October 12, 1862 (+160)
Regarding the recent 160th Perryville Battle in Kentucky
I'm pleased to report that the above-named event was a rousing success and exceeded my high expectations. Although the drive to Kentucky was long involving an overnight stay each way, it was well worth the lengthy trip and will never be forgotten.
There's nothing quite like camping on the actual battlefield and walking on the hallowed ground of those brave soldiers who fought and died there. Last Friday through Sunday we got the honor and privilege of doing exactly that. Plus portable toilets, drinking water, and reenactor parking were easily accessible nearby. The clear, dry weather and afternoon temperatures in the mid 60's were perfect but dipped into the low to mid 30's overnight with a full moon and frost greeting us both mornings.
On Saturday we arose before dawn and in the foggy, morning haze and slick grass drove the Yankees from the battlefield back to their camp. In the process we also flushed field mice and rabbits from their homes in the chest-high naturalized areas we trampled through. Later that afternoon we recreated the experience of the 4th & 5th TN regiments marching in formation across hilly terrain, over two wooden rail fences, and through a cornfield with stalks above our heads obscuring our view of the enemy.
Following a chilly Sunday Morning Colors, I joined Chaplain Joey with the Georgia Battalion for worship service in camp and led our hymn singing. Afterwards for Sunday's battle we followed in the footsteps of the 1st & 3rd Florida through thick brambles and similarly tall weeds up two steep hills under the command of Colonel Hunter Poythress to overtake the Federal artillery.
Major Jay Welch provided authentic rations of hardtack, slab bacon, rice, and black-eyed peas which we cooked for our suppers and supplemented other food stuffs that we brought with us. I enjoyed camping with a remnant of the Florida Battalion and sharing their company around the campfire along with Doc Sonntag on Saturday evening at a Medical Corps gathering. However, it wasn't the same without the familiar 2nd Florida's comradery and accompanying music. I only wish that my fellow pards could have shared this excellent immersion experience with me!
Captain Chap Howerton
2nd Florida Chaplain