What is happening in 2016?
Perryville Battlefield has a long and successful track record of hosting some of the best reenactments in recent memory. We are again hosting another large reenactment in 2016.
The event will take place on October 7-9, 2016. There will be an all day unscripted tactical on Friday, a sunrise battle and “The Cornfield” on Saturday. The “Fight for the Bottom’s Farm” occurs on Sunday afternoon. (Detailed battle descriptions are included in the information on this page.)
How can I participate?
Please look over the participation standards and information. It is arranged as either U.S. or C.S. and then by each military branch. Civilian guidelines are also listed. For example if you are Union Infantry you simply go to the U.S. Guidelines and then to the U.S. Infantry Guidelines. Once you have reviewed them and they are acceptable to you - then you are invited to register for the event. This can be done either electronically or by mail in registration.
Who can participate and where will we camp?
Everyone who has an impression that meets the guidelines may participant either as a military or civilian reenactor? You may participate with a reenactment unit, mess or as an individual. There will be camping areas for campaigners, fixed military camps, and an authentic civilian area. There will be a mixed camp for civilians and military camping together. There is no modern camping on the park.
Why are your guidelines and standards the way they are?
Perryville Battlefield is a National Historic Landmark. The battle scenarios will be conducted on protected lands. It is a must that each participant is mindful of where they are and what an honor it is to be able to utilize the land. Every effort will be made to maintain historic authenticity throughout the event.
How much is registration?
Registration is $12.00 if paid on or before December 31, 2015. $20.00 from January 1, 2015 to September 20, 2016.Under 12 no fee. Ages 12 – 15 through December 31, 2015 is $6.00. From January 1, 2015 – September 20, 2016 is $20.00.
Will you take walk-ons?
No - Due to the nature of the event we cannot permit walk-ons.
What is my registration money used for?
All reenactor registration goes to our friends group and will be used for interpretation and preservation efforts on the park. In 2014 the reenactor registration fee was used to finish the split rail fence along the Dixville Crossroads. The Kentucky Department of Parks provides the logistical needs for the reenactors and park visitors (porta-potties, firewood, water, etc.)
Who is hosting the event?
The Kentucky Department of Parks is hosting the event. The military organizations that are responsible to the Kentucky Department of Parks are the Western Federal Blues, and the Southern Division. They successfully planned and executed the 150th Anniversary Event and we are pleased to have them put forth the time, trouble and expense to help us raise much needed preservation funding for the battlefield. Friend’s President Chad Greene is the reenactor coordinator and he can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why should I attend?
You will be on the ground upon which the armies of North and South engaged to determine the destiny of Kentucky! Your money will go for preservation! We have an exemplary track record of hosting events! Your military leadership is experienced and their primary responsibility is to you and making sure you have an outstanding time while representing and honoring those who fought at Perryville!
What is new for 2016?
The H.P. Bottoms Farm will be used during 2016. This ground has not been used since the original battle and we are very grateful to the Civil War Trust for providing us with this opportunity.
What are the scenarios?
It is very easy to plan the scenarios for Perryville. The generals wrote them 150 plus years ago. The park historian has each army’s movement broken down into 15 minute increments and the scenarios will be scripted to those movements.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
This scenario simulates the events that took place at approximately 2:00 PM on Wednesday, October 8th, 1862. While General Daniel Donelson’s brigade was moving forward into attack position, Brigadier General William R. Terrill’s Union Brigade was in the process of forming their line on the “Open Knob”. Maney’s Brigade, assisted by Wharton’s Cavalry, attacked with vigor, rolling over Terrill’s regiments as they arrived on the field piecemeal. Union Brigadier General James S. Jackson, the Commander of the 10th Division was killed on the open knob. The first Union position on the Open Knob was overrun and the Confederates moved up their artillery as their infantry line moved forward into the cornfield. Here, the Confederates met Colonel John Starkweather’s veteran brigade. Starkweather’s only new regiment, the 21st Wisconsin, was positioned in the cornfield when the Confederates attacked. They were quickly overwhelmed, losing all their field officers. The retreating Confederates were pressed across the Dixville Road and a Hand-to-hand fight erupted on the front slope in front of Starkweather’s cannon. The Union forces were driven from the hill, but regained it in a counter-attack. General Terrill was also killed on the reverse slope of “Starkweather Hill”. With the deaths of General Jackson, General Terrill, and Colonel Webster, the Union 10th Division lost all its commanders. This was the only time in the Civil War that this happened to a Division in a single battle.
The corn planted in the cornfield is an heirloom corn breed, developed in Wisconsin in 1847. This breed of corn, Wisconsin Red Dent, chosen and planted by the Friends of Perryville was done to honor the Wisconsin regiments involved in the Battle of Perryville.
Bayonet thrusts and blows from the butts of our guns crashed on all sides. We would drive them back a few yards, then we would in turn be driven. The very leaden hail, like rain-drops, and as thick, was poured into our very faces, fairly hurling us back.
– Sam Watkins, 1st Tennessee Infantry
I did not go far, however, before a musket or rifle ball struck me in my left leg just below the calf, breaking it, and passing clear through. I of course fell, and that finished my fighting. Shortly afterward, the rebels passed me by. One of them cut off my cartridge box and took it away from me. The shot and shell flew think over my head as I lay there, making it very unsafe."
– Josiah Ayre, 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
The 79th [PA] and 24th [IL] were all enveloped in smoke; the 1st Wisconsin I could not see on account of the corn. I looked for the front. All at once I saw a rebel flag, that is, the upper part of it above the cornstalks and not far away either. I sat down on my right knee and said as loud as I could: 'Boys be ready! They are coming'! They got on their knees; some looked forward, some back at me. Instinctively I yelled: 'Why don't we fire?' I looked to the right, [the] Colonel was not there; I looked to the left, [the] Major was not there. I leveled my rifle at some butternut colored jacked which I saw among the stalks. Instantly the Company followed suit. The Rebs staggered a little and in their turn saluted."
– John Henry Otto, 21st Wisconsin Infantry