Joan and I took off Thursday morning making our way to New Philadelphia in Ohio to preach for our friend Tom Cunningham. We will also rendezvous with Laura Michelle. We headed southeast for the Kentucky town of Perryville where a Civil War battle took place. It was an important battle that was part of a concerted effort to take the war to the north. The South had lost ground in Tennessee and Bragg now took his forces into undefended Kentucky. They took the capitol, swore in a new governor and hoped to find volunteers for the wagon loads of rifles they brought with them. They threatened Louisville and Cincinnati with forces to small to take the cities but large enough to make the cities realize that the war was coming their way. The cities were never taken and the volunteers from this slave state that was forced to stay in the Union failed to materialize. Buell brought his army up from Nashville to Louisville and then down to Perryville where the two armies met. The resulting battle was fought between Bragg’s 16,500 troops and 20,000 of Buell’s total force of 50,000 troops. Because of the rolling hills and the wind direction Bragg never knew the battle was taking place until late in the battle.
The battle raged from 2:00 until around 7 as the sun went down on this October night. The battle was a tactical victory for the South as they fought their way forward forcing the Union forces to constantly fall back to reform their lines. At the end of the day the South didn’t have the energy, ammunition or daylight to continue taking the battle to Union forces. The next day they had to withdraw realizing the superior size of the Union forces.
The Union ability to turn back this as well as all of the other Southern attempts to take ground was turned back. These failures, along with the major Southern defeat at Antietam, gave Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to declare slaves free in the rebelling states with the Emancipation Proclamation. The museum and the plaques have that Southern perspective of Southern war prowess and Southern understanding of the war and its results.
Joan and I walked the battlefield finding geocaches along the way. The bravery on both sides was on display. You could feel the despair of the South as they took position after position by charging down into the low ground before the Union position and then up the ridges to force them to retreat; only to have the Union forces reform their lines on the next ridge and the next ridge after that. Any visit to a battlefield is always sobering in so many ways.
We made our way to Danville that evening and found a camp spot at the Pioneer Playhouse. The next morning we had a great morning coffee downtown and then made our way across Kentucky on Highway 68, a beautiful drive. We stopped at a state park named for the Battle of Blue Licks. It was one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War, a place where Daniel Boone lost his second son and was forced to flee the battlefield.
The museum celebrated the pioneers that settled Kentucky. The video presentation of Daniel Boone painfully recounted the loss of his two sons in his endeavors to settle and defend the land. I thought of the biblical account of rebuilding Jericho at the cost of sons (Josh 6:26, 1 Kings 16:34).
We then stopped in Maysville where we had a great inexpensive lunch in a cafe run by some Greek immigrants. The wife began to describe an America where people don’t want to work and just sleep around with people they meet going from bar to bar. She even quoted the bible to us saying that “if they don’t work they shouldn’t eat”. She talked of a hopeless future for America, a place where her and her husband are not ashamed to work, but Americans seem to be unwilling to work. Joan and I assured her that Jesus was going to visit American again. She seemed genuinely pleased to hear this.
Our next stop was the Serpent Mound. All of the astronomical points had to have been set and then the coils of the design were set to match the points. No big “wow” but very worth the stop. We then stopped in Zanesville for Starbucks before making our way to New Philadelphia.