The Battle of Perryville
Backstory and Context
The Battle of Perryville - which also receives the name of the Battle of Chaplin Hills - took place on October 8, 1862 in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky. It was fought as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive (Kentucky Campaign) during the American Civil War. This battle is well known for being one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, as well as the most significant battle fought in the state of Kentucky.
The Union army was led by the Major General Don Carlos Buell with the Army of the Ohio, while the Confederacy was led by the General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Mississippi. The Confederate troops were marching in an advance on Louisville, Kentucky, from Chattanooga, Tennessee. On the other hand, Union troops were coming from Louisville when they unexpectedly met the Confederate army. The Union troops that participated numbered 22,000 against 16,000 Confederates. With regard to the casualties, 894 people resulted killed in the Union compared to 532 people in the Confederacy.
Soldiers had to cope with a severe drought in Kentucky. Since most water supplies were completely dry, the soldiers had to drink contaminated water. As ta consequence, they suffered from dysentery, typhoid and other diseases. In order to take advantage of a safe water source and extensive road network, the Confederate troops, led by Bragg, withdrew to Perryville when Buell’s troops converged upon Bardstown. The Union soldiers continued advancing to Perryville despite the dry conditions due to the drought.
Even though the Battle of Perryville meant a tactical victory for the Confederacy, it was considered a strategic victory for the Union, as Bragg withdrew to Tennessee and the Union eventually obtained the control of Kentucky, a critical border state. Taking over Kentucky had a decisive impact in the outcome of the Civil War, and it is seen as a turning point by many historians.
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