Friday, May 11, 2018

In 10 images, the beauty of Perryville (Ky.) battlefield

A field of buttercups where the 3rd Ohio and 15th Kentucky made their stand on the Union right flank.
(CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
    PANORAMA: From this ridge, Union artillery dueled with Rebel artillery positioned 
                    on hills in the distance. (Click on image for full-screen panorama.)

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At Perryville, golden skies reluctantly give way to ominous, black clouds. Despite threatening weather, much beauty remains this morning on a hilly Kentucky battlefield where Union and Confederate soldiers clashed on Oct. 8, 1862, in the unheralded western theater battle. Near where inexperienced 40th Indiana troops made their stand, a man in a brown checkered shirt, jeans and long boots rides a chestnut mare on a trail as his gray dog eagerly leads the the way. Buttercups dominate a field where the 15th Kentucky and 3rd Ohio valiantly attempted to hold off a Confederate charge on the extreme right flank of the Union army. Here a Rebel artillery shell ignited a barn --- the acrid smoke from the hit obscured the Federals' view -- but there's no trace of the structure today. And in a rolling field of green bordered by a snake-rail fence and a wood line, a marker reveals the horror of the marvelous landscape: 40 soldiers in the 79th Pennsylvania were killed here nearly 156 years ago.

A statue of a Confederate soldier stands watch at the mass grave of his comrades. Two hundred Rebels
may be buried in the cemetery opposite the small Perryville visitors' center and museum.
A marker at the base of the memorial and a Confederate national flag.
A tombstone for one of the two known soldiers buried at the Confederate cemetery in Perryville, Ky.
In a field on the Union right flank, buttercups bloom where wounded soldiers once lay.
      PANORAMA: Where 79th Pennsylvania suffered 189 casualties, including 37 killed.
                                       (Click at upper right for full-screen experience.)
Nearly pristine, the Perryville battlefield is known for rolling terrain that sometimes bedeviled soldiers.
            PANORAMA: From Starkweather's Hill, Union artillery was forced to retreat.
                                       (Click at upper right for full-screen experience.)
Union artillery position on Starkweather's Hill. The Federals were forced to retreat to another ridge.

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5 comments:

  1. Thank you for the Perryville posts this week. I admit that geography - it is a bit more than 2 hours from my home, easily the closest major battlefield to me - is a reason why it’s my favorite Civil War site, but my state has actually (surprisingly) done a terrific job of keeping it so beautiful and has worked with the Civil War Trust to preserve it. I am proud of that and really enjoy visiting it.

    I have enjoyed your perspectives. Thank you again for sharing them

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  2. Awesome pictures John and a beautiful battlefield. Hard to imagine the shock and awe happening in that peaceful place more than 150 years ago.

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    1. Kudos to the dedicated team of staff and volunteers at Perryville. They've done such an amazing job at preserving and re-claiming that field. The transformation over the past 20+ years has been nothing short of miraculous. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to work alongside them over the years and you won't find a nicer, harder working group of people. The Perryville site is a treasure and October 8th, 1862 was one whale of a battle. I'd encourage anyone to visit the site.

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  3. Kudos to the dedicated team of staff and volunteers at Perryville. They've done such an amazing job at preserving and re-claiming that field. The transformation over the past 20+ years has been nothing short of miraculous. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to work alongside them over the years and you won't find a nicer, harder working group of people. The Perryville site is a treasure and October 8th, 1862 was one whale of a battle. I'd encourage anyone to visit the site.

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  4. Thomas Wilson10:06 PM

    I wrote the script and handled the correspondence with the participating units for the first reenactment of the Battle of Perryville, held on October 5, 1963 on the 101st anniversary of the battle. One unit, Loomis Battery of the Michigan Light Artillery, brought an original cannon used at the battle. My old reenactment unit, the 9th Kentucky Cavalry, staged the reenactment at the request of the Louisville Civil War Round Table, which financed it.

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