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”Baptism of Fire”


By Tim Beckman


Revision I - March 2004

Note: Best Viewed Using Internet Explorer


The Battle of Perryville, also called Chaplin Hills, took place on October 8, 1862, near the small town of Perryville, Kentucky.  The area around Perryville was described in the book, The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, as follows: “North of Perryville are Chaplin Hills, a range of irregular and stony ridges, among which winds a river of the same name.  Springs of delicious water flow from the hills between the stream and the town, but none are on the northern side, and in dry weather scarcely a single tributary flows into Chaplin River from the North.  Cornfields and woods alternating cover the hills (See Maps 1, 2, and 3).  The corn was now cut and shocked, the foliage of the trees was already thinning, and little, except the brokenness of the ground, obstructed vision.”[1]  The importance of control of the border state of Kentucky was understood by President Abraham Lincoln when he wrote, “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.  Kentucky gone we cannot hold Missouri, nor as I think Maryland.”[2]  Historians have called Perryville the “Battle for Kentucky.”  The Battle of Perryville pitted the smaller Confederate Army of the Mississippi, commanded by General Braxton Bragg, against Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Union Army of the Ohio.  Convinced that most of Buell’s army lay elsewhere, General Bragg ordered an assault on General Buell’s left flank for most of the day, while the majority of the union army remained out of the line of battle.  By nightfall, Bragg’s army had been able to push the Union left back and gained control over most of the field fought over that day.  However, during the night, Bragg discovered that less than half of the Union army had been shown in battle and he retreated from Perryville, not only losing the hard fought ground gained during the day but any hope for control of Kentucky.  For those soldiers who engaged in this battle, no fiercer fighting had or would ever be witnessed again.  An unnamed newspaper correspondent, presumably the then 2nd Lieutenant Spillard F. Horrall of the 42nd Indiana, said of the battle, “I witnessed it from beginning to end and gazed upon it with an indescribable horror, which took away all sense of danger.  Those whom I have longest known and best loved in the whole Union army, here fought and fell in scores before my eyes, and died in every terrible form of death.  I may behold great battles hereafter, and my heart may become callous to their bloody scenes, but never shall I forget what I saw at that time, nor will the impression made thereby ever pass away.”[3]  Author Kenneth Noe, in his book Perryville, the Grand Havoc of Battle, said in describing the fighting, “Veterans of the bloodbath at Shiloh routinely described Perryville as the more ferocious fight.  Indeed, some considered it the most violent clash of the entire war.”[4]


The 42nd Indiana, for their part, was involved in some of heaviest fighting of the battle.  During this great struggle, the 42nd Indiana was attached to Col. William H Lytle’s Seventeenth Brigade, Third Division, First Corps, of the Army of the Ohio.  The Seventeenth Brigade also included the 88th Indiana, the 15th Kentucky, the 3rd and 10th Ohio, and Captain Cyrus Loomis’ 1st Battery, Michigan Light Artillery. 


The night before the battle, the 42nd Indiana encamped near Maxville, Kentucky and was hastily ordered to march on the “double quick” very early the next morning, missing breakfast.[5]  After a few miles on the march, cannonading was heard and increased in volume and intensity the closer the 42nd marched towards Perryville.  Private George Kirkpatrick, of Company A, expected a fight and ate his two pounds of pickled pork raw and chewed up his coffee for fear of it being taken from him by the “Johnies”, if captured.[6]


Upon arrival at the battlefield, the 42nd Indiana was ordered to support Captain Loomis’ battery, but scarcely had the regiment taken its position, when their support was no longer needed.[7]   Thinking that Bragg’s army was in retreat, General Lovell Rousseau ordered the 42nd Indiana to take up a position in front of Loomis’ battery down in a ravine, actually Doctor’s Creek, near the Henry P. Bottom house, in order to get water for the thirsty soldiers.  The plan was for one regiment at a time to go down the hill to the creek. As soon as the first regiment returned, another would follow.  The 42nd marched down the Mackville Road to Doctor’s Creek and upon arrival stacked arms and began searching for water.  Colonel James Jones of the 42nd Indiana presumably sent his right wing, companies A through D, upstream and his left wing, Companies E through K, downstream.  Some of the men that went upstream apparently found a flowing spring along Bull Run Creek, a tributary of Doctor’s Creek. The left wing made their way downstream behind which was a steep rocky cliff.  Doctor’s Creek, due to a severe drought, was nearly dry with only a few puddles of water with green scum over them. The need for water was so great that the soldiers skimmed the “thick” water and put it into pots and boiled it, some used the water for coffee.[8]  Also, while in the ravine, the regiment engaged itself in cooking and eating dinner.[9]  Major James Shanklin, of the 42nd Indiana, described the area around Doctor’s Creek as follows: “In front of the creek, that is facing the enemy, the bank rose gradually towards the woods, where the Rebel guns were, the space between the creek and the woods, about a quarter of a mile, being an open field (this area east of Doctor’s Creek, as described by Shanklin, was the Chatham Farm). All back of us, excepting the road down which we came, and which had been cut out, was a precipitous rocky bluff, from twenty-five to fifty feet high, up which it was impossible to ride a horse, and only possible for a man to climb. This bluff extended down the creek about a quarter of a mile, where the bank gradually ascended again to the place where Loomis had his guns.”[10]


Rocky bluff along Doctor’s Creek which part of the left wing of the
42nd had to climb up while being fired upon by the advancing enemy

Incessant cannonading was kept up between Loomis’ battery and the Rebel battery during the time the 42nd was in the ravine, as their shells relentlessly hissed over the soldiers’ heads.  At about 2:30 PM, Captain Bryant (Co. H) and Major Shanklin were lying under a tree eating a sweet potato when they noted that the Rebel battery had quit firing.  Major Shanklin had even jokingly mentioned about what a nice fix they would be in if a couple of regiments of cavalry should come down on them through the ravine.[11]  The reason the Rebel battery quit firing was that Rebel scouts discovered the 42nd’s position and reported it to one of the Rebel generals.  The Rebel command immediately ordered their batteries moved to the 42nd’s right, in a position commanding the ravine.[12]   Both Captain Bryant and Major Shanklin, while in the ravine, plainly heard a command up in the woods for a regiment to form into a line of battle.  Major Shanklin assumed that one of the Union regiments was taking a position to the 42nd’s right. 

Also, during this same time, the far right wing of the 42nd Indiana had found a spring along Bull Run Creek and were drawing water from it near the bank when they were fired upon by Major John E. Austin’s 14th Battalion, Louisiana Sharpshooters (Brigadier General Daniel W. Adams' Confederate Brigade), killing five 42nd men at the first volley.  The men of the 42nd Indiana immediately grabbed their riffles and returned fire.[13]  Adams originally believed, after the first volley, that Austin was firing into their confederate line and ordered him to stop firing.  Adams very soon realized, after a stray shot came crashing through the woods near his head, that they were “Yankees” at which time he ordered a full assault upon the 42nd Indiana by Captain Slocomb’s 5th Company, Washington Artillery.[14]

Spring along Bull Run Creek that is believed to be the spring
from which some of the 42nd were taking water when attacked

Major Shanklin then described what happened next: “The men were lying round with their guns stacked, when suddenly a few stray shots from some of the enemy, whose impatience got ahead of the word of command, came whizzing by us. Colonel Jones immediately called attention, and the men sprang to their arms. The enemy poured down a volley of musketry, and commenced sweeping the ravine with the artillery which we had thought silenced. The first three or four rounds they did not get our range, consequently few were struck.

"At the first shot I mounted my horse, a young stray colt, which, my own horse being lame, I had picked up on the road. He became unmanageable at once; the saddle turned with me, and I dismounted, holding him by the bridle.

"Colonel Jones swung the right wing round, and gave orders to fire; but the enemy was completely hidden by the woods and the fire was quite ineffectual. At this juncture Colonel Jones received an order to fall back. He told Colonel Denby to take the right wing out, and he would accompany the left.  I remained in my position, and saw Colonel Jones come down past me. I could not hear what he said, but seeing the right wing give way, I supposed the intention was to take the regiment out of the ravine, if possible.

"It is a miracle the regiment got out so well. I thought we never could get the regiment together again, and my misery was great; but the men proved themselves true metal, coming up slowly over the lull in line of battle, and looking desperate and determined.[15]


In another account of the scene at Doctor’s Creek, Captain French called for his company to rally and stand by their colors, since they were the color company. Thus company “E” remained in the hollow some minutes after the balance of the regiment had left.[16]  As portions of the 42nd started out of the creek and up the hill, William Mathews (Private, Co. E), of Owensville, was shot as he turned to fire upon the enemy who were closing fast behind him.  He was killed instantly as a ball entered his forehead and passed through his head.  His death was instantaneous and evidently without pain, as he simply shrank back against the fence, without a single distortion of feature or groan.[17]  Also during the 42nd’s retreat from the creek, Private William Stuckey, of Company K, recounted the death of one of his comrades, “Oliver Buzingham (Corporal, Co. K) was killed by my side as we retreated up the hill.  He was struck with a ball in the back he fell and ask me for help but there was no place to stop and help wounded men.”[18]


Some parts of the regiment, having made it out of the ravine, formed behind a stone fence and were able to fire two or three rounds on the advancing enemy that was closing in on them from three sides; however, they were compelled to fall back to keep from being captured by the Rebels.[19]  During the regiment’s quick retreat from the ravine, seven or eight men were reported to have been killed, thirty or forty wounded, and twenty-one were taken prisoner, including Captain Myler, of Company C.[20]  The 42nd Indiana was then ordered to break by companies and to reform on the top of the hill to the left of the 10th Ohio, in an open field.  The regiment, as a whole, was then ordered to fall back a quarter of a mile across the cornfield to take a position in the woods behind Loomis’ battery.[21]


At about 3:00 PM, the 42nd was ordered to fall back to the woods to take a defensive position in front of the Russell House and at a right angle to the 88th Indiana, but facing Adams’ Confederate Brigade.


While the 42nd was nearing the woods, a shell exploded over the head of Major Shanklin, causing him to fall to the ground, but fortunately he only sustained a minor wound to the back of his head.  Two men from the regiment carried the Major off the field of battle.[22]   The Major was soon to recover from his “flesh” wound and upon returning to the regiment later the same day was quoted as saying, “I am ready for a fight tomorrow.”[23]


Upon arriving at the edge of the woods, the 42nd Indiana formed in position behind a fence to await the fast approaching enemy brigade of Adams’.  The regiment was under very heavy fire as the men were hugging the ground behind the fence.  Dick Nash, of Company A, who was noted as a fellow who could “out swear any soldier in flanders,” got up on his knees and offered a prayer as fine as any minister could do.[24]  It was during this time that Captain Eli McCarty, of Company G, was wounded by a stray shot, crushing his shoulder.  The part of Adams’ Brigade that the 42nd Indiana was facing were the “Louisiana Tigers.”[25]  This name was given to Colonel Gibson’s 13th Louisiana Infantry, which included five companies of “Avegno Zouaves” who still were wearing their once dashing traditional blue jackets, red caps and red baggy trousers.  These five Zouaves companies were made up of Irish, Dutch, Negroes, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Italians.  At Shiloh, General Bragg had wrongly accused the 13th Louisiana of cowardice, but they fought hard and brave at Perryville determined to restore their honor.[26]  Some practiced marksmen of Company G were ordered to keep the Rebel flag down.  Three times the flag with its bearer fell and was taken up again.  The fourth time it fell within seventy-five yards of their line.[27]  Private George Kirkpatrick, of Company A, recalled what happened next: “The Johnies were coming right over toward us. They came up to the fence, where we were and before we were relieved, our whole regiment gave them a volley that stopped them until the other three regiments which were in our Brigade could get there.  These were the 10th Ohio, 3rd Ohio and the 15th Kentucky, and they got back of us, and fought hard, but about half of them were left there, killed or wounded or captured, and we had to retreat, shooting all the time.  Other troops came up and we fell back on a hill.[28]  Private Kirkpatrick described the scene on the battlefield:  “It was so smokey that we could not see far, so we were ordered to charge down the hill.  Captain Olmstead of Co. A, raised his sword and called.  "Come on, Boys," and turned to go down the hill.  He met his death at that moment, for a bullet pierced his brain.  My partner and I were six feet, two and one half inches tall, and were the two first in the regiment.  The bullet which killed Captain Olmstead went between us, and Captain Olmstead's brains blinded us, as he fell directly before us, and we jumped over him, with the determination to avenge his slaughter.”[29]  Another report indicated that Captain Olmstead was killed around 3:30 PM while encouraging and cheering his men on and had just said to them “This is as good a place to die as any other,” when he was shot and killed.[30]  Captain Olmstead, after being shot through the head just over the eye, said “oh” and fell dead.[31]  Private Kirkaptrick continues his recollection of this downhill charge, “About half way down the hill two Johnies were sitting behind a rail cut log, with their guns cocked ready, and one of them shot for my head, his bullet passing right below my ear, clipping the hair; the other drew blood from Lockwood (Private John R. Lockwood, Co. A), my file leader.  As soon as they shot they squatted close to the log, and threw up their old gray hats and said "We will surrender." I don’t know just how it was, but others said they saw two guns come down on those two Johnies' heads, and I found my gun broken, and do not know how it happened.  The whole thing was all over in thirty seconds or less.[32]  The 42nd had repulsed the Louisiana Tigers and the Confederate charge, but only for the moment.  A Part of Cleburne’s Confederate Brigade moved in on the heavily outnumbered 42nd and 88th Indiana, prompting the 88th to fall back and isolating the 42nd to the full brunt of Cleburne and Adams advancing brigades.


Picture from “Loomis’ Heights” near where the 42nd was under attack by Cleburne and Adams’ brigades. The fence 
line in the foreground is situated along the old Mackville Pike (now the Hays Mays Road), with the H. P. Bottom 
House visible in the center of the picture. 
Doctor’s Creek, which is situated behind and to the far side of the Bottom 
House, flows from right to left and under the Hays Mays Road near the left center part of the picture.  The 42nd 
Indiana was surprise attacked earlier in the day while in this section of Doctors Creek.


Private Kirkpatrick described what happened next, “Colonel Denby had got shot in the mouth, and his lips were bleeding and he was mad.  He was riding along the line shouting to cease firing.  By this time I had picked up another gun, and it had a load in it.  The smoke of battle had opened up, and we could see the Rebs and I fired right in front of the Colonel's horse.  The horse jumped back and Colonel Denby struck at me for shooting.  I was looking for another cartridge, so sergeant McCut­cheon, later Captain of Company “A”, threw his gun over my head and caught the blow of the sword.  The sword was not very sharp, but nevertheless it cut into the barrel of the gun, behind the front sight of it clean to the bore.  Now if the Colonel's sword had hit me, I would probably not have gotten hit again in a few minutes.  The Colonel wanted to get us out of there, for about a hundred yards distant, were five lines of Rebs coming.  Denby then said, "Right, face forward"! by file, right double quick, and as we were going up the hill, I had not had a chance to see the Rebs yet.  There being a tree about twelve inches through the butt, and forked six feet from the ground, I jumped behind it.  No sooner had I looked about, than a musket ball struck me on the leather cap brim, blistering my forehead.[33]  Kirkpatrick, in his retreat, recalled seeing Adjutant DeWitt Evans trapped under his horse which had been shot dead.  Two or three men hailed Kirkpatrick to help them get the horse off of the Adjutant’s leg, but he kept going, feeling he had already “done enough for one time after we had shot away forty-five rounds.”  Kirkpatrick then was forced to slow his retreat due to the stinging pain of his wound, which had caused blood to pour down into his eyes.  As a result, he became separated from the regiment.  As he continued his retreat up the hill and while he was passing an ammunition train, a shell burst some ten feet in front of him throwing the “yellow clay” into his face.  Subsequently, he threw off his knapsack and his blanket and started running down a hollow, through some thorny blackberry bushes, and into the woods where he was initially reunited with fourteen of the regiment’s men with the colors, but no officers.  Not long afterwards, other men started to arrive until there was one hundred and fifty.[34]  Also during this retreat, Lt. Col. Denby’s horse was shot from under him, pinning him. Denby was extricated with the help of Captain McIntire, of Company I.[35]   Lt. Col. Denby became separated from the regiment during the retreat and did not find the regiment until the next morning.[36]  Other reports during the 42nd’s last stand against the enemy tell of both Col. Jones and Adjutant Evans, on horseback, cheering and encouraging the men on, with Adjutant Evans riding up and down the line of battle waving his sword and hat.[37]  During the battle, Col. Jones’ horse was slightly grazed three times.[38]


At about 4 o’clock, Private William H. McCleary (Company F) and three other men were ordered to carry the wounded off of the field.  McCleary recounted the following story: “We took one Ralph Shelton (Ralph Skelton, Company F) and carried him something near a mile to the hospital he having no canteen and being hot and his wound hurting him very bad he wanted water and I gave him my canteen about half full of water and was almost exhausted myself for want of water and the wounded men was all crying for water and we then started to hunt for water for them and our selves and went about two or three miles and then had to drink out of a mud hole.  Started back it was then dark and we went in to an orchard and got a lot of apples and started back to hunt our Regt.  The firing had then ceased.”[39]


The Battle of Perryville lasted about six hours and ceased at sundown.  The actual fighting time of the 42nd Indiana did not exceed two hours.[40]  Captain Spillard F. Horrall, in his book The History of the Forty-Second Indiana, reported that during the battle the 42nd Indiana did not lose one inch of ground, but made two slight advances for better position.  Captain Horrall went on to say, “This was the first general engagement the regiment was in, and its loss was by far the greatest of any succeeding ones. As night-fall was about to set in, while the command was not only holding the position in firmness and steadiness, but really forcing the enemy back, it was discovered that another command of the rebels was approaching on the right to enfilade us, but before they approached near enough for the shots to have much effect orders came to retreat over the hill, and the fight ended, the enemy occupying the ground we fought on, for the most part of the night.”[41]  That night the Confederate army marched away from their lines at midnight, thus officially ending the Battle of Perryville.


With nightfall came the grim task of collecting all of the wounded and dead from the battlefield.  With torches and flags of truce, both armies met on the battlefield for this sad undertaking.[42]  Private Kirkpatrick recalled the scene on the battlefield that night, “Peter Truckee of Evansville (Private, Company A), and I went back onto the field in the moonlight, and we found our Captain-Captain Olmstead, slain in our sight that day.  Next morning five of us went there to bury his body, but we could not be sure, for the rebels had stolen all of his clothing except his shoes and underclothing.  We hunted up the others of our dead, and the Captains body was sent back home to his family, to be laid among his family.  This terrible first experience we never did forget, and we were always after that looking for a chance for revenge.”[43]


The next day, the task of burying all of the dead was started.  Most of the Union dead were buried by their own troops, but most of the confederate dead were left lying were they fell.  Some of these confederate dead were, however, gathered up near the town of Perryville.  Private Kirkpatrick reportedly saw the “dead bodies of four hundred or more Confederates, piled up four feet high and fifty feet long, with a fence built around them to keep the hogs from devouring them.”  Kirkpatrick went on to say, “We left an officer and detail of men and they made the citizens of Perryville bury them.”[44]


Lt. Col. Denby, on the following night, informed the regiment that he was leaving, being promoted to Colonel of the 80th Indiana Infantry.  Private George Goodge, of Company A, recalled Denby’s sad farewell, “Before we laid down, Colonel Denby came to where we were to bid us goodbye, as he was going to leave us the next morning, promoted, to be the Colonel of the 80th Indiana Volunteers.  The tears flowed freely down his face as he talked to us, the soldier kind of a man who knew no fear.  It was through him that the 42nd Indiana was the best drilled regiment in our brigade.”[45]


Captain Horrall later retold several stories relating to Perryville.  The first story tells of Captain Eigenman, who upon seeing the men of the regiment at Perryville exhibit symptoms of fear in their first major engagement, stepped to the front of his Company D,  and put the men through the manual of arms. His example was followed by other officers, with good results.[46]  The second story recounts a comrade sharing his water with a dying rebel soldier, “All who have had experience know that after the battle of Perryville, Oct. 8th, `62, after a fight lasting nearly eight hours by the 42d Regiment, by overpowering numbers, at sunset, we were compelled to surrender the ground that had been fought over, back and forth three times, being held alternately by the federals and rebels, thus mixing side by side the wounded and dead of each army.  As our men were retiring, Corporal Allen Gentry, Company H, was passing a wounded rebel who asked for water. Through the danger, or risk of capture, Corporal Gentry divided his own scanty supply with his enemy of half an hour before. They were no longer enemies.  A similar thing occurred with this writer, except that the call for water was first made by one of his own comrades, who lay dying near a rebel. The comrade’s thirst slacked, the canteen passed into the hands of a young rebel, he who also lay dying, -the glassy look of death in his eyes. He drank of the water the last drop, then-as did the federal soldier-laid his head to rest, and the long sleep. “They drank from the same canteen.”[47]  The third story is a humorous one concerning Colonel Jones, “Col. J. G. Jones, after the battle of Perryville, Ky., as all did felt greatly the want of water, which was just beyond our reach in plenty, in the Chaplin river, until the 9th of October, inside the enemy’s lines. The colonel, suffering from thirst, offered a private soldier $10.00 to get him a canteen of water. Starting at eight o’clock, the comrade tramped till twelve o’clock that night, not securing a drop of water. All the wells in our lines were under guard for use at the field-hospitals, for the wounded. Upon the comrades reporting his ill-luck, Colonel J. said, “Well, I’ll give you $5.00 for trying.”[48]


This was the first major engagement of the war for the 42nd Indiana, and it proved the costliest.  The 42nd would lose more men at Perryville than in any other battle that they would be involved in during the remainder of the Civil War.  Before the battle, the 42nd Indiana’s approximate strength was 490 men.  The entire loss of killed (20), wounded (133), and missing (21) totaled 174, which represented over one-third of the entire command.[49] (Note: The total number of killed from the 42nd Indiana, as compiled from various other sources, indicates 28 men were killed either on the day of the battle or later from wounds.  The casualties by companies, as best as can be determined, are listed below.  The total documented so far is 99 (this list is by no means conclusive and will most assuredly be amended as additional research is conducted):







Captain Charles Olmstead

Corporal John Riggs

Private Lewis Alms

Private John W. Depaw

Private Bryan Skelly, died November 11, 1862 from wounds

Private Daniel Tomlinson, died November 16, 1862 from wounds at hospital in New Albany, Ind. His leg was amputated in a field hospital in or near Perryville.




Corporal John James, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 4

Private Isaac Fairchild, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 1

Private Augustus Huff, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 1

Private George Kirkpatrick, wounded slightly in the forehead


Missing or Captured


Corporal Robert Woods, captured and returned next day

Private William Elliot, captured and returned next day







Corporal William C. Jackson, reported to have been killed “while raising the flag of the regiment in front of the enemy” (Source: Indiana State Archives, Commission on Public Records)

Private James W. Larkin

Private John McDaniels, died October 21, 1862 from wounds




Corporal Alamander C. Anderson, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 6

Corporal James E. Rust, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 4

Private Edward Jeffers, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 6







Sergeant Francis M. Miller

Private Henry C. Gournsey

Private Pleasant Jones




First Lieutenant Samuel D. Smith, wounded in the foot

Private Reuben Grisgby

Private Timothy Hollian

Private Jasper F. Jones

Private George W. Killian

Private John Krause, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 6

Private James Lindsey, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 6

Private John Lindsey


Missing or Captured


Captain Alfred Myler, captured and later paroled







Private Washington P. Camp, reported to have died instantly, killed near the spring at the Bottom House.  His body was found "propped against a tree near the free-flowing spring on the battlefield"

Private Amos Cameron, reported to have died instantly, “his head being shot off by a cannon ball”

Private William C. Gray




First Lieutenant Joseph C. Overall, wounded in the thigh

Second Lieutenant Elder Cooper

Private Joseph Bristow

Private John A. Herren

Private Louis Janzen

Private John Zimmerman, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 1







Private William Mathews, shot in the head and killed instantly

Private Robert Mooney




Private John W. Patterson

Private George J. Reed, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 4


Missing or Captured


Private Simon Weidenhammer, captured and later paroled







Private James Skelton

Private William M Hunter, wounded in the foot and later died from wounds sometime in October, 1862




Private Charles Hopkins 

Private William W. Owen

Private William Sanders

Private Ralph Skelton

Private Hugh (Hank?) H. Wallace







Private Andrew J. Brown

Private Robert Baker

Private Henry T. Hunter

Private Stephen H. Williams, died October 21, 1862 from wounds




Captain Eli McCarty, wounded severely in right shoulder, crushing it

First Sergeant J. A. Palmer, struck with a shell and taken prisoner and later paroled.  Treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 3

Corporal Richard McGeehee

Corporal Parmenos Ragsdale

Private Harrison Browning, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 2

Private George Burch

Private Robert Carroll

Private William F. Gregory

Private Isaac L. Haller

Private Benjamin Hopkins

Private William L. Hughey

Private Reuben Hunter

Private Jacob C. Jackman

Private William Jackson

Private George W. Kelso

Private Alexander R. Newberry

Private Harrison Peachee

Private John Russell







Private James Tomlinson, died April 2, 1963 from wounds?

Private Albert B. Walker





Second Lieutenant Adam Haas, wounded slightly

Corporal Joseph C. Nix, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 4

Corporal Benjamin F. Miller, treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 6

Private William Hendricks 







Private Miles C. Barrett, died November 1, 1862 from wounds

Private Toliver P. Black, died November 8, 1862 from wounds



Sergeant William Davidson

Private William H. Blackater

Private John B. T. Dearing, wounded in the chin

Private Samuel Garland

Private James P. Kinman







Corporal Oliver Buzingham, killed at Doctor’s Creek, struck with a ball in the back




Second Lieutenant Edward M. Knowles, wounded slightly  

Private John A. Bullock

Private Amos Caldwell, treated at a Louisville, Ky. Hospital

Private James T. George

Private George S. L. Griffitts

Private James H. Humphrey

Private George L. Masters, wounded in abdomen and treated at New Albany, Ind. Hospital # 2

Private Joseph Masters

Private James W. Reed







Lieutenant Colonel Charles Denby, shot in lip and/or mouth

Major James M. Shanklin, struck in the back of the head with an exploding shell

Adjutant DeWitt C. Evans (?)




Click on Picture to Enlarge


Source: Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Plate 2, Series 1, Vol. XVI.



Click on Picture to Enlarge


Source: Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Plate 2, Series 1, Vol. XVI.



Permission to use this map was given to the
42nd Indiana web site by


Appendix I
42nd Indiana Interpretive Sign Along Doctor’s Creek Near the H. P. Bottom House


Baptism of Fire


The 500 soldiers of the 42nd Indiana were suffering from an intense thirst.  Their canteens dry from a recent drought, their commanders allowed these troops to find pools of water in Doctor’s Creek, located in front of you.


The men stacked their rifles and filled their canteens with the muddy water.  Many of them moved down the creek to your left, where they searched for water near some rock bluffs that rise 20-40 feet above the creek.


Suddenly, the Confederates attacked, and the 42nd Indiana was caught by surprise.  The high bluffs trapped many inside of the creek bed, ending any hope of escape.  Casualties mounted as survivors dashed out of the banks and up the hill behind you.


Regrouping, these troops joined the Union battle line.  Like many Northern soldiers who fought here, Perryville was their first fight.  At Perryville the 42nd Indiana suffered 20 killed, 133 wounded, and 21 missing.  It was a brutal baptism of fire



The first intimation we had of the immediate presence of the rebels was a shot from their cannon, which passed directly over the heads of the field and staff officers cutting limbs and branches away…. The next one aimed lower, which knocked away a stack of guns.


                                                                                                                Union Soldier S. F. Horrall

                                                                                                                Co. G, 42nd Indiana


Caption Under Picture of Captain Charles Olmstead:


When the 42nd Indiana was forced out of the creek bed, Union Captain Charles Olmstead of Company A rallied his men on the hill behind you.  “This is as good a place to die as any other,” Olmstead shouted.  Moments later he was shot in the forehead and killed.


Thanks to Stewart DeVane of the 42nd Indiana Co. H Reenactment group for sharing with me some of his sources and his assistance in proofreading the final draft.  Thanks to Susie Rose who graciously sent me microfilm copies of some of the newspaper sources cited.  Thanks also to Stuart Sanders of the Perryville Battlefield Preservations Association, and Kurt Holman of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site for sharing their knowledge and information about the battle.  I am very grateful to Kurt who freely gave up more than half of one his Saturdays in order to give me a tour of the battlefield.


Works Cited


Carlisle, Francis M., Autobiography of Sgt. Francis M. Carlisle.  Published privately by the author.


Evansville, Indiana Daily Evansville Journal Newspaper, October 16 and 21, 1862.


Goodge, George William, The Story of My Life. Published privately by the author, 1921.


Hafendorfer, Kenneth A., Perryville:  Battle for Kentucky.  McDowell Publications, Owensboro, KY, 1981.


Horrall, S. F., History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  Donohue and Henneberry, Chicago, IL, 1892.


Kirkpatrick, George Morgan, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War.  Reprinted by the Hoosier Bookshop, 1973.


McCleary, William H., Civil War Diary of William H. McCleary, Diary # 1.  Transcribed by Ann Cott.  Published privately.


Noe, Kenneth W., Perryville:  This Grand Havoc of Battle.  The University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, KY, 2001.


Princeton, Indiana Clarion Newspaper, October 17, 1862.  An unsigned letter (probably written by a member of Company E, 42nd Indiana) titled Correspondence to Buell’s Army.


Shanklin, James M., Dearest Lizzie: The Civil War Letters of Lt. Col. James Maynard Shanklin.  Edited by Kenneth P. McCutchan.  Friends of Willard Library Press, Evansville, IN, 1988.


The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1.  Merrill and Company, Indianapolis, IN, 1866.


U.S. Government Printing Office, The Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  Washington, D.C.: 1891-1894


U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  129 vols.  Washington, D.C.: 1880-1901.


Walsh, John P Jr., I Tell You, Sir, They Are Yankees. North and South Magazine, September 2002.  Volume 5, Number 5.





[1] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, p. 615.

[2] Hafendorfer, Perryville:  Battle for Kentucky, p. I.

[3] Daily Evansville Journal, October 16, 1862.

[4] Noe, Perryville:  This Grand Havoc of Battle, p. XiV.

[5] McCleary, Civil War Diary, Diary # 1, p. 26.

[6] Kirkpatrick, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War, p. 13.

[7] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, p. 621; Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 226.

[8] Kirkpatrick, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War, p. 13.

[9] Horrall, History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 150.

[10] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, p. 621; Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 227.

[11] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, p. 621; Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 227.

[12] Ibid., p. 622; Ibid., p. 228.

[13] Noe, Perryville:  This Grand Havoc of Battle, p. 221.

[14] Walsh, I Tell you, Sir, They are Yankees, pp. 63-64.

[15] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, p. 621-623; Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, pp. 228-230.

[16] Clarion, October 17, 1862.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Noe, Perryville:  This Grand Havoc of Battle, pp. 222-223.

[19] McCleary, Civil War Diary, Diary # 1, p. 26.

[20] Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 230.

[21] McCleary, Civil War Diary, Diary # 1, p. 26.

[22] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, pp. 623-624; Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 231.

[23] Daily Evansville Journal, October 21, 1862.

[24] Kirkpatrick, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War, p. 13.

[25] Horrall, History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 153.

[26] Noe, Perryville:  This Grand Havoc of Battle, pp. 270-271.

[27] Horrall, History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 152.

[28] Kirkpatrick, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War, p. 14.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Horrall, History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 152.

[31] Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 231.

[32] Kirkpatrick, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War, p. 14.

[33] Ibid., pp. 14-15.

[34] Ibid., p. 14.

[35] Daily Evansville Journal, October 21, 1862.

[36] The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1, p. 624; Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, pp. 231-232.

[37] Daily Evansville Journal, October 21, 1862.

[38] Shanklin, Dearest Lizzie, p. 232.

[39] McCleary, Civil War Diary, Diary # 1, p. 27

[40] Horrall, History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 153

[41] Ibid., p. 154.

[42] Carlisle, Autobiography of Sgt. Francis M. Carlisle, p. 5.

[43] Kirkpatrick, The Experiences of a Private Soldier of the Civil War, p. 16.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Goodge, Story of My Life, p. 2.

[46] Horrall, History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 273.

[47] Ibid., pp. 278-279.

[48] Ibid., p. 279.

[49] U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XVI/1, p. 1033.



Battle of Perryville Internet Research Links

Historic Perryville Official Web Site

Battle of Perryville, Kentucky

Battle of Perryville Site Photos

Battle of Perryville from the University of Kentucky

Battle Summary Perryville, KY

Kentucky State Parks Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

Perryville Battlefield near Danville in Boyle County, Kentucky

Introduction to Perryville - Danville - Boyle County, Kentucky

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