PENNYRILE-BATTLESketch by A.E. Matthews, 31st Ohio Volunteers of Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham's assault on the Federal Left Flank at Perryville, October 8, 1862. (Courtesy Anne S.K. Brown, Brown University Library)

KENTUCKY (5/18/14) — With the help of a class from Centre College, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site now has a digital database of more than 5,800 soldiers who died, were wounded or went missing during the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky.

"This is a great resource for anyone doing family or military research," said Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker. "Our thanks go out to Centre College and the students who worked on this project."

Park Manager Kurt Holman, who has spent 30 years collecting names and details of the casualties, contacted the college in nearby Danville for assistance. A computer science class taught by Christine Shannon agreed to take on the project.

"We're among a handful of Civil War battlefields with this kind of database that is now available to anyone with access to the Internet," Holman said. "This is a great service to our guests and really helps raise the profile of this important Kentucky historical site."

The class designed tables, wrote programs for the data and created a Web page. The database includes where the soldier was buried if that is known.

The students who worked on the project were: Lindsey Pack, Mary Friel, Simon Reiffen, Brooks Johnson, John Kehr, Woody Rini, Zach Trette, Cyrus Xi, Jeff Elam, Alex Cope, Siruo Wang and Jess Pritchett. Technical advice was provided by Shane Wilson, senior systems and network coordinator at Centre College.

Holman also expressed his thanks to Clarence Wyatt, a special assistant to the president and a history professor at Centre, who assisted with the project; and to Kathy Cummings, a park volunteer who assisted with the website.

Students especially appreciated a class project that would have value beyond the semester.

"Even though it had taken a great deal of time and effort, the opportunity to construct a site that would actually be used was very attractive," said Shannon, who is Haggin Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Centre.

The current database has 5,813 names. More research is needed to account for all 7,607 soldiers who died, were wounded or went missing during the battle in 1862.

The database can be viewed at: www.perryvillebattlefield.org.

Perryville is the scene of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state. The park museum tells of the battle that was the South's last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky. The battlefield is one of the most unaltered Civil War sites in the nation; vistas today remain virtually those soldiers saw on that fateful day in 1862.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Gil Lawson

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