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The Battle of Perryville: Invasion of Kentucky

Wide Away Films, Color, 76 minutes, $24.95

The battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862 is one of those often overlooked but important engagements of the American Civil War. It came during what many regarded as the “high tide” of the Confederacy, and the South’s best opportunity to successfully win independence. Sometimes called Chaplin Hills, the battle was marked by heavy fighting that ended at darkness with the retreat of the Confederate forces. More importantly, the action ended Confederate offensive operations in the West and ultimately left the border state of Kentucky under control of the Union for the rest of the war.

The Battle of Perryville:Invasion of Kentucky is the latest offering from award-winning Wide Awake Films.The 76-minute video was shot mainly on the original battlefield in Kentucky with much of the combat captured by cameramen embedded in the lines of both sides at the 2006 Perryville Reenactment.In addition to the actual depiction of the battle, the video includes additional segments from the Perryville reenactment, an interview with the grandson of Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner, a look at preservation efforts and a video tour by Ed Bearss,chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service.

Written, produced and directed by Robert Lee Hodge, Shane Seley and Ed Leydecker, the video is marked by clear and understandable maps,first-rate historical accuracy,creative cinematography and excellent recreations of events marking the story of Perryville.The narration is professional although the script plods a little describing the historical background before the fighting.

Of special interest is the footage of Bearss standing at important locations on the actual battlefield explaining the significance of the fighting and aftermath. Bearss is renowned for his enthusiastic and energetic movement while leading battlefield tours, and the unanswered question is how the directors got him to stand still.


Originally published in the January 2008 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here