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Plans under way to commemorate battles

Plans under way to commemorate battles

Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:00 pm

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Plans are being made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Civil War battles in Richmond and Perryville.
The Battle of Richmond, which was fought on Aug. 30, 1862, will commemorate its sesquicentennial on Aug. 25-26 in Madison County. Then, from Oct. 5-7, there will be a re-enactment of the Battle of Perryville, which was the largest Civil War conflict in Kentucky. The actual battle was fought on Oct. 8, 1862.
The Battle of Perryville led to the Confederacy giving up its aspirations for Kentucky, which afterward remained loyal to the Union.
The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/HAzO8m) reports that the re-enactment will be the first at Perryville in which military participants will retrace the routes that Union and Confederate soldiers used to arrive on the field.
During the Battle of Richmond, Confederate soldiers pushed Union troops back past the Kentucky River in sweltering heat.
“It was so hot you could wade the Kentucky River in a lot of places,” said Paul Rominger, managing director of the Battle of Richmond Association. “A few soldiers waded across and went toward Winchester.”
A 45-minute re-enactment will take place at Battlefield Park on U.S. 421 south of Richmond on Aug. 25. On Aug. 26, there will be a re-enactment of a 30-minute skirmish on property that now belongs to the Blue Grass Army Depot. The depot’s property includes about 600 acres of battleground with interpretive signs that tell about the battle.
“The Army says this is only the second time that a Civil War re-enactment has been done on a federal base,” Rominger said. “The other was done at Fort Benning, Ga. …The re-enactors are extremely excited about this, to be on the depot battlefield.”
Confederate gains in Kentucky didn’t last long — they were lost in the Battle of Perryville.
“Such obstinate fighting I never had seen before or since,” Tennessee Pvt. Sam Watkins wrote about the battle at Perryville. “The guns were discharged so rapidly that it seemed the earth itself was in a volcanic uproar.”
There were 2,500 soldiers killed in the battle and another 5,000 wounded.
Joni House, preservation and program coordinator for the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, said previous re-enactments have drawn 30,000 people.
“I would caution people: Do not try to come out here an hour before the battle, because you’ll never get in,” House said. “This is an all-day thing. Come early and plan to stay late. We’ll have all kinds of different ancillary events going on, so you can entertain yourself all day.”
But House also said she hopes people view the re-enactments as more than entertainment.
“I really want folks to know that 150 years ago, on the very ground that they’re standing, some 17-year-old kid died, very far away from home and very alone,” House said. “I’d like for them to consider for just a few minutes that young man who didn’t make it back to Ohio or Alabama or wherever they came from. His life was over and everything he was going to be was over.”
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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com
Published in The Messenger 4.18.12

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