Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eric Wittenberg's Blog - His Visit to Perryville in 2008

Okay, some might consider this cheating (I am trying to add content to this blog from about any source), but this link goes to the Perryville trip that noted author Eric Wittenberg took to Perryville in August, 2008. Mr. Wittenberg has written a number of Civil War titles, mostly dealing with cavalry actions in the Eastern Theater (I can highly recommend his Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions), so it is refreshing to read his positive comments about the Perryville battlefield. Enjoy the read!

Perryville Battlefield Visit

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heroes of the Western Theater: Thirty-third Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry

Recently I was able to pick up a copy of this newer book (released in mid 2008), written by Lois Lambert, and published by Little Miami Publishers. It is a regimental history of the 33rd Ohio Infantry, which was part of Colonel Leonard Harris' 9th Brigade (3rd Division - I Corps) at Perryville. The 33rd not only fought at Perryville, but nearly every other important battle of the Army of the Ohio/Cumberland for the remainder of the war. Raised in south-central Ohio, the 33rd had an excellent battle record, and stood on Snodgrass Hill as part of Thomas' final defensive line.

After accepting a wonderful offer from Mrs. Lambert to stop by her home to purchase the book I knew that the book was going to be one I was going to enjoy as the Lamberts (pro-rebel husband Tutt and Aussie Shepherd JEB) know their history and have a passion for the past (Luckily I live a scant three miles from the Lamberts). Mrs. Lambert expounds upon not only the facts of the regiment, but also allows us a glimpse into the lives of some of its members. I am only a few chapters into the book, but can state that this title is like reading a Cozzens book, having excellent detail weaved into interesting passages that captures that human element that makes history enjoyable.

I highly recommend the title to anyone interested in Perryville, the war in the western theater, or regimental histories.

Order here.

Perryville Battlefied - Saved Property

The first time I visited Perryville State Historic Site was in 1988. At the time I believe the battlefield consisted of 98 acres. Today the battlefield is 691 acres, and still growing. Here is a picture (from Kurt Holman - the site manager at Perryville), showing the saved acres. Stellar! Bear in mind, this is NOT a national battlefield (although it should be treated with as much honor and awe as Gettysburg) but a local and state project. Those who have worked over the years to save more of this pristine battlefield should be highly commended.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CWPT Annual Conference/Friends Group

The conundrum....

I am debating on whether or not I am going to attend the conference for 2010. It would be a great opportunity to join like-minded folks and visit Perryville, Richmond, and Mill Springs, but modestly speaking, I probably have about as much knowledge on these three battles as those giving the presentations. The cost of the trip, including hotel, is fairly expensive, and it appears that Ed Bearss is not going to be attending, which is one of the main reasons why I would want to participate in such an event. It will be the only CWPT annual conference within shouting distance, and the dollars spent do help support CWPT's mission, which is preserving our Civil war past so that our future generations can visit and honor our veterans as we do today.

A lot depends on work as well. Last year I received a very nice bonus at Christmas (is it politically incorrect to say "Christmas"? It is? GOOD!), but this year things have been tighter. If a bonus is forthcoming, it will make my decision to go much easier, actually it would make it automatic.

So, the dilemma still exists, for now. The bonus will make the trip, otherwise I might have to fore go this opportunity. Should know in the next few weeks.

On a different note....

It does appear that there is a Friends of Perryville group. I received a recent email from the park that mentions that the friends group is a new entity which is just getting started. I am hoping to hear directly from one of their board so that I can post details on how we can support this group, which seems to be tied more directly to the battlefield than the Perryville Enhancement Project (and their affiliate the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association). From what I gather there is a lot of political bullcrud within the latter group, so instead of sending my financial support to them, I'd rather it go directly to the battlefield. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hiking Tour

I was able to reschedule the Tri-State Hiking Club tour of Perryville for Saturday, November 21st. We had beautiful blue skies and temps in the 50s and 60s, making the tour enjoyable from a weather aspect. I took 19 hardy souls down to the rolling fields of central Kentucky and they all seemed to enjoy the battlefield, nearly as much as I do. I do not believe any of the hikers who were with me had ever been to Perryville before, so I had a fairly captive audience as I spoke on several facets of the battle. The museum had been recently redone (in October), so many of the attendees looked around and watched the video presentation before we set off to tramp, tramp, tramp. We covered all 27 tour stops, so we were on the battlefield for several hours.

Here, near Stop 3 I put most of the group into column as we discussed formations used during the Civil War. I think by the end of the day the crew understood the importance of flanks!

Near the Widow Gibson cabin (Stop 22), the full crew, still smiling. Of course the biggest hills are still awaiting us, I knew that, but they didn't.

The view from Tour Stop 26, a beautiful and quiet area. The climb up the hill is worth the view.
All in all, a perfect trip. It has motivated me to make this blog more active, as well as research Ohio units who fought at Perryville. I am also thinking about a detailed tour guide that folks can carry that would elaborate more on each tour stop.

Look for more good things over the next few months.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bad News

Alas, because of the weather in the Perryville area, I have had to cancel the hike/tour for tomorrow (September 26th). Walking on an exposed battlefield during thunderstorms, while exciting, is not the brightest thing to do!

I will be rescheduling the hike/tour either at the end of October or some Saturday in November.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CWPT Annual Conference

Excellent news! The annual conference for the Civil War Preservation Trust will be held in Kentucky in June, 2010. This is an excellent opportunity for Kentucky Civil War battlefields and Perryville in particular to have increased awareness in the Civil War community. Here are the details thus far:

Tours to include: Battle of Mill Springs, Battle of Perryville, Battle of Richmond, Historic Homes, Kentucky Today and more.

Confirmed historians:
Edwin C. Bearss. Kent Masterson Brown, Christopher Kolakowski, Richard McMurry and Richard Sommers.

Visit the CWPT website at for more details. Specific tours will be announced in late September.

This great event occurs June 3rd-6th. See you there!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tour at Perryville

September 26th I will be leading the Tri-State Hiking Club on a tour of the Perryville battlefield. This will be my third time taking members of this club to Perryville, and I hope to provide those in attendance with a solid overview of the battle, Civil War tactics, and some accounts of those soldiers who fought at Perryville. I plan on using several sources, including some well done troop movement maps I found on WikiPedia. My focus on this trip will be on the Ohio regiments and their contribution to the battle. The group will "hike" at least seven miles, if not all of the ten miles of interpretive trails there. More details can be found here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It has been far too long since I have added anything to the Ohio at Perryville blog, but there is not a lot moving on the Perryville front at this time, such is the "life" of a blog when it covers such a narrow topic.

I am currently compiling a list of regimental histories for the Buckeye regiments that took part in the "Gettysburg of the West", and will post those titles soon. I am also hoping to make a trip to Perryville sometime soon to take more pictures of the positions that the Ohio troops occupied.

I have been giving some thought as to starting some sort of non-profit organization so I can start collecting donations for creating Ohio monuments or markers at Perryville. Of course I still need to chat with the folks who run the Perryville battlefield to ensure this plan fits with their vision. A few years ago when Stuart Sanders headed up the preservation group he and I chatted about thisa very idea and he was extremely supportive, but he has since moved on and I am unaware if the folks "running the show" are still of the same mindset. Worse case, collect donations and give the money to the battlefield for further preservation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Perryville Creating Online Store

I do not have all the details, but the Perryville Battlefield is in the process of creating an online store so that those who are wanting to purchase books and other items will be able order these titles directly from the Perryville Battlefield. I know from my experiences in using the Antietam Museum Store that online purchasing makes it a snap to pick up useful items for trip planning and research. More details to follow once I have them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trail planned to link battlefield, Perryville

Lexington Herald Leader, Associated Press, March 1st, 2009

PERRYVILLE — The state has purchased 76 acres of land in Central Kentucky and will build a walking and biking trail connecting a Civil War battlefield with a nearby city. The Kentucky Department of Parks recently purchased the land off of U.S. 150 in Perryville for $416,933.

Parks Department spokesman Gil Lawson said the land will be used to connect Perryville with the site where the Battle of Perryville was fought on Oct. 8, 1862.

Lawson says plans call for an "interpretive walking trail" several miles in length and are part of an effort by the state to preserve what he said is one of Kentucky's most valuable landmarks.
"The battlefield is very significant, and was one of the largest in the Civil War," Lawson told The Danville Advocate-Messenger. "It's also been very well preserved, especially when compared to other battlefields in the state. To our knowledge, it still looks very similar to the time of the battle."

The trail will follow a stretch known at the time as Mackville Road, which was basically an undeveloped wagon trail that connected Perry ville to Mackville in Washington County and saw heavy traffic during the war.

Lawson said Mackville Road was apparently very significant during the battle, because it connected the battlefield to the city.

The state paid for the purchase from grant money in Kentucky's Heritage Land Conservation Fund. The fund gets its revenue from the purchase of specialized nature license plates, the state portion of the unmined minerals tax and environmental fines.

Of the total revenue in the fund, the Department of Parks receives a 10 percent allocation.
Plans for the trail come after a failed attempt to develop the property.

The Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission last year approved a request from Pete Coyle, a developer and member of the commission, to change a portion of the now state-owned land from agricultural to highway-commercial, single-family and multifamily houses. The Perryville City Council voted against the change, citing in part historical preservation. After the state purchased the land, Coyle described the deal as a "win-win" situation. "This is just going to be a great thing for the city and the battlefield," said Coyle, citing the project's dual ability to preserve history and mark the area.

Lawson agreed.

"The land will be conserved and continued to be made appropriate for wildlife development," the spokesman said.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Grove Cemetery

Today I got out for a little spring walk with a couple of friends at Spring Grove Cemetery, located in Cincinnati. I plan on doing research on Ohio soldiers who fought at Perryville who are buried at Spring Grove, but in the interim here are some pictures of the final resting places of two important Perryville figures, Major General Alexander McDowell McCook (I Corps commander) and Colonel William Haines Lytle (commander of the 17th Brigade, part of Rousseau's 3rd Division).

McCook of course was the commander of the Federal I Corps which took the brunt of the Confederate attack, suffering heavy casualties until darkness ended the battle. His corps was later handled roughly at both Stones River and Chickamauga.

Colonel Lytle commanded McCook's right flank brigade that took position near the Squier Bottom farm. Lytle was wounded, captured, and later exchanged. He was mortally wounded at Chickamauga. Lytle was a noted politician and poet before the war, and started his Civil War career as colonel of the 10th Ohio Infantry. He fought at Carnifex Ferry before moving his command to Kentucky.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ohio Medal of Honor Recipient at Perryville

2nd Ohio Infantry - Private William Surles, Company G. In action against Confederate forces at Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8, 1862, Private William Surles displayed uncommon courage and dedication to his commander. During the hottest part of the battle, with no regard for his own safety, Private Surles stepped in front of his colonel to shield him from the fire of the enemy. Surles was born in Steubenville, Ohio on February 24th, 1845, died on March 19th, 1919, and is buried in the Riverview Cemetery, East Liverpool, Ohio. His Medal of Honor was issued August 19th, 1891.

Private Surles deserves his own interpretive sign at Perryville as he is only one of two recipients of the CMoH during the Perryville battle.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Purpose of Ohio at Perryville

As the title indicates, this blog is about the participation of Ohio troops at the Battle of Perryville, which was fought in Kentucky on October 8, 1862. Perryville was the largest battle in the Bluegrass State, and some have called it the Gettysburg of the west as Braxton Bragg's Confederate forces, while winning the tactical fight, lost their ability to control Kentucky. (there are those who call Gettysburg the Perryville of the east, but I think that might be a bit of a stretch)

My primary goal of this blog is to provide a place for Buckeyes (and others who are so inclined) to discuss the role that soldiers from the Buckeye State had in the Perryville campaign. My secondary goal is to bring more public awareness to one of the most remarkable battlefields of the Civil War, a battlefield that has changed little since that dry autumn of 1862. And my ultimate goal (or dream) is to create a monument or additional interpretive signage on the battlefield itself that deals with the Ohio boys in blue. Michigan has a Michigan at Perryville marker, and they had very little participation in the actual battle. Ohio, which provided the most troops from any one state to Buell's Army of the Ohio, has none.

Posts will be sporadic, depending on the amount of interest readers of this blog show. I, like many, am an amateur historian with a good grasp of the Civil War, and the battle of Perryville in particular. I look forward to achieving the goals set above and hope you will support these efforts.


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