Soon, the army moved again, this time on the East Tennessee railroad to Chattanooga. From there the troops moved through the Sand Mountain gorge and down the Tennessee River to Bridgeport, Alabama, where they crossed the Tennessee River and moved north by train through the Crow Creek Gorge, through the Cumberland tunnel. The army proceeded on to its final destination, the Stones River Valley and the siege of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. By December, the 32nd Mississippi Regiment, in which Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes served, was at Shelbyville, about 25 miles south of the city.
On this date, Bragg received a summons to the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, to give a report to his friend, President Davis, of his plans for the future of the army. He again left the army under the command of Gen. Leonidas Polk, with orders to take the army by rail to Chattanooga, and then on to Murfreesboro.
Somehow, Bragg was able to convince Richmond that any blame for losing Kentucky belonged with Gen. Polk. This will not be the only time that Bragg shifts blame to his subordinate general officers. While President Davis doesn't seem to have shared Bragg's assessment, nevertheless, he did not hold Bragg accountable for the loss. Sadly, blame shifting will continue through future campaigns, seriously impeding the army's effectiveness going forward.
In his invasion of Kentucky, Bragg's men had marched a thousand miles, had fought a bloody battle, and now are finally back where they started 2 months before. Despite their inordinate effort and sacrifice, Bragg's Kentucky invasion yielded little, if any, results.
Sources: The Army of Tennessee, Stanley F. Horn; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Record of Events for 32nd Mississippi Regiment