Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
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ON THE FIELD OF PERRYVILLE.*
BY CHARLES C. GILBERT, MAJOR-GENERAL, U. S. V.
As the Army of the Ohio, moving from Bardstown, approached Perryville on the 7th of October, 1862, McCook's corps formed the left, Crittenden's the right, and mine-which was moving on the direct road by the way of Springfield, and was ahead of the others-the center. [See maps, pp. 6 and 24.] In my column, It B. Mitchell's division had the lead; Schoepf followed, and Sheridan brought up the rear. Our advance was vigorously resisted by Wheeler's cavalry, forming the rear-guard of Hardee's corps, which was retiring before us. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when the head of the column was nearing the line of Doctor's Creek, a tributary of the Chaplin River, or more properly the Chaplin Fork of Salt River, the enemy, in force, was observed lining the crest of the ridge on the farther bank, obviously with the intention of disputing the possession of a few pools of water that remained in the water-course, which was otherwise nearly dry. An excessive drought had prevailed for months in this part of Kentucky. At sight of the enemy, orders were given to form Mitchell's division in order of battle across the Springfield road and along some high ground on the right. When Schoepf came up his division was massed in reserve in Mitchell's rear, on the left of the road, and Sheridan, arriving after Wheeler had been dislodged and was being pressed back toward Perryville, was posted in front and to the right of Mitchell. Before daybreak on the 8th, a position was gained that covered the pools in Doctor's Creek, and these formed our only water-supply for the next two days, or as long as the enemy held the Chaplin River.
* Condensed from General Gilbert's articles in the "Southern Bivouac," and revised by him.-EDITORS.