August 14

This Day in History

Civil War

Aug 14, 1862:

Confederate invasion of Kentucky begins

Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith begins an invasion of Kentucky as part of a Confederate plan to draw the Yankee army of General Don Carlos Buell away from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to raise support for the Southern cause in Kentucky.

Smith led 10,000 troops out of Knoxville, Tennessee, on August 14 and moved toward the Cumberland Gap—the first step in the Confederate invasion of Kentucky. After a Federal force evacuated the pass in the face of the invasion, Smith continued north. On August 30, he encountered a more significant force at Richmond, Kentucky. In a decisive battle, the Confederates routed the Yankees and captured most of the 6,000-man army. The Confederates occupied Lexington a few days later.

General Braxton Bragg, who moved into Kentucky from Chattanooga, routed a small Union force and sat on Buell's supply line. He later linked to Smith's force. In September, Buell followed the Confederates northward. The major encounter in the campaign would come on October 8, when Buell would defeat Bragg's army at Perryville, Kentucky. After Perryville, Bragg and Smith retreated back to Tennessee. They succeeded in drawing Buell away from Chattanooga, but they lost the contest for Kentucky.

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