Kentucky Military Situation Upsets President

October 8, 1862

The hard-fought Battle of Perryville in Kentucky preoccupies President Lincoln.  Historian Kenneth P. Williams wrote in Lincoln Finds a General: “While men were falling in a battle where casualties were very high for the number engaged – the Federal killed and wounded numbering 3,696, the Confederates 3,145 – Lincoln was commenting favorably about the marching of the Army of the Ohio and pronouncing a timely aphorism on war.  His inspired statement grew out of a new assignment for George Morgan’s division.  On the day after Morgan reached the Ohio, Wright (in accordance with instructions from [Henry W.] Halleck) ordered him to Point Pleasant to join General Jacob Cox, who was returning with the Kanawha Division after its participation in the Battle of Antietam, to clear the Confederates from western Virginia.”

President Lincoln responds rather acerbically to a letter from Thomas H. Clay, the son of legendary Whig leader Henry Clay: “You can not have reflected seriously when you ask that I shall order Gen. Morgan’s command to Kentucky as a favor, because they have marched from Cumberland Gap. The precedent established by it would instantly break up the whole army. Buell’s old troops now in pursuit of Bragg, have done more hard marching recently. And, in fact, if you include marching and fighting, there are scarcely any old troops East or West of the mountains that have not done as hard service.”

I sincerely wish war was an easier and pleasanter business than it is; but it does not admit of holy-days. On Morgan’s command, where it is now sent, as I understand, depends the question whether the enemy will get to the Ohio River in another place.

Published in: on October 8, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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