Perryville battlefield also is focusing on educating elementary-age students about Kentucky's largest Civil War battle. From April 1 to May 1, area fourth- and fifth-graders are invited to attend the "Perryville School of the Soldier," a hands-on tour that will teach students about what Civil War soldiers experienced upon joining the Union army. The students will join the ranks, elect their own officers, learn 19th-century military drill, and discover what life was like in 1862. This same program will be open to Boy Scouts and other elementary-age organizations from June 1 to Aug. 1. Reservations are required for this special tour; call Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site at (859) 332-8631.
When the Battle of Perryville was fought Oct. 8, 1862, most of the battlefield was cultivated farmland. The experiences of these 19th-century Perryville farmers will be re-created May 21-22, when the battlefield hosts "On the Farm in Old Kentucky." Including living history demonstrations about agricultural and household arts, activities likely will include a traveling peddler, 19th-century farming displays, and will show how bluegrass farmers lived during the 1860s. Re-enactors will portray actual Perryville residents in the days before the Oct. 8, 1862, battle. This event is open to the public.
On July 2, attendees can bring their lunches to "Picnic in the Park," a living history day that will include military and civilian re-enactors and a 19th-century baseball game. In addition to living history, battlefield tours also may be offered. This event is open to the public.
Last year's "Central Kentucky Civil War Heritage Trail," a weeklong event involving many of Kentucky's Civil War sites, brought hundreds of visitors from more than 15 states into central Kentucky. From July 18-24, 10 important Civil War sites in central Kentucky will offer guided tours, hands-on activities, concerts and living history programs. The Perryville component of this tour will be held July 18 and will involve speakers, battlefield tours and living history presentations. For information about this event, go to www.kycivilwar.org.
Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site and Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association are working with a national preservation organization and the Kentucky Heritage Council to help educators teach Civil War history. On Aug. 6, the battlefield is hosting the "Civil War Preservation Trust's Teacher Institute." Teachers from across the nation will attend educational sessions related to teaching the Civil War, and then will visit Perryville to experience a variety of living history scenarios to learn about life during the Civil War. This event is open to teachers who have registered through the Civil War Preservation Trust. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
The Battle of Perryville was the largest engagement on Kentucky soil. More than 7,500 soldiers were killed and wounded, and the battle kept Kentucky in Union hands for the remainder of the war. Several prominent historians, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. James McPherson, regard the Battle of Perryville as one of the turning points of the Civil War.
Since 1995, the PBPA has increased the amount of protected battlefield land from 98 to nearly 600 acres. The association also has protected several important structures, including two Confederate headquarters and nine buildings along Merchants' Row, the town's 19th-century commercial district.
For more information about these living history events, contact the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association at (859) 332-1862, or e-mail events@perryville. net.