October 8 - 1862 - The Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville was also known as the "Battle for Kentucky," because it was the only major battle fought in the state during the Civil War. Kentucky was a border state, a slave state that remained with the Union, but it also produced more Confederate troops than any other Union state. This made Kentucky an obvious target for the Confederates, despite its consistent status as Union held. By the summer of 1862, a plan was hatched by Generals Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith to launch a Confederate invasion of Kentucky. This would be coordinated with Robert E. Lee's invasion of Maryland in the Eastern Theater, and Bragg argued it could be a distraction to Union forces in the Western Theater. Actually, Bragg was pursued by Don Carlos Buell's Union troops all the way into Kentucky. When they met near the town of Perryville, both sides were disorganized and tired. On the field, the Union lost more men and proved to have more problematic leadership. Yet the Confederates were further from supplies and had fewer men, which forced them to retreat. This made the Battle of Perryville a Union victory officially, and made Kentucky safely a Union state for the duration of the war.