Tennessee, toward Memphis and Nashville, failed of anticipated success. One division sustained a check at Iuka and was obliged to fall back, and some time later the whole command, in a most daring and determined attack on the entrenched positions of the enemy at Corinth, were defeated with serious loss and driven to a rapid retreat. Before these events had fully occurred General Bragg had concluded that prudence required the present withdrawal of our armies from Kentucky and the removal into security of the large and, under our circumstances, most valuable supplies of every kind which had been collected during the occupancy of that abundant and unexhausted country. His arrangements were being made with due care and deliberation for these ends, and portions of his forces, proceeded by immense trains were already moving southward, when General Buell, under the encouragement of his great numbers, at last ventured attack on one of his divisions. The result was, when comparative forces are considered, the brilliant victory to us of Perryville. Its results were seen in the subsequent prudent avoidance of all interruption or disturbance by the enemy to the quietly retreating columns of our armies, with their gathered stores, who resumed commanding positions of their selection in the State of Tennessee. Thus in Kentucky, as in Virginia, our armies, not conquered or repelled, but diminished by their own successes, were, from mere paucity of numbers, constrained to retire to avoid environment by overwhelming forces, but under the protecting prestige of victory were prudently respected and unassailed by their enemies.
Of the various operations of our forces in more limited theaters it is impracticable, within reasonable limits, to give a succing account. It is sufficient to say generally that from the reorganization of our Army and the turn in the tide of fortune, that successes have been numerous and reverses very few, and that with scarce and exception, in sman great engagements, the superior skill of our officers and valor of our soldiers have been signally vindicated. More special allusion, however, is due to the memorable repulses of the enemy with their formidable gun-boats at Drewry's Bluff, near Richmond, and at Vicksburg. At each were illustrated not more signally the fortitude and valor of the armed defenders than the heroic resolve and self-devotion of the citizens who preferred for their fair cities destruction to subjugation. The examples were pregnant with monition and encouragement. The gun-boats lost their prestige of terror. Cities ceased to be abandoned or surrendered on the approach of a foe, and all were taught how free men, above fear and ready for all sacrifice, may proudly defy the most potent agencies of modern warfare. The foregoing detail has been indulged in from a double purpose:
Firs. To render a tribute of justice to our armies, whose grand achievements being then in process of accomplishment, my predecessor, from considerations of prudence, abstained in his last report from commemorating; and secondly, and more especially, to demonstrate the imperious necessity that demanded the first enactment of conscription and the glorious effects that at once vindicated the wisdom of its adoption and repaid the sacrifices of our soldiers and people in accepting it. It is hardly too much to say that it wrouhg our salvation from destruction or infamous thraldom. Could it, indeed, have been somewhat sooner adopted or more speedily and thoroughly executed, it may well be doubted whether the first act alone might not have sufficed to have