The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive (Kentucky Campaign) during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a tactical victory against primarily a single corps of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Union Army of the Ohio. The battle is considered a strategic Union victory, sometimes called the Battle for Kentucky, since Bragg withdrew to Tennessee soon thereafter. The Union retained control of the critical border state of Kentucky for the remainder of the war.
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On October 1, Buell's Army of the Ohio left Louisville with Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas as his second in command. (Two days earlier, Buell had received orders from Washington relieving him of command, to be replaced by Thomas. Thomas demurred, refusing to accept command while the campaign was underway, leaving Buell in place.) The 55,000 troops—many of whom Thomas described as "as yet undisciplined, unprovided with suitable artillery, and in every way unfit for active operations against a disciplined foe"—advanced toward Bragg's veteran army in Bardstown on three separate roads.
The I Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Alexander M. McCook, marched on the left, along the Mackville Road. His 13,000 men consisted of the 3rd Division, under Brig. Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau, and the 10th Division, under Brig. Gen. James S. Jackson.
The II Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, marched on the right, along the Lebanon Road. His 20,000 men were in three divisions: the 4th, commanded by Brig. Gen. William Sooy Smith; the 5th, Brig. Gen. Horatio P. Van Cleve; and the 6th, Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood.
The III Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Charles Champion Gilbert, took the center, along the Springfield Pike. Just a few weeks earlier, Gilbert had been a captain, but was elevated to acting major general and corps command following the death by murder of the previous commander, Maj. Gen. William "Bull" Nelson. Gilbert's 22,000 men were also in three divisions: the 1st, under Brig. Gen. Albin F. Schoepf; 9th, Brig. Gen. Robert B. Mitchell; and the 11th, Brig. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.
Further information: Union order of battle
Bragg's Army of Mississippi consisted of about 16,800 men in two wings. The Right Wing, commanded by Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, consisted of a single division under Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham. The Left Wing, commanded by Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee, consisted of the divisions of Brig. Gen. J. Patton Anderson and Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner.
Further information: Confederate order of battle