Last Saturday I spent a (soggy) day at Perryville, Kentucky’s state battlefield park commemorating the engagement of October 8, 1862. I was there because I was coming home from Chattanooga, and the Western Theater Civil War Historians’ conference, an annual event I try and attend every spring.
Good friends Andy Papen and Darryl Smith, both of whom have often joined me at Chickamauga for the March Study Group, were at Perryville – Darryl acting as guide for Andy’s CWRT, out of Missouri.They invited me to tag along.
I have been to Perryville several times, and once designed a game on it. The park has grown exponentially over the years – when I first visited, the entire park encompassed something like 98 acres. Now, it boasts of over a thousand acres. Heady stuff, for preservationists.
We spent the day on the field, despite the morning’s light rain. The park is now amazingly well interpreted, and Darryl delivered a solid interpretation. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
We ended the day discussing the fighting at Starkweather’s Hill, where one of my favorite stories to emerge out of the battle of Perryville was played out. At Perryville, the 1st Wisconsin Infantry supported and helped defend the 4th Indiana Battery. The 4th Indiana did not forget that service. In the summer of 1863, the men of the 4th took up a collection to help purchase a new set of colors for the 1st Wisconsin – which were presented with all due ceremony.
On September 20, 1863, the men of the 1st Wisconsin were carrying this same flag when they were in support of the same 4th Indiana Battery.