Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Perryville Battlefield

limestone walls

Next morning dawned bright and blue. The temperature however, hovered at a brisk 31 degrees, and a heavy frost covered my windshield. A pesky northeast wind did not help matters. Even so, this was a far better scenario than the last two days of downpours! The road to Perryville was, to say the least, scenic (always pronounced “sken-ik” by my sister) as we wended our way west.

Limestone Walls

As yet, I have allowed it to remain unmentioned, but perhaps one of the most impressive features I have seen – at least in this part of Kentucky – is the limestone walls that grace both sides alongside many of the roads, for miles at a time. There is plenty of limestone in Kentucky, to be sure. But keep in mind that all of these had to be erected by hand. The amount of labor necessary is mind-boggling to say the least. The resulting look and feel though, is stunning and impressive.

The Battle of Perryville

The ride to Perryville took only about an hour or so and the entire way was one vista after another, the farms of Kentucky sprawling on either side of the two-lane road. We soon reached the small town and followed the signs to the site of the historic and bloody battle.

The bright sun and green grass almost covered two things on this March day. The first was the biting wind with its resulting frigid chill. The second was the eerie sense that there were screams and desperate cries that accompanied the roar of cannon and flash of muskets still carrying across the valleys and gently sloping hills of the Perryville battlefield today.

civil war soldiers


There was even a group of ROTC cadets that had camped the previous night and were reenacting a portion of the battle. Cadets and instructors alike were wearing the Union Blue of the federals. As they received the command to “fix bayonets”, I felt a chill run through me, and it definitely was not the cold of the March air.

There are more than seven miles of trails, marked with signs and explanations, and I would have preferred to walk. But the wind and cold were more than I could deal with, so we drove along a gravel road to reach the top of a hill with several gun emplacements, where I read an account of what happened on October 8th of 1862 at Perryville.

I was appalled, especially at the staggering loss of life: 13% (more than 7,500 men!) of some 58,000 soldiers present that day.

civil war cannon

This Is Our History

Never having been much interested in the Civil War, I thought that perhaps I would be unmoved by the site. It was mostly empty but for the few old cannons and a small museum where lots of memorabilia were exhibited. There were swords, musket balls, mortar shells, doctors’ implements, flags, maps and much more. And I couldn’t have been more wrong about being unmoved.
This is our history, and it is as important as any you will ever encounter. For here is an example of a disagreement in which we didn’t just agree to disagree. Brothers fought brothers, and killed each other over a concept that, at its best, is just innately wrong. By some estimates, over 650,000 men lost their lives in the Civil War. At the time, this was 2% of our entire population.

As I left the battlefield, I couldn’t help but wonder about that war and the time during which it was waged. Over one hundred years later, we apparently still haven’t learned how foolish we can be. And Perryville is a place that, like many other similar sites, is eying development in the near future. I hope that Perryville says no.

Perryville is definitely a place that you should surely visit. Visit it soon, just in case Perryville doesn’t prevail. Read this article:, or Visit Perryville for an annual reenactment of the battle. Then see how you feel about history and the Civil War. I know I feel much different.

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl