Perryville in Boyle County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Perryville in the Crucible of War
—The Battle for Kentucky October 8, 1862 —
Bragg’s army abandoned Perryville on October 9, retreating northward toward Harrodsburg. Buell’s soldiers found it to be a ghost town. The street fighting left significant scars on the city; artilleryman O.P. Cutter commented that “the buildings, as we passed along, presented the appearance of hard usage from the effects of the battle of Wednesday. Nearly every house was more or less riddled with shot and shell.” Another man described the town as “deserted and left desolate by its once happy inhabitants.”
As Buell’s army moved on in pursuit of the retreating Confederates, legions of wounded and suffering men of both sides moved into town. Almost all buildings became hospitals, and the area was overwhelmed by the several thousand casualties resulting from the fighting. Army surgeons and civilian doctors labored to save who they could, but were hampered by poor supplies, continued drought, and the sheer numbers of wounded. Perryville’s Dr. J.J. Polk housed 10 wounded in his house (331 South Buell Street), and also ministered to 40 more in another location. The suffering and dying lasted until March of 1863.
“As the First Kentucky Cavalry was moving to the position assigned it that morning [October 8], we met a number of wagons loaded promiscuously with household goods, apparently thrown in at random, with youths, maidens, and children riding on top of the plunder, getting away from the threatened carnage in the greatest haste possible. The author remembers one handsome maiden in particular – or at least she would have been handsome if her features had not been so contorted with fright – whose heartrendering screams haunted him for many days.”
Sergeant E. Tarrant, 1st Kentucky Cavalry (US)
Erected by The Perryville Enhancement Project and the Louisville Civil War Roundtable.
Location. 37° 38.946′ 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. Touch 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. “If You Meet the Enemy, Overpower Him” (here, next to this marker); The City of Perryville (a few steps from this marker); Bragg's Invasion of Kentucky (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Perryville (within shouting distance of this marker); Merchants' Row / Street Fighting (about 400 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 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Perryville.
More about this marker. On the upper right is a portrait of “Dr. Jefferson J. Polk, Perryville’s most prominent doctor”.
Also see . . .
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 •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 673 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on August 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 2. submitted on September 15, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 3. submitted on August 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.