Home » Battle of Perryville commemoration set for Oct. 8-9

Battle of Perryville commemoration set for Oct. 8-9

Thousands of re-enactors expected for national event

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A re-enactment scene at Perryville. (Courtesy of Kentucky State Parks)

PERRYVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2016) — The commemoration of the Battle of Perryville, designated this year as the national Civil War re-enactment, is the weekend of Oct. 8-9, 2016.

The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky and left more than 7,500 casualties. Serving as a national re-enactment, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is expecting up to 4,000 re-enactors. Unlike other re-enactments, the Perryville re-enactment is commemorated on the same ground where the battle took place in October, 1862.

The two sides will engage in battle on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. There will also be living history demonstrations, military camps, military drills and other Civil War period presentations given throughout the weekend. Food, educational programming and entertainment will also be available. Gates open at 8 a.m. both days.

Here are some highlights that will be of interest to guests:

Battle Reenactment: Battle for the Cornfield, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2 p.m.
On Oct. 8, 1862 the Confederate army attacked the Union left flank on the very ground of this reenactment. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness the interpretation of this historic battle in which Union General Jackson, General Terrill, and Colonel Webster of the 10th Division were killed. This is the only battle during the Civil War in which commanders were lost, leaving an entire division without leadership. In recreating the corn field that stood witness to the battle, the Friends of Perryville have planted Wisconsin Red Dent. This heirloom corn breed, developed in Wisconsin in 1847, was chosen to honor the Wisconsin regiments who fought at Perryville.

Battle Reenactment: Battle for the H.P. Bottom Farm, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m.
The Confederate army attacked from Doctors Creek and overwhelmed three Union regiments in this battle. This reenactment will occur on the actual ground of the battle and spectators will see a replica of the Bottom’s barn that caught fire during the battle. The Confederates eventually forced the Union soldiers back to the Dixville Crossroads where darkness ended the battle but not before almost 400 casualties were suffered by the two Union regiments.

Brigade Drill, Saturday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m.
Civil War armies were generally organized into infantry regiments and artillery batteries. When maneuvering at battles, soldiers were grouped together into “brigades” that normally consisted of three to five infantry regiments and a battery of artillery. Few reenactments are large enough to afford the opportunity to mass enough soldiers together to do this type of drill. This experience will give the guests a view into the mechanics of how armies worked in the Civil War. The demonstration will be narrated by park manager Kurt Holman.

High Watermark Tour, Saturday Oct. 8, 4:30 p.m.
The Battle of Perryville has the distinction of being the Western Theater’s High Watermark of the Confederacy. The term “High Watermark” represents the farthest point north reached by Confederate forces before they were turned back. There are remnants of a stone wall where the battered Union forces were able to hold, and then counter-attack the Confederate forces, driving them back. The Civil War Trust recently purchased the farm containing this wall and granted the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site access to this hallowed ground. Park Manager Kurt Holman will lead the first tour of this site.

Other events include ghost tours (separate ticket required), battlefield tours, a talk about the park’s effort to restore wildlife habitat, and a talk about the aftermath of the battle in the Perryville area. Visit www.parks.ky.gov for a complete schedule for the weekend.

Tickets for the Battle of Perryville will be available online through Oct. 5 and at the gate. Gate prices are $20 for adults; $15 for seniors (62 and older) and children ages 6-12; and $10 for current and former members of the military. Save $5 with online purchases at: http://parks.ky.gov/parks/historicsites/perryville-battlefield/reenactment-schedule.aspx

Perryville visitors are encouraged to wear weather appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes as long-distance walking is required. Chairs and cameras are recommended, however no drones will be allowed. Parents are encouraged to bring ear protection for young children. Pets are allowed on a leash, but are discouraged due to large crowds and loud noises from gunfire and cannons. Additionally, participants are encouraged to allow plenty of time for parking as large crowds are expected.and Perryville Battlefield is in a rural area with two-lane roads.

Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is located just outside the community of Perryville in Boyle County, 45 miles southwest of Lexington near Danville, Ky.