Portrait of Don Carlos Buell

In 1862, Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio repulsed a major Confederate thrust into Kentucky by the combined forces of Generals Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith. [Wikimedia Commons]

Confederate Heartland Campaign Facts

August–October 1862

Key facts about the Civil War's Confederate Heartland Campaign of 1862.

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Also Known As

  • Confederate Heartland Offensive
  • Kentucky Campaign

Date and Location

  • August and October 1862
  • Kentucky and Tennessee

Timeline of the Confederate Heartland Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Confederate Heartland Campaign in order.

Principal Union Commanders

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged

  • Army of the Ohio

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Army of Mississippi
  • Army of Kentucky

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 60,000

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 52,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • Undetermined

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • Undetermined

Result

  • Union victory

Significance

  • Hoping to end the string of Federal successes in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Confederate General Braxton Bragg devised a plan shift the focus of the war by invading Kentucky in 1862.
  • Confederate General Braxton Bragg believed that the majority of Kentucky residents supported the Confederacy and that many of them would join the Southern Army if he invaded that border state.
  • The Confederate Heartland Offensive was initially successful, driving Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio to Louisville, on the Indiana-Kentucky border.
  • On October 4, Confederate General Braxton Bragg participated in the inauguration of Richard Hawes as the provisional Confederate governor of Kentucky.
  • Over the objections of Lieutenant General Kirby Smith, Major General Leonidas Polk, and other subordinates, Confederate General Braxton Bragg decided to call of the Confederate Heartland Offensive and evacuate Kentucky in October 1862, leaving the state in Union control for the remainder of the war.
  • After the failure of the Confederate Heartland Offensive, Confederate General Braxton Bragg was called to the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia to answer charges brought by his subordinates about how poorly he handled the campaign. Satisfied with Bragg’s explanations, President Jefferson Davis ignored requests to relieve Bragg of his command.
  • Buell’s half-hearted pursuit of Bragg as the Confederates withdrew from Kentucky was the source of dissatisfaction on the Union side that led to him losing his command and eventually resigning from the army in 1864.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Confederate Heartland Campaign Facts
  • Coverage August–October 1862
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 8, 2021
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