PERRYVILLE — By mid-morning Saturday, thousands of people from near and far packed the streets of downtown Perryville as well as the lush hills of the historic Perryville Battlefield.
It’s too early to tell just how many people visited the small city this weekend for the 150th anniversary of the famed Civil War Battle of Perryville, but just a few hours after the gates opened Saturday, spectators were already using overflow parking and making a rather lengthy trek to the admissions gate.
Some of the crowd were dressed in modern shirts and blue jeans, while others were decked out in military attire. Many people in the mid-morning crowd brought their young children and grandchildren, though the throng also held plenty of solo visitors.
One of the people who came out to Perryville on his own was Mark Upton. A Danville resident, from his home he was able to hear the sound of cannon fire early Saturday during one of the re-enactment battles.
“I could hear the cannons for a little over an hour,” Upton said.
Upton has not attended every Battle of Perryville celebration, but has participated several times as both a re-enactor and a spectator. He especially appreciates the significance of a 150th anniversary celebration.
“It has been 150 years since that great contest made us a unified nation,” Upton said. “Before the Civil War and the Battle of Perryville, we were simply a group of states.”
Teddy Fuson and his 7-year-old son, Hunter, traveled about three hours from Pineville. They had not attended a Perryville re-enactment before, but decided to do so because of the significance of this particular celebration. Father and son were dressed in military attire.
“I’ve always been interested in the Civil War,” Teddy Fuson said. “Hunter is getting interested in this type of history as well.”
Seth and Justin Dix, brothers who consider Nicholasville home, along with Justin’s son 3-year-old Emory, were also in attendance Saturday. Thomas G. Dix, Seth and Justin Dix’s third-great-grandfather, was killed in the Civil War Battle of Atlanta in 1864.
“I’ve been coming to Perryville re-enactments for at least 25 years,” Seth Dix said.
Justin Dix, who now lives in Garrard County, is an active member of the Civil War Roundtable. He described the organization as a group of scholars that engage in various social discussions related to the history of the war.
“Sometimes the movies skew the events of the Civil War out of proportion and make it hard for people to see what it was really like during the war,” Justin Dix said. “However, Perryville’s events, especially this year’s, are usually pretty historically accurate.”