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Army of the Cumberland and the Battle of Stone's River   By:

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Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.



Army of the Cumberland and the Battle of Stone's River.



Army of the Cumberland and the Battle of Stone River.

The Army of the Ohio, after crowding into the space of six weeks more hard marching and fighting than fell to the lot of any other army in the United States during the summer of 1862, was, on the last of October, encamped in the vicinity of Bowling Green, Kentucky. General Bragg and Kirby Smith, turning Buell's left flank, had invaded Kentucky, gained the rear of Buell, threatened his base at Louisville, and but for the vis inertia which always seemed to seize upon the Confederates when in sight of complete victory, would have captured Louisville. The battle of Perryville resulting in the hasty exit of the combined armies of Bragg and Smith through Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee, the deliberate sweep of Buell's columns in their rear, the halt at Crab Orchard, and the return march towards Nashville are part of the events of an earlier chapter in the history of the rebellion. The occupation of East Tennessee by the Union Army had from the commencement of hostilities been an object dear to the great heart of President Lincoln. He had hoped for its accomplishment under General Sherman. It had been included in the instructions to General Buell, but eighteen months had passed and the Confederate flag still waved in triumph from the spire of the court house at Knoxville. The retreat of the Confederate Army into East Tennessee in what was reported as a routed and disorganized condition had seemed like a favorable opportunity to carry out the long cherished design of the Government. The movement of large armies across the country upon a map in the War Office, although apparently practicable, bore so little relation to actual campaigning as to have already caused the decapitation of more than one general.

The positive refusal of General Buell to march 60,000 men into a sterile and hostile country across a range of mountains in pursuit of an army of equal strength with his own, when by simply turning southward he could meet it around the western spur of the same range, although it has since been upheld by every military authority, caused his prompt removal from command of the army he had organized and led to victory. The army had been slow to believe in the incapacity of General Buell, and had recognized the wisdom of his change of front from Cumberland Gap towards Nashville, but there were causes for dissatisfaction, which, in the absence of knowledge as to the difficulties under which he labored were attributed to him. A full knowledge of all the circumstances would have transferred them to the War Department. Major General William S. Rosecrans, the newly appointed commander of the Army of the Cumberland, graduated at West Point July 1, 1842, as brevet second lieutenant corps of engineers. He resigned from the army April 1, 1854, and entered civil life at Cincinnati as a civil engineer and architect. His energy and capability for large undertakings, coupled with an inherent capacity for command, caused him to be selected as superintendent of a cannel coal company in Virginia and president of the Coal River Navigation Company.

The discovery of coal oil at this period at once attracted his attention, and he had embarked in its manufacture when the tocsin of war called him into the field. His first duty was as volunteer aid to General McClellan, where his military experience rendered him very efficient in the organization of troops. He became commander of Camp Chase, colonel on the staff, chief engineer of the State of Ohio, and colonel Twenty third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanded later by Rutherford B... Continue reading book >>

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