Battle for Perrysville
The once peaceful town of Perrysville, Pennsylvania found a small contingency of rebel forces in our midst. These forces were under the command of a rather belligerent unyielding Major Richard Walters of the 5th Texas. Their purpose for coming to Perrysville, PA was to destroy the railroad bridge and to hinder the Union's effort to put down the rebellion. We had heard they were coming and were as prepared for the encounter as we could possibly have been. We managed to hold them back for a while, but came under overwhelming forces. The Union camp under the command of Captain Scott Eller from the 69th PA Irish held a good line. We had two 3 inch Ordinance Rifles from Boalsburg's Battery “B” under the command of Captain Gene Metzger and one Mountain Howitzer from Bellfonte, Thompson's Independent Battery “C” under the command of Captain Gary Hoover. The ground was held as long as possible.
As men from the 69th 148th and the 151st PVI fought gallantly, they did however suffer about fifty percent casualties within our infantry ranks. It is uncertain how many casualties were inflicted upon the rebels, because when they withdrew from the battlefield, none could be found. They either didn't have any or they maybe gathered them up and took them back to Virginia where these gray devils came from. After about forty minutes of battle we have since learned that they were recalled back to their command.
As with the Battle of First Manassas, there were spectators who morbidly decided to watch the carnage occur right in front of them. There was even heard some cheering and clapping of hands; so the battle must have been entertaining to some degree.
When I looked over the Bi-Centennial crowd, I saw many of my fellow Juniata Countians and many I consider to be good friends. Their were none of those who I would consider unpatriotic. However, there were those who back then as now who believe that war, is a waste of mankind. I couldn't agree more. War should always be a last alternative. It is not distasteful to glorify war and guns. They have been useful tools to rid the earth of those who can't be stopped any other way. These tyrants as then, are still to be found today. The anti-war crowd only believe in whatever form of peaceful resolution to solve conflict. Wouldn't it be just peachy keen if this were the case. If every situation could be settled peacefully, we wouldn't need to fight back. If every era had reasonable men who were not hell bent on conquering the world and pressing humanity in to the servitude of tyrants, we would need to fight back. For those of you who think that war shouldn't be allowed to happen; I say, I only wish that were the case.
Since the birth of this country, there has been many times when fighting was the only solution. Almost a million and a half American soldiers have died to keep you peace-nicks free enough to espouse your ways that don't always work. How did that work for the Jews during the holocaust? If Hitler had been allowed to proceed unhindered, more than the 6,000,000 plus Jews would have been murdered. SOOO, war is necessary sometimes.
Thanks You to the 69th Pa Irish for coming to our Bi-Centennial celebration from Philadelphia and New Jersey. Thanks to my good friends Mark and Lynn from the 148th PA Centre County Regiment. Thanks to the 151st PVI Company “D” from Juniata County boys. Thanks to the 5th Texas, 8th Virginia, and the 2nd Maryland; some of whom came to our town from Pittsburgh and all over the state. This wouldn't have happened without their help.
However. The rebels are delusional, if they think they won this battle without casualties. P.S. I received the after event report for First Sergeant Alex Peoples, 69th PA Volunteers. His report was four pages in length and covered practically every little detail that occurred during our time. If you were only in camp after the battle, you missed what we do best after dark we talk about our men and sing the sangs they would have sung around the campfire. I wouldn't have traded that for anything. God Bless America. God Bless the Soldiers who defend Her. God Bless the Men and Women who keep our history and heritage alive.
One Hundred and Fifty years ago; The Battle of Perrysville KY. occurred when on October 4th 1862, Generals Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith launched an invasion from Tennessee. On October 8th a battle ensues. It was short lived when Union troops from the Army of the Ohio under the command of General Don Carlos Buell assaulted the Confederates. More Rebel divisions join the battle eventually forcing back the Union line. The Confederates attack against a Union division on the Springfield Pike and the attackers retreat back to Perrysville. Union troops pursue them into town. With Bragg's left flank exposed, he retreats back to Tennessee. The invasion is over. Union losses are 4,211 and the Confederate losses are 3,196.
Unfortunately for me most of the celebration passed me by. Being the host of friends was a sacrifice I'm glad to have made. When men from all over the state and neighboring states drive from as far away as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and New Jersey and Virginia; I considered it my honor to host them as best I was able. Remarks from both camps stated that this parade was the largest they had ever seen from any small town America. Believe me we have been in many parades. The variety of subject matter and local pride in churches, schools, clubs, business, teams, and even the beautiful team horses was quite an eyeful for those endless crowds of hometown pride folks. Where else but a small town-farming community can we show off as many tractors as there were last week? Where else can we feature those amusingly silly little floats and all laugh at our selves? Where else can we honor our veterans and all they have done to keep us free. Let's not forget those who survived and those who are still living who served and those who sacrificed their all? Life is so very good.
150 Years Ago
Juniata County Casualties this week.
Pvt. Samuel Romig; 49th PVI, Company “I” of Mifflintown, Died of Typhoid,10-12-1862, Buried Soldiers Hospital Washington D.C. Grave Site, #1561. Pvt. David M. Kurtz; 49th PVI, Company “I” of Fermanuagh Township, Died of Disease, 10-14-1862, Buried Arlington National Cemetery, Grave Site #12760
Donald E. Husler Jr.