The Battle ofPerryville and Stones River Oct. 8th 1862 Dec. 31st 1862 – Jan. 2nd 1863 Kentucky Tennessee Western Theater Western Theater
The Battle of Perryville • Kentucky had proclaimed neutrality to both the Union and the Confederates, but it being such a central location that had control of key rivers, both sides coveted it. President Lincoln once wrote in a private letter, “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly to lose the whole game.” • From September of 1861 onwards, neither side respected the neutrality. A series of events later including the creation of the Army of Kentucky and Confederate and Union marches led to the battle. It’s purpose, to claim control of the critical border state. • Perryville was chosen by Confederates for it’s good network of roads to other towns for strategic flexibility and it’s potential source of water. • In the end, the result was a Union strategic victory and a Confederate tactical victory. The Confederates had retreated by way of Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee because of threatening Union reinforcements and the Confederate’s lack of resources. • It is considered one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War and is the largest battle fought in the state of Kentucky, considering the casualties related to the engaged strengths of the armies.
The Battle of Stones River • Fought in Middle Tennessee as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. • Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army's repulse of two Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Union morale after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and it dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee. • Of the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides.
Perryville Statistics Union 532 killed 2,641 wounded 228 captured/missing Army of 22,000 Confederate 894 killed 2,911 wounded 471 captured/missing Army of 16,000
Stones River Statistics Union 677 killed 7,543 wounded 3,686 captured/missing Army of 41,400 Confederate 1,294 killed 7,945 wounded 2,500 captured/missing Army of 35,000
Battle Commanders • Don Carlos Buell (March 23, 1818 – November 19, 1898) was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. Buell led Union armies in two great Civil War battles—Shiloh and Perryville—but was relieved of field command in late 1862 and made no more significant military contributions. • George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816 – March 28, 1870) was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Mexican-American War and was a Union General during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater. He had a place in the Battle of Perryville and Stones River. He had a successful record, but didn’t reach the acclaim of Ulysses S. Grant or William T. Sherman. • Alexander McDowell McCook (April 22, 1831 – June 12, 1903) was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. He first had action at the First Battle of Bull Run and commanded the 2nd division of the Army of Ohio in the Battle of Shiloh. In both the Battle of Perryville and Stones River, his corps suffered heavy casualties. Don Carlos Buell George Henry Thomas Alexander McDowell McCook
Battle Commanders (Cont. 1) • Charles Champion Gilbert (March 1, 1822 – January 17, 1903) was a United States Army officer during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. He mainly participated in the Battles of Wilson Creek, Perryville, and the First Battle of Franklin. • Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He established a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, but also as a junior officer willing to publicly argue with and criticize his superior officers, including those at the highest levels of the Army. Major battles of his were of Shiloh, Perryville, and Stones River. • Leonidas Polk (April 10, 1806 – June 14, 1864) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War and a second cousin of President James K. Polk. He also served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana and was for that reason known as “The Fighting Bishop”. Polk was one of the more controversial political generals of the war, elevated to a high military position with no prior combat experience because of his friendship with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He fought as a corps commander in many of the major battles of the Western Theater, but is remembered more for his bitter disagreements with his immediate superior, Gen. Braxton Bragg of the Army of Tennessee, than for his successes in combat. He fought in battles such as Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River and Chickamauga. Charles Champion Gilbert Braxton Bragg Leonidas Polk
Battle Commanders (Cont. 2) • William Joseph Hardee (October 12, 1815 – November 6, 1873) was a career U.S. Army officer, serving during the Second Seminole War and fighting in the Mexican-American War. He also served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and his pre-Civil War writings about military tactics were well known and widely used on both sides of the conflict. Some battles he served were Shiloh, Perryville, and Stones River. • William Starke Rosecrans (September 6, 1819 – March 11, 1898) was an inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and United States Army officer. He gained fame for his role as a Union general during the American Civil War. He was the victor at prominent Western Theater battles including the battle of Stones River, but his military career was effectively ended following his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. • Thomas Leonidas Crittenden (May 15, 1819 – October 23, 1893) was a lawyer, politician, and Union general during the American Civil War. He was heavily involved in the Battle of Stones River, heading the Army of Cumberland. William Joseph Hardee William Starke Rosecrans Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
Conclusions Perryville was a major leap forward for the Union, as control of Kentucky meant control over rivers that helped transport soldiers, goods, etc. Plus, they had one more state over the Confederacy. Stones River was also very important, as it meant if the Confederacy had won, with several other key pieces in play, they could have won their independence from the North and become a separate nation.