PERRYVILLE — As of Tuesday, more than 1,800 Civil War re-enactors from across the globe have registered to take part in the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Perryville.
The re-enactment, which will include multiple kinds of festivities from Oct. 5-7, is expected to draw about 2,000 participants from all over the United States and Canada as well as a few from Europe, said Chad Greene, a resident of Perryville who has been an active re-enactor for nearly 30 years.
But those re-enactors who have not yet registered can only do so until Saturday and must use the Internet in order to register.
Greene, Kentucky State Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker and Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site Manager Kurt Holman along with other officials and volunteers held a press conference Tuesday to discuss several important aspects of the upcoming anniversary weekend.
While spectators can purchase tickets the weekend of the event, they will save money and time by getting their tickets in advance online, Walker said.
“In the past, there have been long lines for people who waited to purchase tickets,” Walker said. “With the 150th anniversary, we expect that issue to become even more serious this year.”
However, the general public can only purchase online tickets until Sept. 28.
Walker and Holman also announced a monument rededication ceremony that will be held at the park Oct. 8 — the actual anniversary of when Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg invaded Perryville in hopes of gaining support from Kentuckians.
Both Union and Confederate monuments will be rededicated in an event that is free and open to the public. Union officer George Webster died in the Battle of Perryville, and his great-grandson, former CIA and FBI director William Webster, is scheduled to speak at the ceremony.
Simon Bolivar Buckner IV, a descendant of the Simon Bolivar Buckner who was a Confederate commander at Perryville and a Kentucky governor after the Civil War, also is scheduled to attend.
The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky and marked a turning point that allowed the Union to win the war and ultimately end slavery, Perryville Battlefield Preservation Coordinator Joan House said outside of the press conference.
More than 7,600 Confederate and Union soldiers were killed, injured or disappeared. Every year, the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site holds battle re-enactments, living history programs, battlefield tours, book signings, period entertainment and a variety of food and merchandise vendors.
More than 15,000 people from all over the world are expected to visit Perryville for the 150th anniversary, House said during the press conference.
“The weekend is not just about re-enacting the battle,” House said. “We always emphasize the life of the average person living during the Civil War era.”
One major difference between war time today and in past generations is that soldiers’ spouses often traveled with troops during the Civil War and previous military conflicts. The women usually cooked for the troops and were sometimes placed in danger by being so close to warfare.
“There will probably be at least a few wet eyeballs during the weekend,” Greene said.
SO YOU KNOW
Visit http://www.perryvillebattlefield. org/ to register for the re-enactment or to purchase spectator tickets. On Sept. 30, The Advocate-Messenger will print a special section about the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Perryville.