The premise of the Confederate campaign in Kentucky appeared to be sound; it was reasoned that a joint invasion of pro-secession Kentucky by Generals Bragg and Kirby Smith would bring Kentuckians flooding to the Confederate cause. Rapid progress was made: Smith won a skirmish at Richmond, Bragg seized Munfordville. Buell’s counteroffensive was painfully slow, his soldiers deputed to repairing rail lines en route. On 7 October Buell’s forces converged at Perryville, where the opposing forces were now fully assembled. The phenomenon of ‘acoustic shadow’ struck at Perryville (October 8). Unable to hear the sounds of Confederate General Polk’s attack on part of his superior army, Union General Buell failed to engage the bulk of his forces, ceding the southerners a muddled victory. In the aftermath, overall Confederate Commander Bragg displayed ‘perplexity and vacillation’, and abandoned the campaign and withdrew, deciding not to further risk his ‘noble little army’, rather than pursuing his advantage.
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