In the summer of 1862, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg launched an invasion of the key border state of Kentucky, hoping to divert Union attention from the Southern strongholds at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, as well as to encourage Bluegrass State volunteers to join the Rebel army. Though unsuccessful in the last regard, the Kentucky Campaign did draw Federal forces out of northern Alabama and Middle Tennessee, ground it would take the Union almost a year to regain.
The largest engagement fought in Kentucky, the Battle of Perryville was a Confederate tactical victory, though the heavy fighting and bloodshed forced Bragg to retreat into Tennessee. During the battle, the Confederates held an early advantage that they were able to exploit due to lack of communication among various elements of the Union force. Eventually reinforced on the left of their line, the Federal troops held their ground and pushed some of their attackers back into the town of Perryville itself. Confronted by a larger force and running low on supplies, Bragg withdrew toward the Cumberland Gap. His army would never return to Kentucky.