October 9, 1862 – General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army withdrew after fighting Kentucky’s largest battle of the war.
On October 7, part of Bragg’s divided force gathered on the ridge of Chaplin Hills east of Doctor’s Creek, near the small crossroads town of Perryville. General William Hardee, commanding Confederates in the area, requested reinforcements to drive off what he thought were Federal skirmishers. Neither he nor Bragg knew that 55,000 Federals from Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio were closing in on him.
General Leonidas Polk arrived with reinforcements that evening and took command from Hardee. Polk held a council of war with his top officers before dawn on the 8th, and they realized they faced a much larger Federal force than initially believed. They agreed to stay on the defensive and let the Federals make the first move. The Confederate force numbered just 16,000 men.
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