tomorrow.


LOUISVILLE, October 1, 1862.
General THOMAS:

If nothing should have occurred to render a change in our dispositions necessary the troops will continue the march to-morrow as follows:

The column on the Shelbyville pike will go to Shelbyville. The column on the Taylorsville pike will continue on that pike to Plum Creek, which will be near where the pike forks, one branch going to Taylorsville and the other to Shelbyville.

The column on the Bardstown pike will go to Floyd's Fork and prepare the banks to cross. The Mechanics will also at once go to work to bridge the creek with all dispatch. The leading division on the Shepherdsville road will go near to Shepherdsville. The other two divisions will turn off on the road going to Mount Washington, and halt at the first water on that road. They will push forward an advance guard and prepare the banks of Floyd's Fork for crossing.

The cavalry will push well in advance of the columns and clear the way. They must keep the country thoroughly under watch for 6 or 8 miles in advance of the columns. The roads must be repaired where they require it. I shall be on the Bardstown road to-morrow, but wish you to remain with that column unless I get up in time for you to turn off.


If Bragg is still at Bardstown, Buell will confront him directly.  The plan is to aim the right column at Bragg to the south with the rest of his army spreading out in a fan shape to the southeast to prevent Bragg and Smith from combining forces and to the east, directed at Kirby Smith.  Buell is gambling that Bragg will not try to outflank him on the right since that would split the Confederate forces, leaving the Army of the Ohio between them.

Buell is also relieved of the request to support General Morgan's withdrawal from the Cumberland Gap. Buell is now free to attack Bragg with full strength and an army that has been rested and fed for three days.  Exactly the kind of arrangement that a conservative general like Buell designs. 


Cincinnati, Ohio, October 1, 1862.

Major General D. C. BUELL, Louisville, Ky.:

From information received I am satisfied Morgan is safe. He was at West Liberty on Friday last on his way to the Ohio River via Grayson. The rebels have given up the pursuit and have returned to Mount Sterling and Paris. Reports are also received that Marshall's and Smith's forces are advancing in this direction, but I do not credit them.

Major-General, Commanding.

The advantage is finally with the Union. There is no reason to delay. Experienced soldiers, like the Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, will sleep well tonight, expecting to wear out their new shoes in the coming week. The raw recruits will have a night of unrest, wondering how they might perform in the battle for Kentucky that lies ahead.

By this time, the news of the recent blood bath near Sharpsburg, Maryland has reached every man on both sides of the upcoming battle. They all expect to be in the middle of a similar fight within a week's time.

No comments:

Post a Comment