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APRIL 6, 7 and 8, 2017
No Civil War personality is more enigmatic than General Braxton Bragg. Through the eyes of some, he was brilliant; to others, he was indecisive and vacillating. Many regarded him as disputatious and dyspeptic. He could be cruel at times, yet he commanded the largest Confederate army next to Robert E. Lee’s for the longest period of time in the war. When relieved, he was summoned to the capitol as military advisor to the president.
The 1862 invasion of Kentucky provides the very best means of examining General Bragg as a military commander. The invasion itself was a logistical phenomenon, yet the stunning successes that were achieved during the advance into Kentucky were seemingly sacrificed on the altar of uncertainty, dispute, and acrimony. The result was a failure to achieve the objectives of the campaign.
Join Witnessing History for an absolutely memorable tour examining the generalship of General Braxton Bragg during the 1862 invasion of Kentucky. Headquartered in the beautiful Embassy Suites Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, the program will begin with a reception and overview of the tour on Thursday evening, April 6, 2017.
The following morning, the tour will proceed to Munfordville, Kentucky where we will join Bragg and his Army of the Mississippi as it approached the first Union resistance to the invasion at Woodsonville where 4,200 Union troops manned heavy trenches and gun emplacements protecting the enormous Louisville & Nashville Railroad bridge over the Green River. We will follow the bloody attacks of General J. R. Chalmers’s brigade on September 14, 1862 and then the curious negotiations that led to the surrender of the Union garrison three days later. We will view Bragg’s headquarters after the surrender and discuss his decision to move to Bardstown instead of facing the approach of General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio from Bowling Green. It will be a memorable morning on the battlefield at Munfordville, as the scenes there are truly unique and unforgettable.
The tour will then proceed to Bardstown, following, in large part, the road Bragg actually used to reach that notable town. Lunch will be provided at the historic Talbot Tavern, a hostelry that has been in continuous operation since 1797.
After lunch, the tour will visit some of the sites in Bardstown, including General Leonidas Polk’s headquarters. There we will examine Bragg’s orders to Polk and Polk’s council of war in response thereto. We will examine Polk’s decision to withdraw toward the army’s supply trains rather than proceed toward Frankfort as Bragg demanded. From Bardstown, the tour will proceed to Frankfort, the capital city, where we will visit the Old State Capitol building where Bragg and General Edmund Kirby Smith installed Richard Hawes as governor of Confederate Kentucky on October 4, 1862. Governor Hawes, Bragg, and Smith left Frankfort as a Union division began shelling the city during the inaugural. We will then return to the hotel after passing the site where Bragg determined his army should offer battle to the approaching enemy.
On April 8, the tour will proceed back to Bardstown where we will follow Bragg’s army – then under General Polk as Bragg was in Frankfort – as it withdrew toward Springfield with the Union army following closely. At Perryville, Polk halted Bragg’s army. There, gunfire erupted on the evening of October 7. The next day Bragg returned. Disputes over orders being disobeyed by Polk turned into acrimony. Yet Bragg prepared to confront what he believed to be an isolated element of Buell’s army. What resulted on October 8 was, possibly, the bloodiest and most desperate six hours of fighting in the war.
Through the morning, we will walk fields few ever have an opportunity to experience as we set up and fight each brigade Bragg brought into the fighting. We will see private cemeteries with burials from the battle, hospital sites with bloodstained floors, and landscapes the soldiers remembered, but few have ever seen to appreciate. It will be unforgettable.
Lunch will be held at the famous Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, a destination all by itself. Before returning to Perryville, we will visit St. Philip’s Episcopal Church where Bragg, Polk, and Smith were given Holy Communion by the Reverend Charles T. Quintard on the day after the Battle of Perryville.
After returning to Perryville and concluding the tour of the fighting there, we will proceed to Camp Dick Robinson, the site where all of Bragg’s and Smith’s supply trains were parked. There, on the road leading to Cumberland Gap, Bragg began the withdrawal from Kentucky on October 12. We will assess Bragg’s command of the Army of the Mississippi and what was achieved or lost forever by the Kentucky campaign. The bus will then return to the hotel.
The registration fee is $395.00* per person and includes bus transportation during the tour, lunches, and program materials. Sign up now, or call 859-455-9330.
Hotel accommodations, and transportation to and from Lexington, Kentucky, are not included in the registration fee and must be arranged and paid for by each attendee. Contact the Embassy Suites Hotel, ph 859-455-5000. The hotel is located at 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, Kentucky 40511. Ask for the special Witnessing History rate of $149.95 per night that includes breakfast each morning, as well as a reception with wine, beer, and mixed drinks each evening! This special rate will only be good through March 8, 2016. You must sign up and reserve your room quickly, as the hotel will hold our rooms for a limited period of time.
*REGISTRATION FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE–WITNESSING HISTORY USES THESE FEES TO PREPAY NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSITS, FARES, FEES, LICENSES AND PERMITS.