The Tennessee in the Civil War Message Board

Nashville TN CWRT - March meeting

Hello everyone,

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023, in the visitor’s center of Ft. Negley Park, a unit of Metro Parks, Nashville, TN. This is located off I-65 just south of downtown between 4th Avenue South and 8th Avenue South on Edgehill Avenue/Chestnut Avenue. Take Exit 81, Wedgewood Avenue, off I-65 and follow the signs to the Science Museum.

The meeting begins at 7:00 PM and is always open to the public.

Our Speaker and Topic – “Understanding The Battle of Perryville”

The Battle of Perryville fought in October, 1862, was the culmination of the Confederate invasion of that state which sought to bring her into the Confederate fold. Three columns moved in; Humphrey Marshall from Virginia’s toe; Edmund Kirby Smith from East Tennessee (who would actually lead off the invasion and convince Braxton Bragg to come along) and Braxton Bragg, commanding the Army of the Mississippi.

Early Confederate successes gave hope to the invasion. Kirby Smith walloped a Union army at Richmond, KY, captured Lexington and sent patrols to the Ohio River which set off a panic in Cincinnati. Bragg captured Munfordville and 4000 Union troops, retook the state capital of Frankfort and under the guns of Don Carlos Buell’s Union Army of the Ohio, inaugurated pro-Confederate Governor Richard Hawes and then moved to Perryville to confront Buell’s much larger army with only a fraction of his own.

After a day long fight, Bragg’s troops had shoved the Federals back a good distance but broke off the fight with the coming of darkness. With more of Buell’s troops arriving; a lack of coordination between Kirby Smith and Bragg; the lack of Kentucky men to rally to their colors (although about 4-5000 did so) and lack of supplies, the Confederates fell back into Tennessee. This began the inner fighting of the officer corps of Bragg’ s army as he sought to blame the Kentuckians for some of the failures of the campaign. But the invasion had some successes as well both tactically, as noted, and strategically. It forced the Federals to abandon northern Alabama and much of Tennessee save the Memphis area, Nashville and portions of East Tennessee, most of which had been lost with the fall of Fort Donelson.

Several books have been written on this battle that one would think covers every aspect of it. Think again, for our speaker this month has found some interesting things using period sources and maps that has been ignored by the other works on the battle. This is what history should do; if new facts turn up then use them and his multiple sources prove his point. Your editor saw this program last month at the Clarksville CWRT and it is well researched and the new evidence expertly presented.

Our speaker this month is Jamie Gillum. Jamie is a former Gunny Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a fine historian who has written the definitive book on the Spring Hill affair of the Tennessee Campaign of 1864, a book series on the16th Tennessee Infantry and is working on another Perryville title. This battle has been the topic of his intense study for years and he has developed some new conclusions.