cover of book

Decisions at Perryville: The Twenty-Two Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle
by Lawrence K. Peterson
University of Tennessee Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-62190-679-7 | eISBN: 978-1-62190-680-3
Library of Congress Classification E474.39.P48 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.733


The largest battle fought in Kentucky during the American Civil War occurred at a small, crossroads town named Perryville. As Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Heartland Offensive sputtered through Kentucky, Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s reformed Army of the Ohio pursued the Army of the Mississippi and clashed with its rearguard just outside Perryville. Believing that he faced only a part of Buell’s army, Bragg ordered an assault on the Union left flank which resulted in Confederate victory. However, that evening Bragg determined the Army of the Ohio outnumbered him three to one and quickly decided to retreat. Outmanned, outmaneuvered, and lacking supplies and reinforcements, Bragg retreated through the Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee, and Kentucky remained in Union control for the rest of the Civil War.

Decisions at Perryville explores the critical decisions made by Confederate and Union commanders during the battle and how these decisions shaped its outcome. Rather than offering a history of the battle, Larry Peterson hones in on a sequence of critical decisions made by commanders on both sides of the contest to provide a blueprint of the Battle of Perryville at its tactical core. Identifying and exploring the critical decisions in this way allows students of the battle to progress from a knowledge of what happened to a mature grasp of why events happened.

Complete with maps and a driving tour, Decisions at Perryville is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for a concise introduction to the battle can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into the campaign and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.

Decisions at Perryville is the twelfth in a series of books that will explore the critical decisions of major campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

See other books on: Battle | Campaigns | Command of troops | Kentucky | Peterson, Lawrence K.
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