Kentucky Tourism

Battle of Perryville Commemoration

Weather Conditions

Experience 1862 during the re-enactment of the Battle of Perryville and watch history unfold before your eyes. Perryville Battlefield is a National Historic Landmark and on October 8 and 9, 2016, join us to witness the very struggles of those who fought on the hallowed grounds where they engaged. 

A wide variety of educational and entertainment opportunities are scheduled throughout the weekend. Walk among authentic encampments, listen to period music, nosh on food, watch cavalry demonstrations and living history programs, even meet Civil War book authors.


Pre-order online tickets-- Coming Soon!!! 

On-location ticket prices

Adults $20  
Seniors $15  
Children 6-12 $15  
Children 5 & under FREE
Veteran/Active Military $10  


Battle for the "The Cornfield"

Saturday, October 8, 2016
 This scenario will attempt to simulate the events that took place at approximately 2:00 PM on Wednesday, October 8th, 1862.  While General Daniel Donelson’s brigade was moving forward into attack position, Brigadier General William R. Terrill’s Union Brigade was in the process of forming their line on the “Open Knob”.  Maney’s Brigade, assisted by Wharton’s Cavalry, attacked with vigor, rolling over Terrill’s regiments as they arrived on the field piecemeal.  Union Brigadier General James S. Jackson, the Commander of the 10th Division was killed on the open knob.  The first Union position on the Open Knob was overrun and the Confederates moved up their artillery as their infantry line moved forward into the cornfield.  Here, the Confederates met Colonel John Starkweather’s veteran brigade.  Starkweather’s only new regiment, the 21st Wisconsin, was positioned in the cornfield when the Confederates attacked.  They were quickly overwhelmed, losing all their field officers.  The retreating Confederates were pressed across the Dixville Road and a Hand-to-hand fight erupted on the front slope in front of Starkweather’s cannon.  The Union forces were driven from the hill, but regained it in a counter-attack.  General Terrill was also killed on the reverse slope of “Starkweather Hill”.  With the deaths of General Jackson, General Terrill, and Colonel Webster, the Union 10th Division lost all its commanders.  This was the only time in the Civil War that this happened to a Division in a single battle. The corn planted in the cornfield is an heirloom corn breed, developed in Wisconsin in 1847. This breed of corn, Wisconsin Red Dent, chosen and planted by the Friends of Perryville was done to honor the Wisconsin regiments involved in the Battle of Perryville.

NEW for 2016!

Battle for the H.P. Bottom Farm

Sunday, October 9, 2016
 This scenario will attempt to simulate the events that took place at approximately 3:00 PM on Wednesday, October 8th, 1862.  Since about 10:00 in the morning, William H. Lytle’s brigade had taken up position on the right flank of Union 1st Corps commanded by General Alexander M. McCook.  The 3rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, supported by the 15th Kentucky infantry, were positioned in Henry P. Bottom’s barn yard overlooking Henry Bottom’s House.  They were on the extreme right flank of 1st Corps.  Although arrayed in battle formation, they didn’t expect to do battle that day.  They believed that, as had been the case for the last week, the Confederates were retreating to the northeast, towards Harrodsburg.  Since there appeared little threat to their front, another regiment, the 42nd Indiana, was sent forward to the semi-dry bed of Doctor’s Creek to rest, boil some coffee, and fill their empty canteens in the drought-stricken area.   Suddenly, the calm was broken by a fusillade of Confederate artillery shot and shell landing all around.  Soon after, two heavily supported Confederate Infantry brigades came out of the woods and attacked towards the 3rd Ohio and the 15th Kentucky, driving the hapless 42nd Indiana in a panic from the creek bed.  The Confederates had problems too.  Bushrod R. Johnson’s Confederate brigade was assigned to attack this area.  The Confederates became mixed and disorganized by the cliffs along the creek, just to the north of the road as well as other terrain features.  At the same time, another Confederate brigade under the command of Daniel W. Adams was approaching the area from the southeast. When these two brigades collided where the road crosses the creek, there was extra confusion causing them to fire at each other, both brigades thinking the other was the enemy.  This was soon worked out and soon both Johnson and Adams began their coordinated attack on the 3rd Ohio and the 15th Kentucky.  There were just over 1,000 Union soldiers in the barn yard, being attacked on three sides by almost 3,500 veteran Confederates.  As the 3rd Ohio was desperately trying to hold the line, Confederate artillery fire caught Henry Bottom’s barn on fire.  The strong southerly wind blew the smoke right up the Union battle line.  Many wounded from the 3rd Ohio were too weak to pull themselves out of the barn and perished in the flames.  Not only was the barn on fire, but the drought-starved vegetation on the whole hillside was also in flames.  The battle lines were only 60 yards apart.  The Confederates were protected by a stone wall, but the 3rd Ohio was protected only by a post and rail fence.  The 3rd Ohio held the line.  All the time, messengers from the 15th Kentucky were offering to advance from their reserve position and relieve the 3rd Ohio on the firing line.  After about 30 minutes of horrendous fire, the 3rd Ohio then acquiesced to the wishes of the Kentuckians and withdrew.  The 15th Kentucky then held the line behind the post and rail fence, the smoke from the burning barn still choked and blinded them. After about another 30 minutes, the 15th Kentucky was forces back when some of Daniel Adam’s men, using the creek for cover, positioned themselves behind the Yankees.  Bushrod Johnson’s supporting brigade, commanded by Patrick Cleburne, at about the same time, broke the Union positions more towards the north, forcing the entire Union line in that area to crumble and fall back.  The Confederates forced the Union soldiers back another third of a mile west to the Dixville Crossroads, where darkness ended the battle. The two Union regiments suffered almost 400 casualties (40%). 

Note: This ground has not been used since the original battle and is made possible by the Civil War Trust.

Ghost Walks with 'S.H.O.C.K.'

Friday & Saturday evenings
Advanced ticket purchase begins at 6 p.m. at the museum and the big shelter.
Cost: $20 per person (NOT recommended for children under 12)

Visitor Resources

Civil War Trust web site.

Perryville Civil War Battlefield web site.

Kentucky Tourism's Civil War Trails web site.