Monday, October 09, 2006

Reflections of Perryville - Day 1

I'm back from the Kentucky Campaign and The fight over at Perryville. Tired, but in great spirits even though my side could have won but didn't. At least according to history.

This entry doesn't start out with the battle though. In the reenacting world, sometimes the getting there is a part of the fun. With my guys, the "getting there" is always fun.

My part of the trip started out on Thursday night by a four-hour trip to Mom's house in the countryside of NW NC. The plan was to rendezvous in Trade, TN early Friday morning and go on to Perryville via the Cumberland Gap - a place I've read about many, many times. Now I was going to see it up close and personal. Mom is a seasoned reenactor mother - she supplied some nice treats for the trip and the event, two pound cake halves and some sourdough bread. All were the real item -- no store-bought goodies for us.

I have to admit the trip to the Cumberland Gap park was long, but we took our time touring once we arrived, and I was able to snap some great picts of Forts McCook and Lyon and the Gap itself. No one could have asked for a better day to do some sight seeing around the Cumberland Gap. The scenery was grand, and my comrades in arms made invaluable guides, pointing out things that I never would have caught.

As a backgrounder, the Cumberland Gap is on the border of east Tennessee and southeast Kentucky. In the time of the Civil War is was the best pass that either side had to move men and material through. The Gap was constantly occupied by either side, and a series of small forts were dug in strategic places on either side of the Gap. To get the cannons up to the mountains on either side of the Gap was a miracle of period engineering. You can still see the holes worn into the sides of the rocks going up one side of the mountain, or places cut out to make the braces for the corduroy road to the various emplacements. Impressive!

After the visit to the Gap, we were along our way. I have to say that it was a long trip - a bit longer than anyone anticipated. About 8 hours from Trade, TN along some simple roads. In other words, there's no fast way of getting to Perryville from where were at. We pulled into Perryville Battlefield Park around 3:30pm, and I have to say that my first impression of the park was very good. It was one of the nicer, but not-so-overly-manicured parks I've seen yet.

Not too much went on that evening other than hooking up with the Red River Battalion, with whom we fall in with at western events, and catching up with old friends. This is one of the many things I love about reenacting. We were camped in the authentic camping area on top of the ridge overlooking the mixed camping. The event seemed to be very well attended.

Next: Day 2

(Note to readers - my camera (I used my phone for the Gap photos) was broken down for this event, so I won't have any pictures of the battles. If you did go and would like to share, I'll gladly post them with proper credit given)

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