The Kentucky Campaign
The period of drilling at Tupelo came to an abrupt end in late July. The Federal Army under Don Carlos Buell was slowly moving eastwards towards the key railroad hub at Chattanooga. Grant continued to hold Corinth and the surrounding area despite the loss of Buell. The Confederates had to do something to distract or defeat Buell before he could capture Chattanooga and cut the vital railroad linking Richmond to the western states. The loss of Kentucky and Tennessee had been a devastating blow to the government's prestige, both within its own borders, and in terms of its international image. Bragg knew that the restoration of these states would also represent a significant increase in the territory available to him for recruiting and feeding his forces. Strategically, politically, logistically and as a way to boost the faltering morale of the army, an advance was essential.