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Perryville in Boyle County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

“If You Meet the Enemy, Overpower Him”

Perryville

 

—The Battle for Kentucky October 8, 1862 —

 
“If You Meet the Enemy, Overpower Him” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, August 18, 2011
1. “If You Meet the Enemy, Overpower Him” Marker
Inscription. About 4 PM on October 8, Colonel Samuel Powell was ordered to move his brigade westward and discover how many Federal troops were stationed west of Perryville. His 1,000-man force dutifully advanced along the Springfield Pike (today US 150 and 4th Street), and ran headlong into the 22,000 men of Acting Major General Charles C. Gilbert’s III Corps. Gilbert’s command, idle for most of the day, reacted to this probe with fury and soon sent Powell’s men scurrying back info Perryville with Federal troops in hot pursuit.

The pursuing Federals belonged to Colonel William P. Carlin’s brigade of Brigadier General Robert B. Mitchell’s 9th Division. Carlin was an experienced and aggressive officer, and pushed his command forward with vigor. The Confederates realized that the safest course was to retire across the Chaplin River and Brigadier General Preston Smith’s brigade, the last Confederate reserve, hurried forward to cover Powell’s withdrawal.

Carlin placed 4 cannon of the 2nd Minnesota Battery on a ridge overlooking town (at the site of present-day Perryville Elementary School). The Federal guns shelled the Confederate troops as they tried to cross the river via the covered Second Street Bridge (site of today’s modern highway bridge) or the causeway at Third Street (site of today’s pedestrian bridge). Confederate batteries
“If You Meet the Enemy, Overpower Him” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, March 31, 2012
2. “If You Meet the Enemy, Overpower Him” Marker
on the heights east of town began shelling the Federal guns, and artillery rained all over Perryville. Several structures suffered severe damage in the crossfire, and some buildings near the two bridges (including right where you are standing) caught fire.

The Federal infantry then moved into town, led by the 21st Illinois. Carlin’s men secured the western part of Perryville, while the Confederates retired eastward. A private in the 1st Arkansas recalled the Federals making “a terrible assault from behind the houses.”

Mitchell sensed a great opportunity and wanted to occupy Perryville with more troops, but Gilbert intervened and directed the 9th Division to hold back. The Federal high command still believed that Bragg had more men on the field, and Gilbert feared a trap. The opportunity passed, and Carlin pulled most of his forces back to Perryville’s western outskirts. Firing continued into the night; in the darkness, 15 Confederate ammunition wagons and 68 men were captured.

This action ended the Battle of Perryville.

“Advance and if you meet the enemy, overpower him.”
Colonel William P. Carlin to Colonel Hans C. Heg, 15th Wisconsin Infantry

“The Yankees planted a battery and turned it on the town…when we got to the street [Second Street] the Yankees got our range…the shells came
Perryville Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, August 18, 2011
3. Perryville Markers
thick and went through many of the houses. We stayed there a few minutes, then they called us to order. We went in double quick time down the street. We got out of town.”

Private Richard Wharton, 154th Veteran Tennessee Infantry
 
Erected by The Perryville Enhancement Project and the Louisville Civil War Roundtable.
 
Location. 37° 38.949′ N, 84° 57.099′ W. Marker is in Perryville, Kentucky, in Boyle County. Marker is at the intersection of South Buell Street (U.S. 68) and West Third Street, on the left when traveling south on South Buell Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Perryville KY 40468, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Perryville in the Crucible of War (here, next to this marker); The City of Perryville (here, next to this marker); Bragg's Invasion of Kentucky (a few steps from this marker); The Battle of Perryville (within shouting distance of this marker); Merchants' Row / Street Fighting (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Karrick-Parks House / Harberson's Station (about 400 feet away); First Settlement of Perryville (about 400 feet away); Perryville (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Perryville.
 
More about this marker.
Chaplin River Pedestrian Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, August 18, 2011
4. Chaplin River Pedestrian Bridge
Site of the Third Street causeway.
On the lower right is a “You are here” map.

On the upper right is a photograph of “William P. Carlin (second from left) and staff, shown later in the war”.
 
Also see . . .
1. Perryville. Civil War Trust (Submitted on August 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Perryville. CWSAC Battle Summary (Submitted on August 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Chaplin River Pedestrian Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, August 18, 2011
5. Chaplin River Pedestrian Bridge
Site of the Third Street causeway.
Chaplin River Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, August 18, 2011
6. Chaplin River Bridge
Site of the covered Second Street Bridge.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 859 times since then and 54 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week Photos:   1. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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