Civilian Impressions 2017
Civilian Impression Information
Perryville, Kentucky was a typical upper south farming community and most of its citizens were yeoman farmers. The community resided at the conflux of several main roadways that transverse the Kentucky countryside. Perryville contained several successful merchants and professionals that maintained offices and shops on what is today known as Merchant’s Row (referred to as Bottom’s Corner during the war.) Impressions therefore can reflect the diversity, which was present in the original 19th century community. Please refer to the “Owners of the Battlefield” document on the website. The research contained there in will assist those seeking to do an accurate impression of Perryville’s Civil War citizenry.
The impression will be semi-immersion and all participants are encouraged to do first person, but may develop a third person conversation with the visiting public. This will allow the visitor to better understand the civilian scenarios. Further – those that are doing demonstrations are encouraged to interact with the visiting public via third person. Interaction between guests and participants is highly recommended.
During the early part of September 1862 there would have been an occasional Union military presence; however, as October approached there was a significant amount of Confederate forces in the area. Confederate cavalry was operational in the area several weeks before the battle as Rebel cavalry regiments were being raised throughout the countryside. Braxton Bragg and his officers came through Perryville on their way to Frankfort in early October. Between October 1st and October 8th Perryville was between two Confederate armies and no Union troops were present in the town. On October 7th, Bragg's entire army marched from Springfield through Perryville towards Harrodsburg.
Of course as soon as the battle began, citizens fled the area. They returned to thousands of wounded men who filled every house and barn for miles around the battlefield. All of their resources had been consumed or destroyed. Soon after the battle was over, waves of people showed up looking for wounded or buried loved ones. The battlefield was littered with graves and it was not uncommon to find a body that had been dug up and badly reburied once it was discovered that the grave did not contain the relative they were seeking.
The following guidelines were designed to insure the typical impression of an individual that lived in Kentucky during the 1860s. These people were generally farmers and small merchants with families. Some of the farms upon which the battle was fought were large and the citizens prosperous, but not of “the planter class.”
Civilians must wear apparel, including head coverings, made by period pattern and construction techniques, of material like that available during the late 1850s and early 1860s.
Cotton, wool, or blended cotton work dresses in checks, plaid stripes, or period prints with corded petticoats is acceptable. Absolutely no skirts with white blouses and/or jackets are allowed. Mismatched skirts and bodices are only appropriate for exceptionally poor or refugee impressions.
Period correct lady’s headwear including slat or quilted bonnets, and knitted hoods are encouraged. High fashion bonnets should be avoided.
Collars and cuffs with dresses please.
Absolutely no modern undergarments or modern clothing beneath period attire – Please wear period correct undergarments.
Modern stockings and shoes are not acceptable under any circumstances unless they are constructed in such a way as to pass for period shoes.
Men should not appear in public without vest or coat. Sack or frock coats in appropriate materials are acceptable. Jean cloth, kersey, linsey, broadcloth, satinette material is suitable for men’s attire.
Period correct men’s stiff brimmed hats or caps only.
Neckwear should be appropriate to the period and worn in the correct way.
Period appropriate children’s clothing only. No modern footwear.
Children should not be dressed in military uniforms. Military influences can be reflected in children clothing, but miniaturized uniforms are prohibited.
Hairstyles for women should have a center part without bangs. Modern hairstyles must be disguised with appropriate head covering. No “snoods.” Please no hairdressing in public.
Men’s period correct hairstyles and facial hair only.
Modern makeup and nail polish will not be allowed.
Only period eyeglasses or contact lenses are allowed.
No modern jewelry or watches. Please avoid “high fashion” jewelry.
Please remember to adjust your impression to the social status that you are attempting to portray.
All participants (including children) must remain in period correct clothing during event.
Infant necessities such as bottles and diapers must be kept from site.
No modern toys.
Children must be attended at all times.
No anachronistic items may be visible at any time during the event.
All furnishings, cooking items, utensils, bedding, and food containers must be of appropriate period type, material and style.
No military participants may camp in the authentic civilian camp. All military visitors should keep visits to a strict minimum.
These items are strictly prohibited: cell phones, cigarettes, and electronic gadgets such as radios and CD players.
Please keep cameras concealed during the event.
Camp Commander will be responsible for enforcing these standards and may at anytime ask participants to leave if they are not following the above written guidelines.
Adherence to the park living history guidelines will be observed at all times. There is no “after hours” for the event. Historical impressions are to be maintained at all times during the weekend.
Per the military commanders – Civilian interaction with the military must be pre-planned and pre-approved by the overall military commander.
If these standards for participation are acceptable then you are welcome to register for the Battle of Perryville.