Confederate Soldiers Enter State of Kentucky Under Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg

Battle of Perryville finds Confederate soldiers under command of Generals Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg outmatched.

| Good Old Days

During the summer of 1862, Confederate soldiers had been forced south from President Abraham Lincoln's home state of Kentucky. The two closest Rebel armies were in Tennessee. The commanders of those two armies, Generals Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg, were determined to regain a hold in the state, knowing what a crushing blow it would be to the North.

Believing that Kentuckians would rally to support their forces, the two Confederate armies invaded Kentucky. Bragg's forces by-passed the Union Army near Nashville and headed toward Louisville where they intended to capture federal supplies.

When Bragg discovered the Union Army, led by Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, pursuing them, he turned toward Bardstown, going into an area known as Muldraugh's Hill in LaRue County, past the small cabin on Knob Creek where Abraham Lincoln lived as a boy.

Hiding near the road in some bushes, watching the Confederates advance, was 16-year-old George Powell, my great-grandfather. A year later, George enlisted in the Union Army. (While on picket duty, he became ill, having caught the measles. He received an honorable discharge, but his eyesight suffered the rest of his life because of this disease.)

When the Union and Confederate armies met at the small town of Perryville just outside Bardstown on the afternoon of October 8, 1862, it appeared that the Confederates would win easily. However, 40,000 fresh Union soldiers were readying for attack, and the Confederates were forced to retreat. The Battle of Perryville was a downward turning point for the Confederate Army. They never again pushed so far north.

Linda Powell Parker
Buffalo, Kentucky

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