Thursday, October 8, 2015

Some Perryville Sources

Today  is the 153rd anniversary of my favorite Civil War battle, the bloody fight at Perryville, which went a long way towards keeping Kentucky under the United States' control. The Confederacy perhaps won a tactical victory in the small town, but its army abandoned the battlefield the next day, retreating to Tennessee. This ended the invasion of Kentcky (sometimes called "Bragg's Invasion of Kentucky")' the last major invasion of this border state ((though some smaller raids would follow in the years to come, notably by John Hunt Morgan.)

I have found several good books and sources on this battle and though i am sure there are others I have missed, I will list my favorites here. (I will gladly take suggestions for others though.)

First, here are some good books about the battle.

Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle By Kenneth Noe is a very good book, perhaps the definitive account of the battle. It is one I want to read again.

Stuart Sanders has written two fine books about this fight. One is Maney's Confederate Brigade at Perryville . I read this just after a trip to the battlefield, so the names and places were fresh in my mind. That was great - and lucky - timing on my part. It is a very good and quick read about this part of the battle and would be a good book to read right before a trip to the site.

His other work is Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kntucky's Largest Civil War Battle. This is a fascinating look at how this battle affected the small town of Perryville as well as many of the other surrounding towns and rural areas near Perryville in the weeks and months after the terrible event.

The Civil War at Perryville: Battling for the Bluegrass by Christopher Kolakowski is a good book about the battle, shorter than Noe's, but very helpful and a quick, easy read. It would be another fine choice to use right before a visit to the field.

Company Aytch by Sam Watkins is a really enjoyable read and includes a good section on Perryville.  Some of the more famous quotes about this battle came from ?Watkins' story.

Of course, the web also provides many resources, as a quick Google search will show. Here are the ones I haves used and recommend.

One great website is at Battle of It provides a really detailed view of the battle, the campaign and pictures of the barttlefield, as well as a list of other sources and information. It is a very informative snd helpful site if you want to read or research the battle online. This would be a great starting point.

The battlefield's official site does a fine job of updating current events, programs and information about the park and museum. It is a good resource to check before taking a trip to the park.

Perryville Battlefield is part of the Kentucky State Parks system and the parks' website for this historic site is here with good current information about park hours and directions.  Here is a direct link to the park system's map of the battlefield and surrounding land.

The Friends of Perryville is a wonderful organization working to help out the park, as such sites are not a high priority in the state's budget. Their site focuses on activities they sponsor and  on ways they are trying to help support the park. They also have a Facebook page to update ongoing events.

Also available is a database of casualties at Perryville, a valuable resource and the product of a lot f work.

The Ohio at Perryville blog provides good updates on events at the park, especially the annual walking tour, as well as information on Ohio units at the battle snd other interesting information.

 The Civil War Trust's battle page includes a summary and couple other nice stories about the battle and the National Park Service's brief summary page also is helpful for a quick overview.

I know there are more great resources out there, including a couple of books who focus on the overall  Civil War in Kentucky, but these are ones have read or used and find especially enjoyable and informative. I make sure I keep these on my bookshelf or saved in my list of bookmarks.

If you know of any others I should know about, please share them in the comments.

Photo from a trip to the battlefield


  1. Thanks for the mention of the Ohio at Perryville blog! I am off in a few hours to co-lead a Michigan round table tour with Chuck Lott and have posted a couple of recent entries on the blog. Perryville is also my fave battlefield for many reasons, and I hope to be touring with you at Perryville soon!

  2. I have recently contributed a book entitled "Correspondence from Perryville."

    I have long-standing issues with current interpretations of the battlefield. There has been considerable "cherry picking" to make primary sources appear to support historians interpretations. The participants themselves - primarily in the Rebel perspective, relate a very different battle than to modern historians. Some of this argument can be seen at over 7 pages of text.

    I love this battlefield and would love to see the story told the way it should be told. I wasn't there, but clearly recognize that the story the boys told isn't the one that historians tell. I have gathered years of supporting documents and eyewitness testimony. This could literally be proven in a courtroom!!

    Thanks for your interest in Perryville, and keep up the good work!

  3. Thank you. I think I have seen that thread on ?Civil,?War Talk. I'll need to go back and finish reading it. I don't think I read it all before, though I don'r put remember why.

    I'll add your book to my Christmas list too ;)

    Thank you again

  4. I had a great great uncle Pvt. W.f. grimsley, who was wounded and later died from wounds that he received in the battle of perryville. Grimsley was a member of the 16th Tennessee infantry. I have, in my possession the actual letter that was sent to the family, concerning his death. Also, the Bible that was presented to him, when he enlisted into Confederate service.

  5. The unknown comment of december 29,2019, is mine. Tim young. 145 old Stover rd. Monroe, tn. 38573 931 704 3372


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