|Looking at the main position of the 10th Ohio on Loomis Heights|
I must admit, I become re-energized every time I make the 2+ hour sojourn to Perryville. I was just at the battlefield a few weeks ago, making copies of park manager Kurt Holman's file on the 10th Ohio, and did some walking in some of the areas the 10th Ohio heroically fought. That got me thinking about more unit histories within the context of the battle, much like the Stuart Sanders work on Maney's Brigade.
A few months ago I was contacted via the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table by a round table association in Michigan about whom to contact to lead a group tour at Perryville. After a few messages suggesting they contact Chuck Lott but I could do it if Chuck was otherwise engaged, I found myself co-leading a trip this coming weekend for the Michigan Regimental Round Table, a group based in Farmington Hills. To be honest, I am tagging along to learn what Chuck covers during a two day tour as every trip I have led at Perryville has been no more than a partial day, and I want to take advantage of getting inside the Squire Bottom House, explore Walker's Bend and the Dug Road area, and perhaps get inside some of the buildings along Merchant's Row in town. While I expect on helping as needed, this is certainly Chuck's baby and I very appreciative to be "along for the ride." Chuck has been diligently working on a wagon that the group can use, much like a hayride, to reduce the many miles of walking it would take to cover the battle in detail. The group was kind enough to book my hotel room and invite my wife and I to their Saturday evening banquet. A bit about the tour for the Michigan group can be found here: MRRT Fall Trip.
|Sample elevation profile for the Donelson Loop Trail|
This weekend will once again stoke the fires for my Perryville passion. I have been slowly working on a walking/trail guide, something a bit different from the park's current numbered trail system, that will allow the casual visitor and serious battlefield tramper to break the battle down into smaller pieces by walking specific loops. My observations of most park visitors at Perryville is this: they tour the museum, the Confederate cemetery and the monuments around the cemetery, then leave. Some of them might drive the gravel road that leads to Loomis Heights, and some may drive on Hays-Mays Road to look at the Russell and Bottom House areas. But very few of them get out to walk the battlefield, and by not doing so I believe they are missing out on how the battle truly unfolds and the importance of terrain. Many are probably intimidated by the excellent walking trail map the park provides, as it includes about twenty miles of trails, and most folks won't walk more than a couple of miles and hence are probably not certain where to start. Most of the the loops in the guide I am working on are less than three miles, and so should encourage more use of the trails and a better understanding of the battlefield. This guide will be a work in process as the battlefield continues to expand and I do not want it to be published and then have the trail system change due to some major land acquisition (more important parcels are in the works). But I may post a few of the trails here so that folks can provide feedback.
I also hope, based on the fact that folks have been asking about my tours at Perryville, to start a history walking tour company that would not only cover Perryville, but also Camp Wild Cat, Mill Springs, Richmond, along with sites from other periods of history. More on this as I start the process of setting up my own business.