One of the most important battles in the American Civil War occurred in Kentucky, a key border state for both the Union and the Confederacy at the time.
The Confederacy wanted Kentucky because of its many rivers and its key central position. It could also be used as a base to invade the Union and end the Civil War. Confederate general Braxton Bragg mustered 21,000 men to seize Kentucky by force. However, Union general Don Carolos Buell was waiting for the Confederates, and battle commenced on October 8, 1862.
Bragg’s army engaged a smaller contingent of the Union army first, as Buell did not send reinforcements until later in the day. However, Confederate successes were doused by the arrival of the rest of the Union army. Bragg and the Confederates won a tactical victory, forcing the Union position back a mile, but it was a strategic Union victory, as the Confederate position was deemed unfeasible and Bragg was ordered to retreat to Tennessee. Buell gave a half-hearted pursuit, resulting in his replacement by William S. Rosecrans.
History will forever remember the sacrifices made and the outcome of this famous battle. Kentucky would never be conquered by the Confederacy, and this battle would help change the course of the American Civil War.