Perryville in Boyle County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
óThe Battle for Kentucky October 8, 1862 ó
Prior to the Confederate attack, Southern artillery posted on the far hills in front of you fired on Simonsonís battery and Captain Cyrus Loomisís Union artillery, which was deployed to your right. Simonsonís rifled guns could shoot farther than the Confederatesí smoothbore cannon, and the Rebel guns were quickly silenced.
At 3:00 pm., more than an hour after the artillery duel ended, Confederate infantry commanded by Colonel Thomas M. Jones advanced against the Union center. Simonsonís guns blasted the attacking Southerners with canister rounds, which turned the cannon into giant shotguns. Although Simonsonís gunners and supporting Union infantry stifled the initial Confederate advance in this area, Jonesís troops hit the artillerymen hard. As Union soldiers to your right fell back, Simonsonís guns were in danger. The battery was then ordered to a position 300 yards behind you to high ground located southeast of the Russell House (no longer standing), which was a Union headquarters building.
At that new location, Simonsoní battery again endured waves of attacking Confederate
The battery ran out of ammunition after firing 755 rounds. They then retired from the field. Simonsonís ninety men lost two killed, fourteen wounded, and five missing, nearly a quarter of the command.
“Shot & shell from Rebel Batteries howled and shrieked over & around, now tearing up the dry earth and again Ďricochetingí with a wild unearthly shriek again [to] strike or explode with terrible effect. This was our first real battle and we soon began to realize what a battle meansÖ”
At the Battle of Perryville, the rolling terrain frequently put enemy regiments in close proximity to one another. When the troops were a short distance apart, Union and Confederate artillery fired canister rounds. Canister is an artillery projectile that consists of a tin can packed with many (usually thirty to fifty) lead or iron balls. When fired, the balls scatter out of the cannonís muzzle. The blast from a canister round would cut down large swaths of advancing infantry.
Robert C. Carden, a member of the 16th Tennessee Infantry, fought in the fields off to your left. At Perryville, Carden witnessed firsthand the savage results when Simonsonís battery fired canister. He wrote, “There was a battery on our left that was giving us grape and canister and the bullets were singing around us. A man was standing just in front of me while I was loading my gun and I happened to have my eyes on him just as a canister struck him in the breast and I saw the white flesh before it bled. He was a dead man.”
Canister was a short-range projectile, with a maximum effective range of about 400 yards. It was used effectively at Perryville.
Erected by PNC Bank. (Marker Number 17.)
Location. 37° 40.084′ N, 84° 58.339′ W. Marker is in Perryville, Kentucky, in Boyle County. Marker can be reached from Park Road west of Battlefield Road (Kentucky Route 1920). Touch for map. Located in Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1825 Battlefield Road, Perryville KY 40468, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Defense of Loomisí Heights (a few steps from this marker); “For Godís Sake, Save That Battery” The 38th Indiana at Perryville (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Artillery Duel at Loomis Heights (about 400 feet away); Michigan at Perryville (about 700 feet away); Assault from the Bottom House (about 700 feet away); The 15th Kentucky Infantry (US) (about 700 feet away); Baptism of Fire (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cleburne's Advance (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Perryville.
More about this marker. On the upper left is a portrait of “Captain Peter Simonson, 5th Battery, Indiana Light Artillery”.
On the upper right is “A cutaway view of a round of canister.”
Also see . . .
1. Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Kentucky State Parks (Submitted on August 25, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Perryville. Civil War Trust (Submitted on August 25, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. Perryville. CWSAC Battle Summary (Submitted on August 25, 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 25, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 563 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 25, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 3. submitted on September 14, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.